Training a young Labrador to jump with a retrieve
How do you train a dog to jump with a retrieve? My Labrador is nine months old and will climb or even leap over a fence, but if he has a dummy in his mouth he will not even attempt to get over no matter how much I try to encourage him.
Your dog needs to be trained to jump on command, and be confident when jumping over objects, before you attempt to introduce retrieves over obstacles. This training should be carried out very cautiously and in stages so that the dog’s confidence grows with his ability to tackle higher and higher jumps.
Begin with a very low obstacle, such as a piece of scaffold board fixed firmly across a door or gateway, and make going over it part of his daily life. He will then have to jump it to go out into
56 • SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE the garden and jump back over to come in for meals. Repeat a command as he jumps over so he also learns a cue for jumping. When this is no problem to him, gradually add more boards over several days or weeks.
Keep slowly increasing the obstacle until it is 3ft-4ft high and of no concern to the dog. The same method can be used with a wire mesh fence, but to build confidence a good solid top rail is essential. Once the dog’s confidence is really high, introduce a retrieve but lower the obstacle. Just as when he did not have anything in his mouth, start low and gradually increase the height over time.
Use a fairly small retrieve article such as a puppy dummy at first, and when his confidence is obvious gradually increase the height of the jump and the size of the article. In this way, he will soon learn to jump and retrieve without any concerns. PR
Make sure your dog is confident when jumping over obstacles before introducing a retrieve