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Thread: New to gun dog training

  1. #1
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    Question New to gun dog training

    Hi im pretty new to posting on the forums, been reading em for months but never made an account.. anyways, i havre a 1 year old black lab that ive been attempting to train as a gundog for the past 6 months, a lot of the training has just been obedience as i really have no idea where to start with retrieving, i mainly just play fetch with bumpers but i have constant issues with his retrieve, its completely inconsistant, sometimes itll be perfect, sometimes hell turn around and run back with nothing, sometimes hell get distracted by something.. the list goes on.. i would be willing to pay for professional training with the limitation of not just sending him off for 4 months, while i do understand that would give me a perfect dog, my wife would kill me. any help or tips are appreciated

  2. #2

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    You might try to look at some intro DVDs or books. I used the Water Dog and Gun Dog books for my lab, and while some of what he suggests is a bit dated, the principles are all there. I think the books are around $15 (but I could be wrong). Another option would be to find someone in your area with an older dog that retrieves well. Dogs learn by example, so this might be a good option.

    Your pup is at the age where they get distracted by everything. I found that short, focused training sessions were best at this stage, and I extended the sessions as my dog got older. That might be the cause of your dog being 'inconsistent.'

    My dog was much the same as yours at that age. Working him with an older dog, actually focusing on specific drills, such as the T, double H and wagon wheel drills, and just getting him out on birds made all the difference in the world. He isn't exactly a field champion-level dog, but he can hold his own in a blind, so I can't really complain.

    Good luck with your pup, and keep checking in with any more questions!

  3. #3
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    thanks for the quick reply, ive actually read several books including the ones you suggested, plus a few more. definately ended up being helpful to a point.

  4. #4
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    I am in the process of training a 8 month lab so I will throw a couple of thoughts in. I have informally trained a couple of labs previously with good results.All good hunters with one that had a natural ability to do what I needed at the right time. I decided to train my current pup to a more formal standard with the thought of having a better hunter and for possible hunt test. Here is a list of information and resources I have come across.

    Books, I have read a stack and have learned quite a bit.

    Videos, There is a lot of training videos available. For me, more useful information than books. I have been using bowwowflix.com. It is fairly inexpensive to rent training videos from them. The drawback is many are designed to be used with a manual witch is not provided through bowwowflix. Mike Lardy's "Total Retriever", Evan Graham's "Smartwork series" and Rick Stawski's "Fowl Dawgs" are popular programs. It is a great way to try before you buy.

    Internet, there many retriever/gun dog forums on the web such as this one that have good information. I have found help this way for problems that I was having.

    Local Trainers, there is a lot of people training dogs is this area. Many will give advice and help when the can.

    Hope this helps. I good dog sure adds to the pleasure of a Duck hunt.

  5. #5

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    I'd start by joining a gun dog club. Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association has training DVD's that are available and free to members, I also would contact Wetland Retrievers and Howl A Day Inn and talk with them about what your goals are for you and your dog and what it takes to get there.

  6. #6

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    The Alaska Working Retriever Club and the Retriever Club of Alaska will be holding training classes this spring. The classes are very reasonably priced and come with the price of joining the clubs. You can go on their web sites to find out more. You also will meet other people to train with on your own. I find it is important not to always train alone but to have a group with more experienced trainers for mentoring.

  7. #7
    Member DownEastah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johntriplecrown177 View Post
    Hi im pretty new to posting on the forums, been reading em for months but never made an account.. anyways, i havre a 1 year old black lab that ive been attempting to train as a gundog for the past 6 months, a lot of the training has just been obedience as i really have no idea where to start with retrieving, i mainly just play fetch with bumpers but i have constant issues with his retrieve, its completely inconsistant, sometimes itll be perfect, sometimes hell turn around and run back with nothing, sometimes hell get distracted by something.. the list goes on.. i would be willing to pay for professional training with the limitation of not just sending him off for 4 months, while i do understand that would give me a perfect dog, my wife would kill me. any help or tips are appreciated


    Are you in the valley or ANC?

  8. #8
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chesaka View Post
    The Alaska Working Retriever Club and the Retriever Club of Alaska will be holding training classes this spring. The classes are very reasonably priced and come with the price of joining the clubs. You can go on their web sites to find out more. You also will meet other people to train with on your own. I find it is important not to always train alone but to have a group with more experienced trainers for mentoring.
    This is the best place for you to learn. Emphasis will be on training the owner how to train his dog, and instruction on drills, etc, that he can continue with. The 4 months you refer to as getting you a perfect dog is way off the mark. A good hunting dog requires consistant training and disapline to maintain his performance. While, you can let up with the hard work once a certain level has been achieved, dogs always need to be reminded of what is required. But, you are on the right track, obediance is 90% of the training, you just need to learn how to teach the dog that fetch is a order, not a request. Bud
    Wasilla

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    I'd be willing to get together with you sometime and show you a couple things. I don't know very much by any means but maybe mine has done what yours is doing and I can show you how I resolved it. I have a 2 year old Chesapeake. Miller mentioned dogs learn by example. Mine loves to fetch so maybe yours will want to do it once yours sees "how fun" it is. Mine still had her quarks that we are working through but maybe if we put 2 heads together we can come up with a fix. Hopefully your brain is about 1 1/2 because I think mine only accounts for 1/2 haha. Anyway if you would like to get together and run the dogs a bit just let me know.

  10. #10
    Member DownEastah's Avatar
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    Start with force fetch, watch some videos on YouTube and start training. Plus it's a good thing to do when in really cold out.

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