Archive for the Dog Training Category

Three Commands Necessary to Raise a Good Puppy Citizen

Posted in Dog Training, Hunting Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2013 by

Pro-staff contributor: Zach Raulie

It was nice receiving a compliment from a fellow hunter this past season regarding the steadiness of Zoi, my veteran retriever, during our hunt. Birds were plentiful and the shooting was non-stop. The compliment validated the many hours I’ve spent working with my veteran lab and reminded me of the necessary work I would put in with our new puppy, Finn. Proper socialization of a puppy is a key factor: how you spend the first few weeks and months setting expectations will go a long way in building a foundation around your pup’s training.

Our Training Method

At our home, we do a few things starting on day one and have found that these simple commands build a respect and bond that will last the pup’s life. This is not formal training and no reprimandsfinn dish are needed. We don’t use a lot of food treats, but if necessary we may use them sparingly at times. Teaching through repetition with lots of love and praise is best in my opinion.

Basic Commands

Do you know anyone that appreciates a jumping, barking, biting dog? I definitely don’t. No matter how cute your puppy is, these three actions are unacceptable and can lead to major issues in the field if not handled consistently at an early age. You can deter these actions immediately by teaching, Pup, your new family member the word “NO”. “No” is very simple to teach and you will use it often with a young exploring and energetic pup. No simply means that what it is doing is not acceptable, so please stop. Teaching this one word can keep a puppy safe from injury and possibly save his life when a dangerous situation arises unexpectedly.

You can also find many training opportunities to teach your puppy “SIT” and “OK” in every day routines. Before your pup is let out or is put back into its kennel, ask Pup to sit. Rather than letting Pup impatiently run to his food or water dish, ask Pup to sit first. Before letting Pup charge through a doorway to the outside or inside simply ask for Pup to sit. Then simply release Pup with the word “ok”. Early on Pup may not understand what’s being asked of it and may require a little assistance. But soon Pup will realize that with the right action a reward will be given—be it food, water or praise!

Turning any situation into a positive training opportunity for a new puppy is easy and there will be many early on. Start right away, on day one, because you can never get back those early days when Pup is eager to listen, quick to learn, and free of any bad habits.

Just a Start

Teaching these simple “Good Citizen” commands is just the beginning. Eventually these good behaviors will be conditioned in formal training and then in the field as a finished retriever who is steady to shot as he waits for the command to retrieve. This is a Good Citizen retriever. Safe, steady and obedient! As young Finn progresses I will be writing more blogs about our training program and techniques used so be sure to check back in.

Zach Raulie is an avid hunter and amateur retriever trainer living outside of Jacksonville, Florida.   He is a multi-year qualifier for the World’s Duck Calling Contest and is highly competitive in AKC and UKC sanctioned hunt tests.  You’ll see Zach representing and Lodge Creek Calls in all of his endeavors each year.  You can contact Zach at and find him on Facebook (

Zach and Finn