How to calm down a Brittany?

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BigK75
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How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:52 am

I am really starting to lose my patience with six month old Brittany. So much so that I am starting to think I am not cut out for dogs. I train my dog every day and we work on whoa, heel, sit, come, stay. He is okay at all those things but not great any any of them but generally he is getting much better at home. Recently I signed up for NAVDHA training and I go to a farm to train on birds every Wednesday and Sunday with that NAVDHA group. When I get there it is like the dog is completely possessed. He pulls, will not listen, howls, barks and generally acts like an asshole. When he is at home he is great for the most part so I am not sure why he acts like that there. Yesterday I could not even whoa him on the table he was so so hyper. He was completely f'ing nuts. I left there depressed. My dog is the only one that acts like that at the training. I just don't think I am cut out for this. I don't think I have the patience for this and now I am convinced I am horrible handler and my dog is like that because of me. He can see my disappointment and frustration. Not sure what to do at this point :( I think I am jut going to lay off training for now until I figure out what to do next.

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Garrison
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Garrison » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:32 am

Relax!!! Your pup is only six months old and sounds like the kind of dog that will mature in to a great hunting dog. He is excited to get out in the field and see other dogs and people, that is a good thing. Need to do it as much as possible at six months of age. This is not the time for negativity or total control, he is a pup. Every thing should be fun for him and you when he is out in the field. That means puppy time, running in the field and setting up your training for positive results for both of you. Let him blow off steam then work with him. Don’t expect too much too soon or you will feel like you are now.

How does he do off the leash, that would be more my concern? Does he happily work hard and cover some ground to try to find everything with a heart beat in the field? He sounds like the kind of dog I would want to work with.
Last edited by Garrison on Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by birddogger2 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:35 am

BigK -

PATIENCE is a virtue that I for one...do not have enough of. And for what it is worth, i have been messing with pretty high octane dogs for just this side of sixty years. They WILL test you.

Sometimes, when you start to lose it, the very best thing you can do is quit for a while. If you are losing patience during a training session, stop doing what you are trying to do and either do something else or put the dog up and take a break.

It is a puppy and more than that...it is a BIRD DOG puppy. Of COURSE it is going to act like it is possessed every time it thinks it will get the opportunity to get into some birds. If it did not, you ain't got much of a bird dog but it sounds like you have a pretty good one there. Your dog already knows the routine and when you pull into the training field...IT"S PARTY TIME!! Dogs are a lot of things, but they ain't stupid.

First and foremost...DO NOT WORRY what others may think. It ain't their dog. Just because you go to a training session where there are birds, that does not mean you and your dog have to do this or that. Do what you need to do with your dog, even if it means you must go off on your own.

If you go to a training session and the dog is out of control...put it back in the box until it stops being out of control or take it on a lead with a half hitch around its waist and heel it away from the group and work with it on the rope until it calms down. The heel it back toward the group and if it starts to go ballistic again...heel it away. you need to be nice and quiet...but also insistent and persistent... not giving in until the dog does what it knows you want it to do. When the dog is "close" to behaving, you might just physically pick it up and hold it close to you,maybe even stroking or talking softly... until it relaxes.

If you had a few dogs, I would suggest putting the dog on a chain gang, near the center. The more it bounces around, the more it GETS bounced around until it quits.

You might put the dog on a stakeout with a 3-4 ft. chain and let it be an idiot all by itself for a while. You should stand nearby...but pretty much ignore the dog being an idiot. Then do some heel/whoa drills with the checkcord half hitched around the waist, and then put it back on the tie out.

Sooner or later, the dog will understand that behaving like a lunatic does not get the desired result.

Hang in there.

RayG

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by shags » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:46 am

A couple of suggestions,

A tired dog is a good dog. Find a way to wear out that pup almost every day. Can you free run him for about 30 minutes? Does anyone in the family run and is able to take the dog along? How about biking...can someone run the dog along side?

