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Discussion Starter #1
I know it has been awhile and I sort of got out of the loop after training my last dog due to work/family. I am trying to see if I have missed anything. What is the new "go to" for an amateur to base his training off of? I am getting a new pup in January and am going to start with her from the 8 week point. TIA
 

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There is lots of information out there and plenty of recommendations on this forum. Its best to start with a puppy program. Most people like Bill Hillmans Puppy DVD's and/or Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings".

After that, and starting about 5-7 months (depending on your dog) you can transition to a standard formal retriever program to start OB, etc. I prefer Total Retriever Training with Mike Lardy but many people like to use Evan Grahams Smartwork as well.

Good luck with your pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is lots of information out there and plenty of recommendations on this forum. Its best to start with a puppy program. Most people like Bill Hillmans Puppy DVD's and/or Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings".

After that, and starting about 5-7 months (depending on your dog) you can transition to a standard formal retriever program to start OB, etc. I prefer Total Retriever Training with Mike Lardy but many people like to use Evan Grahams Smartwork as well.

Good luck with your pup.
Thanks for the reply. I was not sure if Lardy and Graham were still the go to programs to follow now. I have both programs and will start reviewing them
 

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I am training my first lab and I went the Bill Hillmann Puppy program and transitioned to Lardy's program. Personally, I had some concerns with Bill using very light nicks as a reinforcement and Lardy using e-collar pressure, but I haven't seen any confusion or concerns from the dog in the switch. Again, going through force fetch, (in my 1st time opinion) I think went a lot smoother due to Hillmann's program introducing "Hold" at a young age, this made our beginning fetch work to go smoothly as we transitioned into toe hitch. The toe hitch, in lieu of ear pinch is my one big deviation from Lardy's program though.
 

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"Personally, I had some concerns with Bill using very light nicks as a reinforcement and Lardy using e-collar pressure, but I haven't seen any confusion or concerns from the dog in the switch."

Then you did it correctly. For a comparison with a method used in AKC OB classes, puppy is placed on a "sit" and the leash is used to apply a slight, momentary tug on the flat collar. The "slight tug" is chained with a "good" (verbal reward). The tug is now re-enforcing sit......just as "good" does.

The small "nick" used in Hillmann's approach for my first pup caused only her eyes to blink. It was about a 9 on a scale of 1-100. I could not feel anything. Basically, there is no difference between using a tiny nick, using a verbal "good" or applying a slight tug (for being on.....and remaining on....a sit).

When Hillmann is doing his "power cast" to water, it is the same philosophy. The dog is not forced to water with collar pressure. It is not a pressure driven process. The dog is already in motion and the small "nicks" are understood in the same manner as those that "informed" the dog that he was doing the right thing as in the sit process.

The dog is conditioned to the "the very light" nicks being a slight physical, remote driven "conversation" (reward). One might even accept the idea that a slight nick becomes "good dog!"......if conditioned properly and practiced often. :cool:
 
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