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Thread: What does Pro Training for Hunt Tests Involve and Where to Start?

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    Member Cal99's Avatar
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    Default What does Pro Training for Hunt Tests Involve and Where to Start?

    Not new to lab owning, but new to the world of hunt tests. This is our third awesome field lab (13 weeks), and finally the time and pedigree is on our side to actually think that maybe we can get her titled. Since we are novices, I am guessing that we would be best to go with a pro trainer, even though my husband hunts and had the other two trained fairly well. Where do we even begin? At what age? What does pro training entail? Will a pro evaluate your dog and give an opinion if it is even feasible to title your dog? Starting my research early so that we can make the right choices. Live in Eastern Michigan, thanks for your help!!!

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    Member mathewrodriguez's Avatar
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    I wish when I started that I had taken the time to go to a couple hunt tests and even a field trial, without a dog, just to observe and learn what was entailed. The additional benefit would be focus on and watch various pros without nervously waiting for your time go to the line. I know down here in Texas there is a HUGE difference between the quality and level of pros, and it doesn't take a trained eye to see it, it's obvious who's on top of their game.
    Last edited by mathewrodriguez; 08-27-2013 at 10:16 PM. Reason: spelling
    Matt Rodriguez

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    Hang a shiggle. That is all there is to it. And I couldn't agree more with the previous poster who said watch them and their products. The cost is relatively the same but the consistency of their product is far from it. A huge bonus would be to find one that will help train you! Much toughet imo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal99 View Post
    Not new to lab owning, but new to the world of hunt tests. This is our third awesome field lab (13 weeks), and finally the time and pedigree is on our side to actually think that maybe we can get her titled. Since we are novices, I am guessing that we would be best to go with a pro trainer, even though my husband hunts and had the other two trained fairly well. Where do we even begin? At what age? What does pro training entail? Will a pro evaluate your dog and give an opinion if it is even feasible to title your dog? Starting my research early so that we can make the right choices. Live in Eastern Michigan, thanks for your help!!!
    Join a club most areas have clubs with good members which will help you learn. I started from nothing with my first dog two years ago. I used videos, asked everyone and sorted out what I thought would work, and then put my time in. Time will tell but I started with a bitch out of a NFC and FC and she is doing it. I have learned much, and despite my short comings as a trainer, we are 4/4 senior test and should finish up this title this weekend. Then on the MH and hopefully QAA. Unless you have the money to leave the dog on a pro truck and cheer from the sidelines you should learn yourself. I find the training the most rewarding part of this whole game. Good luck

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    Senior Member Lonnie Spann's Avatar
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    If you have a place to train, have the necessary tools or willing to purchase them, are willing to put forth the effort and have the time to do so, then you can train and title your own HT dog. If doubtful about any of the previously listed, then get out the checkbook and hire a pro.

    Pro dog trainers are much like other professionals they vary considerably. It appears that around my neck of the woods all one has to do to be a "pro" is buy a dog trailer and start charging folks for dog training.

    I would first join a local club and start training with some of the serious amateurs and go from there. You just might get hooked and do the training yourself. If you decide to go with a pro then your club members could offer good advice about who to use and who to avoid.

    Lonnie Spann
    DISCLAIMER: The above post is the opinionated and biased view of your's truly, Lonnie Spann, and is in no way intended to reflect the opinions or views of the unfortunate individuals named below who just happen to be doomed with guilt by association.

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    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal99 View Post
    Not new to lab owning, but new to the world of hunt tests. This is our third awesome field lab (13 weeks), and finally the time and pedigree is on our side to actually think that maybe we can get her titled. Since we are novices, I am guessing that we would be best to go with a pro trainer, even though my husband hunts and had the other two trained fairly well. Where do we even begin? At what age? What does pro training entail? Will a pro evaluate your dog and give an opinion if it is even feasible to title your dog? Starting my research early so that we can make the right choices. Live in Eastern Michigan, thanks for your help!!!
    http://vickielamb.com/about/contact.html