Remember that oftentimes our dogs play off our personalities and emotions. So if we are hyper and pumped up, the dog might follow suit. If you are anxious and hyped up yourself, take a deep breath and become calmer. IME, the more hyper I get, the less the dog minds, and then I get more hyper, and the dog minds even less, etc. I learned that if I stay as calm and quiet as possible, I get better results. Like, " Rover, whoa! Whoa! Rover! Whoa I said whoa! Dammit Rover! Would you stop!" makes *me* more and more upset and the dog less and less responsive. Much better to collect myself, be calm, give one assertive command and enforce it. It takes practice but it works.

Look to Huntsmith Silent Command System for ways to train calmly but assertively. You can watch episodes of Cesar Milan of The Dog Whisperer also, especially his older shows. He deals a lot with people who have difficulty just like yours. It's about learning to be calm and assertive in order to communicate your wishes to the dog. Sounds hokey, but it works.

Something that Cesar says that I believe is very true is that "You might not have the dog you wanted, but you have the dog you need". Kinda woo-woo, right? But if you think about it, you see what he means. If every dog was easy, all of us would be great trainers...

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by cjhills » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:00 am

Forget the NAVHDA training for awhile. If you go just let him run on a checkcord and work off steam if you are allowed to do that.
He needs to learn discipline.
Remember he is a baby.
If he is not crate trained he should be. He needs to be on a 2 foot stake out chain or a chain gang for short periods. He needs to learn patience. Try not to take him off the chain until he calms down and stand still to be unhooked.
Do not let him blow by you to go in or out, step on your feet or pull on the leash. Be aware when he is pushing you.
Limit the number of commands you are working on at one time. Get one down good before going to another one. If he is not doing it every time he is not doing good.
Don't get frustrated and lose he is a puppy and needs patience. He will be fine if you remain calm......Cj

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by polmaise » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:49 pm

Lol.
Everybody was there at one point' , no matter the breed or the owner or the age tbh!
..
"The dog isn't doing anything wrong,it just isn't doing it right" , my mentor rings in my ears :wink:
Communication is dreadful when one or the other doesn't understand ?
Saying 'Calm down' often flares one to intense.
.......
Perhaps some Free time and let both just walk and say nothing in the summer sun .
Too much lessons for scholar and they learn little.
......
With a reactive dog I usually don't interact .Easier said than done ,perhaps less keyboard and more with real life help from a friend not necessarily a pro- gundog trainer , just someone that knows You ? :wink: ...That' would be 50% of the partnership between your dog at least addressed ,as a starting point''. atb

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Garrison » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:01 pm

One thing that I lacked to mention that is a “HUGE!!!!” positive in your post, is you’re not assigning blame to a 6 month old pup and wondering what you as a trainer can do better. With that attitude everything is going to turn out just fine. Down the rode you are going to have a dog you love to be around and hunt with. You will look back fondly and laugh at the ride that got you both there.
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Sharon » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:26 pm

You've had excellent advice. My thanks to those members who are so helpful on here- the purpose of the forum.

What you are experiencing is totally common . You might think the dog is getting enough exercise, but on leash training is not sufficient exercise. That dog needs to go hard off leash for maybe an hour a day+ the on leash training time. A tired dog is a good dog. :) Get a GPS unit if you are worried about losing the dog.

" I go to a farm to train on birds every Wednesday and Sunday with that NAVDHA group. When I get there it is like the dog is completely possessed. He pulls, will not listen, howls, barks and generally acts like an........." quote

I would bet that if you give him a good run BEFORE you show up at NAVDA that his behaviour would improve.
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote A. Bartlett

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by birddogger2 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:10 pm

Sharon wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:26 pm

"I would bet that if you give him a good run BEFORE you show up at NAVDA that his behaviour would improve."
I'd bet that would be the case also.

RayG

BigK75
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:32 am

Garrison wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:32 am
Relax!!! Your pup is only six months old and sounds like the kind of dog that will mature in to a great hunting dog. He is excited to get out in the field and see other dogs and people, that is a good thing. Need to do it as much as possible at six months of age. This is not the time for negativity or total control, he is a pup. Every thing should be fun for him and you when he is out in the field. That means puppy time, running in the field and setting up your training for positive results for both of you. Let him blow off steam then work with him. Don’t expect too much too soon or you will feel like you are now.

