I'm training my first retriever puppy, he is just a little over 5 months old. He will sit on voice and whistle, come to here or whistle and return to heel on either side. He loves to retrieve and is birdy. I've done all the training up to this point with a combination of encouragement, praise and a few treats.
He is 100% on these commands if we are in the backyard or a couple other places I train, or if we are in a new place and he thinks he might get a treat.
At what point is it appropriate to start enforcing the commands? When should I start using a choke chain or pinch collar to start teaching him to walk at heel. He will walk by my side but is kind of all over the place in the general area, he does well on leash not a puller or anything.
I've read a bunch of books, including the Smartworks stuff, Lardy's stuff and a few others. I'm planning to follow the Lardy program. However, I feel like all the programs have a little bit of a blank spot in that they don't tell you when to start this stuff. They all say start the pup off right with encouragement and teaching games but then go straight into more advanced stuff that he isn't ready for. He is still teething so force fetch isn't here yet. In the Lardy video the dog they are using the choke collar on is clearly older than my pup and they said he was just entering that phase of training.
I certainly don't want to rush things and screw up but I feel like he understands these commands and isn't learning anything new and I don't want him to get bored. Should I ease into enforcing the commands by gradually tightening my standard with a choke or pinch collar? It seems unfair to suddenly start jerking him around demanding a perfect heel.
If I've screwed up tell me but any advice is appreciated.
Also, Lardy's puppy article talks about using treats to teach casting, any advice on how to do that?