Thoughts on Waterdog by Robert Wolters - Page 3
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Thread: Thoughts on Waterdog by Robert Wolters

  1. #21
    Senior Member duk4me's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    NE Texas


    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    To me this is a perfect response. Too many people are quick to make fun of Richard Wolters when his book actually did work for many average hunters in making a serviceble retriever for them to hunt with. It just didn't work with every dog and wasn't meant by Wolters to be taken literally. I trained my first Golden with the book back in 1979 and it worked perfect for what I needed. Twelve years later I moved to Montana and bought another Golden, a male this time. I bought Wolters' updated Game Dog and started with my pup on day 49. By day 66 I was about ten days behind and very frustrated to the point that my wife, who I was driving crazy, made me look up Wolters number in New York and give him a call. He was actually very nice, told me I was taking his book too literally and recommended that as Tim suggested, I hook up with a local amateur training group to take me under their wing.

    It took a little searching, but eventually word of mouth led me to Jim Mitchell and the rest is history. Kimo the dog that struggled with Wolters method, flourished in a Carr based program, earned Started and Working Retriever titles in NAHRA, then Junior, Senior and Master titles in AKC. That led to another dog and field trials. A lot of people make fun of Wolters because he was pretty eccentric, probably was a better writer than dog trainer, and as Tim pointed out there are better programs out there now. That said, the OP could well train a nice hunting dog just by using Wolters book, many others have.

    Thank you John. I view Wolters as a gateway drug. Well at least it got me hooked. As I already posted what will we be saying 30 yrs from now about current methods? Ok I'll be saying nurse oh least I hope.
    I have learned I need these dogs much more than they need me. Tim Bockmon

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  3. #22


    It doesn't really matter what book you read, who's program you use, or what club you belong to if you don't spend time with your dog. The biggest problem I see with Labs in my area is: Duck season is coming up and people decide they need a retriever. They buy a puppy that they can't do anything with because it is too young. A few months later Christmas passes, duck season is over, and spring is coming. The dog is now at a crucial training age yet the new owners have changed their focus on fishing, spring break, crawfish boils, or whatever seasonal hobby is popular. Now the dog runs wild on the yard for 9 months chewing up everything, digging up flower beds, and jumping on every person that comes by to visit. Now there is a 1 year old dog with zero retrieving ability, a ticked off spouse, and a hunter that will still be walking out making his own retrieves!

    Dogs are like children, you have to spend time with them if you want them to grow up and be something. When I hear some average joe tell me the family is getting a duck dog I tell them to buy a started dog or buy a puppy and send it to the trainer at 4 months old. Most of the time it is cheaper to buy a started dog. I don't train dogs for anyone but myself. I wonder how many "Great Retrievers" never made a retrieve because they were forgotten in the back yard.

    But of course, most people on this site don't have this problem. We all need more time in a day to work with our dogs!
    To quack, or not to quack, that is the question.

    SHR Ben Whistlin Dixie

  4. #23
    Senior Member thelast2's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Wasilla, AK


    Pretty easy to speak of Richard Wolters since he has been dead for almost 20 years. Most of his books were wrote in the 60,s. So guess when someone can write and produce videos to compete with him maybe they have the right to open their mouths and say he was an idiot but from where I sit he was a pioneer of his times.

    PS the popcorn is cooking


  5. #24
    Senior Member Dave Farrar's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Lemoore CA


    Quote Originally Posted by thelast2 View Post
    Pretty easy to speak of Richard Wolters since he has been dead for almost 20 years. Most of his books were wrote in the 60,s. So guess when someone can write and produce videos to compete with him maybe they have the right to open their mouths and say he was an idiot but from where I sit he was a pioneer of his times.

    PS the popcorn is cooking
    I agree. Henry Ford built a bunch of crappy cars compared to the one I drive today.

  6. #25
    Senior Member Howard N's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Anchorage, AK


    I said the same thing when he was alive. He was a good BS slinger but he wasn't a dog trainer. If you want a dog to get even to the upper levels of retriever hunt tests you need more than he gives in his books.

    Just because he's passed doesn't mean his books are better dog training tomes.
    Howard Niemi

    You really gotta be careful about how high a pedestal you put your method, your accomplishments, your dog on. There's usually someone who's done more, somewhere. And they may have used a different method than you did! Chris Atkinson 2013

    get your dog out and TRAIN! caryalsobrook 2013

  7. #26
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    S.W. Washington


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Watson View Post
    I knew Mr. Wolters well enough that he asked that I call him Dick, as he said his friends did.
    I didn't know him as well as you obviously did but I did know him well enough to know that the reason people called him Dick had nothing to do with his given name. Richard MacDonald trained and ran the only dogs that ever enjoyed any succes at all.

    adjective not a noun regards

    There are three classes of people: those who see...those who see when shown...and those who do not see. - Leonardo da Vinci

  8. #27
    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009


    You old regulars here really know how to make a good impression on a newcomer, huh? I don't understand the constant bashing of all the old trainers just because you don't agree with their methods. If those methods got even a few dogs out of the back yard or off the couch... then I would say they were a success. Maybe the next NFC won't come from Wolter's book, but it is better than nothing at all.

    More than one way to "skin a cat" regards...
    Bill Davis

  9. #28
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010


    I can go on record as saying Wolter's GunDog was the only training material, I've ever actually paid money for and brought. I had a 3 month old lab that I wanted to hunt. If I recall it was a pretty humorous down to earth book. That said I think I only actually read 2 chapters, then sort've skimmed everything else. I recall liking his attention of developing the nose, did really well with a young pup and her trailing ability. After that I got drug into a club day and a hunting partners Saturday training group and the dog sort've developed under tutelage, of steps and suggestions of what to work on next. This was much better for me as I have a pretty short attention span, books and programs can't really hold my interest, for to long so many other interesting things .
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 12-13-2012 at 03:33 PM.
    "They's Just DAWGS"; "I train dogs, Not papers"
    "Hunting is a skill to be learned whether you do it early or late it still needs to be learned"

    GMRH-I HRCH Quick MH (most importantly Duck/Upland Enthusiast) Rip. July-2014
    GMHR HRCH Lakota MH (most importantly Upland/Duck Enthusiast)
    MHR HR Storm SH (Beginning Upland & Waterfowl Enthusiast)

  10. #29
    Senior Member Jim Danis's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Fayetteville, NC


    I've read most of his books and have pulled a few nuggets of info from them. Compared to the material available now they are very very basic to say the least.
    Weller's Tell It To The Judge MH (Justice)
    Weller's Running With The Wind MH (Chase)
    JD's In It Again MH (Trouble) 5/1/2009 - 1/3/2012

  11. #30
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    Books are nice to read and get the basics from. But it's the little bitty stuff that as an amateur you won't notice that'll get you in trouble. Spend the money and hook up with a pro. They'll show you things and give you advice that you won't get in a book because every dog is different and reacts to correction in a different way. The pro will be able to show you how to get your dog motivated when it's needed and calm them down when it's needed. I did the book thing on my first two 15 years ago and they were good hunting dogs. I have two at a pro now and if I had known the difference 15 years ago, I would have had two awesome hunting dogs back then.

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