Delivery to Hand and Conditioning it Correctly
One habit that can be difficult to teach is natural delivery to hand. Many hunters may be surprised to know that this skill can be achieved without the use of force fetch, toe hitches, or electronic collars. How? Tips for natural delivery to hand will be described.
No Chew Toys
As with all skills, natural delivery is best learned when training starts early. Ultimately, hunters must remember that every action in and out of the field is reinforcing a behavior, good or bad. For instance, if you don’t want your dog to have a hard mouth, you should avoid chew toys. Chew toys promote chewing and gnawing, and the dog may not differentiate a chew toy at home and a bumper in the field. This can be conditioned, but takes time.
No Hand Feeding Treats
Next, never give your duck dog a treat from you hand. Instead, place treats on the ground. This behavior helps your dog avoid nipping at your hand or being overly excited when delivering a bird or bumper.
Careful Use of Feathers
Avoid incorporating feathers too early into your dog’s training. A young dog that does not fully understand what is expected of him or her will have a tendency to pluck feathers from training bumpers and want to play with them. Do not use feathers in training until your dog picks up bumpers naturally.
Bumper Material is Important
With the sheer number of options available for training bumpers, it can be difficult to determine which is right for you and your dog. Bumpers should be soft and have a natural feel, and be something desirable to carry. They should not be too heavy, and not made of plastic, which will not promote a natural hold.
This does not work with all dogs and that conditioned retrieve training will then be required for a reliable retrieve and delivery. We suggest that if you are not comfortable with the conditioned retrieve or force fetch training, that you enlist the help of a professional dog trainer.