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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have lurked for a while but decided it was time to write my 1st post. I have a 1yr old female Golden that is, first and foremost our family dog. We've focused mainly on formal ring training but her prey drive is strong and she really enjoys fetch. She is from a line of field trial dogs and I would like to learn to train/hone her field skills. We primarily train with positive reinforcement but do use a plastic pinch collar for minor corrections on lead as she isn't particularly food motivated and went through a stage where she didn't want to walk at heel. We have yet to move to e-collars but I am not averse to them. Reading the forums, I see quite a few references to either the Lardy or Hillman DVDs as a reasonable place to start. Are either of these DVDs illustrative enough for me (a green owner/trainer) to get value and improve her fetch? With a 1yr old retriever, where should I begin? Are there any books that people recommend to field n00bs? I will caveat that while I am not averse to sensible reinforcement/corrections, I am not interested in the old-school force methods- while they may work for some, they won't work for my family.
 

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The Lardy and Hillmann DVD's are very both very good. Look up some of Hillmann's YouTube videos if you haven't already. I started my current dog, also a golden, on Hillmann's puppy training then moved to Lardy as many do. You will need an e collar for both and sensible corrections are the only kind you should use it for. I would also recommend finding experienced trainers in your area, preferably with some field trial success to train with at least occasionally. Look on Entry Express for retriever clubs in your area.
Good luck and give progress reports.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the insight. Of the two, I think I like Hillmann's videos a little better with respect to force fetch. Issues I'd like to address:

- My 1yr old will retrieve a hard or soft bumper to hand at this point and is excited to do so, but she won't always pickup on command.
- She will attempt to pickup any stick we walk past... even if I don't ask her to. She'll release them all with a simple 'give' command but I end up saying 'give' a lot.
- She abandons her search quickly if she cannot easily find the bumper.

I think I will begin with the "The Fetch Command" DVD and a Garmin Sport Pro collar see how it goes. I am wondering if the "Traffic Cop" DVD will help improve her sit in the field. She'll sit on whistle but she's slow about it (faster if I use my voice) and doesn't always look at me. This likely stems from our ring obedience work where she isn't expected to look when given the sit command.

Does anyone have options on Robert Milner's book, Absolutely Positively Gundog Training?
 

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Do a search on the web for Mike Lardy's TOTAL RETRIEVER FLOW CHART...it is a good outline of all the steps you need to take to totally train a retriever for Hunt Tests or Field Trials. You can go as far as you want on this until you have the dog where you want it.

Also look for...Evan Grams 'Flow Chart' Basics through transition'... provides a dogs progress flow chart... should also be on-line He also sells a training program that walks an owner step by step, day by day from beginning to end. I love this folder/book as it is 'idiot' proof...perfect for me! You can find it for sale on his website or sometimes on this website or ebay...

...both of these could be helpful to you. I would have uploaded the files, but for some reason this website would not let me attach the files....??!!

In all training, having Basic Obedience in place with the dog is necessary prior to going forward. THIS IS THE BEGINNING! Not everyone agrees what exactly is included in 'Obedience' but all agree this is the beginning steps that must be done. The dog should be 95%++ in obedience of these commands, or the dog is not Obedient! Sit (means sit and stay includes at a distance even when you are out of sight), Down (means laydown and stay includes at a distance even when you are out of sight), HERE (or come to me now and return at heel position, will save the dogs life...), heel (while walking, jogging, turning, etc.), give (to hand), drop (let go of it now, like a pill you drop), leave (don't touch it e.g. dropped pill, or a snake, or piece of glass, etc.) Obedience training, done properly and completely, protect your dog from harm....and makes the bond between dog and owner(s) strong as the dog is under control. I also build in whistle training on a number of these commands to in the field the dog can hear me at a distance!

Finally, do not use an ecollar until your dog is completely trained to the collar. This is a training routine that is critical prior to using a collar on the dog. I always use a pro to force fetch my dogs, as I have not mastered this training routine. The trainers always include 'collar conditioning' into that process. Second you too must also be trained either by doing tons of research and reading or, better yet, be trained by a pro trainer who your respect as a dog trainer. Understand, not using a collar properly on a dog, can ruin the dog! This happens more than you would know, and a dog that has been mishandled with an ecollar, is not a dog you want for field or family. So if you decide to get a collar, plan and do the training properly...

Good luck
 

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The basic obedience commands are useful in the training. For example, I will use the "sit" command if my dog is about to jump all over someone. Similarly, you could use the "come" command to recall your dog if she roams around you. Except for basic training commands, You should reinforce other obedience training, such as leash training and heel training, and picking up objects.
 
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