This in an excerpt from a more in depth leaflet that I wrote for some of our adopters with very challenging, prey driven pointers! Remember to train alone with high value treats to start with, and only train if you can concentrate on it 100%.
When I reference ‘work’ with your dog I don’t mean put your gun over your shoulder and get out in the field! When you are ‘working’ your dog he is carrying out actions with you and not independently, at this stage!
Encouraging Focus in readiness to Work.
If your Pointer does not look at you, focus on you; you will not be able to communicate to do anything!
Put your Pointer on their collar/harness and lead. Do this in the garden or somewhere with no distractions. Use your high value treats to start, have them in an accessible place; I use a bum bag so my hands are free to treat as soon as the behaviour you want is given. Timing is the key!
Walk the dog on a loose lead and every time the dog looks at you treat, don’t say anything at this point, just wait for the look and treat.
If the lead goes tight just STOP, WAIT, it may take a while to start with. As soon as your dog looks at you reward and praise, move on, keep going with this they will soon learn, if we look at Mum/Dad we get a treat.
Once you have this established try putting your treats in your pocket when you go out for a social mooch in the garden. You can start to put in some cues and have dogs in the household in it too.
Say, ‘let’s walk’, wander around and as soon as your dogs ‘check in’, treat and praise, ‘let’s walk’, treat and praise the ‘check in’. Once the behaviour is well established you can lower the treat value, varying what you give, praise, food, toy, a smile.
I NEVER let a ‘check in’ go unrecognized!