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Thread: How do I know what training system is best for me

  1. #11
    Senior Member Steve Shaver's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Cornish Utah


    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Dutchman View Post

    I don't want to oversimplify this and I might ruffle some feathers by saying so, but my feeling is that all of the programs really aren't all that different! Picking the "RIGHT" one isn't as hard as it sounds since virtually every program was written by someone who got their start in pretty much the same place. See how many of them reference Rex Carr. They all seem to have trained with Rex or with someone who worked for Rex. I think the general plan for almost every program came from Rex's general philosophy.

    I have to mostly agree with Chad. Most programs, whether professional or not, are based on one or two different schools. They have just been tweaked for each persons style or dogs they encounter.

    Both of the above statements are true and you in the long run will do the same. You will find your own ways to implement the system you pick. If it were as easy as picking a program and following it step by step to a perfect dog everybody would have a perfect dog.
    I basically started out using the old Tri-Tronics Retriever Training book written by Jim Dobbs then advanced into the Lardy stuff but as I went along I have tweaked things to work for me. In the last year or so with the Hillman stuff coming out I use some of that. That's what you call learning and it never stops. Always be open minded enough to look at something new or different. I dont agree with everything that anybody says no matter who they are.
    I think it is a great idea to look at everything you can and take what you need from each but if your brand new you need to start out with something to follow then with experience you can expand. I think brand new just starting out I would go with the Hillman stuff and progress from there. I use some stuff that he does and I totally disagree with some but I like his general philosophy. Also how far you go depends on your goals and how serious your are about training
    Last edited by Steve Shaver; 02-01-2013 at 10:54 AM.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member Don Lietzau's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Chugiak, Alaska


    I think you need to purchase a few programs, study them and then choose the one that best suits you and your expectations. Hopfully you choose a good breeding, why not do the same with a training program. Look at it like this. You checked out a few girls before your picked a wife? You looked at a few different jobs before you settled in on a career? Maybe you pick a program that just don't work for you? So what, get another and move on. You never fail doing something. You only fail when you do nothing. Just my opinion. Don

  4. #13
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2004
    Illinois Wisconsin border


    You nailed it and for a guy who trained 1.5 dogs that's about the best response of insight I have seen . It's all a round robin. Most of the contemporary training goes back in a general way to Rex Carr. Venues are different, choose your method, stick with it and use your resource people wisely. Semantics are often confusing ,the program you choose must speak the same language you speak or train in. Thank You Chad !
    Earl Dillow

  5. #14


    I'd suggest aligning with a mentor or experienced training partners and using the system they use. Any system will be more successful if you have guidance from folks who've already been through it.

  6. #15
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Ft. Worth, TX


    If I read you post correctly, this is your first dog. If so, I don't think it makes that much difference as long as you pick one of the major programs most often talked about on RTF.

    For $25 you can buy Mike Lardy's Vol 1 of his Retriever Journal articles. From this you will get a sense of his training program.

    Smartworks has a number of one disc dvds that deal with a specific topic: ob, puppy stuff, etc. You can by one of his dvds relatively cheap and get a sense of his program. His website has some video samples but I haven't watched them but it is more information.

    For puppy stuff: Jackie Mertens aslo has a video sample. For more puppy stuff: Bill Hillman has a website and has some training videos posted also.

    From these items you will have sufficient information, I think, to decide on a program.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Wayne Nutt; 02-01-2013 at 12:07 PM.
    Wayne Nutt
    Go Nutts with dog training

    HRCH Patton's Parker Co. Shadow "Shadow"
    HRCH Clineline Hijacker "Jack"
    HRCH Marks a Lot Midnight Hudson, SH "Hudson" RIP (5/26/01-6/18/15)
    Castile Creek's Rawhide, SH "Rowdy"

  7. #16
    Senior Member grnhd's Avatar
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    Jan 2013


    Thanks for the replys folks.
    Couple of things....first,you see it mentioned all the time and it was mentioned a few times here,to get with a club or mentor.How do you do that? The closest HRC club according to the website is in TN,about 2 hours away. Lets be realistic, I wont be able to make the drive very often with the hectic schedule of life. Once a month on saturday,yes,working with somebody 3-4 times a week,no. I dont know anybody around here that trains dogs although I'm sure there is,how do you meet these people?
    Second,this isnt my first dog. I've "trained" 3 counting the one thats in my avatar pic. She's 9 now and showing her age and its got me to thinking of getting a puppy. By "trained" I mean dog sits steady at side(or in blind) and able to retrieve multiple marks under gun fire she sees fall. No handling skills,either one of us. I got the dogs to that point and decided thats good enough. I've decided I want the new dog(when I get one) to be able to do more. I want to learn how to do that before I get a pup. There's been a lot of times over the past 9 years that it sure would have been nice to handle her.
    Oh yeah,I used water train my other dogs. It got me started but I sure felt like it left something to be desired.
    Last edited by grnhd; 02-01-2013 at 06:37 PM.

