RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the process of training my first retriever, and I am making every mistake in the book, and creating a few new entries as well. Not sure how far I will be able to go with this dog, but its a learning experience!!
Ultimately my goal is a hunting dog that is capable of SH type work.

Wondering how many of you totally messed up you first dog? And still managed to make a decent hunting companion of of him/her??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I made huge mistakes and skiped stuff bc I got into a hurry. Had to go back a try to fix stuff. I am still doing that. But I put a HRCH on him and Uh and will chase his Akc stuff this fall. Stick in there and take your time. Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,252 Posts
First dog was with a pro for 7 months of basics (from 6-13 months old). Developed problems with playing arond with birds, freezing, etc. Tried for a while to fix these issues with no success. After traveling to my third or forth hunt test and driving back home the first day after the dog froze on a bird, I decided I could do as good training a dog on my own.

Bought three pups, each litter about 6 weeks apart. I got two from Mary Howley and she told me about Mike Lardy and TRT. Bought all of the DVDs and went to work. Followed Lardy's methods step by step and would not do anything I didn't see in the DVDs. Attended a basics/transition workshop when the oldest pup was 9 months old. Met a pro at that workshop and was invited to train (throw) on the weekends. The pro's methods more or less follow Lardy, but when he'd do something differently, I wouldn't do it.

Anyway, I ran an HRC started test at about a year old, no collar holding and delivery to hand and passed all dogs both days. Went straight to Finished and put UH HRCH on two pups by about 2 years old passing 6 of 8 finished tests and 4 of 4 Upland. The third pup has 70 points and his failures were one break on honor after smashing the tests (working handler took forever to line and send after birds down), lost him twice on the water blind, the other was a failure on a poison bird water blind. Went to AKC Master passing our first 3 tests with all dogs, and another 2 with my youngest. The two MH test failures from my boys were due to creeping (really due to trying to run tests after only training on the weekends). Ran 7 derbies during this time and had 1 JAM and several times out in the 4th. In our 2nd or 3rd Qual got a JAM on all three dogs. My youngest won a Qual on her 4th or 5th start. One of my boys has a 3rd and the other a 4th an another JAM. All are approaching 4 years old now and running AMs and the boys are running Quals as well. May go back at some point and finish up the HT titles.

All in all I'm very happy with the results I've gotton. Some say you can't train a dog by watching a DVD. I disagree. May not make an FC/AFC but can surely make a pretty good dog.

I added the detail of our HT failures to illustrate the importance of maintaining a high standard for line manners. My youngest is my best dog, although the boys aree coming along. She's my best because she was my third to put through each step in training. She is a rock on the line.

Set your goal higher, take your time to study and learn before you train. Reduce the difficulty of the task rather than lowering your standard. Try to minimize the mistakes that you make from here on out. You can end up with a pretty good dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,540 Posts
My first dog was, like the two that followed him, intended to be a hunting retreiver. No competition. I trained him using Walters' "Water Dog", no E Collar, no FF. In 13 years of dove hunting, harvesting hundreds of birds a year some years, I can only remember losing three birds, and one of those got carried off by a hawk before the dog could get to it. A long way from perfect, but he held on shot, loved to retrieve, sat on whistle, knew right, left, back, and "seek", delivered to hand, and could recognize a dove in flight at least as far as I could. I still miss him and he has been gone since '95. Don't think I messed him up at all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,660 Posts
I was given a beautiful 2 1/2 yr old yellow lab,named Quickstart's Straw Boy, when my brother went away to med school..he had done all the basics on him, the dog was steady as a rock.My mother would use him to chase away the Jehovah's witness people that would pester her every week, by holding his collar and claiming she couldnt hold him back, it was actually quite comical because she could get him to growl and sometimes bare his teeth, but yet the neighborhood kids would all take him for walks while I was at school
I had an old family friend George Wilson mentor me via endless long distance calls between SoCal and Utah.....Clint would literally send me a lesson plan to execute to further Straw's training, unfortunately I kept working on the things he did well, which was running blinds, and taking hand signals,his marking was mediocre and it showed with each qualifying trial we entered...finally spent the summer training with George in Utah and came to the realization that he would never make an AA dog...

