Retrieving is an important part of any gundog’s training. This is a second discussion on sending your Labrador Retriever away from you for a long retrieve. Here we discuss how to extend the range to which you have been sending your dog, and how to avoid pottering when the dog does not believe there is another bird to be retrieved.
Having taught the puppy to go Out! when given the command and knowing that a dummy has been dropped, we prepare for the next test by throwing the dummy out of sight in light cover, such as long grass. Send the dog back in the same manner as previously, giving the There! command as the dog approaches the place the dummy was thrown. This tells the dog that she is on her own now, and she will start looking for the dummy – not seeing it will encourage her to use her nose. This is not yet a blind retrieve because she saw where the dummy was thrown.
Once she is searching for a dummy on the There! command, finding it confidently and then retrieving it nicely to hand, introduce the blind retrieve. This requires a little bit of preparation – basically hiding the dummy without the dog seeing. Then drop a visible dummy, send the dog for that dummy. Once she has fetched that one, set her up again and send her out. She may be puzzled, because up until this time she has always seen the dummy thrown. She has to succeed at this test, even if it means walking out with her and practically walking her on to the dummy.
Extending the Range that You can Send Your Labrador.
Extending the range is fairly straightforward – just give visible retrieves initially, gradually increasing the distance at which you send the dog.