Newbie trainer with questions
I am new to this forum and new to training hunting dogs. My dog is 1 year old and I think he is doing pretty well so far. I hunt ducks by jump shooting farm ponds and I am training him to hunt with us. We do not hunt over decoys or any other method other than jump shooting. This is his first season and I have taken him hunting the past 3 Saturdays. He retrieves ducks very well and is enthusiastic when I send him into the water. He has retrieved as many as 5 on one pond at a time. He has not been through force fetch so he is of course not polished, but he brings the ducks back to me without problem or hesitation. I plan to take him through force fetch after the season is over. The trouble I am having so far is his obedience has not transferred from yard work to the field as far as steadiness and calmness. He is very good on sit, stay, and heel in the yard and even on walks, however he seems to "forget" with the excitement of hunting. I have high expectations for obedience as I know it is the cornerstone for everything else. It seems difficult to introduce enough distractions to be able to "proof" his obedience. So far I have either had to leave him in the truck and go back after him after we shoot, or let the others in the group shoot and I strictly handle the dog. I am continuing to work him on obedience and steadiness at home. He loves to hunt and I know that the first season is about training more than hunting. Is the excitability and loss of self control due to him being young and inexperienced? Will it go away with experience and continued work on obedience? I have not found any exercise or drill that addresses this problem. Please let me know if there is anything I am missing or could/should be doing to help him improve. Thank you in advance.