A steady retriever is one that waits quietly and calmly while the birds are shot and fall. The wait might be 3 minutes or 30 minutes. The behavior should be the same regardless of the time duration. The dog waits quietly until released to retrieve. The key to keeping steadiness training simple and easily achieved is to refrain from giving pup much of a taste of the alternative. Start early and don’t give “instant” retrieves. Train the puppy to expect to wait a while to be released for the retrieve.
Here is a video clip of the beginning of the training process. Temperance gets paid for sitting quietly for first an increasing length of time, and for increasing distraction levels presented by gradually increasing the distance of the trainer and increasing the loft of the tossed dummy. A clicker is used to mark the end of the waiting period. She is initially paid with freeze dried liver treats, and on the last throw she is paid with a retrieve for the wait. Note that the dog learns much more readily when the food treats are delivered to her at the spot you want her to stay.
Steadying with Buccleuch Temperance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC8frpx5lPY