Successful Dummy Training

The dummy training is a great activity for humans and dogs. Dummy training originally comes from Great Britain, where it was used to train hunting dogs. Today we find it on dog training grounds, clubs and under tournament conditions in dog sports! 

How do you start with the dummy training?

You can lay the foundation for a successful dummy training already in the puppyhood. Little games of prey and the approach to different dummies can be built into the everyday life of your little friend again and again. However, it is important that it always remains playful and that you do not overstrain your puppy. Two to three small retrieval units are completely sufficient here! If your dog is already older and has no previous experience with a dummy, food dummies are an excellent way to introduce your dog to retrieving. A few units per day are also sufficient here. The important thing is that the training should give you and your dog happiness!

Practicing Steadiness

Steadiness means that your dog remains calm and relaxed until you send him to retrieve. To achieve this calmness, it is important that you do not send your dog off immediately after each litter. Always wait at least 5 seconds after hiding or throwing the dummy before you send your dog out with the command to retrieve. It is also important that you do not always meet his expectations. This means that your dog expects you to send the dummy to retrieve immediately after you have thrown it. Contrary to his expectations, however, you let your dog stay in a sitting or liyng down position and fetch the dummy yourself and still reward your dog by starting a game with him. This way your dog learns to pay attention to your signals and is less nervous when the dummy is thrown.

Picking Up The Dummy Correctly

Especially with young dogs, one can often observe that they pick up the dummy incorrectly and grab it either too far forward or too far back. For the pure hobby sport this is not so bad. However, if you are planning to take part in a test or if you place special emphasis on the correct execution, you should practice the correct grip with your dog. Avoid from the beginning that your dog holds the dummy in his mouth incorrectly, e.g. by using a retrieving object that has a boundary on the right and left that your dog cannot grip, e.g. retrieving wood or water toy retriever. Another possibility is to hold both ends of the dummy and actively encourage your dog to bite in the middle.

The Recall

The recall is essential for successful dummy training. If your dog does not come to you reliably, he cannot retrieve anything, it is as simple as that! Make sure that the recall is always worthwhile for your dog, e.g. by having a reward ready that he never gets otherwise, this can be a special food or even a toy. Practice the recall again and again at different places to generalize it.

The Delivery of the Dummy

The delivery is at least as important as the picking up of the dummy. The delivery of the dummy is best practiced playfully in the form of a barter. Offer your dog something else for the dummy, e.g. food or a toy, and give him the feeling that he will not lose anything if he drops his prey. Little by little you will create trust and your dog will voluntarily give the dummy away.

If these things work out, you and your dog will have the best conditions for a good start in dummy training!

By Sarah Mertes

Certified dog trainer