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Thread: Any training places where I don't have to leave my puppy? (14wks old)

  1. #21
    Senior Member Jay Dufour's Avatar
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    Ok ...About 15 years ago,I held a "class on training your retriever " . had about 9 or 10 people in the first class. I do a Carr based program. After the orientation and demos in the first class,I could see that this was not going to be good.6 showed up for the second class.As it progressed,I started getting phone calls at night asking me why fido is doing this and that and what to do.Ok so I'm trying to comprehend what their dog is actually doing and trying to train over the phone.The homework is the biggest hurdle because the student has not learned how to read the dog,and some start to get mad and frustrated.Long story short ,the last three standing left me the dog and they ended up being very happy. Most trainers use the same type program,and it does not lend itself to being implemented easily by the inexperienced.Nowadays there are programs that one can get via videos and such that are broken down to do yourself ,and I guess they work.I hope this helps by having a perspective from a been there done it helperson .

  2. #22
    Senior Member Duckquilizer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdzlaw View Post
    I got my puppy from a member of this forum (Maple Hills - Leslie B.) - she is from Sam & Ruby's recent litter. HNTFSH, I have no intentions of becoming a professional trainer...nor doing field tests, etc. - I was just inquiring as to if anyone knew of alternatives to the traditional - send-my-dog-away-for-months-training. I never presupposed that the way I am seeking is the more effective way or the most acceptable way in the eyes of the majority. I'm sure I'm not alone, but I've been hunting with plenty of dogs who were sent away to professional trainers - and unfortunately there have been plenty of bad experiences due to the owner not knowing how to control/manage/use their well-trained dog. I'm in no way trying to undervalue trainers - in fact I find them to be invaluable and that is why I posted originally - because I'd love to find one in my area that understands my goals and priorities. Some of you have provided me with referrals - and I hope to find one soon.

    I truly appreciate the responses I received from open-minded people. I'm glad to hear there are others who have had success in not sending their dog away for training.

    Perhaps I am overanalyzing, but it feels like there is some sort of undertone with some posters. I was not trying to insult anyone's methods - just seeking newbie advice - friendly advice. It seems as though many people on this board send their dogs away for training - and that's great. And as I've been told, there are many trainers on this board who will naturally advocate sending a dog away for training because thats how they make money. But it also appears that not everyone here chooses to send their dogs away- some choose to train on their own or with assistance. I have the time and the desire to work with my puppy daily (and have been thus far) - I'm educating myself (& no, I am not just some idiot - I have a BS and a JD - so I am capable of comprehending the basics) and reaching out for supplemental assistance. Most importantly (for us)...my dog enjoys her new family and our family enjoys her. Again, I appreciate the advice and hope I will find this website to be of value and not just a plethora of closed-minded opinions and passive insults to those who seek help. Most everyone who replied were very helpful (even with the "criticisms" or maybe just "wake up calls") - I understand that opinions will vary - and I hope the majority of posters on this site understand that as well.

    And who knows, perhaps when my dog is older, I will feel differently - but I don't see any harm in trying.

    By the way, for those of you who care... I'm proud of what my puppy has accomplished thus far (maybe I'm just a proud-mom with a bias) - she's doing 25yd+ land and water retrieves, she's got the majority of basic obedience down pat and she's even learned a few cute tricks. She's been great with exposure to gunfire at the skeet range, riding on a boat, etc.... and she's even successfully done a few "blind" retrieves (albeit short in distance - less than 20yds). She's my little genius (again, I'm just a proud-mama)! There's alot more to learn...but she is progressing wonderfully and hopefully, with the help of a local trainer, she will be on her way to "perfection" (at least in our eyes).

    Thanks again for the replies and advice!
    Keep in mind that you posted on a public forum. Ask and you shall recieve many opinions of well intending people, like them or not... Actually if you browse the RTF, you will find that the majority train thier own dogs and have A LOT of expirence as to what works/what does not. You will find people from all walks of life, from barely any "formal" education to worldly scholars(Sounds sketchy, but its true). I did not see where anyone said, "NO, you idea will not work or that you are an idiot", its just not ideal. This was from expirence and people trying to help you... Here is one last tidbit that will be very helpful, several pro trainers have made instructional DVDs. These DVDs are basically home study courses and show how to employ time and many dog tested methods. Many people here got thier start in training this way, myself included. I HIGHLY recommend that you look into some of these, since you sound like you want to train pup. Bill Hillman's Puppy DVD would be a great start. You do not have to have a goal of being a pro trainer or even a more than once trainer to give this a shot, although you will probably find yourself hooked in the end...
    Last edited by Duckquilizer; 09-10-2012 at 07:55 AM.
    Kendall Layne

    HR(2xHRCH) Ashland's Big Black Ruby to Go SH
    Dorie's Lady of the Lake(1K bird club)

    Never play leap frog with a unicorn.

