Q: What is the best method to convince your children to not undo your dog's training? Every bit of progress seems to be undone, for instance, by the kid's uncontrollable urge to play tug of war with the dog, etc.
A: Train your kids too. Get them to help in your training and it might have more relevance to them. They’ll have to deal with their misdeeds.
Q: Is it easier for a dog to understand two commands "sit" and "stay" or is it easier to teach a single command for sit and stay by just saying sit or in spaniel circles hup?
A: I like to keep it simple. A dog should obey the command until released or given another command. When he “sits,” he sits, until told to do something else.
Q: Scott, I live in the big city and own a young GSP. What do you think is the best way for me to keep my dog in shape for hunting? Not only physically but also her bird finding skills?
A: Running alongside your bike (attached via a rig like the “Springer”) would be good for physical conditioning. Even a small backyard can be used for fundamental bird contact, especially combined with a long drive once a week to a spot where you can let your dog stretch out and find birds in a more natural setting.
Q: Is it OK to "rough house" with my dog while playing with him or does that hurt his discipline?
A: I do it occasionally, but not as often as I used to. I’m becoming a believer in “pecking order,” and that requires discipline on the human’s part as well as the dog’s. A dog that learns he can “play fight” with you is one step away from jockeying for the position of top dog.
Q: What are your thoughts on hybrid breeds? I have hunted with a lodge that breeds the GSP to Labs. The result is a leaner, faster retriever, and one that will point and or flush wild pheasants. I was hesitant to obtain one of the pups until I worked with one this early preserve season.
A: I guess if you want a dog that flushes sometimes and points other times that would be the dog for you. I prefer a dog that I can count on to do one or the other consistently.
Q: Do dogs stay on the scent of a bird better when their nose is wet?
A: Great observation. I think so. More humidity, period, helps a dog scent better (scent molecules “stick” better to vegetation and the ground). A nose that is damp collects more scent; nostrils (where dogs’ scent receptors are) that are damp are able to use more of those receptors.
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