Dummy training with dog: what is it actually?

The principle of dummy training is very simple: man throws an object, the dummy, and his dog has to retrieve it and bring it back to him. The training was developed to train hunting dogs to retrieve game. Dummy training is a popular dog sport among retriever owners - Image: Shutterstock / vgm

The purpose of dummy training is not to have to use real game to train hunting dogs - practicing with a dummy is simply more animal-friendly. The training is also suitable for owners of hunting dogs who want to keep their four-legged friends as family dogs and not for hunting: dummy training takes the dogs to full capacity and ensures that they can live out their hunting instinct - but not in the wild.

How does dummy training work?

In dummy training, people and dogs work in a team: the dog owner throws an retrievable object, the dummy. The dog has to keep an eye on its flight path, start on command and fetch the item to bring it back to its owner. As simple as that sounds, the training units can be designed so that it remains exciting. The training can take place anywhere: in the garden, in the forest, on the water or in the field - the more variety the environment offers the dog, the more interesting it is for him. Various tasks - for example, retrieving from the bushes or out of the water - make training a challenge and also make optimal use of four-legged friends with a high hunting instinct.

For which dogs is the sport suitable?

Dummy training is fun for most hunting dogs - regardless of whether they are kept as hunting or family dogs. Retrievers, for example, are made for the retrieval game, it's their absolute specialty. If they are kept as family dogs and cannot live their hunting instinct, dummy training offers them a nice opportunity to pursue their passion and keep them from other temptations.

Retrieving usually goes at a high pace and is generally associated with a lot of movement - this is not the right thing for every dog. The training is therefore not so suitable for old dogs or four-legged friends with joint problems. Small, rather unsporting four-legged friends such as pugs or French bulldogs are also more likely to be excited by quieter, more comfortable sports.

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