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Thread: Novice Trainer Confusion

  1. #1

    Default Novice Trainer Confusion

    OK, let me first set the stage before I ask my question, I am totally new to retriever training, but not to duck hunting. I recently got a yellow lab puppy who is currently 12 weeks old. My question is one of phelosophy and training. I would like to get Reno (that's his name) to work with me when I am hutning, he does not have to be a "finished" dog doing blind retrieves, etc. I have read multiple articals from many sources that all conflict as to how to train a retiever. Some say to teach the basics you need to introduce them to bumpers early so they think of it as a game, other sources claim that this introduction can be detrimental because the dog should see it more as a job. At the present time, he is exibiting some basic retreaving habbits (if I toss or roll a ball he will bring it back and plop it in my lap), but other than the sit come stay and a little heel he is pretty green. He will sit and stay for about 30 seconds even when I roll the ball out so I am wondering when I can introduce a bumper and see what happens...... Also, should I reward him with a piece of dog food for bringing it back and putting it in my hand (no food if dropped)? A buddy of mine used this to condition his dog and it seems to have worked without 1/2 the pain of other methods......

  2. #2
    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    HI foresterpoole,

    Welcome to RTF

    Why not introduce your pup to bumpers? they should be fun throughout his life....However I do like paint rollers for youngsters...they are easy to carry and pups seem to like them.

    I would only use treats for obedience commands right now...especially 'here'.....do you have kids? or a wife/ g/f? If so have them help with recall commands....they hold your pup between their legs. You show your pup a treat and tease her with it...walk away a few feet while calling her excitedly - at your signal, your helper releases the pup and hopefully she should run to you...repeat several times and call it good..Eventually you cna get to several yrds away with this exercise and gradually decrease the number of treats you give. Cut up hot dogs work great.....

    when doing puppy retrieves try to use a hallway, or place that your pup is restricted to the path she uses when coming back...this way you can encourage her to always come back to you. Let her hold the bumper/paint roller/sock/toy for a few seconds while praising the heck out of her....

    oh and one other thing...he is too young to be requiring steadiness...that is the first thing that will decrease drive...IMO..

    BTW - are you a forester (given your username)? If so, what is it with foresters and bad spelling? LOL LOL LOL...my husband is a forester and he is a terrible speller... LOL LOL LOL

    Juli
    Last edited by Juli H; 05-11-2009 at 01:22 PM.
    God answers prayers all the time. Even the ones we don't know we asked. God is Good (always)

    "There are only two ways to live your life.
    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
    The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    - Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Senior Member HuntinDawg's Avatar
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    Do yourself a favor and buy "sound beginnings of retriever training" by Jackie Mertens. If your dog is too small to handle even the small bumpers well then use paint rollers. It is not possible to get them excited about birds or bumpers TOO SOON. In other words it is never too soon. The only caveat to that is that with small puppies they just cannot retrieve a large bumper and that is where the paint rollers come in. There are some pretty small canvas puppy bumpers you can buy too.
    ---------------------------------------------
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    "When you go to a test or a trial, your dog should be underwhelmed." ~ Evan Graham

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  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the input. Yes Juli, I am a forester in Louisiana. I used to have Siberian Husky, but I felt that brining him down here would be torture so he stayed in Ohio with my parents. I have been using a combination of sources to try to wring out one method that would work. My friends that have dogs subscribe to "Water Dog" religiously. Personally I find some of the methods sound, but the book has some holes and the video is only minorly better. I am currently rolling the ball down the hallway, that seems to be a good thing. If I throw a tennis ball outside 50/50 he will come back or just run around and play with it. I have been combining the sit-stay come routine into one treatable action. I say sit, he sits (really good at that). I command stay, he stays (most times) and I proceed to step back or walk away. I can usually leave him for about 15-20 seconds and even walk into another room or across the yard. I then command come and he will run like heck, becasue he knows that when he arrives there will be a piece of dog food waiting. I also have been walking him off the leash in the house and he has heal down pretty well. I am working on down (he did his first non-assited yesterday night), he gets down and I give him a piece of dog food. I Only practice this for about 5-10 minutes once or twice a day, I have read that this is long enough to make the point, but short enough not to burn them out......

  5. #5
    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are on the right path...

    Personally, and this is what I have found with my own dogs, if you use a tennis ball too much, you run the risk of bumpers being less exciting....I think there is a time and place for tennis balls..but really do prefer a paint roller or plush toy, rolled up sock...Just my own preference...

    I think you would do well with Jackie Merten's video..It is very straight forward and has a lot of great information regarding pups and young dogs....

    Juli
    God answers prayers all the time. Even the ones we don't know we asked. God is Good (always)

    "There are only two ways to live your life.
    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
    The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    - Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    FORESTER - I too am from the HOT state of Louisiana and would love for you to come out and trian with us anytime. Not sure what part you are from but i am apart of the Shreveport/Bossier Kennel club and at least a few of us get together weekly and weekends to train. We have various different training properties and you are welcome anytime. PM me if you are interested. We too are avid duck hunters and knows what it takes to produce a solid retriever. the basics are ALL the same. By basics i mean from the day you get your pup to ususally around 10-11mths. My pup is actually going to her pro next week but we would love to have you out
    GEAUX TIGERS
    LSU!!!

  7. #7
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    I wnated to write again and say dont get me wrong, there is A LOT more to it than what i put on in my first response. LOL. I have had lots of help from some really helpful people in the sport. From picking my litter to my pro. So just take it slow and dont get frustrated. Also like they said, check out jeckie mertends - Sounds Beginnings. Helped me out a lot
    GEAUX TIGERS
    LSU!!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Hello Forester and welcome to RTF,
    Please don’t set out from the start by limiting yourself as to what your dog will learn over it’s career.
    Those finished dog blind retrieves you don’t need to do I speak of. It seems many rtf folk are in your state. Many of them speak of something called the spillway. Do you know of it? It seems lots of dog training and events happen all over your neck of the woods. You should find and join a retriever club. Get into a training group. Your pup will think it is duck season all year long and you will have a fresh obsession.
    Could anyone list some retriever clubs for Forrest?
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

  9. #9
    Senior Member GulfCoast's Avatar
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    If he will post up where he is located, it would be easy to point him to one.
    Wm. Mark Edwards
    Pascagoula, MS

    HRCH (500) UH Ellie Mae MH
    SHR Tipsy

  10. #10
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    can anyone recommend a pro trainer in the texas area

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