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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I am a new member and wanted to get some feedback on a question I've been contemplating. I have a 2.5 year old lab that I trained and he's been hunting with me since he was 10 months old (dove and waterfowl). He is my first dog and it has been as much of a learning process for me as it has for him. He does pretty good in the field and any shortcomings he does show are definitely due to my lack of knowledge and inexperience as a trainer. He marks very well and does pretty decent on hand signals to blinds, but we're still working on that. Anyway, I've recently been contemplating upon the idea of possibly joining a retriever club and maybe even entering him into some hunt tests. I guess my question is whether or not 2.5 years old is too late to begin? Realistically I know I don't have the time nor the means to turn him into any of the higher level field/hunt trial champions, but I figured he could at least pass the SHR or maybe even to a HR. I just kind of feel like he would be starting way behind the curve as far as experience. If nothing else, I thought maybe the retriever club would be a good way to work him and help me to gain some experience/knowledge. Thanks for the input, and if I made any newbie mistakes in my post please don't torch me too bad haha.
 

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Go for it, it's not how well your dog does or even how well you do, it's how much you and your dog enjoy it. Get hooked up with a retriever club in your area and give it a try, you nor your dog will be sorry. 21/2 isn't too young.
 

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Definitely not too old and welcome to RTF!

If you post up where you are located, RTF members may be able to suggest a local retriever club near to you that can help with your training.
 

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Not too old to start. You will likely find that the dog will have engrained habits that you may not have cared about in hunting that will give you some headaches in hunt tests. Not a big deal except you will quickly want to get another pup and train him from the start to be both a hunting and a hunt test dog.
 

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Go for it. Started with a 2 plus year old hunting dog in HT's 10 years ago and am now totally hooked on FT's. Not with the same dog, of course, but he was the one that got the ball rolling.
 

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Definitely not too old to start. I had a yellow lab female who I got as a pet. Did obedience with her and after getting her CD decided to try Hunt Tests at about the age of your dog. She had never been in water so had to learn how to swim but she went on to get her JH, SH and MH titles. Three months after getting her MH we went back and got her CDX. It took some work but if the dog has any desire, it can be done. She taught me a lot as we went along. Good Luck and have fun!
 

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My boy had never seen a bird nor even a bumper until after he was 3 years old, and he just got his SH title and is training for MH.
Go for it! But warning...it's very addictive!
 

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Hello all. I am a new member and wanted to get some feedback on a question I've been contemplating. I have a 2.5 year old lab that I trained and he's been hunting with me since he was 10 months old (dove and waterfowl). He is my first dog and it has been as much of a learning process for me as it has for him. He does pretty good in the field and any shortcomings he does show are definitely due to my lack of knowledge and inexperience as a trainer. He marks very well and does pretty decent on hand signals to blinds, but we're still working on that. Anyway, I've recently been contemplating upon the idea of possibly joining a retriever club and maybe even entering him into some hunt tests. I guess my question is whether or not 2.5 years old is too late to begin? Realistically I know I don't have the time nor the means to turn him into any of the higher level field/hunt trial champions, but I figured he could at least pass the SHR or maybe even to a HR. I just kind of feel like he would be starting way behind the curve as far as experience. If nothing else, I thought maybe the retriever club would be a good way to work him and help me to gain some experience/knowledge. Thanks for the input, and if I made any newbie mistakes in my post please don't torch me too bad haha.
I think you will have no sweat....Just don't let him down.:)
 

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Thats awsome! Best of luck to both of you!
 

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Not to old

I started my golden training for hunt tests when she was 3. It truly changed both our lives - for the better. She is now 14 and still hunts.
 

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Go for it! You'll meet the nicest people; you and your dog will have fun and learn a lot. Our dogs upland hunt extensively; in the off season we run HRC tests. During our first training day with our club, I thought "I don't know if my dogs will do that?" Last summer Pete got his HR title, Pete was 6, and Buster got his HR; he was 7. Bodie got her SHR last summer too, she's 3. This summer we're planning on HRCH for Pete and Buster, HR for Bodie. We're not in any hurry and as long as everyone is healthy and having fun we'll continue on.
 

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We just got started and are cutting our teeth with a 3 year old. It's fun, you should give it a try.
 

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I've got a 4.5 yr. old BLM, he's not the retrieving machine my "traditionally" trained female is, my methods will be modified for this guy. Time will tell if I can train him to a JH level, I'm sure we'll have fun trying. I'll be a better Dawg trainer for trying.
 

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I just talked to your dog, and he wants you to do it....

Its a good way to start, or extend, your hunting seasons.
 

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A 2.5 year old Lab should be a piece of cake.

My husband was a duck hunter with a 3.5 year old Golden bitch before he went to his first hunt test. She was then pregnant. She had her litter and 3 months later they both joined a hunt test training group. Within 2 years she got her JH, SH, and MH in straight order and qualified for and ran in a Master National. She failed the second series, a land blind. That was a HT career-ender for her. She mortified Don so bad at the MN, she was retired on the spot.

Great marker, but she was a 2-whistle dog on blinds. After 2 stops and 2 handles, she did her own thing at the MN because she knew where the bird was and he did not, or so she thought. Gunsmoke's Miss Hurdy-Gurdy MH OD. What a character she was. She was an excellent duck and pheasant hunting dog. Quick to learn in hunt test training and excellent at all those hunt tests to achieve the MH. But.. she was a GR bitch who had her own mind-set when it came to blinds. The older she got, the more she thought she knew and the less she thought Don knew. Early HT retirement at age 6 1/2 years for our Gurdy. She didn't miss the hunt tests; she still got to go duck and pheasant hunting.

Helen
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey guys, sorry for the delayed response. Thanks for the encouragement we'll definitely get on the ball with it now. I met a guy a while back that was training his dog at the same place as me and he was in a HRC, so I'll just try and catch up with him. He was really nice and gave me a lot of pointers. Like I said, he probably won't ever be at the Grand or anything but bottom line it can't hurt him and most importantly maybe it'll put a few more birds in the blind at the end of the hunt haha. I'm in medical school so time is sometimes pretty scarce, but it's just like anything else in life whether it be dogs or whatever if you want it bad enough you'll get it done.
 

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Would you follow one of the training programs (Smartfetch, Lardy, etc.) if you were starting out with with an older dog?
 
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