Our climate in northeast Wyoming only provides us with a limited time period to prepare puppies for the water portion of the NAVHDA NA test.
The air temperature of 65 degrees and sunshine were pleasant, but insulated waders were necessary for Kim to go into the water.
Hula is food-motivated and went into swimming-depth water to get a bite of Goldfish crackers. They float and were fun to chase.
The life jacket or a harness with handles gives Kim something to hold onto if necessary.
A check cord is a training aid and a safety precaution. Once Hula had done a little bit of swimming, Kim allowed her to go into shallow water, but not to leave the water.
Eleven-month-old Hula is such a pretty girl, even soaking wet. We'll give her lots of opportunities to get completely comfortable with swimming before her NA test in June.
Join your nearest NAVHDA chapter and attend training days. NAVHDA's "Train the Trainer" philosophy teaches dog owners and handlers how to get the most from their dogs. It's an opportunity to learn, to network with lots of like-minded dog owner, and just have fun. A day spent training dogs is a good day.
Our community recreation center offers a variety of dog training classes - from obedience to nose work and show handling. Many kennel clubs offer classes as well. Your dog benefits from the class, and from experiencing new situations and locations.
Some people prefer to have professional trainers do the training. Exercise caution and care when selecting a trainer. Ask for references and check them out. Not all hunting dog trainers are the same, and a trainer that understands and appreciates Griffs is essential. Griffs aren't Labs and they don't learn like Labs or GSPs.
This is ZZ as a pup, play bowing at a chukar on a tether. We were working toward increasing her interest and confidence with birds.
Blanche's super high drive was obvious from the get-go. She pointed the bird, and to prevent her from rushing forward and "busting" the bird, Rick picked her up.
Even when playing fetch with tiny baby puppies, we encourage them to retrieve properly to hand. When the pup voluntarily brings a toy, it's rewarded with a treat.
Jett was nervous about entering the icy cold water at first. We just let her work it out. When she decided to go in, it built her confidence because she conquered her concerns herself!
The first thing a diving dog has to know is how to get out of the pool. So we start by going down the ramp. Then the fun of diving off the dock begins.
There are many things about testing, hunting, and showing dogs that are beyond our control. Conditioning your dog at home is absolutely within your control. Make sure your dog (and you!) never fail because you weren't fit and ready to go!
Be intentional when you're working with your dog. Make sure you aren't teaching bad habits. A well-bred hunting pup comes to you with talent and instinct, but the pup needs someone to develop that talent and give him the confidence he needs to be successful as a hunter and a companion. Be patient. Enjoy the journey. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the pup's light come on!