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Thread: I need some help and support please, long post. Thank you.

  1. #1

    Default I need some help and support please, long post. Thank you.

    I have been posting here a bit, not much. I've had three labs now, among them a ten year old and a five month old pup currently and I'll make this as short as possible (meaning not short)

    First: my first real hunting dog was a female lab who I put down about six months ago and I miss her dearly. Not a great hunting dog, but sound, and just a sweetheart and I miss her every day. I shot a LOT of birds over that dog. You know the song and dance. I have her son, a GREAT dog, I considered my "dog of a lifetime". He's now ten years old and since his mother passing six months ago he's just aged so rapidly that it's become noticeable and really troubling. I had my vet check him out and he's very healthy, just slower and more sedentary. It seems like Lucy was gone and WHAM he aged so quickly. Is this common? Has anyone else had this experience? Everyone notices that Duck is now "so old" and he was such a puppy in attitude and physical ability until his mother was gone. I hate to put human traits on dogs, but God, it seems like this threw him for a loop. Tell me if I'm nuts or not, but it's just breaking my heart for when this dog goes it will just kill me. He went from a young athletic dog to a senior citizen overnight.

    Second: I got another pup about three months after my female was down, since I do hunt avidly and I need time to develop another dog. This pup (a Ryder pup) is just so much more full of potential than Duck, and drive, and fire, that I wonder how I'm going to handle him. Duck was always very biddable, easy going, very independent, easy to train and hunted hard, long and retrieved any bird that was retrievable. I shot about a gazillion ducks over him and he retrieved mine and those he shouldn't have gotten, just a great dog trained by Kingston Kennels in VA. My pup (Chooch) is so hot to retrieve at 5 months old I can't stand it. I watch the Hillman videos and this pup is the "Anti Hillman". When he's going through obedience with me and on a lead, and choke chain, he's quite steady, sits good, comes to heal, will retrieve from a bird boy about 80 yards away, is not gun shy, loves water, loves live birds, is learning simple doubles, uses his nose, just AWESOME for his age and coming along better than expected. He's everything I want in desire but so much HOTTER than Duck. My question here is, am I forgetting what it's like to have a puppy, or do I have a hot dog that might need collar conditioning sooner than expected? Force breaking sooner? He comes to me with the bird and bumper every time, but will not let go, will not stop chomping at it, will not stop going for it no matter what, he's just HOT to retrieve (never had this before). He knows the sit, here, heel command, but there are times I have to put him back on sit about 50 times if I'm just holding a bumper he wants to go so bad. Don't want to hold him back but don't want him out of control. Advice please? I think I'm doing a decent job with obedience, he listens well, but when the bumper is out it's bets off, I need come down harder on him just to keep him in line otherwise he's jumping for it and chomping at it (when it goes away he's much more calm).

    And finally, any tips for handling your older fella while developing a young hot dog? How do professional trainers do it or is it a matter of time for each dog alone so they feel like they're getting individual attention? I'd like to hunt them together this year to let Chooch learn to hunt and experience it, but the little one is always pestering the older one, nipping at him and trying to take the bumper or birds out of his mouth (basically he doesn't "honor"). I have only a few short years left with Duck and don't want to deprive him, but also don't want to deprive the little guy at this critical age when I have limited time.

    Thank you one and all.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1st retriever's Avatar
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    I can't help you much but I can say I have a dog that when she goes it will kill me as well. She is 10 and acts 2 and I can't imagine my life without her. Good luck to you and your dogs!
    Steph

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce MacPherson's Avatar
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    Never having owned anything but high rolling retrieving maniacs I can pass along this piece of advice. Keep your standards very high and your consistency level higher. Lots and lots of structure.
    "The longer you let a dog go in the wrong direction the more they think they are going in the right direction" Don Remien.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce MacPherson View Post
    Never having owned anything but high rolling retrieving maniacs I can pass along this piece of advice. Keep your standards very high and your consistency level higher. Lots and lots of structure.
    Thank you Bruce. My pup certainly does better with structure. At this pace seems like he'll be on a lead for about 45 years.

