Jersey Jo Marie
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Opinions & Training Advice
Chewing ~ "Go Potty" ~ "Sit", "Lay Down", & "Stay" ~ "Kennel" ~ "Come" & "Bring It" ~ "Heel"
Introduction To The Gun ~ Introduction To Birds ~ Quartering
Training is the most import thing you can do for your new best friend and should start as soon as you get your new pup home.  It is not hard to do.  In fact it is fun and rewarding.  Just 15 minute sessions one to three times a day is all that it takes.

The first thing that you must learn is that a dog is a pack animal.  There is always a pack leader, and your pup must know that you are that pack leader.  You (and other family members) are in command not the other way around.  Sometimes it is harder to train the family members than the dog.  It is very important that everybody in the family uses the same command words so the dog will know what it is being asked to do.  

Nothing but positive words, actions, & praise.  Never hit your dog for any reason.  If your dog is not listening to you or doing the command properly, then take a break and come back later.  A dog's attention span is just like a child's, short.  A training session for a young pup will only be a few minutes.  Always end your session on a positive note.  End with a command the pup a ready knows and not the one you are working on.

There is nothing more rewarding than watching your dog's training advances and then put them to use in the field.  Nothing will make you more proud than watching your dog bring you his or her's first bird.  Even if you are not going to hunt your dog, it's just as important.  A dog that will do as commanded will make for both a happier dog and owner.

There are many different ways to train a dog.  None of them are wrong as long as the dog will do what it is ask to do.  And do it the first time it is told.  If you let your dog get by with doing the command whenever it feels like it, you will have trouble.  An example is if your dog is running toward the street chasing something and a car is coming, the fifth time you tell the dog to "Come" or "Stop" it will be to late.  They must do it the first time, every time.

Every pup will try to chew anything that it can get into it's mouth.  This is the way they learn what things are.  Just tap them on it's muzzle and then take away what ever it was chewing and replace it with something the pup can chew.  The flat raw hide chews work well.  However you should take this away when they get too small, so the pup will not swallow the small piece of rawhide.  Or give the pup a dog chew toy to play with.  They will learn what they can and can not chew on.  You will need to "puppy proof" your home and garage just like you have to "child proof" your home.
"Go Potty"
Start with the basic obedience commands.  Of course the first one is "Go Potty".  Take your new pup to the door every couple of hours to start with.  You must "out wait" your pup when outside.  They have to learn what they are out there for.  When they finally finish, pick up your pup and give it lots of praise, and praise it some more praise.  Some owners like to reward their pup with a treat.  Just use a small bite if you do.  A hot dog sliced up into small pieces in a sealed container by the door is a cheap way to give a treat.  With all of the preservatives they will last forever.  You can also keep them in the fridge, the pup will learn this one fast.

The down side of the reward system is your pup may stop doing the commands if they know that the treats have stopped.  I prefer the lots of praise system myself.  That never stops.

The potty training will go faster if you kennel your pup when no one is around to watch the pup.  Buy what ever size of kennel that your dog will need when it is an adult.  Until the pup is house broken completely, only give your pup enough room in the kennel to lay down and that is it.  No water or food inside.  This is because the pup will not want to soil his/her sleeping area.  This small area will help your new pup to strengthen and control it bladder muscles.  Some wire cages come with a movable divider that works great for this.  You can just keep moving it back as the pup grows.  If you prefer to use a plastic pet porter, then a plastic cooler works well to take up space.  You can use anything that the pup can not chew.

Your pup should go outside every couple of hours the first few days.  It should also go outside when ever it gets done drinking, eating, & wakes up.  Always take take the pup outside using the same door so it gets used to going potty through that door.  When the pup gets a little bit older teach the dog to bark once when at the door before it goes out & back in.

It can be important to use the phrase "Good Potty" instead of "Good Boy/Girl".  Some dogs will associate the the words "Good Boy/Girl" when they are in the house and go potty on the rug.  This can also help train your pup to go potty on command instead of waiting for it to decide to go when ever it is done smelling everything.  I've been there, done that.

You can also set up an area in your yard using 2" x 6" x 8' boards to make a special spot for your dog to go.  Just fill it half full of pea rock or just leave it grass.  Then take your pup directly to the boarded in area, your pup will soon learn what this area is for.  It also helps keep yours and your neighbor's yard free of dog waste.  Of course if you have kids that need lawn chores...

