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If you are new to the dog games, would it be best to get a pup and start fresh or purchase a started dog? What are the major factors to consider? Price is one factor.

Thanks
 

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RPM,

Ask yourself these questions and not necessarily in this order,

How much time do I have to devote to training?
What level of dog do I want?
Am I looking for a hunting dog, test dog or trial dog?
Can I take the dog to a level that I will be happy with?

Speaking from personal experience, unless you want a puppy for the puppy experience, by the time you get that puppy to started level your investment into that dog will probably at least be the same amount currently being asked for, for your average Hunting/Hunt test dog.

There are positives and negatives for both getting a puppy and getting the started dog and I'm sure there will people who will have avid arguments on both.

A positive on the started dog, you'll watch him/her work and know exactly what your getting.

And there are lots of positives with a puppy!!!!
 

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It totally depends what you're willing to put into it. If you don't have time to train and don't want to send your pup to a trainer, then I'd buy a started dog. I personnally will only buy pups because I like training them and I like all stages. Just be prepared to pay more than $4000 for a well-bred, decent started dog that's doing cold blinds. However, with a started dog you know what you're getting. If you do buy a pup invest in a dog with a great pedigree, and it'll pay off later. Also, buy into some training program and stick with it. Smartworks and Total Retriever Marking/Training are two of a stack of good ones.
 

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I always say I'm going to get a good started dog and end up buying a well bred pup. With started dog, I'm always thinking in the back of my mind that I'm buying someone's wash out. I'm sure this is not always the case but can't help but think that. After all, if someone had a really good dog, why would they be selling it? I may have just opened a big ole can of worms!
 

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A good started/finished dog and not a wash out. Big difference.

You're money ahead. You also know what your getting as opposed to not knowing for sure with a puppy. You don't have to suffer through the puppy stuff and or struggle with the yard work.

You can get to that later. When you have more money and time.

Angie
 

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if you do go with started dog and if you know how to handle dog be sure to get dog away from seller and test it yourself. Seller may only show you what he wants you to see in dog. You might even see if seller will let you try dog for a few days...kinda like a test drive. Remember, even puppies can be a roll of the dice.
 

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If you are just starting out, if you buy a started dog, you will need a pro or a successful am to help you learn how to handle the dog and how to deal with any problems that may crop up. I nicely trained dog can regress quickly with a poor handler.
 

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I am looking for a possible start with hunt test and companion with some hunting. Also thinking of potential future breeding and looking for female.
Now that you have mentioned yourare interested in perhaps breeding in the future, whether you buy a female puppy or a female started dog, check on the health clearances of the parents of the puppy and find out what health clearances the started dog has.

Study the pedigrees of the puppy or the started dog. Find out about the dogs on her pedigree who are immediately behind her. "Immediately behind her" to me is within the first 3 generations. You have said you want to start with hunt tests. Look for upper level field titles -- as many as possible. Be sure to learn what those field titles are and what they represent.

If a started dog, ask why the dog is being sold. There are many people who train and then sell started dogs. It is a business. There are those who may be selling their started dog because of 1) the economy 2) a life change such as divorce. 3) lost their job, changing jobs, no time to continue training. In this cases, it isn't the dog's fault it has to be sold.

But there could be something wrong with the dog; it could be "started", but that may be as far as it will ever get which is the real reason for the sale. (A started dog with no future.) Do your homework and find out exactly why the started dog is being sold.

Lastly, ask around for opinions on just what a "started" dog is. A seller's idea of what a "started" dog is might not be your idea of what a started dog is.

Helen
 

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I like buying puppies for two reasons... a) I get to bond with the dog a little more. Not saying you can't bond with a started dog, but I feel like a get a stronger bond with a pup. B) I get to experience all that fun puppy stuff and get to watch them progress from a little fur ball to a lean mean retrieving machine!

Ive only gone the puppy route so far, and I know that I'm going to end up breeding the female I have now and keeping a pup. I may go started before then or after. Not entirely sure yet. My brother took a started dog to be a great hunter who probably had the potential tovdo some open work. Ended up selling him to a guy in arkansas whovp hunts him every day of the season. Goes to show that you can turn a started dog into just as good of a dog as if you bought it from a pup. Just depends on how much time, money, and effort you want to put in. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go in to training a pup.

Just my two cents FWIW.
 

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If you find a pro that has a really nice dog for sale be ready to pay a pretty penny or maybe less if u keep the dog with them. You CAn buy a good started dog if you find someone reputable or find someone with circumstances like mentioned earlier.
 

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Good question, but please define the term "started dog". Been around retirievers and trials and hunting dogs for years, and I've heard almost as many definitions as the number of people I've asked.
A "started dog's" price varies greatly depending on what specific training and skills a particular dog has.
Is there some general understanding of the definition?
 

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It really depends on what you want, what level of training is acceptable to you and how much time or money you're willing to part with.

You can buy ground beef, buns, toppings and all the fixing's but you'll need a grill and a little experience at the bbq to make it into a meal. Or you can just go to the best burger joint in town...

Puppies can be fun, but take allot of work and know how to mold into a top notch gun dog. Then again, there are no guarantees that every puppy will turn out to like or even be good at the game. As long as you're willing to roll the dice and live with and take responsibility for any shortcomings in training, go for it.

With started dogs or washouts you get to see what you're gonna get. If you kick the tires and "take it to your mechanic" there shouldn't be any surprises. Pay an objective pro to take the dog for a trial run and let you know whether he/she thinks it will fit your bill and be a good deal. Don't be afraid of washouts, just make sure you ask allot of questions and understand why the owner or pro washed the dog out. Sometimes it can be that the dog simply didn't fit onto a particular trainers program. Could also be that the owner is looking for a national finalist caliber dog and the dog is "only" good enough to maybe place in an all-age trial or two... Which is still better than 99% of all dogs out there... Maybe the owner lucked into another talented dog and can only afford to keep one on the pro truck. You just never know until you get "the rest of the story...".

Either way, you're about to embark on a long and hopefully fun-filled journey. Best of luck with whichever path you decide is right for you.
 

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RPM, what part of the country are you from. I have just the dog for you. Black Female Chopper grand daughter ff, cc, and starting T. Sweet, lots of drive and good with anyone. And you ask why would I get rid of her. I have to many and my plan all along was to sell two of them as started. Just turned 10 months friday.
 
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