  3. #23
    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdzlaw View Post
    Perhaps I am overanalyzing, but it feels like there is some sort of undertone with some posters. I was not trying to insult anyone's methods - just seeking newbie advice - friendly advice. It seems as though many people on this board send their dogs away for training - and that's great. And as I've been told, there are many trainers on this board who will naturally advocate sending a dog away for training because thats how they make money. But it also appears that not everyone here chooses to send their dogs away- some choose to train on their own or with assistance. I have the time and the desire to work with my puppy daily (and have been thus far) - I'm educating myself (& no, I am not just some idiot - I have a BS and a JD - so I am capable of comprehending the basics) and reaching out for supplemental assistance.
    Not sure where you are drawing 'under tones' or open/closed 'mindedness'. Unless the suggestions which may be well based don't fit your predetermined beliefs or wants. That, however, would not make the comments or suggestions any less realistic.

    BS, JD, Rocket Scientist or Ditch Digger...none of those have an iota of bearing on training your hunting retriever.

    What I 'meant' to imply in my post was that you'd be well-served to open YOUR mind to the best, better, possible paths to train your dog and SHED preconceived beliefs and assumptions you appear to have made.

    All those 'people' who you mention used a Professional trainer and lost ground when getting their dog back...well...it was THEIR fault, not the process of sending a dog off for solid basics. They didn't follow through. Happens all the time - it's the owners faus paux.

    More importantly to your question..I'd again submit that yes...there are many avenues and options in training your dog and/or getting guidance on how to do so. If you utilize a 'once a week' type PRO trainer (or SME) you STILL need to be working WITH someone experienced in the process of training a hunting retriever on a regular basis, weekly.

    The biggest challenge most people face is 'practicing' what they've been taught (good) but reinforcing bad behaviors unknowingly that they have NOT yet been taught. The outcome is often an unbalanced platform or one with holes making the steps 6 months from now...harder to achieve.

    You have a window to work with that presents some life-long habits and belief system for your pup. My post was to point out you are well advised to take advantage of that quickly and assuredly. You don't know what you don't know...so as suggested in my previous post make sure YOU are open-minded and whether you choose the path that seems 'close-minded' or not...understand the perspective and why it is being shared with you.

    In other words...if you want to train up a solid hunting Golden...I'd advise jumping in with both feet, some aspects of that dive may feel comfortable and some may not. It's the goal and you may expand yourself through the journey.

    If you can find a gun dog trainer that has time to work with you 3 times a week then go for it!
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

  4. #24
    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly Greenwood View Post
    Well I have belonged to an imaginary club then
    Please quit acting naive. Yes - clubs promote healthy, balanced retrievers and the betterment of the breed. MOST make their annual budget from Hunt Tests or Field Trials. That income drives the club activities, equipment, and budget to operate.

    Mission statements are nice. They don't pay the bills.
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

  5. #25
    Senior Member Steve Shaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdzlaw View Post

    By the way, for those of you who care... I'm proud of what my puppy has accomplished thus far (maybe I'm just a proud-mom with a bias) - she's doing 25yd+ land and water retrieves, she's got the majority of basic obedience down pat and she's even learned a few cute tricks. She's been great with exposure to gunfire at the skeet range, riding on a boat, etc.... and she's even successfully done a few "blind" retrieves (albeit short in distance - less than 20yds). She's my little genius (again, I'm just a proud-mama)! There's alot more to learn...but she is progressing wonderfully and hopefully, with the help of a local trainer, she will be on her way to "perfection" (at least in our eyes).

    Thanks again for the replies and advice!