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    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Basically you take the pup out, to club events, test etc. Get recommendations (from people with MH dogs, those that actually train-handle-run the higher stakes ). Then get familiar with the trainers in your area (go watch those Pros, look at their records (a Pro who consistently produces MHs is nice), interact with their clients, and go see their Kennels). Decide whether you want to do it yourself, with a Pros help (figure @ least 1-2 times of instruction and then homework a week). Or if you'd rather let the Pro do it all. Once you've decided on a Pro, you'll usually take the pup out to get exposure, fun marks, birds, maybe work on OB. When he is ~6mt. old (after his teeth have come in fully), retriever training officially starts, Initial training is usually 4-5 mts, depending on your dog; but he should come back with solid basics OB, CC, and FF, some marks (able to run Juniors). Most dogs go home for a time after this, hunting season etc. This is when you look at your financial situation and have a talk with the pro, on where you'd like to go, and what the dog is capable of.

    Then if you continue, the dog goes back in for another 4-6 mt. might be longer depending on the dog for handling instruction (T pattern, water-forcing etc.) at this point when the dog comes back he's almost ready to run Senior. Once the dog has been FF and finished handling they start working on technics and everything starts to come together, marks, blind and drills. The dog usually doesn't need constant training and can go home for weekends etc. If you take him home for too long expect ~2-3 weeks of getting him back into training shape. This is when if you sent your dog off you should start coming out and really getting involved, learning to run and train your dog.

    If you Continue on and the dog has solid foundations, talent, and been continuously working with the Pro, he should transition quickly from Senior to Masters. A good pro will not run a dog if the dog is not ready, and will not put a dog into test needlessly. You should have a very good record, (particularly the lower stakes) if a Pro runs your dog in hunt tests. If the dog doesn't go through those stakes easily, with a Pro handler; the dog should not be running tests. I know a few Pros who train owners to run their own dogs in the lower stakes, and will not handle/run a dog until masters. If you find a Pro that can train your dog well enough to still pass SH& MH tests, while your running them you've got a good trainer . Just don't be surprised if that shock-collar gets strapped to your neck rather than the dogs

    I like to do it myself but if I was going to send the dog out, it would be for Water-forcing (it's pretty labor intensive, and you need the water . Other wise I might send out for CC and forcing. I would definitely get guided instruction, to make sure the CC and forcing is done correctly the first time. (very important!!!). Most later issues arise from poor basics, namely poor CC/improper forcing/pressure relationship.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 08-28-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Spann View Post
    If you have a place to train, have the necessary tools or willing to purchase them, are willing to put forth the effort and have the time to do so, then you can train and title your own HT dog. If doubtful about any of the previously listed, then get out the checkbook and hire a pro.

    Pro dog trainers are much like other professionals they vary considerably. It appears that around my neck of the woods all one has to do to be a "pro" is buy a dog trailer and start charging folks for dog training.

    I would first join a local club and start training with some of the serious amateurs and go from there. You just might get hooked and do the training yourself. If you decide to go with a pro then your club members could offer good advice about who to use and who to avoid.

    Lonnie Spann
    I think there is a middle ground where you the newbie owner can start to build a foundation at home, starting at seven weeks. I like Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings" DVD to start with. That helps the owner and dog bond, develop a little teamwork, develop early work habits by building in a training routine and gives the pup a head start before going to a pro at six months or so. Like others have said, hook up with a local amateur group, hang out with them, throw birds for their dogs and have them help you with some puppy marks.

    Then if possible go to a local hunt test, observe, ask questions and tactfully check out the pros who might be there. Start to develop relationships. There was a thread earlier about outing bad Pro's, do your homework to make sure you don't end up with a "bad" pro. If possible try to put your dog with a pro who specializes in young dogs, the absolute most important time in your dog's life is that time when he is learning basics, without a strong foundation advanced training is less effective and you can have lifelong issues that effect the dog's future success. With solid basics and a little help from a good amateur group, you can actually advance the dog yourself through Junior, Senior and Master.
    John

  9. #9
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    There are numerous HRC clubs in Michigan. They should be able to recommend you to a pro. Do your homework. Most clubs have excellent resources and welcome new members.
    Happy Training,
    Sean

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sundown49 aka Otey B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogtrainer4God View Post
    Cal, lots of good information given here. For pro recommendations, Tim Doane at Kingseed kennels would be the first name to call in your neck of the woods
    excellent advice
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