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We had a brilliant one to one training session this morning. I was a bit nervous and not sure what Willoughby would make of it all but I'm one very proud mum. He was a bit unsure and silly for the first five minutes but then he tried really hard and thoroughly enjoyed himself, tail wagging and really listening. I learnt that Willoughby's ok it's me that needs the most training, I use far to many commands where only one is needed and I need to be less enthusiastic with the praise so he stays steady as he's not a puppy anymore.
We learnt to use his lead better and within minutes of using the two handed method shown his heel work improved immensely. I found that gun dog training is quite different to obedience style training I've done in the past. Obedience in my opinion is much more situational, the dog doing a routine in the ring then switching off. Willoughby had to stay steady and focused for the full session.
We covered the very basics, good heel work, steady stay and started learning about the stop to whistle. We have a plan of how to proceed and what to work on to improve for next time. I'm really pleased how the session went, how much we learnt, but mostly Willoughby enjoyed it.
 

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I use far to many commands
Such a common fault!

I need to be less enthusiastic with the praise
Again so common. you need just enough praise for him to know he had done the right thing, but too much is only a distraction meaning that he even forgets what he's being praised for.

Obedience in my opinion is much more situational, the dog doing a routine in the ring then switching off. Willoughby had to stay steady and focused for the full session.
I've said before, Obedience is like a 100 meters sprint where gundog work is more like a marathon. In obedience you have probably 5 minutes in the ring to impress the judge, everything has to be smart and perfect. With gundog work the dog is going to be working in the field from probably 9-30am through to maybe 4pm. It cannot hope to maintain the same perfection of work but by the same token an obedience dog could not hope to keep the degree of concentration going for even half of that time. It's a totally different game.

Enjoy it because you can be sure Willoughby will!

Regards, John
 
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