Positive Training for Hunting Dogs
I’m curious if any readers have some advice for me and a friend of mine. She and her husband have a young German Shorthaired Pointer they’d love to train to hunt, but are having problems finding any professional trainers who don’t use ear pinches, forced retrieves and a basic attitude of “Do it because I say so!” This is not the first time I’ve been asked about positive trainers in this field, whether for retrievers or pointers, and I haven’t had a lot of luck finding professionals who take dogs in and train them using primarily positive methods. If you know the world of hunting dogs, you know that there is a long history of “positive punishment” and dominance-based training in the field, perhaps more so than any other, at least in my experience.
Do any of you, wise readers, know of a professional trainer, or any other resources, in the midwest who primarily uses positive reinforcement? Do any of you hunt with retrievers, or compete in trials or tests? Any ideas for us? I swear I thought there was a series of books by a primarily positive trainers, but for the life of me I can’t remember the author’s name or find the books anywhere…
Meanwhile, back at the farm, the “to do” list for Africa never seems to get smaller. As soon as I cross one thing off, I write two more on. Besides power packing (every ounce is considered at great length, every piece of clothing requires careful thought!), the list of things to do for the farm and the animals never seems to end. But we’re making progress, and I’ve had another training session with the wonderful woman who is farm sitting (who is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist and massages Lassie into heaven; I’m not sure Lassie will be happy when I return!), all the food and supplements for 3 weeks are collected and slowly but surely we’re getting closer to departure. Ewe Martha 2.0 is still having respiratory trouble, along with 2 others, diagnosis is now down to 2 things (lung worms in spite of being wormed w/ 2 different wormers or OPP, an untreatable and ultimately fatal wasting disease)… I will leave with some new medicine and all paws crossed for the old girl.
Here’s a photo of my friend’s GSP. Gotta love the tongue.