Is it too late
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Thread: Is it too late

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Is it too late

    Well let me first start off by describing my situation. I have never owned a lab before however I have always been amazed at their abilities. I also have never been hunting where a retriever was nessessary. A few months ago I happened upon a 11 month old female pure black lab named Harley. She is an inergetic girl who I found out from the start LOVED to play and retrieve. She did not know any commands when I go her and i got her to learn "sit", "stay", "down", and "heel" in one afternoon. That was about a month ago and she still hasn't forgot anything. She is right on point every time I give her a command. That got me to thinking. I have several friends who duck hunt and I have always wanted to get into it. Then I thought about how much fun it would be to get to share the experience of a hunt with one of my best friends. She is by far not my first dog, actually I have a shephard/lab mix with her here at the house although he is 4 and has no interest in going to get anything, lol. I guess I have a few questions if some of you are patient enough to deal with someone like me. First, is a year old too late to start training her. Next, I have no idea where to start. Just from watching shows I have got her to heel, and I tell her to mark and she wont go get it till I tell her to. That was the easy part. Now I dont know where to go. She seems like a natural and I would love to be able to handle her right. She seems so much happier when we are out training. She is focused and intense. It is such a leap from how energetic and spastic she is in the house. Well, i am sure like most of you I could go on and on all day about my dog, but I guess I will save you the time. Thanks, Justin

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Joe Brakke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Welcome and you should get more comments on this one.

    It is not too late, assuming the dog retains all the good traits of a retriever. Find a local Labrador Hunt Test, HRC or Field Test club and become a member. I am helping a new member with a 14 month old that has gone through OB, we just spent 3 months on field work and she is ready for Junior Hunt Test. This is a dog with a strong field trial pedigree and is a lot of dog. One on my training partners calls her a one Hup dog. She is too strong for Hup .. Hup ... Hup ...

    This is from a previous threads, look for threads starting with newbie, new to site need help because a lot of discussion will occur in them that you will find helpfull. In the past two weeks a lot of starter help has been requested and written.

    I would add

    You will have to wade through them all to find beginner lessons.

    A good introductory book on field testing is Retriever Hunt Test by James Spencer. It will describe and give you some insight on this sport of ours.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    It's not too late.

    Get a few books and/or DVDs and start a retrieving training system. Start at the begining. You might find that you've already covered the basics and you might find that you haven't covered them completely. You most likely not spend a lot of time on obedience and will be on to the next steps of force-fetching, retrieving and handling.
    Stray labs make great pets.
    Proud member of the FF society.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Kansas City, MO


    Quote Originally Posted by bigmaac73 View Post
    11 month old female pure black lab named Harley...She is focused and intense. It is such a leap from how energetic and spastic she is in the house.
    Thanks, Justin

    You may be blessed with plenty of dog to work with. But it doesn't sound like you have enough working knowledge to get a handle on her. That's why you've been offered suggestions about methods. It really does matter how you go about it, especially with an enthusiastic pup.

    What are your performance goals for this dog? What kind of work do you want to prepare her for? And, as odd as the question may sound, how good do you want her to be at it? The answers to those questions will help you to make a wise choice in methods.

    "Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham

    “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw

    The Smartwork System for Retriever Training (link)

  7. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Keene Ky


    I'll let the trainers give you the technical answers and stick to the practical. I hunted last year with a truly fabulous duck dog. As the day progressed, my cousin finally had to know the dogs breeding and story. Short answer, found him at the pound, not sure he's even full lab, 300 birds a year will teach a dog.

    So it isn't too late, and it's up to you to decide how far you want to go.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride


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