I'm still fairly new to the forum, so I'll start by introducing myself. My name is Cody and I'm from the thumb of Michigan. I'll be getting a lab pup the beginning of May. I've had labs growing up at home, but just as family pets. This will be my first hunting dog, and just finishing up college I'm looking to do the majority of training by myself. I feel like I've exhausted the search function here, and haven't really found what I'm looking for, so I thought I'd ask. Sorry if this has been discussed before and I just missed it.
I'm planning on beginning with the Hillmann DVD and then transitioning into Smartworks or TRT. I'm leaning towards Smartworks because it sounds like it's a little more beginner friendly, but I'm still open to suggestions. It sounds like Hillmann transitions well into both, but where is the mesh point for each program? I know the Smartworks bonus basic package has a puppy program included, so would I just skip the puppy DVD and move right into the obedience DVD, or does Hillmann cover that too? How does the transition to Lardy's program work as far as what point to start with? I guess I'm just a little confused as to where I would begin each program after Hillmann.
As a little bit of background, I'm not really planning to trial the dog at this point. He is a pointing lab, and yes I know that's another can of worms, but he'll primarily be a bird dog, mostly for pheasant. I would like to train for his CPR, but I don't know if I'll go past that at this point. I'm not sure I'd be capable of going much further as a first time trainer to be honest. I think I'll catch on fairly quick, but it seems like there is so much to learn.
Sorry for the lengthy post, and thanks for any suggestions.
Congrats on the upcoming pup, and welcome to RTF.
I have never seen the Hillman videos, but I have heard many people commend them. I personally have Smartworks and Lardy TRT. I am a first time trainer, and I can say that I got more out of Smartworks that the Lardy videos to be able to get through the basics and transition with my pup. Now, with that being said, now that I have gotten through all of that, I feel that the Lardy videos fit more in with my understanding at this point in time.
So, if I had to recommend, based on your thoughts, I would do as follows:
2. Smartworks - great for beginners, easy to understand and follow. Just think of getting a Masters class explained at third grade level, for those of us (beginners) that are in third grade when we start.
3. Lardy ARTICLES. There are three volumes of different articles that were published sometime in the 90's, but still very relevant today. I would get the first two volumes to start. These articles are very clear and give a good written understanding of each step in the process.
Then, and only then, if you decide you want to go further with your pup, then I would consider TRT.
Good luck. It will be an exciting time. Just remember, keep it all fun.
Cody, welcome. And thank you for such a pleasant and informative introduction to you and your soon to be pup! I'm just going to toss this out there, because I wish it was all available when I started my last pup. The Hillman Puppy DVD is excellent. I don't think it works for a rank beginner because you are expected to know where its all leading. Since I used the puppy video, Hillman has released a few more that include more basics, force fetch, etc. If I had it to do over I would use everything out there that Hillman has produced thus far. While you are doing it, READ the Lardy articles, at least vol 1 so when you do change to his system you will understand where you are going. Then splurge for the complete set of TRT. Same thing if you choose the Smartworks route. Get all the WRITTEN material first before your investment in videos. Make sure which one fits in with YOU and YOUR pup.
Mostly, have fun.
I would agree 100% with Carol. The Hillmann approach is wonderful for a novice trainer. With the addition of the traffic cop and fetch command videos and the latest that takes you through basics on land, you have all you need to get a pup going on field work. Hillmann's DVDs are the ones I keep going back to watch over and over.
Hi Cody. I've got a pointing lab also... she turns 11 weeks old tomorrow. I don't have any experience with the Hillman program, but I've got Smartworks vol 1 and Smartfetch. I really like how it's easy to understand and follow. Since it's a pointing lab, I think you should also pick up Julie Knutson's book, Training the Pointing Labrador Retriever. It's a great book that explains pretty much all you need to know about training pointing labs. Julie also has a spiral-bound followup book full of tips and tricks that she's posted online over the years. If you haven't already done so, you may want to check out the American Pointing Labrador Association... they too have a discussioni forum, albeit nowhere near as active as RTF. Good luck!
Congrats on the new pup...I'm definitely looking forward to bringing mine home. I bought Julie's book a month or so ago, and I just got through the first section. I really like it so far and I'm learning a lot. I plan on using that for the majority of my pointing work. She does a good job explaining the retrieving portions as well, I'm just more of a visual learner so I'm looking for a DVD program to supplement with the book. I browse the APLA website from time to time too and have talked to a few guys that really seem to know their stuff.
Originally Posted by J_Brown
I like the idea of getting the written material ahead of time to know what I'm working towards. It seems like that will make things a bit easier training wise. Thanks for the responses so far.
Presque Isle Retriever club is sponsoring a 2 day seminar with Bill Hillman. It would be well worth your time to try to attend. We will be holding it
just outside of Erie Pa. If you have a young dog this is the place to be. I attended one last season and was very impressed. His system makes sense
and is very user friendly for both for you and your pup.You can go to Presque Isle Retriever clubs Web site and get an application and you can also
go to P.I. FB page and get more information. Hope to meet you. Oh PS... Date June 22nd 23rd. only a few spots left.
I know exactly where you are coming from. I bought various programs and tried to follow them but one that I really clicked with was Training a Retriever Puppy by Bill Hillmann, which I purchased after attending one of his seminars. The thing that is different about the Hillmann approach is his philosophy.
1. He wants to have fun training.
2. He wants to have absolute and total success.
The thing that is unique about Bill's videos, and the thing that makes them totally different, is that you get to watch the training process of a particular dog. It is not a lecture, it is not a finished dog showing what the exercise is supposed to look like but rather an individual dog going through the process. It is like watching a dog grow up in front of your eyes. I have seen other videos where a field champion is shown doing a simple beginning drill and making it look easy, but what is the process to get to that point, that is what I find important about the Hillmann videos. I am currently studying the new fundamental video, which is Land Part 1. I wish that the water portion, which I understand is due to come out very soon, would be available now, but I am told that it is in the works.
Anyway, I found the whole process easy to follow and the results for me have been beyond expectations.
Consistency is a good thing..I would try and keep with the Hillmann videos. The Hillmann method and philosophy produce a sound working team with you and your dog. The Fundamentals should keep you busy perfecting communication and understanding with your dog until the water portion comes out. Water work is a continuation and reinforcement of what has been taught on land. Good Luck!