Speed Train Your Dog to Whoa; Introduction:
Whoa training your Pointing dog is a multi-stage process. It is assumed that you have already trained your pup to heel and heels well. If not trained to heel, use the optional prong collar. It is assumed that the pup has been collar conditioned properly. See https://www.vonmeisterngsps.com/?page_id=158 for proper collar conditioning. The first stage of the training is done in a yard or park.
Most trainers recommend the whoa command be taught after at least one season of hunting. Depending on the age of the pup when the first season arrives you may want to start whoa before that.
Equipment needed: A six-foot lead, a metal prong collar (optional), an electronic collar, A Buddy stick, and an optional whistle.
- Heel the dog on lead (with the prong collar if not already trained to heel) and give the whoa command while stopping. Make sure the dog remains standing.
- Repeat for ten minutes stopping frequently. Keep all lessons around ten minutes. You are teaching the meaning of whoa. Use lots of praise and encouragement.
- Repeat the lesson until the dog stops easily without trying to sit. The prong collar is no longer needed.
- Introduce the E-collar low-level stimulus. Find the dogs minimum level of stimulus (for the collar around the flank) Stimulate the dog as the command is given. Release stimulus as soon as the dog stops. Repeat until the dog will stop easily.
- I now introduce a whistle which is blown after the verbal command is given. The idea is to get the dog to associate the whistle with the whoa command and the action of stopping. The whistle is so the dog will respond at a distance. Of course, the sound must be distinctive from any whistle already used for other commands.
- Use the E-collar low-level stimulus every time the command is given. (Whistle or verbal or both)
A few lessons teaching the whistle/whoa command and move on to the Buddy Stick. (no longer use pinch collar)
Attach the Buddy Stick to the dog’s collar and start whoaing the dog as far from you as the stick will allow. (command /whistle).
- Use the Buddy Stick to make the dog stop when commanded. Continue to apply low-level stimulus with the E-collar.
Whoa the dog with the stick. Put the stick down in front of the dog and back away. Repeat and add distance from the dog. Once the dog understands it must stop at a distance, and it remains standing in place, move to the next step.
- Swap the Buddy pole for a long check cord. With the stimulus/command the dog should stop on the check cord. If not go back to Buddy pole for a lesson or two more. Move slow at first. Moving slow increases the likely hood of the dog stopping immediately. Speed up the dog. As the speed of the dog increases, extend out the command verbally, and nick-nick-nick to stop the dog. Once the dog performs well on the check cord move on to next step
- Move to free run. Repeat step 11 with the dog running free. Introduce distractions. Such as kicking your feet, throwing your hat, or have someone create a distraction. Every time the dog moves apply stimulation. Continue with distractions until the dog holds steady.
- Switch to a hunting field if possible. You may have to move back to the beginning stages. Some dogs may get over excited thinking its time to hunt. My male Rango forgot his training as soon as he hit the field. So, we went back to the beginning. It didn’t take long to run through the steps and get him on track.
- If you are not wanting to steady to flush and shot your pup, throw a pigeon out and let the pup chase. It will put some enthusiasm into the dog for whoaing if a bird chase is used as a reward.
Phase out using stimulation once the pup is reliably whoaing in any situation. I would keep an e-collar on the dog (while in the field) just in case.
Steps 1 through 6 and intro to whistle is demonstrated @:
Steps 7 through 10 lesson with a Buddy Stick is demonstrated:
Steps 11 through 12 Greta whoaing on a check cord:
Demonstration of Rango’s Training to whoa at a Distance:
Demonstration of Rango’s Training to whoa in the field:
How to Make a Buddy Stick:
Making a Buddy Stick is really easy. All you need is:
- 10 ft pvc pipe 1 1/2 inch in diameter.
- Two end caps of the same diameter.
- Pvc pipe glue.
- Eye bolt.
- Drill bit slightly larger than eye bolt.
- Fender style washer, lock washer and two nuts to fit eye bolt.
- Some type of lead snap (your preference-something that swivels works best).
- Hardware to connect the lead snap to eye bolt.
I started by cutting the 10 ft pipe down to 8 ft. You can leave the pipe at 10 ft if you want. Then I drilled a hole in the center of one of the end caps. Inserted the eye bolt and installed the flat fender washer, lock washer and nut. One nut inside the cap and one nut on the outside of the cap. Tighten nuts real tight. Glue both end caps to the pipe with the Pvc pipe glue. Attach the lead snap hardware to the eye bolt and you are finished. See picture below of the finished pole.