"Sit", "Lay Down",  & "Stay"
This is an easy one.  As you are saying "Sit" gently push down on the pups hips and it will sit for you.  Praise the dog and keep doing for a little while. Soon it will begin doing it on it's own.  The pup will not stay sitting for long so when it tries to get up, put your hand on it's hips and keep saying "Stay".  Your pup will figure it out soon enough.  Your pup should stay sitting or laying down until you say "OK" and release it.  Some owners will say the dogs name instead of "OK".  I like to say the dogs name in front of the command.  An example would be: "Laci .. Sit" or "Laci .. Come".  The "Lay Down" command is done the same as the "Sit" command.  Just gently push down on both the front shoulders and hips at the same time while saying "Lay Down".
You should give your dog a safe place to go in the house.  Either a special place for him/her to lay down that has a dog bed or a kennel or pet porter.  I prefer the wire mesh kennels for in the house.  You can also use a dog bed to give them their special place.  "Kennel" or "Go Lay Down" should mean to go that special place and stay there.  They should stay with out the door being closed.  This will actually become their "happy place".  A place that they can spend the night or take a nap.  Of course you can let them sleep in bed with you also.  Our Samantha Jo is a blanket hog.  "Kennel" can also mean to get into the outside kennel area, or get into the pickup.
"Come" & "Bring It"
The command "Come" is obvious in meaning.  The "Bring It" command is what I use as the command when I playing fetch with the dog.  It is also the command I use when they are retrieving a rooster.
It is easy to teach.  Teach the "Come" command first.  Put a short light weight rope or leash on your pup.  Gently pull the pup towards you as you say "Come".   The pup will pick this up pretty fast.  As for the "Bring It" command use something that the pup is chasing and running around with.  A small stuffed animal toy or a medium sized jingle ball cat toy is loved by all pups.  Use the same technique as above.  You can go outside with a longer rope it you would like.  Doing this in a hallway eliminates distractions and gets the pup focused on you. 
Introduction To The Gun
By the time your pup is 4 to 6 months old, it should be introduced to the sound of a gun.  Find yourself a legal area that you can shoot a gun.  I go to the trap club & range that I belong to.   Certain times of the year you can use Wildlife Management Areas, however check with your state's DNR web site to find out for sure, as this can very from state to state.   A farmer friend or relative may have some land to train on as well.  Also a private game farm might be a option as well.

This should be a two person training session.  Get the pup fetching its favorite toy.  While the dog is playing have your partner shoot a gun from a at least 50 yards away.  If the pup hates the sound and gets scared move the shooter to at least 100 yards away.  You can start with a .22 caliber rifle then move up in gun size and sound as the pup is feeling comfortable with the sound.  What has worked well for me is to use my Dokkens Dead Fowl dummy for the pup to retrieve.  While the dummy is flying through the air with the pup chasing it, or sitting and watching it (being steady), your choice, have your partner shoot the gun.  As the pup gets used to the sound, have your helper move closer to you and continue with the exercise.  After a while your pup will associate the gun going off with chasing its favorite thing to do, retrieving.  My dogs go nuts when they see me carry my gun case.
Introduction To Birds
To get the pup used to the taste of feathers, I use a couple of large zip ties to attach two rooster wings to my Dokkens Dead Fowl dummy, a training bumper will also work well.  I only use my Dokkens Dead Fowl Dummy during training sessions.   I throw tennis balls when we are out for exercise.  This way the Dokkens Dead Fowl Dummy is special to them and they seem to turn it up a notch.

To get your pup excited by birds, get your self some pigeons.  An internet search should find you some in your area.  Or hire some kids to trap some.  Game farms can also be a source for birds.  Some game farms will have Cukkars available for this purpose as well.

The pigeons are very hardy.  You can lock there wings together without hurting the bird so he cannot fly.  However he can run.  Your pup will love this.  Or pulling out the flight feathers will also work.  However then the bird will be able flap it's wings, which might be to much action to start with.  You may want to lock the wings to start with, then go to  pulling feathers for more action later in the training process.   The feathers will grow back and pigeons are easy to keep alive for future training sessions.

After your pup is loving the pigeons, you can hide them in some weeds and then let your pup find the bird.  You can shoot the pigeon so your pup can find and retrieve it for you.  As your pup gets older you can get some pheasants from a game farm to plant in the weeds.  Some game farms will allow you to take a young dog out on their land with only buying a few birds for training.   The more birds you can put your new dog on the better it will be in the field.  There is no substitute for live birds when training for the field.