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pup's breakfast and a few minutes each morning before you go to work. Hold the food bowl and when pup looks at you say, "Good look" and give him some kibble. If he looks away say, "Look at me" and when he does, treat him. Gradually delay the treats until pup will hold your gaze for at least five seconds. This is a great drill and one you will be glad you taught when it comes to teaching blind retrieves. If pup won't look at you how can he take directions?


Okay. Now we have a spaniel who will look us in the eyes and who will target our hand. The best way is to start pup off never learning that he can run the bank. Think before you throw the first bumper. Look around and see if there is a point of land sticking out or a low area that might suck the puppy in away from you. Start your throw from the most enticing area and pup will come back to you.

With all dog training, show and tell is the key. Show your pup in gradual steps what you expect. First throw in a direct line in front of you, then gradually change the throws to angles to the left and then to the right. As long as pup is coming straight back keep tightening the angles. Keep your throws about 30 yards out for now so that pup can do several retrieves before he gets tired. Limit to a maximum of ten throws and always end on a positive note. If pup's last throw is a 45 degree angle and he squares the bank, do one more with less temptation if that is what it takes to get a straight return. If pup insists on squaring the bank I block his way and say, "NO," while taking the bumper from his mouth (pup is still in the water) and tossing it back in the water. Keep doing this until pup will come straight back.

As pup learns the game, start sending pup from further back on land. Back up five yards and start the whole concept from the beginning. Then, back up another five yards. Keep backing up until you can send pup from 40 yards from the water's edge and pup will maintain a straight line. If pup takes a bad line, ease up and make the throws straighter or move closer to the water so pup is encouraged to maintain the line.


Now that pup will take and maintain great angles, it's time to add another wrinkle to the game. Find a channel, a catfish pond, or a narrow end of a pond about 30-40 yards across. The ideal pond is one that is wider in the middle and gradually narrows. The banks should be clear of tall grasses so that you can keep track of pup's movements. It is recommended to have help to assist if pup tries to run the bank. Put your helper on the corner of the pond so that she can stop the pup if he tries to run the bank.

Start right at the edge of the pond with your throws going straight into the water. You will be throwing far enough down the pond that pup is not tempted to go to the opposite shore - about 30 yards from the corner and at least 20 yards from the opposite shore. As pup is successful, move closer to the corner and make your throws closer to land on the other side. You want pup to learn to fetch and spin around, returning the exact same way he came. If pup keeps going towards land, NO him and try to turn him. If he reaches the other shore, keep calling. If he won't turn and come

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