Fred STOLEN!!! (just kidding… don’t freak out!)

We had the pleasure of having Fredman join us on our morning walk today!  Fred doesn’t get to come with us very often because my wife, Lyn, is afraid we might steal him and make him into a bird dog.  Hmmmm… maybe!

We parked the truck in one of our usual haunts; we all jumped out and were on our way.  It was a bit foggy at first.  After a few minutes of walking, I felt the sun warming the back of my neck and I saw a long shadow leaping out in front of me.  I knew it was going to be a good day!


We could hear a bunch of trucks and heavy equipment working in the distance.  It looks like there’s a some road maintenance going on.  Large dump trucks full of crushed rock were rumbling down the road every 15 minutes or so.  At one point we were close to the road when I heard the truck approaching.  Just to be on the safe side, I blew one sharp blast on the whistle which I constantly carry on a lanyard around my neck.  I was glad to see that Fred still remembered his training.  His butt hit the ground just a fraction of a second after the labs.


The dogs remained seated while the truck thundered past and I reached for my camera and shot this photo.  I think this will be a good visual aid to use when I’m teaching my obedience class.  I can show this picture while I’m explaining how the SIT command can keep a dog out of trouble.

The only thing better than a good, reliable SIT response is a good, reliable, remote-SIT response!  It’s easy enough to teach, especially with pups and young dogs because you can make it into a game.  Just move your SIT command over to a whistle by using both during drills, gradually shifting from “sit-toot” to “toot-sit” and eventually just TOOT.  Then you can begin throwing in a few toots while playing to see if the command/cue is sticking to the behavior.  If this goes well, you can carefully begin to extend the distance between you and your dog as you give the sharp TOOT for SIT.  Like other behaviors, keep your distances short and aim for 95 – 100% success before you extend the distance.  Most importantly, have FUN!  You have serious reasons for teaching this command, but it’s much easier to teach with a fun-and-games attitude.  Teach well and it will be there when you need it!


Slack Leads!

6 thoughts on “Fred STOLEN!!! (just kidding… don’t freak out!)

  1. Ok, Jon, I’ve got a question!

    You know I don’t know bird dogs. Plenty of other training knowledge, but zero bird dog stuff! I always assumed the whistle was for a recall, similar to in ring sports where they use a whistle recall.

    Do you also use a whistle recall, or just recall them verbally? Would it be a different length of whistle, or a different whistle, for a different pitch?

    Now you’ve got me thinking about training a whistle sit. I have a immediate down from Koenig with out formal command, at any distance that my voice will carry (I’m pretty loud, haha), and with any distractions. I also have an immediate speedy direct recall from him, but if I put a sit or a down onto a whistle blast, that will carry farther then my voice…. Hummm….

    Thanks for making me think!!


    • Hi Kelly! We use the whistle for 2 things: SIT = one toot HERE = Multiple toots. In most cases recall can be accomplished with 2 quick toots, but some times it takes more. A good case in point was when we were out at the ocean last week. I blew a recall (2 toots) for Peck, but he was so far away that it must have sounded like a single toot. He sat immediately at about 350 yards! Then I blew 4 or 5 sharp toots so he would hear that it was a recall and that got him charging in at full speed!

  2. I want to start this, too. Have been thinking about for a while. I have some misgivings about the e-collar and was thinking of ways to transfer the commands in a non-punishing way. Although Jacks are not labs.

    • I use an e-collar on some dogs, but definitely NOT all dogs. I share your misgivings regarding e-collars because I have seen too much inappropriate use. The good news is that you can teach a remote sit without even thinking about an e-collar!
      Properly used, an e-collar is never employed in the teaching-phase of any trained response. The e-collar is only used after the dog understands the command and knows how to respond. Next the command is formalized, in other words an element of force such as a chain collar is used and the dog learns to avoid the chain collar corrections by responding quickly. Only after the dog thoroughly understands the command and how to avoid pressure by responding should the e-collar be used. I must also say that the e-collar should ALWAYS be used at the lowest possible setting that gets a response from the dog.
      Sorry about the e-collar sermon… I get a little touchy about e-collar usage because it is so poorly understood.
      Of course, Jacks are not Labs, but if a Jack will sit at a distance of 2 feet, he can learn to sit at a distance of 3 feet. If he’ll sit at 3 feet… etc.. !
      Good Luck!

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