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Thread: Training Confusion

  1. #1
    Junior Member corey892's Avatar
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    Default Training Confusion

    I have a 12 week old lab Hank that I have had for 5 weeks. This is my first lab and just getting bit with the waterfowl bug myself last season am new to all of this but still want to train my dog myself. I bought the book Water Dog but after reading here and there on the internet I gather that it is not a great training resource. I am so confused because you can read so many things on the internet I have no clue where to start or what to use. In 5 weeks my dog has been potty trained, crate trained, knows sit and down and is doing pretty well on a leash. He also likes to go for the retrieve but doesn't always come back to me with it. I feel he is doing pretty good for his age but after reading Water Dog I feel my dog is way behind. I want to train him but let him still be a puppy. Can anyone point me in the right direction on where to start. Books, DVD's, whatever. We are supposed to start obedience at 16 weeks with a local retriever trainer but for him to do retriever training he needs to keep my dog for 4 months and I can't see giving up my dog for that long plus it would be hard financially. Any help on where to start would be greatly appreciated. By the way this is my first post here so thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mallard Mugger's Avatar
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    Welcome to RTF and the addiction! No worries, he's doing plenty fine. Make sure to give him time to be a puppy too! You'll find all kinds of resources here, take it all with a grain of salt.

    In no particular order I would recommend Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy, Smartwork by Evan Graham, Fowl Dawgs by Rick Stawski.... With the exception of Smartwork, they all start around the 6 month age. Mr. Graham has a puppy DVD that can be purchased with his material. For puppies I would recommend Sound Beginnings or Hillman's puppy DVD. There are other resources out there as well. These are the ones I know a little about.

    Take your time, it's not a race. Train at the dog's pace, they all learn at different rates. Again, welcome to RTF!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Keith S.'s Avatar
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    Welcome to RTF! There we a lot of knowledgable people on here and you will get tons of good advice.

    One thing you can do is put a long leash/check cord on your pup and encourage him to come back to you. When he does, be excited, make a big deal about it, you want the dog to understand this is what you want him to do. I'd also let him hold on to the bumper for a few seconds so he doesn't think as soon as he comes to you, your gonna take it from him. Try to get him excited for the next retrieve. Only give him a few retrieves each session as they will sometimes they will get bored with it. Before you stop, tease him with it, get him all fired up about the next retrieve and put the bumper away, this will help in building his desire.

    Good luck with your pup and enjoy the ride!

  4. #4
    Junior Member WildWings's Avatar
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    I am sure others with more experience will chime in, but I recommend researching and deciding on a training program that fits. Hillman, Smartworks, etc. Also, try to get involved with a knowledgable training group if possible.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jrrichar's Avatar
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    I am also fairly new to this whole world of retriever training, which is far advanced from any other dog training I have ever done/competed in. I was in your shoes 5 months ago. However, I knew I did not want to send her to a trainer. I would rather be in this together, for better or worse. I joined a local club and got a LOT of advice. There are so many resources that a lot can get confusing. I reviewed different training programs and talked to people and the recommendations already posted above are always the selection choices. Personally, I went with Lardy's training method but many clubs have copies you can borrow or members that have them and can lend them out (if you can save the cash you'll be running through it in no time for the equipment all of this requires). It always seems like your dog is behind. Ignore them. Go at your dog's pace. There is a tremendous amount of information that the both of you have to process and learn. You can't have the same timetable as a pro. At the end of the day people give a lot of advice but you must be the filter. YOU know your dog better than anyone!

    The best thing I learned: training a retriever is like building a brick house. You must teach in a way that is a sequential progression with repetition until it is automatic. If one founding skill is weak the whole house will fall (that might be an over exaggeration but for a newbie to correct a mistake is very very difficult). Going slow never hurt, going fast certainly could.

    Knowing your dog, adapting the training to their personality/intelligence/skill, and finding a balance are not going to be found in any book. Find these out, teach with purpose, be firm but fair, and love as unconditionally as your dog does. This level of mutual respect, trust, and admiration can be the most powerful tool.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    I recommend "Sound Beginnings" by Jackie Mertens for the young puppy training.
    Then I would suggest:
    Training Retrievers Alone by Dennis Voigt-explains a
    lot of the tools used in training and how to train alone.

    Smartworks by Evan Graham-one of the three training programs most often discussed on rtf. Some beginners find it the easiest to follow or
    TRT 2ed by Mike Lardy- is the program I use and highly recommend it
    Wayne Nutt
    Go Nutts with dog training

    HRCH Patton's Parker Co. Shadow "Shadow"
    HRCH Clineline Hijacker "Jack"
    HRCH Marks a Lot Midnight Hudson, SH "Hudson"-retired
    Castile Creek's Rawhide, SH "Rowdy"

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    Right from the start, in a word, HILLMAN...

    Get his puppy stuff first then move on from there.



    john
    "i guess the old saying 'those of us that think we know everything annoy those of you that does' " --bobbyb 9/13/06

    "A Good Dog is a Good Dog"

  8. #8
    Junior Member Robert Hines's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john fallon View Post
    Right from the start, in a word, HILLMAN...

    Get his puppy stuff first then move on from there.



    john
    Went to Bill Hillmann's Seminar this last weekend, and learned so much info. His puppy videos are great!
    I will call you a hunting partner when you jump in the freezing water and retrieve my ducks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GG's Avatar
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    Cory, I have an article (beginning with your pup) on my website reibar.com in training tips that should help.
    Good luck
    GG
    NO DOG WILL PERFORM TO HIS TRAINING LEVEL UNLESS HIS HANDLER IS CAPABLE OF MAKING HIM DO SO!
    reibar.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member GilWlsn's Avatar
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    OMG! We've all been where your at!!! The best advise I can give you is find a Retriever Club. Ask questions...LISTEN, help out. Where are you at?
    HRCH Wilson's God of Thunder - Thor
    HR Wilson's God of Mischief - Loki

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