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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am on the waiting list for a field bred golden litter due in two days, ready to go home mid August. The dog will be a friend, hunting companion, and possibly compete in some hunt tests. I have done some research on different training programs, and I think I will go with Evan Graham's Smartworks program. I am a novice trainer and I like that Graham is readily available to answer questions and I like how he explains things in detail.

I was going to get the Smartworks basics package or possibly the bonus basics package (includes the puppy program). While doing some research on puppy training programs, I found other options such as Merten's Sound Beginnings and Hillman's Training a Retriever Puppy. I read a lot of people bragging on Hillman's puppy program. How does it differ from other well known puppy programs like Graham's and Merten's? And why such a price difference? Graham's puppy DVD is around $30, Hillman's is around $130.

Thanks
 

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Bill's program it top notch! Personally after viewing all of them and implementing the Hilmann approach, you can't find a better process.
 

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Graham's puppy DVD is around $30, Hillman's is around $130.

Thanks
This I can tell you. The Smartwork Puppy Program is just that; a puppy program designed for starting puppies at 7 weeks of age, and prepping them through their first (appox.) 6 months. That is the point at which my program for most dogs would have them begin formal Basics. In contrast Hillman's begins as a puppy course, but goes on across a much greater continuum of time and basic work in a format of a sort of daily jounal about a certain pup. Different, good material, but structured unlike most.

Consider the course of information you relate to well, and can put to work effectively.

EvanG
 

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Bill's program is very simple to implement. You begin teach a solid sit very early (11 weeks old). Bill says this isn't steadying but rather teaching sit. I believe this approach is more likely to lead to a steady dog in the end because most new trainers don't maintain a high enough standard for steadiness when following more traditional approaches. Also, with Bill's approach, I think you get a better understanding of the importance of balance in your training, and how to achieve that balance with various types of pups. In other words balance for one dog may mean 75% excitement and 25% control, while for another it may mean 75% control and 25% excitement. I think Hillman's approach is particularly suited for high drive dogs. It really takes a lot of patience to put a dog that doesn't show a lot of drive early on through the steps without trying to move ahead with the work on sit and walking on lead before the retrieving is going strong.
 

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Bill's program it top notch! Personally after viewing all of them and implementing the Hilmann approach, you can't find a better process.
X 2! The proof is in the results. Hillman's ideas and methods groom a pup for success as training advances.
 

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I don't think you could go wrong with either. I also think that you should not put too much pressure on your pup either. Make sure you enjoy him/her just being a puppy. I am unaware of your experience but I know that I got caught up in the frequent ups and downs of training a pup at such as young age. Instead I should just have taken a more easy going approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess the name confused me, I thought the Hillman DVD was just a puppy program, like Grahams Puppy Program DVD. So the Hillman Training a Retriever Puppy DVD is comparable to Grahams Basics Bonus package? As in they both cover about the same timeline and topics, just in different manners?
 

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I guess the name confused me, I thought the Hillman DVD was just a puppy program, like Grahams Puppy Program DVD. So the Hillman Training a Retriever Puppy DVD is comparable to Grahams Basics Bonus package? As in they both cover about the same timeline and topics, just in different manners?
No, Hillman's approach is completely different than any other program. Check his web site to see if he has an outline. Hillman's puppy DVD will teach you to get the dog to chase something, sit, and walk on a lead. He uses the ecollar from about 12 weeks of age to reenforce the sit command. or to put it another way, from about the 3rd or 4th training session. I found that the dig was also, what some people call, bent after adding the here command. Bent is basically collar conditioned to the here command. While this is never mentioned in the puppy DVD, I found it to be true.
So after you have completed the Hillman 28 training sessions over about a 3 month period. Your pup will have an extremely reliable sit with distractions, will have a solid hold, will have a very reliable recall, will be doing stand alone retrieves on land and water, will walk tactibly at heel. Will sit dead still for a shot live flyer. Be doing simple doubles, be happy, confident, and have great style and attitude. The dog will be further along in training than with most puppy DVDs as most do not start to steady the dog, do not start to FF the dog, do not start to CC the dog until entering "formal" training at or around 6 months of age.
 

