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Thread: Where should I be in my puppy training?

  1. #1
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    Default Where should I be in my puppy training?

    Hey guys (and girls), I'm new to retriever training and new here. Just been lurking for the last few months and reading all the threads to try and further my knowledge. Just got my first pup a black lab named Nelli. She is 14 weeks old tomorrow. I've been following Tom Dokkens book and she is doing okay with training.

    She loves to retrieve. Doesn't always bring it right back to me but most of the time she does. She never wants to give up the toy or bumper, at first I was just praising and taking it away from her, I shouldn't have because she started trying to run past me with it because she knew I was gonna take it. Now I'm just catching her and praising until she drops it. She has Come down good, good enough to where I feel confident enough to use it outside without a check cord from a good distance. She'll perk up and come running straight to me every time. She learned sit when she was about 8 weeks old without treats, but since them she stopped doing it on command. Went back to using treats and she caught back on. We just started on working on Down and she will now do it on command for her treat. But after she gets the treat for sitting or down she just stands back up. Won't stay there. I feel like this is okay for her age?

    My question is.. How much do your pups know before starting their formal training around 6 months?

    I have a lot more questions but I'll just start with that.
    Last edited by Chasintail; 02-18-2014 at 02:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    Gonna start working on Place today. Also, she'll kennel if she's close enough to it, other times she'll just look at me and I'll have to move her to where she's facing it then she'll go in.

    Here's another question. My pup was eating her food way to fast and was burping and throwing the food back up afterwards. And when you or another dog would get close shed eat even faster. I feared this would turn into her being aggressive over food when she got older. So I started hand feeding her a few days ago. I probably should have started doing this weeks ago. It takes quite a few small handfuls to get through the whole cup of food. Think there would be a problem with me giving her commands (sit or down) and rewarding her with a handful of food each time?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Suggest you get Sound Beginnings DVD by Jackie Mertens. It is relatively inexpensive and available from YBS media. It has lots of good info for the very young.

    You may be over concerned about the fast eating. There are number of ways to slow down the eating. I don't have this issue. So you can probably find them by doing a search. I seem to recall that one is to place a tennis ball in the dish. Dog has to push the ball around to get the food thus eating slower.
    Last edited by Wayne Nutt; 02-18-2014 at 05:59 AM.
    Wayne Nutt
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    HRCH Patton's Parker Co. Shadow "Shadow"
    HRCH Clineline Hijacker "Jack"
    HRCH Marks a Lot Midnight Hudson, SH "Hudson"-retired
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    Hand feeding is not a good idea! You may regret it because she will expect it : )

    You can add some water to her kibble--don't soak, it just add enough to slow her down. Or the tennis ball, or a bone or something else she has to work around.

    At her age, the things you are working on are good. Make her sit before you pet her, sit before she gets fed, sit before the door opens, etc. Great way for her to learn patience.

    Have fun!!

    Meredith

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    Senior Member rotcsig443's Avatar
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    I started with sit/stay for food at 8 weeks with my past pup and it shows today. I would give her a sit, put the food down while repeating stay, and if she broke to come to the food bowl, I would not give her a negative punishment at such an early age. I would pick her up, put her back where she was. Make her sit/stay for a few seconds, say her name, get eye contact, then release to eat. It took a week or two of this for her to 100% figure out she had to sit/stay and then look at me when i said her name before getting to eat. She now knows that she has to sit and be patient before pretty much anything.

    Here is my opinion. If you see it as a problem due to not meeting your expectations you have set, keep working on it and don't move on. No matter what stage of training you are in. In this instance, if you see that her sit is not how you would like it due to her standing up after the reward, just work on sit in your SHORT training sessions. Try not rewarding her the very second she completes a command. Try making her sit and wait for a few seconds before getting a reward. And each day lengthen this time interval between completion of command and reward each day. Once this is very solid and meets your expectations, then move on to down or place or whatever your next step may be.

    With a puppy I personally feel its better to do one easy thing at a time in multiple short sessions a day rather than one long session a day but I am no professional and don't know more than just a hand full about training. Just giving you what has worked for me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    Pat Nolan, a professional trainer, has a wonderful website or youtube site with tons of videos and write ups for pups. It is brilliant stuff. Have to rush to work, but will come back with a couple of links for you when I get there. It's all free and really easy and worthwhile.

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    Thanks for the replies everybody. I'm going as slow as possible with training and making sure she understands the command before moving to the next. I'll try making her wait before she gets her treat on sit and down. I'm sure that'll work. Why is hand feeding so bad? I'll go back to using her bowl though, just add a little water. And she sits before she eats, I make sure she's perfectly still before sending her to the food.

    I'm aware of Pat Nolan, watched all of his videos numerous times. It's crazy the things he gets those young pups to do.



    Also, does anyone have any experience with their pup having vaginitis? Nelli has it and I try to keep her dryed off and clean but it keeps reoccurring. Think she'll grow out of it or should I see a vet?

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    Sounds like you have a good start. My 4.5 month old was about where you are with your dog at that age. She had her first water retrieve this weekend. Once you go outside and make longer throws for her a check cord will be good and help reel her in. The biggest thing I have been told is to set your dog up for success each training session. Do not allow her to make a wrong decision to begin with and get in that habit. I have also been told to not chase after her with something in her mouth, then it becomes too much of a game to get it and keep it away. With a check cord on you can bring her back and let her be happy with it then take it away. Retrieving to hand and all will come after FF so do not worry too much. Also when my pup looks like she will try to run past me I take a few steps as if I am going to run away from her, that will keep your pup coming to your most likely.

    Keep up the good work.

  9. #9
    Senior Member swampcollielover's Avatar
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    Have you considered taking an obedience course with you dog? For me this was the best way for me to have a professional watch me with my dog and give me feedback. In that way the dog and the owner get trained. Also, has you dog been force fetched? This process will lay the foundation for retrieving to hand, holding, and basic training for obedience.

    As noted above, Jackie Mertens CD is really good also....

    Good Luck

  10. #10
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    Again, thanks for the replies and help guys.

    We work on retrieves outside with the check cord and she usually comes to me. She's always on her check cord so I can reel her in if she decides she wants to run past me with it. Just lately she has learned that she can run past me and I've turned my back and started to run the other way and it works. I'm jealous of you getting to work on water retrieves though, I wish I could get Nelli in the water sooner but with the weather here it's going to be months before I can. Today was the first day in what seems like forever that the ponds were finally thawed out. She does like to play around in the shallow water in the creeks though so I'm sure she'll take to it just fine.


    And swamp collielover, I have a friend that lives nearby that has trained numerous labs for FT. I get a lot of information from him and watch and help him train when I can. If my pup turns out to be half te dog his is I would be more than happy. But no she is just over 3 months old, hasn't been forced fetched yet. I do plan on it when she is 6-7 months if she is ready by then. Maybe sooner if she is collar conditioned and is matured enough. Thanks!
    Last edited by Chasintail; 02-18-2014 at 10:23 AM.

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