New Pup - When to start Hillmann 28 Day Program?
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Thread: New Pup - When to start Hillmann 28 Day Program?

  1. #1

    Default New Pup - When to start Hillmann 28 Day Program?

    This Friday Christmas is coming a little early to our home with the arrival of a 51 day old female black lab. This will be my fifth lab ever and the fourth female in a row. We have raised each of our dogs from a pup in the past and all were hunting partners.

    We currently have a five year old lab (BLF) that has been our best dog to date.

    In hopes of making the new pup even better than our current lab I purchased Training A Retriever Puppy by Bill Hillmann. The video just arrived. I was wondering at what age would you recommend starting this program? Do you introduce a new "day" or the next step in the 28 lessons every couple of days?

    Thanks for your tips and suggestions. Time to start puppy proofing the house. Exciting days ahead!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member The Snows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    I believe Bill starts the puppy at 11 weeks old and the pup is trained three days per week over a nine week period which equals the 28 days of training.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Dallas, TX


    The poster above is correct. I started Hillmann's program when my pup was 12-13 weeks old. No need to move through the program at the same pace that Hillmann does if your pup isnt ready. Don't progress to the next day until your pup is proficient with the current day's training. For example, it took us several sessions to get through "Day 12". I've been very happy with the program.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Slidell, LA


    I started a week late, but pup is moving through it well.

    When I'm in college classes I often just don't have the time to hit the required schedule.
    Joshua T.

  7. #5
    Senior Member T-Pines's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Northern Illinois


    The fun starts tomorrow, congrats! We'll expect pictures

    You're not new to raising a puppy, so you know what is involved acclimating her to her new home and new family. Potty training, crate training, establishing a feeding routine, etc. will keep you busy. I think any extra time during these first several weeks should be devoted to fun and playful interaction with your pup, quality bonding time, and gently teaching her the early lessons of social interaction. Right from the beginning you should give heavy praise and rewards for eye contact, running up to greet you, chasing toys ... among the many other good behaviors that you will be rewarding starting tomorrow.

    Here's a short article by Bill Hillmann:

    This is in line with the beginning of his Puppy DVD. Begin studying the DVD right away. While you and your pup are acclimating and developing your relationship you can begin to incorporate Bill's techniques into your daily play sessions in the house. Chase, excitement, praise, petting and touch, wearing a collar with a light short line attached (only during "training" sessions).

    From that point forward, every session is almost like the previous one. You just make tiny little changes based upon the rate that you and your pup are developing together. Hillmann's Puppy DVD illustrates how the progression occurred for one specific puppy from one session to the next. This will be different for every puppy. Your Day 1 will be different ... Your Day 2 will be different ... and so on.

    Watch Bill and Nick in the DVD. Pay attention to Nick's attitude. Pay attention to the balance between excitement and obedience that is the key to managing this attitude. Pay attention to Nick's attention and focus on Bill. Pay attention to the level of Nick's understanding and the standard of quality that is attained before progressing to new or more difficult skills. These are the qualities that you should try to duplicate with your pup. So, don't count days, or decide that your pup has to be at a certain level at a certain age. Work the program at the rate that you and your pup are able able to have fun, be excited and be successful.

    Also, Bill Hillmann has honed his skills on probably hundreds of puppies. It's unrealistic and puts unnecessary pressure on yourself to try to match Bill's rate of training progression with a puppy.

    It's all about fun!

    Last edited by T-Pines; 12-20-2012 at 10:27 AM.

  8. #6


    Thank you for each reply. I sincerely enjoy learning new ideas and the help to remember some time honored techniques that are mentioned in many posts on this forum.

    Jim, your detailed reply is especially appreciated. Puppy fever is at an all time high. Less than 24 hours and counting.

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