Now I realise it’s not Christmas yet. But why does it need to be holiday season to think about all the goodies you can buy your dog?! Of course, gundog training can be started just with your dog and a tennis ball or a normal dog toy. However, there are a number of tools that can make training both quicker and easier. They are also essentials if you want to move on to more serious events such as field trials. In this article, I’ve tried to give an introduction to each of the tools, and some buying advice.
You will not be surprised that training dummies are at the top of the list! There are a lot of different dummies out there, and finding the right one for you can be difficult. Generally, we start puppies with small, simple canvas dummies, and increase in weight, size and complexity as the dog gets older. However, it is sometimes useful to go back to smaller dummies in certain situations, so your money will never be wasted!
Available directly from your Daybreak training class:
Other dummies that can be useful are:
|Dummy Balls/ Discs||For dogs who tend to chew or mouthe tennis balls. These are the same size as tennis balls, but don’t rebound when the dog bites down on them (which isn’t as fun for them and so they stop doing it!).|
|Game dummies||Dummies that better simulate carrying game. This is either through shape, size, or the addition of extra parts to the dummy.|
2. Whip It
A “whip it” is it a fantastic piece of equipment to work on drive and impulse control. These are relatively difficult to come by, though a standard horse lunge whip serves the same purpose. They are currently available on request from Daybreak Dogs – email us for more information.
Whistles, like clickers, are no silver bullet, but can be a fantastic tool if trained correctly. There are many types of whistle, but the Acme Sonec whistles are often considered to be the best. The main reason for this is that they have the same tone, whether you’re blowing hard or soft. This means your “call” to your dog is always the same, so that they can quickly learn and recognise your cue. And Acme whistles come in a wide variety of colours; bright ones if you’re likely to drop them, dark ones if you like them to be unobtrusive!
Acme produce a number of different whistles, all at different frequencies. The rule of thumb is that, as the frequency decreases, the distance the sound travels increases, but the less noticeable it is to the dog. However, the choice of whistle tends to be very personal, and not everybody follows this rule!
|Very High Frequency – 210.5
Best for spaniels
|High Frequency – 212
Best for retrievers
|Medium Frequency 211.5
Best for HPRs
4. Multi-Purpose Leads
Multi-purpose leads are fantastic for any kind of training. It means you can lengthen the lead for a “park” behaviour while you’re stood watching or waiting, and shorten it for loose lead walking. It’s also great for younger dogs that might need to be worked on the lead.
5. Treat/ training bags
Unlike other dog sports, being able to keep your training aids on you at all times is really important. Often, you training will take place away from vehicles or areas where you can stash your kit, and you can move from field to field as you train. A small training bag and a treat pouch are essential from day 1, as it is great to get in the habit of always putting each piece of equipment away in the same pocket.
The most important thing about a treat pouch is the ability to open and close it quickly and with one hand. The best ones have a “stay open” hinge which snaps open and shut as and when you need; so no dropped treats, and no fumbling to get your reward to your dog on time!
With training bags, the rule is: either go small, or get something with lots of internal and external pockets!