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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the double post...posted on the Refuge as well...but want as mcuh advice as possible...

I have a 2.5 year old YLF that was trained 'casually'. She sits and comes when called (though not always if she is distracted) and is generally a well behaved dog. She hunts with me and does allright, but I did not do a thorough formal OB plan and did not force fetch her as well.
I now have a 14 week BLM that I am training and following both Fowl Dawgs and the 10 Minute Retreiver for. I've found both to be the easiest to follow and have watched Smartwork/Lardy as well. Have also started with Sound Beginnings puppy drills.

Anyways, my question is.....I plan on training the new pup very well to hunt, and plan on following a formal OB plan followed by FF. I obviously want to end up with a solid hunting dog. My 2 year old is not trained as well as I'd like, and I'm curious whether 2.5 years old is too old to be trying to put her through a formal OB plan including FF as well? I really wouldnt like one dog that is trained well and one that isnt. Seems like it could cause problems down the road.

Any comments on training the older dog at her age? She's a pretty submissive dog that seems to train well, but my fault for not doing what I should have done when the time was right.

Thanks in advance.
 

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The first dog I FFd was around 2 years old at the time. He'd had some fairly serious obedience training under his belt by then, but never had any e-collar training either. So I jumped in with the Dobb's TTRT book for CC and FF'd according to Jim Spencer. (yea I know! :shock: gasp! We all make mistakes in the beginning!)

So yes it can be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definatly see my mistakes now! I have a great dog for around the house and a wonderful 'pet' but now that I've actually realized that following a program and sticking to it is so important, I feel like I let the dog down. I dont want to have one dog that I want to hunt with, and one I want to leave home all the time, so I'm thinknig I'm going to try my hardest to get this dog up to par and working so I can have a pair that will work nicely together......

If nothing else, the first mistake has shown me how important things are and I've learnt a lot. Glad my 'mistake' is still a great dog that has a great attitude and is fun to be around.... :D
 

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I can relate to you on this Rackmastr, I trained my first dog with a bit of this then a bit of that, depending on which book I'd bought that month! It wasn't until my boy was almost 5 yrs old that I started to study a complete proven[b/] collar and FF system. It turned us both around in very short order and we finally attained the Senior tittle we had been working on for two years. We went on to our first Master pass a couple of months later and this spring we hope to complete the last few passes needed to make him a Grand Master...it's never too late to get with a program!

BTW, it was Evan's Smartworks program which put us on track; you go have fun with him in June we'll do the same when get him in July.
 

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I certainly dont think your dog is too old to have his obedience 'polished' or to become force fetched. Having taught competitive obedience since about 1990, I have FF waaay more dogs than I care to think about as most students were too afraid to do and really lacked the tools & knowledge to get it done quickly, fairly and correctly. The vast majority of dogs were not sporting breeds; most had little play,prey, retrieve or food drive and I would guess 95% were over 3 yrs of age. The single worst was a poodle whose owner had spent 6 MONTHS working on hold & take. In reality all she taught the dog was that if he worked hard enough at avoiding doing what she wanted, then he would succeed and not have to do it. The hound breeds were probably the most challenging in general, tho. Makes the retrievers a piece of cake!

Age in and of itself is not the determining factor. Heck, I have just started my 10 yr old Golden in agility last summer--it is a first for both of us. While she had a strong field & obedience background, neither of us had done agility before. I jokingly say that every trainer should take up a new sport every few years to keep them humble. Suddenly I cant walk and chew gum at the same time--my obedience students are finding it quite amusing. Snap is having a ball and is definitely not ready to retire to the couch yet. So I say go for it!

Teri
 

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I'll add my $.02.

I think it is likely you can force-fetch your 2-year-old just fine. I've trained lots of dogs in the 2 and 3 year old range, and a few starting even older. Speed of learning is not a problem at all. The potential challenge is changing established habits, and, for a dog that has been hunting, getting the new behavior to "take" in the hunting environment.

Force-fetching seems to work like magic, improving bird handling, delivery, and general obedience all at once. We can be tempted to expect too much of the magic. In your case, I suggest you plan, not only on force-fetching, but on developing a "transition plan" to teach your dog to apply her new skills in the setting where she's often practiced her old habits. All this means is don't just FF then take her hunting. Force fetch, then do some short-range field work under controlled conditions, then gradually add in elements typical of hunting until you have her working smoothly in that environment. This shouldn't be difficult for you, since you'll be working on similar things with the puppy. The two of them will most likely respond to different phases of training in different ways. Be patient and consistent with your older dog--don't light her up with the collar for failures. Learning is one thing, but overcoming established habits takes time and repetition.

I have every expectation you'll be successful--just want to suggest you beware of being too impatient. Good luck with both!

Amy Dahl
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Amy! I've gotta say I'm enjoying the 10 Minute Retriever a lot and enjoy reading through it. Lots of very good descriptions and makes me feel a heck of a lot more comfortable about things...

Thanks for the comments everyone!
 
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