Before beginning the lessons, the trainer must decide on the method used to cause the dog to open his mouth. There are many ways to accomplish this. One way will work with one dog while another way will be more satisfactory with another dog. Squeezing a front paw gets results, others respond to a slight jerk on the choke collar. Find the most effective method for the individual and stick to it through his training.
Assuming your dog responds to the training collar, adjust it to his neck, with the running-free end on the upper side, and attach a short piece of stout cord. Grasp this up close to the ring with the right hand. Give the command “Fetch” in an ordinary tone of voice and accompany this command by a very slight jerk or pressure on the collar. As the dog opens his mouth, instantly and gently place the dummy in it, slackening the pressure of the collar at the same moment. Hold your left hand under his mouth and thus keep it closed on the dummy. Soothe his fears and induce him to hold the dummy steadily, caressing him if he holds it well. The first lesson should not be too prolonged. After one or two repetitions, call it a day.
Some mere puppies like to play with a ball and retrieve it.
Some dogs will naturally retrieve the first bird ever killed in front of them.
Some excellent retrievers have been just naturally developed.
Equipment for teaching “force”
retrieving consists of several “dummies” or objects to retrieve, a leash so that the dog will be under constant control and a slip or choke collar.
“Dummies” are made in varying forms. A piece of rubber hose about an inch in diameter and eight or ten inches long makes a good one. It is not too soft and is not injurious to the dog’s teeth. A corncob is a simple dummy as clean ones are easily available, but they are rather soft for dogs inclined to be a bit hard-mouthed. A small bundle of turkey feathers is often used.