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Making my first attempt at training my first "Real" hunting dog and recently it almost seems if things are beginning to "click" in his head. He's almost 2 years old now and up until recently he's been somewhat lacking in the drive/desire department, and he just didnt seem to be "getting it" Heck he wasnt much interested in retrieving until 6-7 months old! Then it was like a light came on. Over the last little while it seems that he's becoming more eager to work and retrieve, and it appears he's catching on quicker/trying harder.

I am wondering if this may be related to him becoming more mature? or maybe its just me...

Has anybody else had a "late bloomer"? how did it turn out?
 

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I also have a large male who seemed somewhat unenthused about work, but as he got older, post 6 months, he started showing excitement for work and better momentum. I have a buddy with a large female and she in some regards was similar. Be patient and keep working at it. My dog is now "getting" it for the most part and is always wanting to work.
 

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This depends more on the individual dog. I don't think it is related to the sex of the dog.
 

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Bigger males often are slower to mature and have that light bulb moment. That's why it's important they get live birds before they are a year old. Dummies just don't do it for them. You have to get that prey drive going.
 

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Luckily I have a YLM who has always liked to work, and just came with that feature. I have also tried to make it exciting for him. I start asking him "Are you ready to go to work?" and getting him excited about going.

Congratulations to you guys for continuing to work with your dogs and being patient enough to give the light a chance to come on. I hope you are all rewarded for that.
 

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I have a 14 mos Lean Mac son who is just turning it on right now. He's getting bird crazy much later than I would have expected.
 

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My dog was super driven and focused from day one-I was surprised by how focused as I was expecting some scatterbrained stuff. However, even with that, I did have my moments when he was about 18 mos. where I said, "We're just not there yet" I knew his training was really solid, but that it just wasn't coming together yet. Now he is 2.5 and I feel like he's really getting dialed in.
Be patient and keep working on building a solid foundation. It WILL pay off in the long run.
 

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I asked my pro about this. She says it always depends, but in general, females seem a tad more independent minded, and males just like to please. On the other hand, intact males stay goofy and adolescent for longer. (I have my first female in a long time, and had her spayed at 6 months. She's been all business from the get-go.)

The pro is the first to admit this is all a huge generalization, but is based on many, many dogs over many, many years.
 

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My experience has been that the males take longer to mature than females but generally want to please more when the eventually do. My current AA male was so slow I was tempted to get rid of him but now at 5 years old he is a 'ball tearer' and finished a National!
 
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