  8. #17
    Senior Member Gunner's Dad's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Canton Tx



    Even if you only train once a month with a group, that will be the biggest help you get when it comes to training your dog. Having someone else watch how you work you dog and give you pointers is priceless. It really does not matter what program you use, but if you training crew all, or mostly, using program A then it would be nice to speak to their language.

    Also did you check into the AKC training groups in your area. And you never know where all those fine people in the group 2 hours away live. The group that i have just recently gotten in with, over an hours drive to where they train, has members that live 20 mins from me. Made an instant Saturday training buddy.

    Just thoughts. Good luck with you new pup.
    Benjamin Fain

  9. #18
    Member Flying Dutchman's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Hamilton, MI


    x2 on what Benjamin said. Our HRC club in Michigan has members that stretch the entire length of the state. What they get from being members of the club isn't always the opportunity to attend club training events. Sometimes, they attend an event or two, meet some people, and find out that there is a training group, or two or three people looking to start one, just around the corner from them. Give it a shot! Even if it doesn't change your life, the most you will be out is an enjoyable Saturday spent around mostly like-minded folks playing with your dog!
    Chad Miller
    Great Lakes HRC

    HRCH UH Northern Flying Dutchman
    High Times Dutchmans Copper Cooper

    "Wake me up early, be good to my dogs, and teach my children to pray!"
    - John Anderson, "Black Sheep"

  10. #19
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Burlington, Vermont


    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    ..............You're right to want to choose carefully. I have been a consistent voice in opposition to new trainers "reading everything" or "watching everything" they can get their hands on because of the differences in the flow of information, and because a new trainer doesn't have adequate experience.........

    Mr. Graham Sir,
    I am shocked you would type such. As an author of a training program, how? How I say (my Foghorn Leghorn Voice) can you say such a thing? Not a rhetorical question. If a person does not read everything available how can they see what programs and right for them and what are not? Now I did not say hop scotch or as that ever so Great line from RTF member Bon so aptly stated "You Cannot Build A Retriever Ŕ la carte"!!!
    But gosh man how phase II do you want these kids to be? I am trying very very very very hard to be peanut ish but this goofy little typed text of yours on a goofy little retriever message board actually makes me very very angry.
    So Tell me Mr. Dog training program promoter Sir. The next time some kid pipes up and says " I am using water dog and I was wondering blah blah blah" Are you going to type back "You should stick with Water Dig and read nothing else at all because any other knowledge will confuse you and I am sure you will be unable to process it"
    Will you link him off to Smart Works Volume 1 - 666????????????
    Dude?. . . just... dude????
    Last edited by Ken Bora; 02-01-2013 at 11:58 PM.
    "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

  11. #20
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Kansas City, MO


    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    Mr. Graham Sir,
    I am shocked you would type such. As an author of a training program, how?
    Because I'm honest. That is the advice I've given and believed in for years. I have steadily advised new trainers not to flood themselves with information that may be conflicting because, as I said, they don't have a baseline of experience to know how to keep things in order, or to sort out procedures. More experienced trainers benefit from other views because they will have learned more about how dogs learn and react. It's hard enough for newbies to keep from moving on too fast, or from skipping steps without wondering if they should try a little program A, and mix that with program B.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    So Tell me Mr. Dog training program promoter Sir. The next time some kid pipes up and says " I am using water dog and I was wondering blah blah blah" Are you going to type back "You should stick with Water Dig and read nothing else at all because any other knowledge will confuse you and I am sure you will be unable to process it"
    I'll continue to advise updating to a more modern program and to stick with that through at least their first dog. I don't recall advising otherwise. We disagree. That's not new. But I remain as constant in my views as do you.

    "Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham

    “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw

    The Smartwork System for Retriever Training (link)

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