Training puppies on a stakeout chain

The best way to train a pup or dog is to let another pup or dog do it.
~ Bill Tarrant, Best Way To Train Your Gundog – The Delmar Smith Method

One of the tools we use in the education of our puppies is a stakeout chain. Sometimes called a chain gang, the stakeout chain is a long chain with huge eye bolts at each end through which stakes are pounded into the ground. Shorter chains are attached along its length to fasten individual dogs.

When first clipped to a stakeout chain, puppies are uneasy and often bark or howl.


The stakeout chain is also a great tool when traveling. It’s an easy way to care for multiple dogs…plus it keeps the dogs secure and out of trouble. We put them on the chain to relieve themselves, feed and water them and to allow them to simply relax and be outside.

Stakeout chains can be made various ways. For many years I have made my own and now know exactly what works best. My stakeout chains hold six dogs and are 32’ long. Six drop chains are evenly spaced about 65” apart along the chain and are 18” long. (You don’t want them too long or the dogs can get into trouble with their neighbors along the chain.)

We begin putting puppies on the stakeout chain when they’re about eight weeks old. They get accustomed to physical restraint in general and learn, specifically, to give to pressure on their neck. We attach each puppy to their own drop chain and then leave them alone.

The chain gives enough so that when one puppy tugs, those next to it get a tug, also. Most puppies are uncomfortable at first and bark, pull or sometimes, just freeze. In time, though, they give in to the tugs without thinking and that’s the response we want. The transition to the leash or checkcord is now fairly easy.

Within a bit of time, puppies are completely relaxed on the stakeout chain.


By leaving the puppies to figure it out on their own, we’re not perceived as causing the restraint. In fact, after they settle down and we bring fresh water, they think we’re the good guys!


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