Mutual trust and understanding are required between the hunter and his Labrador Retriever before a satisfactory retrieving companion is developed.
The intelligent Labrador Retriever, brought up as a house pet with the love and understanding of the person who is to take him hunting, requires a minimum of training in order to accomplish the job. Much of this training can be done in the house and a few minutes a day is enough.
Such things as blind retrieves and hand signals can become a game in the house with the dog learning to trust his nose as one of the important by-products.
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Introduction to feathers can be accomplished by tying feathers on a dummy or using a pigeon or chicken wing with the feathers intact. Remember that a Labrador should hand you the object retrieved and not drop it on the ground as is allowed with other breeds. This is also one of the requirements for a working certificate for a show dog. One important thing should not be overlooked and that is allowing persons to throw just anything for a dog and not requiring the dog to bring it back and give it to them. Let toys be toys, but certain definite other things should be reserved for training.
If a dog has a tendency to go off with the object you are training with outdoors, it is a good idea to reduce the available working space so that evading you is minimized. In such circumstances, moving away from the dog may induce following and the training object may be retrieved as the dog passes. His game of keep-away is thus converted to delivering the object for reward of the praise bestowed upon surrender of the object.
For outside work, training involves getting your Labrador Retriever to go far out, which is not possible in the house. Introducing him to gunfire must also be done outdoors. You can find a training aid called a dummy thrower that is very useful, but test it without your dog the first time as the dummy goes a long way.
For Labrador Retriever owners wishing to use a whistle for signals, one of the product that you can get is the Acme Thunderer. With this type of whistle, one can almost talk as it is possible to make various other sounds. One blast is commonly used for a dog to sit wherever he is, and three blasts to summon the dog to come towards or all the way back to you. The single blast is used also to signal for the Labrador Retriever to pay attention when you plan to use hand signals.