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Thread: Training Help

  1. #1
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    Default Training Help

    I am new to the retriever training side of dog training, I have only trained pointers in the past and even my experience there is limited with 2 dogs. I will give you a little bit of a rundown of how my training has went thus far and one HUGE setback I had and now where I am at...

    I got puppy, beautiful chocolate I called Hank, the first of Feb. He was the most laid back hunting breed puppy I had ever seen. Off the bat he didn't have a ton of drive as far as retrieving even when I pulled out the pheasant wing, with the help of a dirty sock with some puppy treats tied off inside of it I was able to gradually get his drive to be pretty strong over the next couple of weeks. In obedience training he was the easiest dog I have ever worked with, including my pointers and family pet muts that my wife "needs" to have. In 3 weeks he was sitting steady, for his age, healing, walking in heal on a lead without correction, and very enthusiastic to recall. Now I live in town and my back yard has a privacy fence around it and he was best friends with my rottweiler so they were wondering the back yard together for a few minutes without supervision cause there is no way for him to get out. Well, my neighbors adopted an adult German Shepard a week before this and he apparently had some psychological issues. While they were outside I hear my neighbor scream for help, I am in my skivvies, so I run outside thinking her dog attacked her and she was in trouble. I get out and see her dog had pulled a board off of the privacy fence so I hurdle over the fence and see her holding her dog down and poor Hank bleeding next to them. I scoop him up and run out of their yard back to my house to throw on some shorts and get him to the vet. We were at the vet within 10 minutes of the incident but unfortunately the damage to his lungs was too sever and he did not make it, I won't lie for only having him for 3 weeks I felt like I had lost a life long member of my family. I was devastated and it kind of ruined my desire to get another puppy for a while, my wife on the other hand felt so awful for me she contacted the breeder and told him the situation and as it turned out he just had his second litter for the year and they would be able to take home on April 1. So now I am here with a new puppy that I was somewhat reluctant to get but he has stolen my heart same as Hank did and I am so thankful to have the wife I have. I will add the neighbors did take full responsibility for what happened took care of the expenses and got rid of the dog they had adopted and they were great about it and felt terrible so please don't bash on them, in neither of our wildest dreams did we imagine something like that could/would happen.

    So here I am with my new puppy, Blaze, and he is about the polar opposite of Hank. He is a go go go type with a retrieving drive like nothing I have ever experienced and cant sit still for obedience training for nothing. I did some research and found the Bill Hillman program seemed awesome where he emphasized that wild to retrieve was the biggest element to success and Blaze has that in spades. So, I know he is young, I started this program but really eased into it since he was a few weeks younger than the puppy Bill was working with. It has been a disaster, I know its my fault I just am not sure what I am doing wrong. At first he did ok to start out with but then after we would do some fun retrieves he was done learning, he wanted that bumper and that was all he could focus on. Then after a few sessions of not doing any retrieves until the end he just didn't want to work, what he would do was half hearted slow response to commands and really no enthusiasm at all. I don't believe in strict heavy handed training for puppies, it needs to be fun for them cause I don't want to do anything that would hurt his drive later on. I have done a lot of reading and have cobbled some ideas on what to do with a mix and match type training regiment, my pointers I just read tons and trained in that mix and match style and they turned out to be GREAT hunters, good enough to get me invited on bird hunts just so they could use my dogs lol.

    So, I guess what I am asking is if anyone has experienced this and how they handled this, successfully, with their pups? Or, even if you haven't experienced this I love any and all tips/suggestions I can get beings that I am a complete novice to the retriever training world.

    Also, I do understand that he is only 10 weeks old now and will get considerably more trainable as he gets a little older. This is more for me, not the puppy, I just want to make sure I don't do something to hurt his drive or give him habits I will have to re-train out of him later on.

    Thank you in advance for all of your help, there is some incredible knowledge on here and hope to learn as much as possible from you guys!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Tobias's Avatar
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    Might try changing the reward to food.
    How long are your 'training' sessions?
    What works for one pup, doesn't necessarily work for the other... so now, through some trial and error, you have to find what works for Blaze.

    At this age - everything should be fun and his focus on YOU. (thus, why I would get rid of the bumper for now and use food rewards).

    And DANG, that is a tragic story about Hank. I lost one after only 3 days home. So I know how fast one gets attached. Very sorry for you loss.

    Juli
    Last edited by Tobias; 04-17-2017 at 10:46 AM.

  4. #3
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    He's out of balance, which is one of Bill's key parts of training. Get him excited, chase something, sit and walk on a leash is all Hillmann is in the beginning. He will learn that patience and focusing on you is what allows him to play the game. The retrieves don't have to be long either just short little retrieves (chase something) and get him back with a lot of excitement or reel him in with the rope. Then work on sit briefly then back to excitement and playing the game then back to sit etc. If he's too wild do more work on sit if he starts to get bored with sit do more excitement and playing then game so that you keep him in balance.

    I agree with Tobias, treat training would help with your sit and focus a lot. If you're not making him work for his kibble at feeding time you're missing a valuable training opportunity. I'd start there making him sit and focus on you and have patience during feeding time and I'll bet all that lack of focus after fun bumpers goes away. Like she said he's just a baby so everything needs to be fun, which if you follow Hillmann that's his whole philosophy .

