Positively Training Hunting Dogs
Positive training builds a confident partner that is willing to work with you, rather than one that works for you out of fear. It would make sense that we want our hunting dogs to work with us as our partners, but many people still use outdated training theory for their hunting dogs. Other dog sports or occupations have made the switch to positive training techniques, but for some reason hunting dog trainers are still resisting. Research has shown that positive training can be faster and more effective, and creates less stress for the dog. If you are a hunter, we encourage you to explore the world of positive training for your canine companion. Here are some resources to help you.
Taken from Positive Gun Dog Training website (http://www.positivegundogtraining.com/)
|FALSE: Dogs trained with positive, reward-based systems will only perform for food.
||TRUE: Food is only used in the beginning stages of training, and dogs are systematically weaned from food-based rewards. Ultimately, the dog performs because he respects his owner, and because hunting, retrieving and having feathers in his mouth are the ultimate reward.
|FALSE: “Forced fetch” training is necessary to ensure the dog will perform under harsh conditions or at a distance.
||TRUE: A dog can be trained to retrieve birds under virtually any conditions with positive training, drive development, and distraction work. In fact, using positive methods, even a dog lacking in retrieving drive can be taught more quickly to be a reliable, enthusiastic retriever than a similar dog trained with aversive methods.
|FALSE: The traditional method of training gun dogs is the best because it has been field tested and proven for decades.
||TRUE: In nearly every high-performance dog sport, positive training methods have made impressive in-roads. But the marketing machine that popularizes shock collars, choke chains and other aversive gadgetry and techniques has a huge head-start on positive gun dog training. To be sure, traditional gun dog training methods work well. But the same positive techniques used in other high-performance dog sports can certainly be applied to gun dog training with great results. Our goal is to demonstrate there is a viable alternative to punishment-based training methods.
|FALSE: The fact that all field trial and hunt test champions are traditionally trained proves that traditional methods are superior.
||TRUE: Since it has not been around as long, positive gun dog training has not (as far as we know) made its debut in field trials and hunt tests. The FetchMasters Positive Gun Dog Training Program is actively building and training a hunt test team to prove that positively trained dogs can perform alongside of traditionally trained gun dogs.
Blog Post on Positively.com by Thomas Aaron – founder of FetchMasters, LLC. https://positively.com/contributors/the-state-of-positive-gun-dog-training-who-will-take-up-the-gauntlet/
Website by Robert Milner, a positive hunting dog trainer.
Website of resources and information about positively training hunting dogs.