I moved to Texas and we became a good hunting team, killed many a duck over him..my oldest brother took him to Nebraska and he turned out to be a terrific pheasant dog, he showed no quit after getting spurred by a rooster or two..Straw threw great looking yellow pups both times that he was bred, but sadly I lost him to stomach torsion while being kenneled at my friend's vet clinic in Lake Dallas...

had many a great hunt , with many firsts including a limit of pheasant,mallards,pintails,and my very first Canada goose that I shot in CenTex..he was the perfect first dog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
921 Posts
We all make mistakes with our dogs. Not just our first ones either. Experience is a huge advantge that we can't be given or go out and purchase. Knowledge however is available for purchase. One without the other is better than having neither. Glen gave some great advice, purchase a complete training program and DO NOT DEVIATE. Experience will come but you need to get on the back side of a few dogs before you begin to totally comprehend why you have done each step completely and in the proper order. I trained my first dog with Rick Stawskis Fowl Dawgs and Ely turned out okay. Not only have we traveled all over the country running test and trials he picks up around 500 birds for me each year. He is as good a friend as a man could ask for. Far better than any man deserves.

Keep working and be sure you and your dog are having fun. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
The first dog that I ever trained was a very good dog that made you look like a trainer. She had an HRCH & MH at 3 & ran the MN at 4, she was a very good dog to hunt with & just a nice dog to be around. My second dog is another story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
I'm still in the process of training my first one, but so far it's been awesome. I settled, early on, with Evan's Smartwork program, and it's been a great ride so far. Reese is 4 years old, and I really never planned on running hunt tests, but always trained as if we would, in case I changed my mind & decided to run. Well, this year, the bug hit me, and we began running seasoned this spring, & went 4/5 for his HR title. We plan on running finished & upland this fall, & hopefully titling in both. I have definitely made mistakes, but none that haven't been repairable. Reese is an awesome hunting dog that is rock steady, very good marker, easily handled, and most of all, an awesome little buddy. I have trained several other dogs through basics since, & only one other dog into advanced training, but it will be interesting to take another pup & build it from ground up with the knowledge & experience I've gained in the last 4 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,502 Posts
Dog Canidae Vehicle Car Snout

My best friend first retriever to do HRC. Messed up by a socalled pro. We finally got straightened out by two friends in Strathroy Ontario (Rick and Gerry). Thanks to them Blackie at 7yo now almost 10 yo achieved his HR. Learned alot from them and followed a program on my next two retrievers. Today Blackie just travels with me everywhere I go, even work.:) Comes into Nursing Home and visits residents where I work. Great dog!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
My first dog would have to be considered a failure as a retriever by my current standards. Diva was trained straight from the pages of Waterdog. No e-collar, limited resources and absolutely no help. She was a chronic breaker & always hunted tied to something. After a few years, I developed a pretty good sense of what a Lab could break or uproot. Some of her retrieves I remember the most involved her dragging a small bush or limb all the way to the bird. She would handle well the exact distance that I would run or swim to correct. After that Diva was completely self employed. 60 yards on land and 40 on water. She also marked well for the exact distance I could throw a bumper in training.

Diva brought back all the doves & ducks I shot. Walking to the area was often involved but she always retrieved it to hand. It is amazing how much my shooting improved & how quickly limits were reached simply with the addition of a dog. She had an uncanny ability to dig out a cripple.

Besides a half trained dog what did I get out of the deal. Unconditional love and a companion that would go anywhere, do anything and be absolutely overjoyed just because she was with me. A uncontrolled welcome every time I came home and complete forgiveness because I had left. A wag of the tail and a carefully placed muzzle under my hand every morning when I woke up. A companion/watchdog for my son who made Diva suffer through all sorts of indignities.