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I personally am following the hillman program. I think its great. Although it is misleading when you are shopping around for programs. It shouldnt be broken down into 28 days but 28 steps. Just my opinion. It is a great program once you get over that. Ive got an 11.5 week old pup that i am comfortable to say is on day 3. My goal is to transition this into fowl dogs when the time arrives. I really like that program just it just starts with an older pup.
 

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I have Mertens and Hillmann, and think there is value to both. Mertens does a great job of showing "treat training" for young pups in that 7-10 week old range, and Hillmann is awesome going forward from there. I have not seen Evan's puppy program, so I can't compare it to these.

Good luck with your new pup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No, Hillman's approach is completely different than any other program. Check his web site to see if he has an outline. Hillman's puppy DVD will teach you to get the dog to chase something, sit, and walk on a lead. He uses the ecollar from about 12 weeks of age to reenforce the sit command. or to put it another way, from about the 3rd or 4th training session. I found that the dig was also, what some people call, bent after adding the here command. Bent is basically collar conditioned to the here command. While this is never mentioned in the puppy DVD, I found it to be true.
So after you have completed the Hillman 28 training sessions over about a 3 month period. Your pup will have an extremely reliable sit with distractions, will have a solid hold, will have a very reliable recall, will be doing stand alone retrieves on land and water, will walk tactibly at heel. Will sit dead still for a shot live flyer. Be doing simple doubles, be happy, confident, and have great style and attitude. The dog will be further along in training than with most puppy DVDs as most do not start to steady the dog, do not start to FF the dog, do not start to CC the dog until entering "formal" training at or around 6 months of age.

Ok thank you for the explanation. So around 3 months old, what program do you move into the easiest? Could you move easily from this Hillman program to the Smartworks basics program, or is that mixing it up too much? I have always read that the best thing for novice trainers to do is pick a program and stick to it to be consistent.
 

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i have both hillmans is very different and i didn't do it exactly as shown [should have but didn't] but at 8 mo old he is doing tripples and honoring pretty well.i wish i had followed it
 

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Ok thank you for the explanation. So around 3 months old, what program do you move into the easiest? Could you move easily from this Hillman program to the Smartworks basics program, or is that mixing it up too much? I have always read that the best thing for novice trainers to do is pick a program and stick to it to be consistent.
Not 3 months old. The pup in Hillman's dvd is 11 weeks (~2 mos.) at training day 1 and about 5 mos old at the end on training day 28. So ghere ate 28 days spreas over 3 months. There is nothing you or the pup will learn by doing Hillman's puppy dvd that will cause issues when moving to basics from Graham, Lardy, etc. Your pup will just move through the basics much faster than the average dog that has just been a dog for its 1st 6 months of life.
 

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Ok thank you for the explanation. So around 3 months old, what program do you move into the easiest?
Any of the puppy programs would be good choices at that age. You still have plenty of puppy conditioning work to do for a 3 month old pup, although it would have been better to have begun earlier. Still, you can help your pup get ready for formal Basics by following any of the three.
Could you move easily from this Hillman program to the Smartworks basics program, or is that mixing it up too much? I have always read that the best thing for novice trainers to do is pick a program and stick to it to be consistent.
It's generally a good idea to pick as program and stick with it, but that's generally a reference to those who try to mix and match material from multiple programs while working at the same level; Basics or Transition for example. Choose the puppy program that suits you, do it thoroughly, and then assess your pup around 6 months for readiness to begin formal Basics. There is nothing in Hillman's material that would not dovetail into Smartwork Basics. It's excellent prep. So is Jackie Mertens' puppy course.

Evan
 

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My advice is no matter what you pick dont just blindly follow the program. Think about what you are doing and what you want to accomplish and how the program you are using is teaching the pup. To me Bill's, Evan's and Mike's programs are just that, Bill's Evan's and Mike's. None of us are Bill' Evan or Mike so what they do isnt going to work exactly like they do for them. Pick a program for a guide line but think about what you are doing and if you need to tweak something a little here and there to make it work for you dont be afraid to do so
The Hillman stuf is pretty unique. I agree with and use some of it but not all. Same with Evan's stuff. Lardy is for a more advaced dog. If I were new and just starting out I would go with Hillman. You can always buy the video used from the classifieds here or buy it new and sell it later so I would worry too much about the cost but I agree it is way too expensive
 
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