    My condolences about Hank, that's something no one should have to go through.
    Last edited by Brian Cagle; 04-17-2017 at 11:54 AM.

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  6. #4
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    In addition to the above you might think about joining a local retriever club. Post where you are at and folks here can let you know what clubs are closest to you. You can get more personal hands on help that way.

  7. #5
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    My sessions are only 5 minutes at most now because of his disinterest, I really like the treats idea and thats kind of the route i was thinking about taking. I get that he is out of balance based on the videos but have no idea how to get him back into balance. I tried the more sitting and leash work and he would lose interest immediately and if I try to use the bumper to get his spirits back up then there is no more focus on the work no matter what I have tried to do to bring him back into it. This is what has brought me to the loss of ideas following that method, I cant get him balanced to do the obedience portion of the training. Its either jacked up for the bumper or don't want to be doing it at all. I have thought about trying to move to the sound beginnings videos and use them since they are more of a standard treat based training style, do any of you have experience with that program?

    I live in Scottsbluff, Ne.

    Again, Thank you all so much for your input.

  8. #6
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    I always start puppy training with treats. Food drive is by far the most powerful drive a pup has. Later on, typically prey drive becomes stronger, but early on food drive is the way to go, IMO. I'd start with sit and 'look at me'. Reward for the act of sitting and every time the dog looks/focuses on you. Shouldn't take long for him to start paying attention.

  9. #7
    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    He is a BABY!!!!

    He gets bored real quick,, just like readin a LONg post...

    I'm Gooser.... Welcome to RTF...

    Disclaimer: Its best to ignor me,,, But read for entertainment purpose only..

    The puppy is just a BABY... Keep following Hillman.... Get the dog CRAZY to RETRIEVE first.. You aint gonna accomplish that in a day or,,or week or two... It will depend on the dog..

    Make that bumper = FUN... That's step one...

    Don't get in a hurry to move on,,and turn him into a statue yet..

    Some days will be better than others,, keep sessions short. STOP early keeping them wanting more.. Some days that might only be a bumper or two..

    Long, exploring walks with you right now, with a couple fun bumpers thrown in for that BABY...

    Did you get I stressed the puppy is a BABY?? be his buddy,,make that time with you fun,,and that bumper funner..
    It is far easier to spit on the work of others than it is to produce something better yourself.
    Brynmoors Prairie Sage JH ​(Sage) Just a dang fool huntin Dawg
    HRCH Calypso Seven Bales High SH (Bailey)
    HR Calypso Zoomin Loosies Mad Hader (Maddi) We loved you baby. R.I.P.
    HRCH FlatLanders Broken Pistol Ricochet MH (Flinch)


    My Christian Name is Michael Baker..
    I have gone by "Gooser" since I was a "gossling"

  10. #8
    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    That Hillman guy is as approachable a person you would ever want to meet... get his material..its expensive at first,, but 10years from now you wont miss the money at all... You prolly wast more on your stupid Cable or phone bill every month..

    if you get stuck,,and have a question... CONTACT BILL....ask him...He LOVES to talk... except to Gooser common deal...


    If you come here with questions be aware!!!! BE AWARE,, it may be a dufus like me on the udder end sittin in his tighty whities with nothin to do but run his maouth..

    Welcom to RTF.... Good bunch a goof....er people..
    It is far easier to spit on the work of others than it is to produce something better yourself.
    Brynmoors Prairie Sage JH ​(Sage) Just a dang fool huntin Dawg
    HRCH Calypso Seven Bales High SH (Bailey)
    HR Calypso Zoomin Loosies Mad Hader (Maddi) We loved you baby. R.I.P.
    HRCH FlatLanders Broken Pistol Ricochet MH (Flinch)


    My Christian Name is Michael Baker..
    I have gone by "Gooser" since I was a "gossling"

  11. #9
    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    There is a Pro trainer or TWO,,r very close to you.. Good a guys as they come... Another option...
    It is far easier to spit on the work of others than it is to produce something better yourself.
    Brynmoors Prairie Sage JH ​(Sage) Just a dang fool huntin Dawg
    HRCH Calypso Seven Bales High SH (Bailey)
    HR Calypso Zoomin Loosies Mad Hader (Maddi) We loved you baby. R.I.P.
    HRCH FlatLanders Broken Pistol Ricochet MH (Flinch)


    My Christian Name is Michael Baker..
    I have gone by "Gooser" since I was a "gossling"

  12. #10

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    I too am a pointing dog person who has crossed over a bit
    I have been working with a similar sounding retriever puppy. Really struggled with getting much focus of any kind for a while aside from the obsessive desire for the bumper. Her ability to focus has steadily improved with age and as stated we do little bits of obedience then reward with a few bumper games. I uses some food treats as well. We also worked hard on place training. She just tries too hard to think about what she is doing and I really have to make tasks small and simple and build in increments. The plus side is she is never tired, is a natural quartering flushing dog, and easily keeps up with the pointing dog on roading runs now. At least for the first 2 miles or so and then I can work her with some retrieving in the water and she seems better able to work and focus on the rules.
    Laurie Thompson
    BriarField Kennels, Dunlap TN

    HR Kerrybrooks That's A Fact Jack JH, RE (Lab)
    UKC Ch, SHR Briarfields Liebe Me Do DJ (GSP)
    Int'l Ch Snips Tennessee Jed SH, NAVHDA NA pz 1(GSP, retired)
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