How does he do off the leash, that would be more my concern? Does he happily work hard and cover some ground to try to find everything with a heart beat in the field? He sounds like the kind of dog I would want to work with.
I think you are right. I think I am putting way too pressure on him and too much pressure on me. I just want him to be a good hunting dog. It makes me feel like a failure when he doesn't do what I want him to do.

Off leash he does great. Most of his walks are off leash. He is still really interested in butterflies but runs around like crazy. He never gets too far in front of me though which is a bit of a worry.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:38 am

birddogger2 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:35 am

If you go to a training session and the dog is out of control...put it back in the box until it stops being out of control or take it on a lead with a half hitch around its waist and heel it away from the group and work with it on the rope until it calms down. The heel it back toward the group and if it starts to go ballistic again...heel it away. you need to be nice and quiet...but also insistent and persistent... not giving in until the dog does what it knows you want it to do. When the dog is "close" to behaving, you might just physically pick it up and hold it close to you,maybe even stroking or talking softly... until it relaxes.

If you had a few dogs, I would suggest putting the dog on a chain gang, near the center. The more it bounces around, the more it GETS bounced around until it quits.

You might put the dog on a stakeout with a 3-4 ft. chain and let it be an idiot all by itself for a while. You should stand nearby...but pretty much ignore the dog being an idiot. Then do some heel/whoa drills with the checkcord half hitched around the waist, and then put it back on the tie out.
Thanks RayG. I ordered a stakeout today and I will try that out. I only have one dog. I have never had a dog before which is probably why I am such a f'up when it comes to training it. I am going to start putting him on the stakeout during each session until he calms the f down :)

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:47 am

Sharon wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:26 pm
You've had excellent advice. My thanks to those members who are so helpful on here- the purpose of the forum.

What you are experiencing is totally common . You might think the dog is getting enough exercise, but on leash training is not sufficient exercise. That dog needs to go hard off leash for maybe an hour a day+ the on leash training time. A tired dog is a good dog. :) Get a GPS unit if you are worried about losing the dog.

" I go to a farm to train on birds every Wednesday and Sunday with that NAVDHA group. When I get there it is like the dog is completely possessed. He pulls, will not listen, howls, barks and generally acts like an........." quote

I would bet that if you give him a good run BEFORE you show up at NAVDA that his behaviour would improve.
Hi Sharon,

He is off leash everyday for at least 30-45 and sometimes more. I have the Garmin 550 plus to make sure I do not lose him. He is been off leash since the day we got him. Only at NAVDHA do I have keep him on a leash but I think the stakeout might help as someone else suggested.

I think you are complete right though about not enough exercise. I think I should take him out in the morning and let him run around before I got to the NAVDHA training. That way he will not be so hyper.

Finally, I would also like the thank the members who have been so so helpful to me a dog newbie. I have calmed down now and have really gotten some helpful points that will help me become a better handler.

Thanks,

Claude

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Sharon » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:17 pm

Not sure what you meant, but "off leash" is not the same as running hard with you. My JRT has a big back yard in which to roam, but unless he gets a hard run in the fields/woods with us daily, he is intolerable in the house.

Glad the members were of help. They usually are. Let us know how it goes as we like to hear about progress.
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by shags » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:04 pm

Claude,
I'm glad that you're feeling better. I hope you know that six months is puppy h3ll...for its people :D
The suggestion to use a stake out or chain gang is a good one. It worked wonders for one of my boneheads. But there are some safeguards you should be aware of.

Don't make the chain on the stakeout chain too long. For one, a dog can wrap a leg in a long chain and get badly injured. Another reason is the stakeout is a form of confinement right now, so you don't want to leave room for the dog to run circles or bounce around.

Always keep an eye on your dog while he's staked out. Dogs is dogs and can get themselves into crazy predicaments.

Keep a pan of water available to the dog whiles staked out, and place the stakeout in the shade. This obviously is for the dog's health and well being, but it can also save you a visit from animal control if you have folks around who don't understand what you're doing. Some places have laws about tethering so check that out.

When the dog is staked out, approach him occasionally but don't release him unless he stands still. Don't reward idiocy by unhooking him. If he's a barker, consider using a figure 8. Either way, be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy doing the stakeout dance ( you approach, dog carries on, you withdraw). In one morning I did that 108 times with my aforementioned bonehead before he finally understood or was too worn out to fuss :wink:

When you go to training days, ask someone with a chaingang if you can hook your dog up to his set up. It really helps if other dogs jerk your dog around. They just seem to learn faster that way.