I am sure I got the better end of the deal. Now I have 2 HRCH/MH dogs & 1 young puppy in my kennel. All thanks to the legacy of a free, non registered lab puppy that I will miss until I die.
Mark Land
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
My first dog would have to be considered a failure as a retriever by my current standards. Diva was trained straight from the pages of Waterdog. No e-collar, limited resources and absolutely no help. She was a chronic breaker & always hunted tied to something. After a few years, I developed a pretty good sense of what a Lab could break or uproot. Some of her retrieves I remember the most involved her dragging a small bush or limb all the way to the bird. She would handle well the exact distance that I would run or swim to correct. After that Diva was completely self employed. 60 yards on land and 40 on water. She also marked well for the exact distance I could throw a bumper in training.

Diva brought back all the doves & ducks I shot. Walking to the area was often involved but she always retrieved it to hand. It is amazing how much my shooting improved & how quickly limits were reached simply with the addition of a dog. She had an uncanny ability to dig out a cripple.

Besides a half trained dog what did I get out of the deal. Unconditional love and a companion that would go anywhere, do anything and be absolutely overjoyed just because she was with me. A uncontrolled welcome every time I came home and complete forgiveness because I had left. A wag of the tail and a carefully placed muzzle under my hand every morning when I woke up. A companion/watchdog for my son who made Diva suffer through all sorts of indignities.

I am sure I got the better end of the deal. Now I have 2 HRCH/MH dogs & 1 young puppy in my kennel. All thanks to the legacy of a free, non registered lab puppy that I will miss until I die.
Mark Land
Great post. I can relate to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
May first trained dog was Chief. Used Finished Dog and Smartworks with a lot of help from my friends, we muttled through the training. Chief was smart enough to pull me through the mistakes. Didn't do too bad, HRCH at 20 months, GRHRCH at 4 years old, 2010 BSS National Retrieving Champion, 6 for 6 at MH, first Boykin to qualify for the MN, yes Boykin. What a ride, at 6 we still have many years ahead to look forward too. Wish everyone has an opportunity to experience such a ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,642 Posts
In 1997, I went to observe an HRC club training session. I had no idea Labs could be trained that well. So the search was on for a pup. After spending six months researching, the litter (which hadn't even been bred yet) was selected. When we visited for the first time "she" picked me.

At that time, there was very little information "out there" about training. So I bought Dobb's book, searched the Interenet and found "Oakhill Kennels" training articles and pieced together what was loosely referred to then as a "program". The pup was "scary" precocious. Taffey loved games and every moment she was awake. We learned how to FF together and crushed Dobb's Modified T in about nine days. What did I know?

Anyway, she's the top dog in my signature. I put MPR, UH and SH titles on her and had one HRCH finished pass before the "wheels fell off". It seems, as a novice I never quite learned that "Sit..means Sit." The nail in the coffin on this issue, came about when a nearby Pro (who has since become a very good friend) politely informed me "It's not the dog."

So, I asked him to take her for a "look see". Two weeks later, she was running in an AKC Master test and got a couple of passes before fall. To make this story shorter. She had a litter of pups next spring. They were weaned at 5 weeks and she immediately went into training.

Not long after that, Brian passed four Finished and two Master tests in a five week span for both titles. It has proven to be quite a ride and I was very lucky to get "The One" first.

She was an upland guide dog for five years at Blonhaven Hunt Club in southern Wisconsin and placed high in the pointing division of several "Shoot to Retieve" competitions. The second time she placed, the pointing dog proponents put a move on to ban pointing Labs (that never happened). The "ones" that finished behind us were not happy.

We did some grouse hunting in upper Wisconsin, pheasants in South Dakota and "worked" the pot holes in North Dakota. Taffey retrieved her first canvasback at the age of ten. Last duck season, Taffey was eleven years old. She got a limit of ducks on the Mississippi during the Iowa opener.

