My dog won’t stop on the whistle at 50 yards

I am often asked “My dog won’t stop on the whistle at 50 yards”. I always ask my client; will your dog stop on the whistle 10 yards in front of you? Inevitably the answer is No. Expectations for young dogs, I believe now are too high, people tend to want to rush the basics to get to the gold standard of shooting over your dog.

The basic foundations of training should be in place first. By this I mean, the dog should walk to heel both on and off lead, recall immediately, sit when asked both on the whistle and on verbal command, stay when told without moving off the spot where he was told, retrieve to hand and should be steady to thrown dummies or cold game.

Once these foundations, which I cannot stress enough are the mainstay of your beginning to train a gun dog are in place, you can then move on to more advanced training. These are the building blocks, you then add on more bricks.

I will touch this time on the stop whistle. I introduce this to a puppy when he is a youngster. I will walk a pup on a lead, whilst walking I will stop and ask the dog to sit and blow the stop whistle at the same time. I will continue this exercise throughout his puppyhood, I even blow the stop whistle at feed time when I ask the dog to sit also. This is a daily routine that all my dogs are used to. As the pup gets a little older whilst the pup is off the lead, I will recall the pup to me, when he gets about five to ten feet back to me I will ask the dog to sit and blow the stop whistle, again this is building blocks. If the pup doesn’t immediately sit I will walk out and ask the dog to sit at the exact place I blew the stop whistle. Consistency, kindness and not rushing your dog will pay dividends, after all your dog will hopefully live into double figures and will be your hunting partner for years to come.