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Build a Relationship

Build a Relationship

In  these  first early months with your pup  the  most  important aspect of your work with the dog is to build a relationship  that will  result in respect and a liking for each other. Some  people find  it difficult to admit that they ‘love’ a dog but they  will admit to liking it a lot. But like it you must, if you are to put effort into the work and get enjoyment out. If you like your  dog and  can  show it, there is no doubt that the dog  will  respond. Your  dog  in return will like you and  through  training  should learn  to respect you more. However, if you don’t like  your  dog then  you  will find it difficult to understand its  actions  and accept  its weaknesses. Not every dog is the same and  there  are many  cases  where people have suffered a dog they  do  not  like because they see it as a weakness of their own to give it up.  My own  feeling is that it is also wrong for the dog to suffer,  because there is no doubt that it will. What is the wrong chemistry for one ‘man’ and his dog may be right for another ‘man’ and  the same dog. We are all different animals and cannot expect a  relationship  to ‘gel’ in every instance. If you feel that  you  just cannot get on with the dog then don’t be too proud to let someone else have the dog and don’t be too conceited to accept that  they may do a better job of working with that dog than you could. Your next  dog  could be the one that responds perfectly  to  you  and creates a partnership that is unbeatable.

Spending time with your dog, training it and enjoying working together  helps to build a good relationship. I have heard it  said many times that if you want to build a good relationship then you should  always feed the dog yourself. I certainly do not  believe this to be true. It may help, but true respect and a bonded relationship comes from working and achieving together where you give the dog the training and jobs to do which it really wants to  do. With a gundog that is all aspects of gundog work and particularly going  shooting.  When you can read your dog  accurately  and  in return it reads you and your wishes that is when a real relationship has been formed. You work together as a team, a  partnership which, almost silently, performs a job as natural as wild animals hunting  in a pack. A glance at each other,  a hand  signal  from you,  a  cock of the head and glance from your dog, a  change  in body action as the dog picks up scent and tells you to be  ready, you  know each other and are working with the same  objective  in mind. A relationship is formed and bonded but behind it is a  lot of  training  and hard work from both of you, mixed with  a  fair amount of affection.

Always  give your dog time to learn, some learn  quickly,  others not  so  quick and the speed of learning can change as  your  dog progresses and a dog which developed quickly in the early days of its life can slow down as it gets older whereas a slow  developer may  learn much quicker once things begin to click. Don’t try  to show  off with your dog to friends. Don’t try to advance  in  big steps,  take it a little at a time, let the dog be successful  in easy stages and in this way as you both succeed the  relationship will grow.

If at six months old your dog will sit and stay on command,  come when called, walk on a lead comfortably, do a simple retrieve and hunt  for a hidden one then you are setting the  foundation  upon which a good gundog can be built.

During these first formative months you are creating habits, make them  good  ones  – the foundation upon which the  rest  of  your training  can  develop. Don’t only train your dog but  also  your family to treat the dog correctly and not make problems for  you. By making your times with your young dog happy and enjoyable, you will create the foundations to build upon and a relationship that will last a lifetime.