Today, Taffey is the official test dog when training my three younger dogs.....a bit slower, but still really "full of it". I was truly blessed!

p.s. That's one of her "Dusty" daughters in the avatar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,067 Posts
When I first lab I was not a trainer at all, I had no training- no books, did not know anyone who trained dogs- needless to say Bud and I did not exactly look like a great team together when people saw us out hunting - He knew how to sit, he would walk with me but he would run around with dummies and birds would not give them back all the time and was not steady to shot - I learned to be a better shot because if there was no bird for him to pick up then it would take forever it seemed to get him back in to the blind or to quit chasing the pheasant. When I deployed I gave him to a highschool kid that just wanted a decent hunting dog- Which I thought he was - WHen i got back I bought Maggie out of texas and after the coin I spent on her I was determined to learn how to train a dog- I now have Evan G. Smart works- Mike Lardy's TRT - and Dustin Retrievers retriever fever - and I work with a training group and a Pro now - I still make mistakes but now I learn from them along with my dog, she now has a SH title and we are working on getting MH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,540 Posts
Besides a half trained dog what did I get out of the deal. Unconditional love and a companion that would go anywhere, do anything and be absolutely overjoyed just because she was with me. A uncontrolled welcome every time I came home and complete forgiveness because I had left. A wag of the tail and a carefully placed muzzle under my hand every morning when I woke up. A companion/watchdog for my son who made Diva suffer through all sorts of indignities.

I am sure I got the better end of the deal.
Mark Land
Ditto, but isn't that always the case for real dog folks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
When I first lab I was not a trainer at all, I had no training- no books, did not know anyone who trained dogs- needless to say Bud and I did not exactly look like a great team together when people saw us out hunting - He knew how to sit, he would walk with me but he would run around with dummies and birds would not give them back all the time and was not steady to shot - I learned to be a better shot because if there was no bird for him to pick up then it would take forever it seemed to get him back in to the blind or to quit chasing the pheasant. When I deployed I gave him to a highschool kid that just wanted a decent hunting dog- Which I thought he was - WHen i got back I bought Maggie out of texas and after the coin I spent on her I was determined to learn how to train a dog- I now have Evan G. Smart works- Mike Lardy's TRT - and Dustin Retrievers retriever fever - and I work with a training group and a Pro now - I still make mistakes but now I learn from them along with my dog, she now has a SH title and we are working on getting MH
This was my first material...I managed to nearly ruin my first dog on lack of complete info. She's picked up alot of ducks, but it sure wasn't pretty and there probably hasn't been more than a handful she loved to do. It's always nice when another guy in the pit looks at you and says, "You two seem to have your own language. I've never seen anything like that, but hey, I haven't had to go pick-up a duck..." She's even been made fun of, but you better never say it in front of my wife or you may be forever hated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
after having to swim in my johns after a downed goose because my dog wouldnt get in the water, learned to just toss him in.. i now own a different dog that has drive and desire, and the first one is a great pet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
My first field dog, I feel she's awesome. There's been a black Lab by my side since I was 5yrs. old. Best DOG was a stray BLF that showed up when I was 15. For 17 years she taught me lessons in love and loyalty. LEX passed on Thanksgiving Day. I couldn't have imagined how another dog could ever compare to her. It took me ten years to even consider another dog. Fast forward to my introduction to AKC Hunt Tests via a relationship with a guy running a Flat-Coat in 2006. I became the owner of Dai-Suki Desu in Oct. 2008. I wanted to train a dog to a JH level. I would watch the Master level dogs run at training and tests and think, "How can I do that?".
I didn't pick up a shot gun or hunt waterfowl before age 41. I trained Suki to go 4-4 to JH, 4-6 to SH, ran a Derby and Placed 4th in a Qualifying, we're working on MH, 1 pass to date. Suki has been on duck hunts, goose hunts and pheasant hunts. She's a great dog and I didn't know a damn thing when I started. Lucky for us, we both had DESIRE and DRIVE.

"left alone with big fat fanny, she was such a Naughty nanny........she made a Bad Boy out of me"..........I credit Suki's breeder and many others for OUR Success.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top