Good luck going forward, you got this :D

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Steve007 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:23 pm

BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:47 am
Only at NAVDHA do I have keep him on a leash but I think the stakeout might help as someone else suggested.
uh, if NAVDHA training sessions are the only times you have times you have him on a lead and he pulls and act like a jerk on a lead, I see his point. How about taking him for walks on a lead with limited distraction and getting him used to it? You aren't doing him any favors if you want him to be a civilized dog by not lead-training him.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by averageguy » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:47 pm

Steve007 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:23 pm
BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:47 am
Only at NAVDHA do I have keep him on a leash but I think the stakeout might help as someone else suggested.
uh, if NAVDHA training sessions are the only times you have times you have him on a lead and he pulls and act like a jerk on a lead, I see his point. How about taking him for walks on a lead with limited distraction and getting him used to it? You aren't doing him any favors if you want him to be a civilized dog by not lead-training him.
x2

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by birddogger2 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:33 pm

BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:38 am
birddogger2 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:35 am

If you go to a training session and the dog is out of control...put it back in the box until it stops being out of control or take it on a lead with a half hitch around its waist and heel it away from the group and work with it on the rope until it calms down. The heel it back toward the group and if it starts to go ballistic again...heel it away. you need to be nice and quiet...but also insistent and persistent... not giving in until the dog does what it knows you want it to do. When the dog is "close" to behaving, you might just physically pick it up and hold it close to you,maybe even stroking or talking softly... until it relaxes.

If you had a few dogs, I would suggest putting the dog on a chain gang, near the center. The more it bounces around, the more it GETS bounced around until it quits.

You might put the dog on a stakeout with a 3-4 ft. chain and let it be an idiot all by itself for a while. You should stand nearby...but pretty much ignore the dog being an idiot. Then do some heel/whoa drills with the checkcord half hitched around the waist, and then put it back on the tie out.
...................................................................


Thanks RayG. I ordered a stakeout today and I will try that out. I only have one dog. I have never had a dog before which is probably why I am such a...... when it comes to training it. I am going to start putting him on the stakeout during each session until he calms down :)

Claude-

I have made just about every mistake with a bird dog that it is possible to make...some I have made more than once. Dogs are not the only things in this world that are boneheads. I certainly qualify. Just ask my wife. :lol: :lol:

Don't beat yourself up... you are doing fine...it just doesn't seem that way...yet.

Remember this and let it give you some confidence: Bird dog puppies come out of the birth canal knowing more about hunting and finding birds than we ever will. We don't train them to hunt...we train them to let us hunt with them. They are the apex predator...we are along for the ride.

Patience, persistence and insistence. You have a plan...keep working your plan and it will happen...eventually. The timetable...well...that is kinda up to the dog.

Stay well and hang in there. You are the one that feeds that little lunatic. He knows that...trust me...he knows that.

RayG

BigK75
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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:09 pm

Sharon wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:17 pm
Not sure what you meant, but "off leash" is not the same as running hard with you. My JRT has a big back yard in which to roam, but unless he gets a hard run in the fields/woods with us daily, he is intolerable in the house.

Glad the members were of help. They usually are. Let us know how it goes as we like to hear about progress.
We have this massive area about 10 minutes from our house called Schneiders Flats (you live in Ontario so i thought I would post the name of the place). Its essentially a 5 x 5 km area where he can go completely wild. It also has gorgeous clear water ponds where he loves to swim. I take him there almost every day. I have three or four spots like this around KW.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:14 pm

shags wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:04 pm

Don't make the chain on the stakeout chain too long. For one, a dog can wrap a leg in a long chain and get badly injured. Another reason is the stakeout is a form of confinement right now, so you don't want to leave room for the dog to run circles or bounce around.

Always keep an eye on your dog while he's staked out. Dogs is dogs and can get themselves into crazy predicaments.

Keep a pan of water available to the dog whiles staked out, and place the stakeout in the shade. This obviously is for the dog's health and well being, but it can also save you a visit from animal control if you have folks around who don't understand what you're doing. Some places have laws about tethering so check that out.

