Well i did it-- I am now the proud owner of a female chocolate lab pup. Did some reading and yes like many have said on here read gun dog searching for water dog to read. I want to start her training early.
She is a great little girl--- asleep in her kennel right now and appears to be kennel breaking somewhat easy. Sleeps most of the night and is starting to understand potty outside.
Oh by the way got her just like Wolters said--49 days. she is now 8 weeks today in fact.
One question. she loves to run and get things--- just about anything I throw she will run after it BUT she just gets there and chews on it. Every now and then she will run get it and run back or away with it. Seems she wants to just run there and chew on it. Oh and YES she is a Chewer-- I guess this concerns me a little as she does not want to run around with it or for that matter do not see her running around with much in her mouth. When I do see it is usually not something that is her's yet I never scold just nicely take it from her and try to give her something that is her's.
Am i worried for no reason-- I continue to play fetch (one way) when she runs to it and starts to chew i pull it back get her amped again and throw.
She is adorable and LOTS of work!!!
She'll figure it out. The big thing is to get her to come to you, with or without the toy. Nothing can happen until she comes to you. Usually mine didn't get that independent until about 16 weeks. Jacky Mertens suggests using hot dog treats. Personally, I don't like giving dogs stuff that is not that good for them though hot dogs are pretty high value for them. Small pieces of chicken breast is good. If she is more interested in the toy than treats, get 2 toys and tease her with the second and, like I said, returning to you is what you want, with or without the toy. Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings" is better than any of the old time trainers at that age IMHO. She puts the fun back into training puppies, as it should be. They soon put togeather that to get that fun throw they have to bring the toy back.
Here are a couple articles by John & Amy Dahl on puppies:
Puppy retrievering: getting started - http://oakhillkennel.com/library/puppy1.html
Getting your puppy to come back - http://oakhillkennel.com/library/comeback.html
A few good books are:
Retriever puppy training : the right start for hunting, by Cherylon Loveland & Clarice Rutherford
The 10-minute retriever, by John & Amy Dahl
Smart Work for retrievers, vol. 1, by Evan Graham
I second the 10-minute Retriever book. Very good. 3CBRS and Linda are way more knowledgable than I am, so listen to their advice.
I also liked Water Dog. I pretty much just stuck to those two books when training my first, but admittedly I found myself going more and more off Water Dog. My pup, a female Chessie, started last January at 8 weeks. So far, I am impressed beyond words. Just follow what they say to the letter when you can and make adjustments as necessary per your pup's signals.
As for not coming, I wouldn't worry right now. Mine did a LOT of things that I was concerned about at an early age (like not being interested in retrieving) and none of it was anything to worry about. I agree totally on the "COME" part though. Start of with SIT and when you get that going, get to STAY. She won't want to stay, thus making the COME part easier once you can get her to stay at all. With mine, I got her to stay for maybe 7-10 seconds at first, but it was just long enough for me to scoot back a few feet and say COME before she broke the stay. It stuck...plus she realized the difference in my loving on her for obeying COME and my stern demeanor when I moved her back to sit. Yours will too. Just stay consistent. If you feel yourself getting tired and not wanting to enforce the commands 100%, stop. Better to come back to it later then ever let the dog gain any understanding but exactly what the command entails. If there is one thing I can say about my own methods, it is that I am consistent. I never let her get away with anything, and it shows. Literally, never. Not once or twice in the year...never.
Again, read the books. They will coach you through and show you how very little time each session should last. Believe it or not, as far as retrieving, 3 tosses was as long as it should be around that age. I was shocked to read that but at times I even did just 1 toss. The key is to get her to retrieve 100%. If I toss 1 and she comes back and another and she doesn't, we were done. I'd do that 10-15 times throughout the day. 1 or 2 throws. Stop. Today she is a beast at it and after force fetching, she is perfect at retrieving and loves it.
Hope this calmed some fears. Good luck and have fun!
Honestly Ak Explorerer, I think it's way too early for "stay". Partly because you really want the dog to be moving to and away from you with enthusiasm and not anticipating a stay. Sit is good and controlling the sit on leash is good as you ramp them up to retrieve. Unless this puppy is totally ampted with a lack of self control and can hurt you. I had one of those, yikes.
Most obedience trainers have you keep the dog on a long line and change direction for a recall, running backwards and a big reward for coming. And at this age coming just to you , not requiring a sit or heel, is your focus. You can PLAY sit/stay in the house maybe for fun but separate from any retrieving but the reward should be great and happy. I didn't start "stay" even with the older rescues until I had a perfect recall. Even when they were sticking to me I could get them relaxed enough to wander away, on long line, later on e-collar to work on recall seperatly and doing a sit/stay , long sit at another time. You don't really want to chain the two together for a while.
My fight with the Doodle now is sit not down. He was 7 months old when I got him and had lived on a chain so out of control I had him laydown,where he could seem to control himself so I could get a bowl of food under him and not be malled. Now he'll go into a down when I have him on a long sit. Be aware that what you reward now may be a problem later.
Linda, I agree. I guess I should have clarified that more. When i said "when you get that going good" I meant after the SIT command is well adhered to, which will be a couple weeks or more from my experience. And as always, it is all fun and play for the next month or so...nothing too serious. Just repetition and happy times!! LOL
First of all thanks for all the comments. I would like to say that I was way to quick on the draw when I wrote that. In fact the next day we went to Sportsman and I got a junior puppy dummy out -- got her ramped up and pitched it in the isle--- first time she went bounding down slid into it picked it up and right back to me for another throw-- WOW-- people were gathering around watching as I threw the dummy time after time and she brought it back like a seasoned dog. IMPRESSED to say the least. It has been up and down from there but overall she is bringing it back-- i can always tell when she is not really interested as she stops bringing it back--- and even then she has gotton the idea that when i go down to get it she then decides to bring it back -- she has learned that not bringing it back means the end of the session.
We started the leash in preparation for SIT and aggravating as she wants to hold the leash in her mouth and will not sit still long enough to actually practice sit--- I tried today as a pre trial to see how it might work and on the 5th try she sat-- on the sixth she sat and then again on the 7th.... we stopped after that ... to end on a good note.
She is showing signs of name recognition and is kennel broken -- does not allways like it but usually on a small wimper now---
potty training coming along and like kids is hit and miss -- run to the door sometimes and then sometimes just does it where she is. She knows what to do now just have to get the repetition in. Question -- how old before they can hold it through the night?
I am getting Ten minute retriever on Friday -- any videos that are helpful??"??
Well enough bragging-- thanks again for the comments and more are appreciated
Glad to hear it! I forgot to mention that the book mentioned using a hallway or some other closed off area if the dog doesn't want to come back. I used the kitchen and closed off the door to where she had to pass me after grabbing the dummy because she had no other place to go. I would just grab her and get the dummy until she understood the drill.
As far as holding through the night, I think it varies. Mine never went in her crate, but she whined to let me know she needed out. She was holding it through the night without whining at about 15 weeks, but again, I have had dogs take up to 20-25 weeks or so and my last held it all night from 8 weeks, but he was a Dane with a big bladder. Their bladder isn't adult size until about 8 months, but you should get by through the night before that. I stopped giving mine water within an hour of bed time and let her out right before I crated her. Not much whining after that.