| Mike Peterson flashed
the beam from his
flashlight across the wall as his golden retriever, Mackie,
chased back and forth trying to catch the light. After a short
warm-up period, Mike ordered the dog to sit, then, he shut off
He gave the command "Mackie" and pointed to one corner
of the wall. When the dog looked in the direction of the hand
signal, the beam was turned on and the dog was commanded to get
it. After the dog scrambled to the point of light she was called
back, put in the "sit" position again, and the lesson
Before Mackie came along, Mike never had trained a dog of any
kind, let alone a bird dog. He had, however hunted several times
with Maggie, the Mother of Mackie. He knew Maggie had national
champion in her bloodlines and was very obedient. "When
I heard that she was going to have pups, I knew I wanted one,"
Mike read several training books to see which one suited him
best. He finally settled on GAME DOG, by Richard A.Wolters,
published by E.P. Dutton, New York, NY, 1987.
"I actually started training her
when she was six weeks old and before reading the complete Wolters
book. As I read the book, I realized my techniques were similar
to Mr. Wolters." Mike continued. "I got up an hour
earlier than usual so work could be done on a consistent basis.
Also, since Mackie was to be an indoor-outdoor dog, it made
it easier to work with her when little time was available."
"No" was the first command Mike taught Mackie. "I
would say 'no' in a firm voice and move quickly toward her.
This would scare her, and she would stop. After repeating a
number of times and being consistent, she started to pick up
| The next commands Mike
taught Mackie were to sit, to stay, and to go to her kennel.
He used food to teach her to stay. He would put out the food,
make her stay, and use a hand signal. He would then walk away
and release Mackie with "OK."
Mike also used the indoor time with Mackie to teach her to go
to her kennel. "I would say 'kennel,' then put her in the
car carrier in the house. Sometimes she would run and hide at
this command, and I would have to go get her and put her in the
carrier. I also used the outdoor kennel itself to enforce 'sit'
"When letting her out of the kennel, I would have her sit
and stay, then walk away and release her. As she got better
at this, I would go into the garage and watch out of the window
after giving the commands. If she would break, I would run outside,
say 'no,' and put her back and start over."
"From the very first walks I took her on, I always used
a leash. I made her walk on my left side from Day One in preparation
for further training. We worked on heel during all the walks."
Mike modified the method from the GAME DOG book to train his
dog to whistle commands. "I used one whistle blast to make
her sit. I then would give two blasts and say, 'Mackie come,'
to bring her back. She soon associated the two whistle blasts
to mean come. This is slightly different than the GAME DOG book."
Through the summer months, Mike took the dog out to the country
to work on flushing pheasants, three to five times per week.
"She flushed her first pheasant when she was 13 weeks old.
I had permission