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fishingbuddy

British Labs

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I am looking for information from forum folks on training British Labs. If you are a owner of such a dog would you please let me know so we could exchange some info.

Thanks

fishingbuddy

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I am not a British Lab owner but as far as the training goes it would not change any from a standard Lab.

The amount of direct or indirect pressure might change but certainly not the technigues.

GOOD LUCK

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I concur. I've handled and helped train a few British labs. No difference in the training other than they tended to be softer and tended to be a bit more natural retrievers. Repetition and a lot of bird exposure is the key.

Forcing them was harder, and I feel you could get away without force fetching. The few I've been around, I felt took an extra year in the upland fields to reach their peak, but seemed to naturally work and quarter closer. Teaching long distance lining was very hard to impossible, we scrubbed 3 direct imports because they could not hold a line very long, nor handle on blinds well at longer distances. Now this was back in my trialing days... and those dogs were all super gun dogs in the end.

Also when you say "British" labs, are you talking 100% British blood. It is common for dogs now-a-days to be sold as "British" labs with only 30-50% of the pedigree British and the rest American lines... I doubt you'd see any difference in those dogs compared to straight American lines. Also, there are many who still breed the good ol' calm, tractible American Labs. They all came from Britain at some point. American 'trial' line dogs, as a group, tend to be higher strung and harder charging, but have a high intelligence quota and take a higher amount of pressure in training. These dogs are super athletes and with a very good foundation of obedience training and solid field training can be the dog of your dreams.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Channel 5 News did a segment on January 6th about British Labs from Royal Flush/Royalty British Kennels. Go to KSTP 5's website and go to "On The Road" with Jason Davis(Jan 6). It's pretty neat.

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I am a "pure" British Lab owner and did all of my own training. They are definitely softer as Ken mentioned. The British train and hunt their dogs completely different than American counterparts. Ken mentioned long distance lining being a weakness, I would concur with that but that has a lot to do with what is expected of them. If I may quote Vic Barlow from the book "British Training for American Retrievers" he states it much better than I can;

.

"British trials are primarily a test of the dog's skill as a game finder. Their training is simply a means of honing and developing that talent to its full extent. ...while British and American handlers were working for the same types of dogs, the events for which they are prepared for could not be more different. The Brits are teaching their dogs to find every bird, while American handlers are training for an event in which tracking cripples plays no part. As all hunters know, birds do not always fall into the open. Many plunge into dense woodland or drift into reeds where the dog has no sight of his handler and must work entirely on his own initiative. British trial dogs are schooled for exactly this type of situation, but you will rarely see such a retrieve in an AKC Field Trial or Hunt Test. That's why their respective training regimes are so fundamentally different and why Brit Dog is out in the field learning to use his nose on live game while his American cousin is "lining to a pile" or perfecting a "swim by."

There are a couple of resources out there that will give you more information on training specifically for British labs. Dennis Anderson of the Star and Tribune has been a British lab trainer and breeder for some time now. A search should yield you some information. And of course the book by Vic Barlow quoted above. It was published in 2003 so it has very up-to-date information. These were my primary guides to my training experience.

I will again quote Vic Barlow from his book;

"You will find no drills in this book involving e-collars, force fetch, force to a pile, or, come to think of it force anything. All are unheard of in British Retriever Training. For those of you brave enough to take the "path less traveled," the rewards for both owner and dog will be a revelation."

I went the British training route, it was a lot harder on me than the dog. Not doing things that I had done with previous dogs that worked on them was not easy. I stuck with these training methods and I could not be more pleased with my dog. Is he perfect? Nope, but he is by far the best dog I have ever owned. How you choose to train your dog is your business, I will not stand here and say you can't use traditional training methods on your dog, its your dog do what you must. Just understand there is another method that the British have been very successfully using for many years on this particular breed. Many of the current methods of training stem from training higher strung, hard charging, large dogs. It has become more of a necessity to achieve the results demanded of these dogs in trials.

So IMHO different dogs might respond better to different training methods. As a Brit owner I just happen to think that the British method worked well for myself and my dog. In the end I guess that is all that matters. If you want any further information on my experience feel free to look in my profile for my e-mail. Good luck with your dog, however you decide to do your training. I have no doubt you will have a companion that you will cherish for a lifetime.

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WOW! Thanks for the quality responses. I have a pure lab and was concerned if I did use the traditional methods that I would screw up the dog. I have a great dog and we are in the 5th month of Obedience training. Actually puppy kindergarten graduation is tonight!!!! We are already enrolled in the next class and looking for some professional training but had concernes on the fundamentals. I hunt grouse and phesants more than waterfowl. Again thanks for the info and Dan I will be contacting you.

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Obedience, Obedience, Obedience! 80% of your day in the field!

DBL is right. A British trial is not even remotely similar to an American trial. ALl the dogs are worked at heel at the same time. As birds or hares are flushed and shot, the judge calls a dog's number and you are expected to make that particualr retrieve. Every retrieve is different as it is truly a hunting situation.