When the dog is staked out, approach him occasionally but don't release him unless he stands still. Don't reward idiocy by unhooking him. If he's a barker, consider using a figure 8. Either way, be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy doing the stakeout dance ( you approach, dog carries on, you withdraw). In one morning I did that 108 times with my aforementioned bonehead before he finally understood or was too worn out to fuss :wink:
Hi Shags,

I am going to watch him really really closely. Wow 108 times. I would have lost my mind at 10 :) Information like this is super helpful for me because at least I know what to expect.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by BigK75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:17 pm

Steve007 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:23 pm
BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:47 am
Only at NAVDHA do I have keep him on a leash but I think the stakeout might help as someone else suggested.
uh, if NAVDHA training sessions are the only times you have times you have him on a lead and he pulls and act like a jerk on a lead, I see his point. How about taking him for walks on a lead with limited distraction and getting him used to it? You aren't doing him any favors if you want him to be a civilized dog by not lead-training him.
Hi Steve007,

I try to take him around our suburbia once a day for a 15 minute walk on the wonder lead. He is awesome when I do that. Well at least what I consider awesome. I have nothing to compare to so its tough for me to say if its really good or not. I have had people mention on the street how well behaved he is. He is only a cluster f when I take him to the NAVDHA training (so many distractions :))

Claude

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by averageguy » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:46 am

BigK75,

If you like you can check out my thread on this board where I have posted numerous links to video of my current puppy. She is doing pretty well and has shown good natural ability for point, track and retrieve skill set. I have trained some nice dogs over the years and am a keen student of the subject, studying and learning constantly.

That to setup this point.

I live on a remote farm. This current pup of mine gets exposure to natural places hours of every day. She is well along the way in her development.

I have taken her to one retriever group training day and one NAVHDA training day both requiring 2.5 hours of one way drive time. She had sensory overload both times. You would have thought the dog had never been on a leash before. A complete Spaz while walking her on a leash. She chased a chukar so far I was hollering for the gallery to catch her if she headed towards the road (she turned and heeded my recall before that was necessary).

She was also awesome when allowed to mark and retrieve at the retriever group, and search for, point and retrieve the first chukars she ever smelled at the NAVHDA group.

I laughed about it. This will pass. I understand the obvious. My pup and your pup need more exposure to that setting and more time to mature before they are going to perform perfect obedience in that setting. Right now it is sensory overload for them.

I keep working my Obedience at home and elsewhere. The tighter it is there the better the odds it will be acceptable under increasing distractions.

I am much more focused on preparing my pup for an excellent first hunting season than I am concerned about her boiling over with excitement when I drop her off the tailgate into a gravel parking lot with 75 people and 50 dogs in every direction.

Relax, work on your Obedience in settings less stimulating for your pup and get it more exposure to those more exciting settings as well, being patient and consistent always.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by Steve007 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:34 am

BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:17 pm
Steve007 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:23 pm
BigK75 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:47 am
Only at NAVDHA do I have keep him on a leash but I think the stakeout might help as someone else suggested.
uh, if NAVDHA training sessions are the only times you have times you have him on a lead and he pulls and act like a jerk on a lead, I see his point. How about taking him for walks on a lead with limited distraction and getting him used to it? You aren't doing him any favors if you want him to be a civilized dog by not lead-training him.
Hi Steve007,

I try to take him around our suburbia once a day for a 15 minute walk on the wonder lead. He is awesome when I do that. Well at least what I consider awesome. I have nothing to compare to so its tough for me to say if its really good or not. I have had people mention on the street how well behaved he is. He is only a cluster f when I take him to the NAVDHA training (so many distractions :))
A Wonder Lead is a training device and your dog knows the difference. Take your dog walking on a regular lead and collar and see what happens. Average Guy's last paragraph is worth reading several times.

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Re: How to calm down a Brittany?

Post by oldbeek » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:05 am

I personally like Perfection Kennels training style. Sounds like you have a great Brittany with lots of drive. I compete in NSTRA at a ranch our club leases. My 5 year old Brittany still will howl and whine the last 14 miles on the drive to the ranch. See will be shaking all over.

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