This month we continue with Lesson #4 in WHOA training utilizing Paul Long’s system as described in his book, “Training Pointing Dogs”.
This lesson is critical in the process because you are now going to teach your dog to come to you when you call his name coupled with HERE/COME command. You will teach your dog to stop at any given point when you command WHOA.
Start by reviewing Lessons 1, 2 & 3 for a few minutes. Then, HEEL your dog for a few feet and WHOA him. Command him to stay and walk the check cord out about 30 feet in front of the dog. You have taught your dog to stay where WHOAED, and he must do so now.
Standing 30 feet in front of the dog, signal him to come to you using his name combined with HERE or COME command, whichever you have chosen. You can also train with a whistle command. However, I prefer you start verbally and then convert to the whistle once your dog truly understands Lesson # 4. He/she will probably hesitate at first since they have been taught to WHOA and not move. Give a slight tug on check cord, repeating the command, to encourage them to come to you. Praise the dog lavishly when he does so. Repeat this procedure 100 times, making sure the dog stays where WHOAED until ordered to come to you. Then put your dog away for the day.
Once you have your dog staying in place until you call him to come, you are ready for the next step. That is to start him with a “HERE/COME” command and stop him en route to you. Start this no more than 15 feet from the dog. Command “HERE/COME” and WHOA the dog once he has come about 3 feet. Don’t let the dog come too far before WHOAING as the momentum will carry the dog to you. Your command may slow him down but will not stop him. Give the dog a break by not asking too much to start with.
Now go to heeling and whoaing your dog and move out 15 feet. Start him coming to you with HERE/COME and then WHOA him once he has come 3 feet. Now you are ready to vary the procedure by going further away from the dog and then WHOAING him. Do not go too far at first. Increase the distance in increments. Then you can vary the increments so he does not anticipate your command and pays attention to you.
Keep in mind this is a confusing lesson for your dog. So, don’t expect perfection too soon. Take it in bits and pieces and be sure to stop when the dog gets tired or obstinate. Remember, dog training success depends on delayed gratification on your part.
Stop by again next month for Lesson # 5 which will complete our WHOA training portion of yard training.
CJ , Shawnee & Duchess