Just a shot in the dark
Hidden recalls and making noises

A dog with a retrieve article

Week 3 of the gun dog class started with walking around getting attention and blowing the whistle for a sit. We start each week like this and it's a good way to get our dogs to focus and let them know we're now in full on training mode!

This week we tried the "throwing over the head" exercise again to simulate something falling out of the sky. The trick is not to allow our dog to fetch the retrieve article until we give the instruction. I'm lucky, as Amber (pictured top) is quite focussed on me my treat bag, and so she tends to keep as close as possible at all times! 😂

We extended this task with a "clap" to simulate a (rather quiet) gunshot.

Stop on send-away
We also had a go at the rather tricky "stop on send-away". Gemma demonstrated this with Spook. She threw out a retrieve item and then sent Spook to get it. He takes off on command at full pelt which made it even more impressive when Gemma blew her whistle and he stopped instantly. Wow!

Extending the retrieve
We worked on some more advanced retrieving this week. First of all, Gemma would drop the retrieve article at some distance and then we'd have to send our dog out to get it. Most dogs look at what Gemma's doing, however Amber was completely focussed on that treat bag again so it took some persuading to get her to go out and find the toy. She did it in the end, though!

To make it more difficult, we did the same exercise and then Gemma dropped a second retrieve article while the dog wasn't looking. A "blind retrieve". We had to send our furball out to get the second item too. Again (with encouragement) Amber achieved this task, as did all the other dogs on the course. Great stuff!

Making a noise
As a precursor to some activities coming up in future lessons, Rachel took a starting pistol into the adjacent field, at some distance, and then with fair warning to all let it off. She tried coming a little closer, and then a little closer again setting it off each time with a warning. The trainer's want to see how the dogs react and most seemed generally fine with it.

Amber doesn't take any notice of loud noises (she'll happy mooch around the garden in the middle of a thunderstorm) so I didn't think she'd have any issues with this. It's definitely worth them checking, though, as some dogs have huge problems with sudden noises.

That's it for this week. We only have 2 weeks left and I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next lesson. There's been talk of a retrieve "launcher" making an appearance at some point and the "bolting bird" from last year may return too!

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