    One of the first things you need to learn is the progression of training. Some of what you mentioned here is WAAAAY down the road and not for a 14 weeks old puppy. Trainer and dog definitely need to bond. A huge protion of training is confidence and trust between the two. It matters not if you should send your dog off to a trainer as it will quickly become part of the family when back at home.
    Labs are not at all harder to train than goldens, if anything it would be the other way around. Every dog is an individual regardless of breed. It is just my opinion that in general labs just have a better aptitude for this type of work.
    As Wayne mentioned you would be taking up a whole lot of a pros time that he should be spending with other dogs he is training. (Renee, if you read this please dont take it to heart, you are welcome to come train with me anytime and wish you could more often).
    I would probably do something that would fit your needs but I would do the training for the first little while. When I am training others dogs I highly recommend owner participation but for the first little while until me and the pup are on the same page and he starts understanding the program I train and handle the dog and hopefully the owner is learning along with the pup. Then once things get to rolling the owner could start to handle the dog. BUT. I would most likely charge just as much as if the dog was left with me and the dog would not be as well trained.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are determined to proceed on your own plan. So here is some advice:
    Dogs need to be trained a minimun of four days per week but preferrably six days with one mental health day off.
    You should be following a training program. The three most often talked about are:
    1. Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy (a high percentage of pros use this method)
    2. Smartworks by Evan Graham (a lot of first timers like this program)
    3. Fowldogs by Rick Stawski
    You will need lots of equipment (est. $6-10,000 min.)
    1. Winger zingers with electronics
    2. Bumperboy launchers
    3. Ecollar
    4. Holding blinds
    5. Leads
    6. Choke chains
    7. Healing sticks
    8. Stickmen
    9. Lots of bumpers (two dozen with both orange and white)
    9. Misc other things like an atv but not a must with one dog, boat, whistles.
    10. Freezer space for birds (ducks, pigeons, pheasant, etc)
    11. Pen for live pigeons
    You will need access to large acreage with water for training. Parks won't do.

    Yes the trainer will have these things but you will need to do the things you are taught on your own.

    Most amateurs fall down because of the lack of training grounds, birds and a lack of understanding of the total training system. Thus the need for a training program to study and follow. Another major factor is time. I don't know if you have a job or not but if so, time will be at a premium.
    Edit: Your are not looking at 15-20 min. per day but several hours per day. The training time per dog is probably only 30 minutes but you have to add the travel time, set up time, take down time, maintenance of equipment time, etc.
    For mulitple dogs this decreases per dog but for one dog the time is as stated. Dog training is time intensive.

    You will have to be able to go train with the trainer in the morning.

    Good luck in your endeavors.
    Last edited by Wayne Nutt; 09-10-2012 at 09:29 AM.
    Wayne Nutt
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Duckquilizer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Nutt View Post
    Sounds like you are determined to proceed on your own plan. So here is some advice:
    Dogs need to be trained a minimun of four days per week but preferrably six days with one mental health day off.
    You should be following a training program. The three most often talked about are:
    1. Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy (a high percentage of pros use this method)
    2. Smartworks by Evan Graham (a lot of first timers like this program)
    3. Fowldogs by Rick Stawski
    You will need lots of equipment (est. $6-10,000 min.)
    1. Winger zingers with electronics
    2. Bumperboy launchers
    3. Ecollar
    4. Holding blinds
    5. Leads
    6. Choke chains
    7. Healing sticks
    8. Stickmen
    9. Lots of bumpers (two dozen with both orange and white)
    9. Misc other things like an atv but not a must with one dog, boat, whistles.
    10. Freezer space for birds (ducks, pigeons, pheasant, etc)
    11. Pen for live pigeons
    You will need access to large acreage with water for training. Parks won't do.

    Yes the trainer will have these things but you will need to do the things you are taught on your own.

    Most amateurs fall down because of the lack of training grounds, birds and a lack of understanding of the total training system. Thus the need for a training program to study and follow. Another major factor is time. I don't know if you have a job or not but if so, time will be at a premium.

    Good luck in your endeavors.
    DANG IT WAYNE!!! I was trying not to estimate all the junk I've bought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Kendall Layne

    HR(2xHRCH) Ashland's Big Black Ruby to Go SH
    Dorie's Lady of the Lake(1K bird club)

    Never play leap frog with a unicorn.

  8. #28
    Member Pat G's Avatar
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    KDZLAW, I've looked at the posts 2x's. You've received good advice from good people. I've seen no undertone, you asked for advice and you got it. Get a program and follow it. Find a club. Go to a hunt test and watch. Meet people at the hunt test and ask questions, most people are more than willing to help out newbies, just like on this forum. Myself, I do all the basic OB, then send off for FF. I work with the same pro in a small training group weekly and work when I can during the week at home. As mentioned there is a progression of training that moves the dog along. Enjoy the ride

  9. #29
    Member Spring's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread because so much of it sounds familiar to me. Basically kdzlaw is the owner of a new pet, has really fallen for it, knows that training it beyond her capapbility would be ideal, but just can’t imagine sending her sweet little pup away from home. Separation anxiety is a fear along with the concern that the pup might forget them and become attached to someone else, particularly if weeks turn into months of professional training.

