Training any dog is hard work. It takes time, patience, and a lot of “atta boys” to get the right results. But there are plenty of tools to help along the way. Here are three that are commonly used to teach everything from “sit” and “come” to “fetch” and “drop.”


Bumpers are the essential tool of retriever training, generally available in either canvas or plastic. While canvas is used primarily on land, a plastic bumper can be used on land or water because it floats. Most have ridges or knobs, making it easier for the dog to hold onto and avoid developing a hard mouth.

Training Dummies


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When it’s time to move on to more realistic work, consider a training dummy. They mimic the shape, weight, and feel of a game bird and are a logical transition between bumper training, real birds, and the field.

The Check Cord

SportDOG Brand

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Check cord work is an important step in training any dog, whether for obedience or sporting work. During the transition between obedience commands and more advanced work with an e-collar, a check chord allows you to give the dog more room and separation while still enabling you to enforce commands by reeling him in or checking his behavior to let him know that he is still under your command.