A puppy in our future
Well my family and I lost our Pomeranian a while back and it was clear that we were not going to be a dogless family despite the sadness that we felt over our friend. We talked to the kids and the wife and I had a lot of discussion on what we wanted in a next pet. The Pomeranian was purchased as a house dog while we were in FL and she was great at that. Unfortunately she wasn't as good a fit in AK though she did continue to provide great companionship around the house until she passed, she was frequently left at home or at the inlaws while we ventured out. We knew that a new pet would need to be able to be more involved in our lives since we are very outdoors oriented. We also didn't want a really big dog that would be overwhelming in the home.
We did a lot of research and were caught between a Field bred Springer or a Brittany. We ultimately decided that a Springer would be a better fit for our family and started the search. We finally found one that had the breeding that we felt would be a good fit for us and placed a deposit.
We have been talking a lot with our kids about the new addition and explaining to them that this dog would come with rules that would be different than our little Pomeranian. That said I went through explaining that the dog was going to be trained for hunting and that they would be involved in the process. I also went through the standard no table scraps etc. I cautioned them to not play tug of war w/ the dog since it will be trained to give up retrieved objects willingly. I am sure that there are other things I should discuss w/ the kids to hopefully curtail any bad habits that they could inadvertently teach the dog.
Now for the honest facts, I am overseas and will be untill the dog is ~ six months old, the positive side is that when I am stateside I work from home and will have lots of time for short training workouts. My wife and my oldest boy (7) will be starting on the training in my absence. I assume that the basics are pretty much the same as any dog along the lines of come, sit, fetch, drop, as well as normal potty training stuff. So what are things to avoid and what are some good things to work on early. I am also aware that the normal "pet" terminology isn't necessarily what is used. I am baffled by some of the things I hear here like "mark, or marking"?? For consistency sake what basic commands should we use w/ this dog that will cross over to later training?
The house is currently a bustling little place consisting of 3 boys (2,6,7) my wife and a friend who is staying there with her 13yo daughter for the foreseeable future. The only one missing at the moment is ME!
At the moment we are just preparing for the pups arrival sometime late next month. The plan is to start potty training and then do some basic retrieving training on a long (15') lead in the house using hallways to make things simple and failure unlikely. As the school year ends for my wife (full time college student) she and my oldest boy are planning on joining the local Bird dog association and getting involved in the basic classes.
SO conditions aren't optimum as far as me being away but we are a very excited bunch of rookie bird dog owners looking for any advice we can get! A quality set of videos either streaming online or that we can purchase would be a great start I imagine.
Sorry there is so much in one post, can you tell we are excited??
congrats on the new poochmo
I have never trained as spaniel, but I have trained a couple retrievers and a couple pointing dogs, so I am not sure about spaniel training videos and books, but you are pretty much correct on the basics....come, heel and potty training are all essentials. They are relatively universal.
Depending on what level of dog work you would like to attain, you might want to follow a particular "program" of training. You can do that with a book or video, but getting with other folks with experience is far better. Not only for the knowledge they hold, but it also good to have someone do the "dirty work" while you control the dog. The books describe the ideal and most dogs do not follow the ideal.
My first dog I trained without any books/videos or program. He was a good dog, but very basic. Years later while looking for my next retriever I became a member of a gun dog club in Montana.My first visit to a training event with the dog club I realized how much more potential my first dog had. I worked with the group for a year (doing the dirty work) while I waited for my pup. I learned so much from others training without the stress of training myself and about the potential of a well trained dog.
The Arctic Bird Dog Association (ABDA) usually has a class each spring for novice handlers and their dogs. I advice you to get your wife, son and yourself hooked up with them. They can recommend the books etc and share their knowledge. They also try to have frequent training groups during the summer with access to birds and training equipment.
I will ask some of the guys I know in ABDA what books etc you could use in the meantime.
more thoughts on training
LuJon....I have done Hunt Tests with my pointing dogs and my retriever. I have participated in competitive trials with the pointing dogs. I never intended to, I just wanted a hunting companion not a robot and I thought those people were snobs. I started because my friend and landlord felt my dogs were good enough and she entered me into an event...I became hooked and did well. There are dog training snobs, but there are also good ordinary folks who attend theses events. There is a difference between tests and trials that many people do not understand. I dont want to get into that unless you want to.....
The point is, even if you do not think you will ever want to participate in these sanctioned events, the training is the same. You decide how to far along the continuum you want to take your dog. These types of events helped me realize the dogs' potential and set goals for myself. I learned the "tricks and tools" of training from the folks who took these events very seriously. I have much better dogs because it and I am thankful. Will I take my next dogs to these events, I dont know. I will however train as if I were.
ABDA has some folks who have wonderful success and experience with dogs, they can help especially if you do not know other folks who have the knowledge they do. Take advantage of what is out there...most of us "dog boys and girls" really do not mind. Just be clear in your expectations and stick to the course. You might surprise yourself in how far you go and you might end up in a sanctioned event by accident like I did. If you dont, so be it and you will have a good hunting companion.
Training a dog is a wonderful process for you and your family. I get tons of satisfaction and joy from watching the little fur ball become the hunter it was bred to be. I am sure you will to.
Thanks for the info, I was starting to think no one was going to chime in! Our breeder is a member of ABDA and has encouraged us to join. The plan is to join and start attending training in the spring. I am hopeful that the training will coincide w/ the end of my wifes school year since she is pretty loaded down.
My big worry at the moment is introducing bad habbits. I have a hard enough time teaching my kids to stay off the arms of the darn sofa, I can't imagine the pitfalls I could get into w/ a puppy. Am I being silly worrying about the kids playing tug of war with the dog along w/ other things "kids do"?
So all my blabber was moot since you have a contact already....I dont know for sure who (I have an idea) your breeder is but follow the breeders advice knowing that training methods can be generalized but every dog is different and may need tweaking. The benefit of being in a group of experienced folks is that they all bring a little bit different perspective to the table. You can glean from the books and the people what works best for you and your dog.
As for kids and dogs, I think they make great companions....as far as tug of war.... You will have to either not let it happen at all or you will have to teach the dog the difference between play and "work". I dont have kids to consider in terms of separating the play and "work", it is mostly me. My wife doesnt really mess with the bird dogs, she just snuggles them.
Me personally, I like to be consistent throughout. No tug of war...but that is only one opinion.
I am sure it is possible to make the distinction, most dogs are very adaptable.
sent you a PM
I talked to a friend who is in ABDA and has some good experience with spaniels. He has offered to help your family with the pup until you get back.
Oh yeah...belated congrats...Go Alabama!
Last edited by Burke; 01-15-2010 at 15:36.
Reason: add note
Thanks for all of the help and the PM's!! We are in contact w/ the ABDA novice trainer and will be working with him to get this pup started out on the right road!! We already have some great suggestions and a few books that we need to source and order up!
WOW! Those are some beautiful pups!!
Thank you.... They keep me busy.... you'll have to post a pic of your new pup when you get him....
Well we are getting close! Just a couple more weeks now and the little guy comes home. I ordered a slip lead and a couple whistles today that the trainer recommended. So far it looks like we have some great resourcessuggested between this site and our breeder so I think (hope) we are headed in the right direction. My wife is already planning on getting his crate strapped to the wheeler so that he can get used to mechanized travel some too. I figure better to introduce him to that early (and carefully) so it isn't a scarry event later. In the end I expect to have a box on the wheeler and then later he can ride in the bed when I upgrade to a 6 wheeler.