    I understand but I don't understand why the bond between the dog and the trainer is more important than the dog and the owner…. I guess it’s similar to sending kids to boarding school.
    It’s just too much fun to come home from work to play with the pup to imagine sending it away. Sooooo, there has be another option to keep the dog close while still letting the pup grow up with some sort of deference to his stellar bloodline.


    In recent months I went through all of the same emotions and training explorations. Got my pup, loved him, bought training videos, taught him many basic skills, read 2 training books, saw lots of potential in the little guy, talked over training options with many people, heard about as many saying DIY as professionally (“You wouldn’t let someone else train your child would you?,” I was asked) and had modest but hopeful hunting companion expectations for the eventual results just as kdzlaw.

    No doubt the pro trainers here have heard this story many times.

    So where am I now? My pup is 10 months old and has been with a nearby trainer for 4 months. I go see him as often as I’d like, work with him and trainers twice a week, and of late can bring him home for one or two-day weekends. The pup and I have an incredible bond, which if anything creates a minor training issue as it takes him a couple of minutes to calm down after I first see him before he accepts it’s time for him to work with me. Once past this, he performs extremely well.

    She will be spending the rest of her life with us so we need to be able to continue the training, right? If she goes away to train then we don't know how to continue the training.
    The obedience training methods my pup has learned are completely transferable between any handler. There are no unique voice commands the pup has to learn; no approach to doing things that only the trainer and the pup will know. Mostly it’s body language and a system that the trainer teaches me and all of the owners, something we all work on regularly. I can hand the leash to a child and have the child performing the basic obedience skills with the pup within minutes, and did so with a 10-year old girl just last week.

    Top trainers have a gift of being able to see the nuances and mindset of a dog; they know when to push a dog and when to quit. They know to end a session on a positive note so the pup will be looking forward to more. They use the dog’s own desire to retrieve as a reward for doing good and are constantly looking to build up the pup’s confidence.

    A pro can tell if a dog has been pushed too hard by someone else and how to correct the problems. They look at training a dog as a systematic process, with the most basic skills complimenting the more advanced ones through the weeks and months. They know the process, largely because they know the desired end product, and as a result, know the steps needed to get there.

    I’ve seen dogs in our training group brought in with any number of problem issues and I’ve seen the trainer utilize some technique to correct the issues that left me amazed at how he knew to do such a thing. Clearly kdzlaw has her own life skills, but it’s unlikely that she has developed the approaches that most dogs in training will need over time that a top pro has accumulated.

    And what will soon happen, kdzlaw, is that you’ll find yourself getting as excited in the process as you might find if you’ve ever custom built a house. The foundation is moderately exciting as at least you’re getting started, but once the framers show up and you see major changes every time you stop by, you’ll find yourself thrilled with the progress. Of course by the time the painters get there, you’ll wonder if they even came to work that day, but the fine tuning of a dog and the upkeep of a skill set are important.

    You’ll soon take such pride in the progress of your pup that you’ll wonder how in the world you could have considered taking a short-cut approach. With just my bit of hindsight, I can see how his obedience skills carry directly over to his abilities in the field. I can see how FF, FTP, wagon wheel retrieves, working a “T” or double T, 250-300 yard marks, swim-bys, and honoring are there because of the systematic approaches that I would not have known or been able to personally teach. I have my own life each day, but each day I know my pup is building his skills and he’s ready to show them to me each time I slip out to see him.

    The months and years that I have to look forward to with my pup are so promising as I know the foundation is in place. He’s still the sweet and loving pup he was when he was a little guy and still looks for a chance to sit in my lap at home—or even when driving down the road (he has a much better chance at the former); it’s just that I’ve seen the benefit of a top trainer and couldn’t be more pleased. How far I’d like to ultimately take this pup is up to me, but the whole process of getting my dog to where he is has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part, which of course is enjoying my buddy in the field or blind.

    Good luck, kdzlaw, with your decision process, but from having been in your shoes just a few months ago, if you reward yourself with a trainer, you have some great times headed your way.
    Last edited by Spring; 09-10-2012 at 04:35 PM.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    Plenty of people do train their own dogs and do a good job. I think we all tend to be nervous when it's our first trained dog; we're terrified we're going to make mistakes and screw the dog up for life. In reality these are very forgiving animals and it's pretty hard to make a mistake so bad it can't be fixed. I send mine away because I prefer to have someone who's trained hundreds of dogs do the basics, and has the experience to deal with anything out of the ordinary, and also because a good foundation is so important. Yes it's hard to send Super Pup away to boot camp. This is why you need more than one dog!
    Julie R., Hope Springs Farm
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1981

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