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Why Positive Gun Dog Training?



Building on their AWARD WINNING REPUTATION FOR PROVIDING THE BEST DOG TRAINING IN DENVER, FetchMasters has developed the Positive Gun Dog Training Program to promote the use of positive, dog-friendly training methods for developing reliable, high-performance gun dogs.

Most high-performance dog sports and occupations are embracing positive training methods with amazing results, including:

  • Agility
  • Herding
  • Competitive obedience
  • Scent detection
  • Service work
  • Protection/bite work


Yet, despite the proven effectiveness of positive training methods, gun dog training remains deeply entrenched in traditional, punishment-based training philosophies.


Outstanding animal trainers of all kinds predominantly employ positive training methods with proven effectiveness. For instance:

  • Zoo trainers train grizzlies, wolves, hyenas, and rhinos to cooperate in their own health and upkeep using reward-based methods. Imagine the dangers involved in trying to punish one of these animals for not performing!
  • Aquatic mammal trainers use positive techniques to train dolphins, porpoises, and orcas to perform stunning tricks and choreographed maneuvers. Again, you cannot punish one of these animals without risking life and limb, and you cannot force them to do anything they do not want to do.
  • Naval training programs teach dolphins to swim through schools of fish (their food source), locate mines tethered to the ocean floor and secure demolition explosives to them. This is far more complex than anything a gun dog will ever be asked to do!


Yet, traditional gun dog trainers continue to use harsh training techniques based on outdated information about what motivates dogs — who learn the same way the above animals do! Here is a side-by-side comparison of positive training and traditional training. How would you prefer your hunting buddy be trained?





Positive Gun Dog TrainingTraditional Gun Dog Training
Positive training relies on benevolent leadership, building the dog's trust and confidence in the handler, drive development, and rewarding success to produce a dog that loves to perform.Traditional training often applies discomfort or force until the dog offers a desired behavior, producing a dog that obeys because it is afraid not to.
Positive training systematically and incrementally develops a dog's ability to reliably perform at a distance, amidst distractions and under harsh conditions.Traditional training requires the use of an electronic shock collar to ensure a dog obeys at a distance, amidst distractions and under harsh conditions.
Positive methods make the dog a partner in the learning process by incrementally shaping complex behaviors and by rewarding progress. Because of this, many key skills are learned more quickly than with traditional training.Traditional training often requires the use of pain/discomfort, force, and intimidation to develop key behaviors (for example, forced fetching).
Positive training is gentle and is not likely to result in damage to the dog or create behavior problems.Some aversive techniques used in traditional training methods can be error prone and inadvertently result in negative associations and behavioral instabilities that are difficult and time-consuming to repair.
Positive training typically requires 4-6 months to produce a reliable, started gun dog.Traditional training typically requires 6-9 months to produce a reliable, started gun dog.