I will be getting my dog in about 3 weeks. he will be 6 weeks old at this point. I am going to start with some obediance training. Then hope in the spring to train him to be a bird dog. I have only trained one dog before and that was done by someone else and then i steped in. how young is too young to start? also. i will be gone for about 6 weeks and my wife will start the training. will this make a differance?
First of all let me say that I have not trained a family dog-water dog in too many years.
But there was a time when I did a lot of "gentle" field trial training.
As a "non-competitive" trailer, but really serious duck hunter, whose dog had to be a great family citizen, I enjoyed the Richard Wolters books Water Dog and Family Dog.
I enjoyed that Wolters constantly stressed back-to-basics, non threatening training methods.
(Although I was never conpletely sold on all of his whistle training.)
I am very aware that there are many, many experienced dog trainers on the forum who probably have more current, up-to-date, advice for you.
But back in the day...using the Richard Wolters training plan, my chocolate could run blinds with the best field trialers. (He just could not do thiples.)
I'll be watching this thread to see what other books, more recent books, are recomended by todays active trainers.
Could it be time for a new pup?
At 6 weeks of age it's not really training ....it's more like conditioning. Getting them into a routine. A routine that leads to proper behavior during feeding time and when going on walks. Pups are exploring and bonding attachments are formed. Plus who is the leader all get figured out at this time.
Teaching sit, kennel, wait or stay, getting used to a wearing a collar, simple retrieving with easy to carry items, coming when called and etc. are all things that can begin even at 6 weeks of age. For me most all of these things are treat based. Mainly because food is one way to keep a pups attention. Hot dog tid bits work great.
Got lots more info, but gotta go for now.
Just have fun and don't get frustrated. Patience always pays off.
I agree with both of the earlier post. I have trained many waterfowl "water dogs" both from JH to MH standards. I totally agree with Wetlands suggestions..the pup needs to have the basics out of the way first.
Ensure they are introduced to the family environment first, work the basics, house breaking, small fetching games and make sure you enforce the name. There is allot of controversy on the "come" commands. "here" and "Come" you will need to research these to determine which one you are going to use..whichever one you choose, stick with it. Here is sometimes confused with Heel, Later on you as you train you will understand that if you say heel, the dog should do what he is told to do a specific task and stay there until released. until Sit means to sit until released, nothing more. Come is to simply get the dog to return to the you and will later be transitioned with a whistle commander anyhow. When that happens you will just use either of the commands when you donít have a whistle. So stick with one and stay with it forever.
The Richard Wolters training book "The Water Dog" is an excellent tool for the novice or beginner trainer to use. Great points and philosophy on training. IT is broken down into certain steps you must understand and ensure your dog understand before going to the next level. There are times you will think he is ready and be disappointed when you realize he is not. Always remember this..You only move through the steps as fast or as slow as your dog is willing to go through them...not you. Most beginning trainers push their dogs through the steps to fast and end up going back to the basics in the end. Patience is so important in training a dog..10-15min training sessions, and always, always start the training and end the training on a positive not...praise him and give them lots of attention. They pick up on your emotions much easier than you might think.
I could write a book on this and have already covered the first chapter..get the book read the entire thing and get started....IT will be one of the most rewarding times of your life..When you are out there in that marsh. knock down that bird and he watches, listens and reacts to your commands. A ton of fun as well sharing the years to come with him.
Lastly remember he is not a robot..donít expect that from him..he makes mistakes just like you do and you will make many in the training sessions...just back up and do it again.
If your wife and you get on the same sheet of music with the commands and training program it does not matter who does it, just as long as you stay consistent. My wife trained ours when I was not there...we both prepared him for his JH. When the time came for his first ribbon.. I put her on the line with him....did not make a difference, he did great!
Good luck and have fun
thank you for the advise. If you have more i will take that as well. I already have the book water dog and i am going to start reading it. i am also reading Retriever pups by bill tarrant. i will keep updates posted and i am sure i will have many more questions.
A very good book is "The 10-minute Retriever" by John & Amy Dahl, as well as Evan Graham's "Smart Work for Retrievers". Vol. 1 covers the basics & is step by step.
Good luck when your new pup arrives!
thanks. and i am looking into the FRC. Just have to wait until i get back from school.