I remember a story of a dog in the British Nationals that was clearly the favorite to win. His number was called on a bird that was lightly "pricked" (their term for crippled). The bird sailed a couple hundred yards and the Queen called upon the dog to finish the retrieve. He did not come up with it on his initial cast, so the handler began to handle him back into the cover. They use a method called "rolling" in which the dog does not sit and face you on a cast, but rather continues toward the bird with rolling casts. He ended up getting the bird and high marks. It is judged on difficulty of the mark and shot etc. It is suppose to seperate the best gun dogs. In America that dog would be dropped, but so would probably every other dog in the trial that day as it was a near impossible mark. Their emphasis is on bringing game to hand, and manners, not on athletisism and the ability to be trained to do super natural field work.

If your dog flourishes with the British method by all means use it. If he doesn't, the American method is a proven method to get a finished gun dog. As far as your time line, stick with the obedience and really reinforce all those commands, they are your foundation for all future work. If I remember correctly, the Brits don't even begin field work till the age of one. Their feeling is, if it's bred in there, it will come out when the time comes.

Good Luck!

Ken

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You are 100% correct on everything Ken. You absolutely summed up the British way to perfection, thanks! I did nothing but obedience work for ONE YEAR! Blasphemy by our normal training methods. That is why I said it was tough on me, not throwing bumpers and introducing retrieving. It was at times not the most exciting for ME. The dog sure didn't know the difference, he was just glad to be out doing something with me a few times a day. But, I now have a dog that is very easy to handle in the field with virtually no guidance from me. The retrieving part was the easy part of the training.

Ken is right on if the British way works for you fantastic, it may not work for everyone or every dog. Its your dog you can judge best what will work for both of you. Good luck!

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Hey buddy,

I have a Brit too. I just dropped her off and the kennel for training last week. She is a fun little girl and was already wanting to retrieve birds at 5 months even though she was only about 30 lbs.

You can tell she is a natural hunter and has all the tools to be a great field dog.

If your looking for a pro-trainer that specializes in British dogs I would look no further than Old Oak Retrievers in Blooming Prairie. Rick McConico is very good trainer and knows how to handle the soft British dogs. He was featured in the December Gun Dog Magizine if you have a copy.

Good Luck!

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I also own a Brit lab and can only tell you my experience because I am no pro. I did all my own hands on training but was directed step by step by a guy I work with, he is a police k9 handeler and a well known k9 trainer. I started from day 1 with the basics. At 5 months it was the start of the pheasant season and he did ok. At 7 months I force fetched him and soon after collar conditioned him. I was told by others that these dogs do not take well to this, I do not agree. My experience is that he took to it very well. He is a very smart dog and he figured out the concept very fast. I used the force to the pile as well as other force fetching drills and never had a problem. I have also been very pleased with his casting skills and blinds. Would he ever win a trial, NO! I have worked with his casting daily and I had problems early with him staying on a line past about 60 yards. I continued to work on it and I would say that I am very pleased. In canada this past fall at 17 months old he made at least a dozen blind retrieves and one that was so far that I had to walk towards him so he could see and hear me, 3 stops and casts and he had the bird. All dogs are different and like all owners I think he is the best. The american/force style training worked great for me and I would not be scared to use it again on a Brit lab that has a lot of drive.

Good Luck, LovenLifeGuy

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Thanks for all the view points. I am going to concentrate on obedence for now and explore my options. Thanks for all the varied responses.

fishnbuddy

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Would anyone out there happen to know of and / or recommend some British Lab breeders in the metro and surrounding area? We are looking to get a British Lab this spring and would like to start looking into some breeders. We are going to visit River Valley Kennels down by LeSueur in a couple of weeks. Any info would be appreciated.

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I used but he is not real close. He is located near Tracy. My dog is going to be two in April and I am very pleased.

LovenLifeGuy

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Diamond J Labs in Atwater is where I got mine. They run a first class operation and have great dogs.

Give them a look.

Good Luck with the search.

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You got mail

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Sorry

Pikebay you got mail

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Royal Flush will do an amazing job it is up near hinckley

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rws77,

Royalty British Kennals will takecare of all your needs. They have puppies in all colors, started dogs and do a great job of training. They are located 8 miles west of Hinkly or 11 miles east of HWY 65 north of Mora.

Dan

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I got my British Lab from Dennis and Janice Anderson just across the river from Stillwater, MN [Please read forum policy before posting again, Thank You]. I trained her myself using the British method. WildRose Kennels sells a great training DVD.

Couldn't be happier! She is small...about 60 lbs, hunts close and hard for grouse and pheasants and handles ducks and geese just fine. Have fun!

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Pike

I went with Rick...I have a great dog thanks

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Nice. Post a pic of your pup. I would love to see what he looks like.

Rick does a wonderful job.

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