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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi y'all. I guess since I have lived in the Midwestern US for about a decade I could be considered a Midwesterner. I grew up in the south and was always surrounded by dogs: one border collie that I barely remember and a whole slew of labs. After nagging the wife for the past few years, she finally gave me the 'green light' to add to our small family. In the past year I got bit by the bug pair that is waterfowl and upland hunting, which had a lot to do with our decision to go with a well bred Labrador. The litter I've got a deposit on is due in about 6 weeks and if all goes well, we'll be bringing home a BLM at the end of April.

As I'm sure many of you can relate, this has opened another rabbit hole for me that are the intricacies of a well-trained companion - specifically the hunting retriever. After dodging some proverbial tomatoes (towards FF, etc.) and confusions while asking for instruction recommendations in online forums such as Reddit, I think I am starting to head in the right direction. Now I am consuming content from many corners of the dog training world from Jo Laurens, Freddy King, Ethan and Kat, Mike Lardy, Stonnie Dennis, to name a few. I recently purchased a few of Evan Grahams instructionals and plan to use those as the foundations of my training. I’ve also been slowly creating a collection of bumpers and puppy proofing areas of the home in anticipation of our little pup’s arrival.\

I’m open to any further suggestions on retriever training material. I would particularly be interested in reading Mike Lardy’s article “Justification of Pressure--A Response to a Letter to the Editor,” if it happens to be available anywhere, or something similar – my Google-fu has failed me in that regard. Thanks for having me!
 

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Many on here are more qualitied than I to add suggestions and guidance on training retrievers. But I will make a few suggestions and preparing for training a retriever puppy.

In my mind have a crate and crate training is basic fundamental should start right away with a new pup.

I prefer using a wire crate that will be large enough for a full-sized Lab. By using the one that comes with a divider that you can use to shorten the crate to a puppy sized crate and then expand as needed, avoids you having to own multiple crates for the pup as he/she grows.
Crates are fundamentally for the initial potty training. By limiting the initial crate to a size that only allows the pup to turn/ circle around (using the divider) in the area provided, the pup will generally not pee or pooh where he sleeps. Therefore, he quickly learns to let you know when he has to go (gets restless, you can hear/see this) and get him outside on lead, to his potty place. Thus, he learns to go outside. At night the crate should be in or near your bed, so you can hear and get up before the pup makes a mess... Crates are useful for much more than this, so read up on crate training....

The pup needs to get used to wearing a collar. Some get a cheap lightweight one to start them. Make them wear it when out of the crate, not at night. I would not use/ train to a pinch collar for six months or an ecollar for 12 months, but that's just me. I do use both on my pups as part of basic training.

Training basic obedience should start right away. I teach my puppy to sit, down, stay, here, fetch, heal, leave it (critical to teach to pups as they grab and eat everything), over the first few weeks with the pup. If you do not know how to teach these find a puppy class to attend with a good trainer (after the pup has had all shots to be safe, check with your vet). Or find a trainer you can work with, this is generally more expensive than a puppy class, but both will teach you how to train your pup on basic obedience.

Going forward, have a good field dog trainer working with you to train your dog. Again, it will cost you, but they will save you hours of time keeping you and your dog on track in your training program. Unless you are an experienced trainer, I think this is important....AS THIS IS WHERE THE REAL WORK BEGINS....

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I appreciate the thoughtful reply! The universe seems to be on my side so far as the previous owner of my home happened to leave behind a large wire crate in the basement as well as a wire fence that may be helpful with the pup when I need to step away for a couple of minutes. I plan to crate train and sleep next to the crate for a few nights. I appreciate the suggestion on "leave it" and I think that will be one of the first goals when the little guy comes home. Thanks
 

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Here you go:

1) Get and follow a good puppy program, either Right Start by Jim Van Engen or Sound Beginnings by Jackie Mertens.

2) Get and follow a good young dog program, either Bill Hillman or Evan Graham.

3) Get a follow a complete basics, transition, and finishing program, either Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy or Fowl Dawgs by Rick Stawski.

4) Find, join, and participate in the local Hunting Retriever Club in your area. This is likely where you will find your first group of dog training friends and partners. Homepage | Hunting Retriever Club

5) Find a reputable pro in your area to help you with force fetch and any other problems you may encounter.

Training a retriever takes a commitment of both time and money. But it is totally achievable if you are serious about it.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your suggestions, DavidC. I did pull the trigger on a few of Evan Graham's Smartworks videos (Puppy Program, Basic Handling, Obedience, Smart Fetch 1 & 2, and Water Force and Swim By) to start, and have joined the local club and look forward to events to start back up. Mr. Graham is also local to me it seems, so I'm hoping he still does seminars or something of the sort.
 

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Congratulations on your future puppy
I am confident that everyone here is wishing you success and years of fun with him.
 
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There are a number of bound volumes of reprints of Retriever Journal articles by Mike Lardy available from YBS media and V2 contains a copy of the article “Justification of Pressure--A Response to a Letter to the Editor,” that you are seeking (see link below)

Volume 1 was especially helpful for me when I trained my first dog through CKC GMH along with an experienced training group.

Training with Mike Lardy – V2 – V4


YBS Media

I sent a message to you with a scan of the article. Hope you get it as I haven’t messages anyone here previously and really don’t know if I did it correctly

Hope this helps
 
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