The recent thread about using frozen birds got me to thinking.
The question is always asked about when to introduce this or that or when does actual training start. It is of popular belief that the serious and most important stuff starts with basics at around 6 months with which I pretty much agree, BUT! I don't necessarily agree with the most important part. Yes you need a good foundation but I say it starts waaaaay before basics. I get very serious training a pup the minute I bring it home. I just don't let the pup know that. To me this is the most important time. Wait a minute, I really should back up here because this is not where it all begins.
The most important part starts with the breeder. I will use my good friends Brandon and Dawni Bromley at Revittup Retrievers as an example. This is where it starts. Not only is Brandon very good at putting together pedigrees but the care and attention the puppies get before they go to their new homes is extremely important, Dawni does an excellent job of this. I have had puppies that came from breeders that don't get the attention they do with the Bromley's and I'll tell you it is a world of difference. The opening line on their web site says it pretty well. "Welcome to Revittup Retrievers, where nature and nurture synergize". A puppy with this kind of attention has a big head start.
With that being said the next most important part is when the puppy comes home. Again the popular belief is that the basics it the foundation of all further training. Wrong! It starts with conception and puppies are ready to be molded at birth. As far as actual training it is never too soon. I train professionally part time. Mostly gun dogs but have run a few client dogs in the games. If I had my way I would train nothing but puppies starting at 7 weeks old. I believe this is where it all begins and the is a lot that can be done. It is said that the words never or always should not be used when it come to training. I will add a couple more word to that. Don't ask WHEN OR IF. Instead ask how. It is never too early to start.