Gundog / Fly Fishing Blog

Crate Training

When you travel it is often a good idea to keep your dog in a dog crate. Especially, if the dog rides in the back of an open pickup box.

Dogs are den animals so crate training is easy. Take a travel crate in the house, leave the door open, blow your whistle and verbally command “Kennel UP!” as you toss a bite size treat or chew bone inside. Leave the door open often during the day if you are home so your dog can enter and leave as it pleases.

Be sure to throw an old jacket or shirt you have been wearing inside for a bed. If your dog runs off from home or while on an outing, you may have to give up the search to go home and to sleep. Leave your crate outside with your jacket in it… your pup may just be in there waiting for you in the morning.

Leash Training

I prefer to use a leash called a “Halti” which follows the principal of a horse halter. If this principal works for a horse it most certainly will work for your puppy. The Halti does not allow your dog to pull with his shoulders because it directs the nose/mouth area. Simply short circles clockwise and counter clockwise for 5 minutes or so and rewarding your pet after each successful circle either by petting/praising or small bite size treats. Don’t over do it…make it fun.

Puppy House Training

Ideally, your breeder was able to provide a dog house with the door leading to a small fenced in area for the mother and her pups. House breaking essentially takes care of itself if you provide the same setup. You can also put a kennel inside your garage with the door/weather flap leading through the wall to an outside fenced area. Take care the kennel is only big enough for your dog to turn around in. (otherwise it may relieve itself in a corner, etc.) Food and water bowls should be outside the kennel. This should work during spring, summer, or fall months.

Winter house breaking can be more complicated due to bad weather. You may have to purchase a plastic children’s swim pool with high sides so the puppy relieves itself on paper, dirt or whatever works for you. Hopefully, when it gets bigger it will jump back in the pool to do it’s business.

The best plan, of course is to have someone home to let it outside or a means for it to get to an outside fenced area itself.

Puppy Basics

Puppies – Always remember that all your puppy wants to do is please you. Spending time with your pet is easy. Sit on the floor while watching TV and gently handle the toe of each paw, ears, nose, and have the vet show you how to open it’s mouth and look inside. In addition to developing a bond of loyalty this will also establish a bond of trust to allow you to remove cactus from paws, porcupine quills from paws and mouth, put medicine in ears, etc.

REMEMBER to introduce a variety of chew toys! Your puppy will chew. You may have to work to get it to chew what you want it to. If you can teach your puppy to retrieve this will also double as exercise. Most breeds have high energy to do whatever they were bred for and definitely need exercise daily whether traveling or not.

Teach your Puppy/Dog to Come to a Whistle

Yes, you can even teach an old dog a new trick!

If your dog wanders off you must be able to call him/her back with a whistle. The reason is that you will soon lose your voice screaming for your pet.

This can be done as soon as the puppy begins to eat solid food and for any dog still eating food.

Begin by standing above the dog dish ready to pour the dog food. Simply blow the whistle just before pouring the food in the dish. After a couple days blow the whistle before getting the dog food from it’s drawer while the dog can see you. After a couple days start blowing the whistle when the dog is just out of view (next room, down stairs, back porch, etc.) Gradually lengthen the time you stand above the bowl with the food.

Eventually, your dog will come running full speed to the whistle while anywhere within hearing distance. Only do this at feeding time because when the dog’s stomach is full he/she will lose interest.

I prefer a whistle that will emit both a long steady tone and the customary basketball referee whistle tone.