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Thread: New Lab Pup on the Horizon

  1. #1
    Member akdodger's Avatar
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    Default New Lab Pup on the Horizon

    I have spent most of my time over on the waterfowl forum but, as I am in the process of getting a new four-legged hunting buddy, I am sure that I will be spending alot of time on this forum and would like to introduce myself. Having read through many of the posts here, I can tell thet there is a wealth of knowledge and I look forward to getting to know all of you here on the gundog training forum. I am not a stranger to dog ownership or training however, I am the first in my family to want to train my dog for waterfowling. I have a 12 year old black lab but I was a lab lover long before I was a duck hunter. Long story short, I will be relying on many resources to help me with the tutelage of my new pup, least of which is the esteemed members of this forum. Here goes with several of many, many questions.

    First, I have a pretty good idea of what I want out of my new puppy, but I would like some advice on what criteria people use for selection of a pup from a litter. I know that I want a smaller in stature lab that can fit in a boat, airplane, and other situations where small and light is better. Any advice on potential breeders of dogs that fit this bill would be greatly appreciated. Also, what "tests" do people use when selecting a dog from a litter?

    Second, I am currently on my second read through of the "Water Dog" book and I find it very informative. Anyone have any other books or resources that I just shouldnt miss out on?

    Final question, for all of you out there that have gone through this training process, what are some of the pitfalls that I should watch out for? I talking training specific. I know to watch for reputable breeders that certify hips, eyes, etc. But I'm more concerned with training specific problems. I will be undertaking this while having three younger children in the house and a 12yo male lab also. Should I be concerned about this? And does anyone have any advice about how to deal with training and having an older dog and children around.

    Thanks,

    dodger
    “The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.” Walter Cronkite

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I had an older dog when I got my pup. I also have 3 kids. 2 of which are young. First thing i did was let him get comfortable with the house and my other dog. Let him socialize with the family. developed the bond with the family. Worked with feeding. kept putting my hands in his bowl while he ate. making sure he didn't bite. Never an issue. Also taught him to ring a bell when he needs to go out. Also while he laid in our laps. We would rub his paws. This paid off for us in allowing us to cut his nails.
    Also When he got older I took him to meet other dogs and socialize even more.
    Spring came, took him to the lakes and let him follow my older dog into the water. This way he didn't feel forced...

    when he was 5 months I went to OB school. This helped allot

    RULES
    let kids know not to play tug of war with the pup.
    Also had play toy and training toys.
    kept them seperate.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  3. #3

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    Hey dodger
    Congrats on your new adventure.
    Here are a few things "I" like to look for when choosing a pup.
    Number one.... I like retrievers with a lot of getty up. So in the pedigree I look for field titles. Such as FC, AFC for field trials or MH, HRCH or MHR for hunt test titles. This tells me two things. The parents have the drive and the intelligence to be trained to the level I desire. I also ask how the parents are out of the field. Can you live with them is also an important part for me.
    You are correct about checking for hips, elbows and eyes. But you also need to ask about eic and cnm. I prefer a clear status but a retriever that is designated as a carrier will be fine as well. You will need to be aware of their status if you ever plan to breed. I'm no professional breeder. There are lots of other knowledgeable folks in that area.
    I would contact some of the local retriever clubs. Good source for info and their members are looking to ensure betterment of the breed. You stand a better chance of getting a good pup. Beware of some local breeders. Not all do their homework on improving the breed. I have had dogs come in for training that had elbow issues and even several cases of eic over the years. Not fun calling up an owner and telling them their dog isn't physically capable of doing the work.
    As far as a training syllabus. The Walter method is ok. But that method is way out dated. Training methods have improved drastically. There also have been technology changes with the use of e collars in training as well. Retrievers in todays training methods are much further along in training than those trained following the Walter method during the same time frame. I follow a training flow chart brought about by Mike Lardy. Lardys website and his training methods can be found at totalretriever.com.
    Feel free to ask any further questions.

  4. #4

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    As far as picking an individual pup from a litter. There is no real tried or true method. As long as you have researched the pedigree and gotten all the health clearances desired then all the pups can turn out. Just reach in and grab one. All other things rely on environment, socialization and training. Some of this can be started even before the pups are placed.
    For me.... I like getting the entire litter out into an open area. I like the one that likes to explore but shows a personable side(willing to follow you about). I may even have a clipped bird wing or pigeon with wings crossed just to get their attention. Allowing me to judge for prey drive.

  5. #5
    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    In getting along with the older dog:

    Let the older dog be the boss of the younger dog. This means the older dog needs to be allowed to correct the pup from day one. I don't mean the older dog should hurt the pup, step if you feel like pup may actually get hurt. But if you allow the natural pecking order to develop in the pack, you will have less turmoil later.
    Old dog needs to growl and bare teeth at the pup, old dog needs to steal bones and toys from the pup, old dog needs to eat first and have treats given to him first. Life is not fair in a dog pack. If you get between them too much, you send a conflicting message to the pup, and it messes up the pack order.
    There will be a day that old dog will be too slow and eyesight too bad to protect itself well, and pup will be an adult dog that, if conflicted, may hurt old dog.

    BTDT
    Fly fishing makes me herl

  6. #6
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I have to disagree. I treated my dog equal and had them do the same. Both dogs turned out to be fantastic around other dogs and people. To me this will instill the Alpha male attitude. This is something I do not want in any of my dog. I gave the TLC. and when my oldest dog was mean or stole I corrected him. They lerned I was the Alpha male !!!!
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  7. #7
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Tell the kids from the get go not to throw sticks for the dog. You don't want him/her to become hard mouthed. Get them specific toys to play with the dog with so the dog can distinguish between training and play. And as was said NO tug-of-war at ANY time. Start early but don't be too hard on a pup from the get go.....there is a time for school and time for play. Learn how to see this in your dog, as he/she will show you if you're aware.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #8
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    It's amazing how when it's play time he knows it and when we train he's focused (almost all the time)...
    Baron taught me something that has been very help full. On retrieving bumpers, always end with them wanting the bumper. Don't keep throwing it tell the dog quites.
    I throw it 3/5 times and I get him real excited about it. Then I put it up. Next time as soon as he sees it. he wants it........
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  9. #9
    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    Reminds me of a saying I learned through NAVHDA ~ spend 15 minutes a day working with your pup and you will get the dog you deserve ~ don't and you will get the dog you deserve.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    It's amazing how when it's play time he knows it and when we train he's focused (almost all the time)...
    Baron taught me something that has been very help full. On retrieving bumpers, always end with them wanting the bumper. Don't keep throwing it tell the dog quites.
    I throw it 3/5 times and I get him real excited about it. Then I put it up. Next time as soon as he sees it. he wants it........

  10. #10
    Member akdodger's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the information guys. I will be taking my first look at my potential hunting buddy in the very near future. I hope the stars align and my dog is int this litter. Keep the advie coming and Happy belated Thanksgiving
    “The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.” Walter Cronkite

  11. #11
    Member DownEastah's Avatar
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    Default New Lab Pup on the Horizon

    It's a major learning curve training a dog for the first time. Guy will be a year old in a few days and iam very happy with my dog. A few things that stood out to me when training, keep it fun, no tug of war, YOU are the alpha male, and consistency! Guy is 85lbs and to manage a dog like that obedience is super important.

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