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Thread: Where to start?

  1. #1
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Question Where to start?

    I bought my first Golden nearly 2 months ago from a highly rated breeder in Oregon. He is now about 5 months old. While I'm not really a bird hunter and his duties are more of a pet than a working dog, I would like to take advantage of his instincts and teach him whatever he is willing to learn. I know we'll be doing a little grouse hunting and I might just give waterfowl a try.

    Any suggestions on where to start for someone who has never worked with retrievers before? Right now we are still working on "sit", "down", & "come".

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    Default Take classes, read books

    Depending on how much experience you have I suggest finding an obedience training class to build a really good foundation both for your pup and yourself. Also, buy a copy of Water Dog by R. Wolters. It is fairly easy to read and he does have some good ideas. There are a bunch of good books out there to get ideas from. Just remember, there is no single answer to training issues. The best trainers are people who are flexible and problem solve quickly without getting too wrapped up in how they fix the problem.
    I am in contact with some people here to find out who in your area is currently training dogs. Used to be a couple, the Zimmerman's, but don't know if they are still around. Harold was a great guy and very knowledgable trainer.

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    Default DU training tips

    http://www.ducks.org/Hunting/RetrieverTraining/2857/10TipstoPrepareYourDogfortheStartofHunti.html

    Some good tips and some things to think about. Most if not all are beyond where you are now, but gives you goals to focus towards. I also know of several folks in Soldotna and area. I am trying to contact them to see if they will either join this forum or allow their contact info to be passed on.

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    Default

    Consistency is key. And doing some training everyday. It seems like you train and train and train and wonder why it's not working and then BINGO!! all of the sudden one day he gets it. It's great. Stick with it and be consistent no matter if it's basic obedience, potty training, retrieving, etc.

    Oh, and make sure everyone in the house is doing and saying the same things to the dog. Example. Everyone needs to use "no" not you using "no" the kids using "stop it" and the wife using "quit it". Same with ALL basic commands. One word basic commands. Sit, stay, no, off (as in off the couch) , down (lay down). Not :"sit down", "stay off", etc. You don't want to confuse the poor pup! Pick the commands and use them.

    One thing that is REAL nice is to have your dog crate trained. You can tell him "in your place" or "kennel up" and he goes right in. It's great.

    Don't set the dog up for failure. Example- It's against my Springers bred-in nature to heal on a leash. It's one of the hardest things for my dog to do. I don't know how some trainers do it with some dogs. I worked and worked and worked with him since was wee little. It's just a no go. His instinct to get out front of me and hunt is just to strong. And that's what he does and he does it well. So, I don't spend much time with him on the leash. I don't put him in places where he absolutely HAS to be on a leash. I don't take him for a walk on a leash. I take him for a hike or a run instead.

    My long winded .02.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  5. #5

    Default Getting started

    Basic. Basics. Basics.
    Obedience is a foundation from which all other training is built from.

    The previous post have made a good point on that, so "I won't beat that horse any more".

    I would have to discuss with you how much work you have done with your pup to better help you.
    Everything up to this point should be introduction and exposure to things your pup will see in a everyday hunt. The car ride, kennels, hikes in the woods, crossing streams, swimming, boats, four wheelers, duck blinds, decoys, bird calls and most importantly gunfire and live birds. Just to name a few. It is better to condition your dog to these things instead of doing it on an actual hunt. I have seen many frustrated hunters screaming at there dogs. They lost there patience with their uneducated dog who is learning and trying to keep up with all that's going on. You have to take your time and teach these new fundamentals.
    Beyond basics you can focus on your dogs field training. Teaching them how to use there nose to find and track game. You can use scented dummies for this or use bird wings attached if you don't have access to birds. You can use a long rope to teach them to sit to flush. Having your training partners throw out birds from behind some cover. You can do this also at varying distances allowing your dog to develop marking ability.
    These are just a handful of ideas from the top of my head. There are many many more.
    Let me know where I can help.

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    Default Different philosophy

    I copied the following post I made earlier in response to a training inquiry in WATERFOWL.

    Choose good times to train
    Pay attention to sleep, eat, play cycles. No sense trying to play when they are sleepy or hungry. Tease him with a toy, ball, stuffed sock, whatever. The only things I NEVER throw for my labs are sticks and stones. Otherwise if they want to carry it, I will pretty much throw it. Including, if she is not looking, my wifes shoes.
    A few rules I always go by and try to teach. (teach other trainers)
    1- Keep it SHORT! Short training sessions to build and keep eagerness. Short throws to keep the interest. Short grass/cover so they use their eyes, not their nose. (they will always figure out the nose)
    2- KISS! Simplify, simplify, simplify. Single concepts built from the ground up. That pup only knows what you teach it.
    3- NEVER EVER give a command you are not willing or able to enforce. 20 below, snow on the ground, in your pjs and no slippers. Do not say come if you are not willing to go out and get that pup.
    4- Be consistent. SIT is always SIT. COME is always COME. Commands are never questions, you never give them twice without a correction.
    5- Last one for now. TEACH, TRAIN, TEST. In that order. Build the basics slowly, deliberately, carefully. Teaching takes longer than training, and testing is only done after both the teaching and training are finished. If in doubt, and you should have doubts, do not test. Failures set you back a long way, and repeated failures to perform teach the dog they can do what they want to do.
    I am writing this as my 9 year old gray beard male is laying at my feet. He is potentially the last of a line of retrievers that I have had since 1978. I love him as an old man, but I miss the puppy. Good luck, have fun, and don't get too serious.
    ----------------------
    JOAT, you'll do fine. Just remember to give the dog as much exposure to life as possible. Do not use hunting in lieu of training. If you do, you lose. Have fun with the basics. Get em solid. Then go buy a bunch of shells and find every excuse in the world to be in the field with your dog. Go shoot lots and lots of birds. If you do, in spite of yourself (and us) you will end up with a great dog.


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    Default check out this book

    dog training for dummies, awesome book for ALL dog lovers, talks about all the above and has some great references also. Currently working on my master title for my springer, and have a lab that is at the junior level. Training gun dogs is a blast!

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    dog training for dummies, awesome book for ALL dog lovers, talks about all the above and has some great references also. Currently working on my master title for my springer, and have a lab that is at the junior level. Training gun dogs is a blast!
    So have you ever been able to get your springer to heal on a leash?? If so you must be a miracle worker My guy just sticks his nose to the ground and follows it!
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Default dog training the man

    Snyd, after being with you and your dog at Birch Hill, there is no doubt in my mind I can teach him to heal. With that said, it doesn't sound like you are distressed that he doesn't. We all accept different things and/or have different expectations for our dogs. Personally, my changes have been dramatic from my first lab to my current one.
    So, do we get together to train dogs or just walk and share stories from our mtn adventures?

  10. #10
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Thank you

    I've been away from the computer for the last week, but thanks to everyone for the tips. I have worked with dogs before, but have never attempted to train a bird dog. I've got the "dummies" books already, but I'll look at picking up the "Water Dog" book. I think I've seen it on the shelf at SW.

    Right now, as we are only 5 months old, we are working on the very basics and he is picking them up very well. It is a struggle to get the wife fully on board with consistency of training, but I'm working even harder on that now. She has that tendancy to preface every command with the dog's name and repeatedly give commands without ensuring they are promptly followed, so that is a key piece I've been working on.

    There are a few local places that have obedience classes, but they recommend 6 months of age before enrollment, so we'll look at that next month.

    Thanks again.

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