The Top 5 Retriever Training Aids

Getting started in the retriever training game takes commitment, and obviously the right equipment. Experienced trainers are fully equipped to handle most training drill scenarios, which leaves 99 percent of others often puzzled by the choices that need to be made. 

Here’s my personal quick list of the best training aids for dogs that love to hunt and retrieve. All of these products are available at different sources online or through Amazon.

  1. The bumper or dummy is a standard in training retrievers. These reliable cheap aids are meant for one thing…to teach a dog to retrieve. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and designs. A short rope extending from one end allows them to be thrown into the air to look like a bird in flight. The most experience retriever trainers often use expensive bumper launchers that are remote controlled. But all you really need to get started is a cheap bumper or two. Cost: Starting at $4 each.

  2. Check cords are effective tools and the cool news is they are super cheap. They assist in keeping the dog handler in control of the dog at varying distances away. They are very useful when training a puppy, who wants to race off with no regard to your commands. When you start teaching games like “come” “here” and “fetch” think about using a check cord to reinforce the drill. Cost: Starting at $10.

  3. Clicker training is an operative learning tool that is used in obedience training. It’s typically used with a positive reinforcement like treats to encourage good behaviors. One of the leaders of clicker training is Karen Pryor, a distinguished advocate of marker-based methods. Using a clicker, a simple device that makes a short, audible sound, telling the dog exactly when they’re doing the right thing, marks desirable behavior. Cost: Starting at $1 each.

  4. Labradors love their food. That’s one reason they adapt to training so readily. Treat pouches are a must-have for any trainer that uses treats as a positive reinforcement aid. Bags comes in all shapes and sizes and many attach directly to belt to make carrying treats simple and clean. Be sure never to give treats that are too large for the dog to chew quickly. The softest and smallest treats work best. String cheese is a huge hit in training! Cost: Starting at $10.

  5. No matter how much retriever content is available online, nothing beats the kind of expert advice you get from recommended books and DVDs on the subject. There are so many good authors and experienced trainers that have written a book, or produced a DVD that it’s impossible to list them all. Leaving anyone out might seem like a disservice, so it’s best to just acknowledge that you can learn a lot by reading about or watching a video of a qualified trainer at work.