Originally Posted by Gunnr
You start out your puppy by establishing your end goal 2 years from now.
For a hunting dog prospect it's all fun and games geared at awakening the basic instincts, and throwing in "games" that will later transition to training.
Games like hide and seek with a bird wing, fetch on the kitchen floor with a rolled up pair of socks and a wing inside. Basic leash work, even though he may only take one or two correct steps. Begin the heel training by shuffling along the kitchen floor on your knees with the pup and playfully encouraging him along. There are a zillion variations to these games, but the key is understanding that you are creating a picture in his mind. Each picture becomes a series of pictures and over time he puts the pictures together in a sequence that is a patterned response. When it clicks, in year or so, it's incredible. A light just turns on in their eyes, and "they get it".
Training for a bird dog starts on day one.
The first few weeks though, he does nothing wrong. Every success, no matter how small, or brief has to become the biggest thing in the world. Every failure is ended with a laugh, some playtime and affection. Design the games to ensure his success, and never end on a bad note.
Post of the year. Love your work.