Teaching our Gundogs to sit to the whistle is a really important aspect of the training we do. Here’s a list of some of the things we can do to teach our dogs to do this.
1. As soon as you start Puppy Training gently blow the stop whistle each time the Puppy either offers or is encouraged to sit. Ensure you reward this behaviour, with a very young puppy a food treat is an excellent way to reinforce the behaviour. This same reinforcement can be used throughout the Dogs life.
2. As with all commands once the Puppy has learned this behaviour ensure that you do not allow it to ignore your command. At this stage ensure the puppy is engaged with you and will almost certainly be very close to you. Do not try to get the Puppy to sit to the whistle when it is away from you as this is likely to fail.
3. Use a target hoop, mat or place board to teach the youngster to stop and sit a short distance away from you. Either way say ‘good Dog’ followed by a food reward, use a clicker or throw a dummy as a reward the moment the Puppy sit’s to the whistle command. Slowly build the gap between yourself and where the Puppy is sitting.
4. Try to keep in mind that we are trying to build the Dogs understanding that the sound of the stop whistle means that if he sits down and looks towards you he will receive a reward. This will be a slow layering up process. At first the Puppy will respond and sit when close to you, if we train correctly the dog will eventually learn to stop and sit wherever it is.
5. Once you start directional training, throw a dummy either behind, left or to the right of the Dog. Make it clear to the dog that you want them to stay seated whilst you slowly slide the appropriate arm either out to your side for left and right or above your head for the back command. Ensure your palm is flat and facing the Dog to maximise the visual cue. Gently blow the stop whistle whilst the dog is sat opposite looking straight at you. Wait for approximately two to three seconds, the dog should be focusing on you waiting and watching for Instruction then give the appropriate left, right or back command.
So there are a few tips that will help you to school your dog to want and sit when they hear your stop, look at me whistle. Done properly this will work, but it will take time. Be consistent, thorough and patient, you will suddenly be aware that your dog starts to stop and look at you for direction. This is the Eureka moment; you have succeeded in getting him to understand that you can help him.