  5. #5
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    My first Lab turned ten, and then BAM--he was gray, he had lipomas, he was weak in the rear. He was an old dog for another three years, most of the time very healthy. But it was very sudden. Perhaps sometimes that's just the way it is???

    I loved my first Lab--and in retrospect, in some ways he was a terrible dog, but I loved him--loved him so much, that it really took me a long, long time to accept the next Lab for what he is--maybe a good two years? And he's a great dog, and I love him. And then my young dog--well, I knew she was a special dog even before I saw her, but even so, it took me over a year to accept her for the dog that SHE is.

    So I guess I'm saying, give yourself some time to get to know the young one--he doesn't even know himself yet.

    Sorry I can't say anything that isn't wishy-washy--wish I could be more practical. Oh well.
    --Greta Ode
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  6. #6
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    Sit means sit.

    Keep working on obedience.

    Also...give him a hanful off those 80 yard retrieves to drain his energy a bit. It's likely to be easier to get him to sit when he's tired.
    Stray labs make great pets.
    Proud member of the FF society.

  7. #7
    Senior Member marshmonster's Avatar
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    and train them seperately........until the younger one is mature.

    With my current pup (very high drive), concentration and behavior are better tenfold when the training does not involve another dog.

    And I go as far as to not have the dog within earshot or eyesight. I want no distractions.

    Once the pup is done with her session (read: wore out), I add the older dog, and put the ecollar on the pup. She is staked down nearby, and when she jumps up and lunges for the older dog's bumpers, or starts the vocality...she learns that it is not tolerable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Leddyman's Avatar
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    I went through something similar to what you are explaining. At 4 months I was wondering if I had made a huge mistake buying such a well bred dog when it seemed to me that my previous dogs who were not bred well were better.

    You had it right...I forgot what it was like to have a puppy. I kept my standards high, didn't let him play me and at 16 months he is starting to settle down. He still has a very high desire to retrieve, but he is under control.

    With a dog like this I wouldn't force early or CC earlier than you otherwise would. I think it is a maturity issue, and putting a whole bunch of pressure on them before they are ready makes more trouble than it cures. Remember YOU are a good bit older than you were last time you did this. Just keep the cord on him and sooner or later he will start to mature.

    My personal thought on the matter is you should be able to control him without the collar. It is just there to remind him that you can reach out to where he is.

    Been there regards, good luck!
    Terry Moseley
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  9. #9
    Senior Member JusticeDog's Avatar
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    One of your first questions was centered around whether animals grieve, and in my experience, they do. My first lab, Justice, died at 17 months old. My friend's lab, River, grew up with him. They went to training together, agility, etc. When he died, she laid with the last blanket he laid on under her head for a month, and wouldn't eat, except to be fed by hand. She wouldn't come to me when I called her. And, retrieving wasn't fun for her anymore. River had always enjoyed trying to outdo Justice. If dogs could have a soul mate, Justice was hers.

    When my mother passed away, her cats took it very hard, as well as her old dog. The diabetic cat went into a crisis, etc.

    What I learned from the Justice-River situation, was that I would never put another dog down without the other ones being part of it. They would never be left to wonder what happened to their buddy.

    With regards to training, train them separately. And hunt them separately, giving your old buddy the amount of time he can tolerate. The young one sounds like he needs more obedience right now anyway.

    Have fun with your high roller...
    Susan

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  10. #10
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    Your puppy could or should be cutting teeth at 5 months and it's a good time to stop retrieving for a while until his permanent teeth are in. During this time you should as others mentioned work on obedience. He can be hot as a fire cracker, but needs to know when to be calm and quiet. You can fire him up with lot's of marks or teach him to walk calmly at heel and sit and be quiet.

    It's your choice what you get and where you spend your time will dictate the results. If you're a duck hunter you will appreciate the attributes of calm quiet dog as a significant precentage of the time is spent watching and waiting.

    Doesn't sound like he needs more retrieves, he got that down pat for his age.

    Good Luck,

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