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pumper317

BIG QUESTION!!

23 posts in this topic

Hey guys,

I have a 6 month old yellow lab. My wife and i got her from dokkens kennels in northfield, it was a wedding gift from my wife to me. I really want to train her well, and from past experience i didnt do a great job. We just got her back from the kennel for her two week gun training, which is pretty much a huge waste of a lot of money, with not the best outcome. All they did was shoot the gun over her while they flushed a bird for two weeks. No come, no heel, no sit, no stay... just shoot and let her run. This was very dissapointing to learn.I could have done this myself, but none the less...

My question is how do you get a dog to be a soft mouthed dog, becuase the only report i got from them is she chomps the heck out of the birds when she gets it. Another big question is do i, a freshly out of school, barely middle class guy spend the 3600 dollars to get her trained? Or do i do the best i can and go with that?

I really want her to be good, my parents dog that i trained runs off all the time and jumps the gun... both very annoying.

Please Help... I obviously need it

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If you don't mind me asking, who in the world are you going to pay 36 hundred to and for how long?

I would send her somewhere. I could certainly find another option for you for about 1/2 that.

I would agree with you 100% about the 2 week gun intro training. I never have understood that. If one is going to send the dog with a Pro it is in the dogs best interest as well as the owner and trainer to look at a minimum stay of 3 months. If one can not do that then wait until you can because in the end it will be a waste of time and money.

I'm willing to help if you need some suggestions.

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 Originally Posted By: pumper317
We just got her back from the kennel for her two week gun training, which is pretty much a huge waste of a lot of money, with not the best outcome. All they did was shoot the gun over her while they flushed a bird for two weeks. No come, no heel, no sit, no stay... just shoot and let her run.

What did you expect from two gun training? Did they say they were going to train come/heel/sit/stay and get her used to guns all in a two week period? I think you expected to much from a "gun intro".

The chomping needs to be addressed. A pro might be the best person to do this if you don't have much training experience.

$3600 to get her trained? To what level and for how long?

Whatever you do, next time around make sure you and the trainer discuss the specific training your paying for and that you both are aware of what your expections are of your dog when you pick her up. Having it documented is always a plus.

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I was expecting her to come out the two weeks a professional, i just would have liked them to do those things ewhile they shot the gun. She knows them all, but not in relation to the gun and birds. That probably looked wrong. I didnt mean it that way, sorry for the confussion.

My experience with dokkens makes me never want to get a dog from there again. The only helpful people have been the trainers. The lady that helped us with purchasing the pup was not helpful. We couldn't see the pup until 8 weeks, and no parents at all. Only one fuzzy pic that i had to beg for. I would personally not recomend them to anyone. The dog was the only good part of that place, she is gorgeous, and smart as a whip... maybe too smart.

The 3600 is a 10 week corse and the level i am not sure, but i would hope she would be a champion duck and upland dog with that $$$. She sould learn obedience, bird training, boat training, etc. All areas of the field, and collar training if i wanted.

To the specific training discussion, my wife did all of the picking up and discussing with them when she got the dog. They wouldnt change the pick up time for her, and i could leave work short notice. I.E. they were not flexible at all. So i went into it blind, but i trusted my wife with looking into it because i told her what to ask,which is dumb.

I am not as stupid as my original post made me look. I just was not specific enough.

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Didn't read the above sorry. I read the details.

I thought that in the original post that he sent the dog to gun intro without obedience first. My bad. Thats why I was so worried. But 3600 is a steep price.

What are the things that you want her to do that she is not is the question?

From a 10 week course you would expect obedience, beggiing of force fetch, and introducing him to birds in the field and retrieveing.

More things than that are going to take experience and time.

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Well....I am still not fully understanding what your saying in being a professional after two weeks....I would venture to say that two weeks is a short time to be professional quality at anything. Gun intro (from my understanding) is getting the dog introduced to gunfire and probably doing so with live birds. That's my guess as I have never inquired on it, but anything in addition to that such as steadiness or fetching is additional training outside of a "gun intro". Again...just my opinion and not calling you out. I know when I do gun intro the pup is having fun and NO commands are really being used, beside maybe 'come' after throwing a dummy or something.

As far as the $3600 for 10 weeks....that seems excessive! I could understand $400-$600/month + birds or something.....but $360/week sounds up there.

I know of a couple trainers I would recommend that charge around $500/month + birds, and I would guess that many of the guys here would have some good suggestions for you also. I would talk to other trainers before making a final decision on this!

 Quote:
She knows them all, but not in relation to the gun and birds.

So she knows sit and stay, but he did not force her to stay when he shot the gun? Was he supposed to be training steadiness? Just trying to determine the level of expectation or what you mean by the dog being professional.

 Quote:
That is completely unacceptable and the trainers should be ashamed of themselves.

I would like to know what the trainer did wrong in this scenario? Sounds like OB has been taught from what I read. I don't start formal OB until around 5-6 month...but I would 'gun intro' a dog before that. I have no affiliation with the breeder but I don't like seeing names bashed if there is not proper reason to do so. Again....I am not calling people out but want to make sure all the facts are there to back up statements.

As far as not being able to see the parent of the pup....I agree I do not like that...and I would have looked else where. Not a good practice for the breeder IMO.

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I would have to say that you should train your dog yourself. It is much more rewarding. Also, all you are going to get out of your dog is what you put into it yourself. I don't feel that sending a dog to a trainer is worth it. If you don't know how to train yourself the dog will not listen to you and soon be doing what it wants and not listening. Get yourself a training book on the breed of dog and train the dog yourself. From what I have read you will not be satisfied. I have never seen a dog go from a trainer to the owner and done exactly what the owner wants. Save your money!

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I bought my Brit last March. Read some books, Watched some videos, Asked some questions here. Figured out what I wanted out of my dog and trained him all summer. What a rewarding experience. Dog had a good first season. Was a great feeling to see your dog lock on point. Was an even better feeling to have friends comment on how well you dog works in the field. Do it yourself if possible.

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pumper317 check out ONLINE retrievers the owner is a nice guy from what I could tell. from talking to him on the phone. what I thought would be a 2 mins turned into a hour my pup peed and the floor and my son was running crazy. This guy just wanted to keep talking DOGS it was fun and informative.

There is a vary good book out there also. called Training the Pointing Labrador. 311hemi told me about it and I think he's still working with it. It covers everything. If you don't have the $1200 or $3500 what ever you bout a good dog from a good breeder its 1/3 there. Just READ, WATCH MOVIES and KEEP TRAINING he will be a great dog!

Please read forum policy, no links allowed sorry.

hope this help.

Email me if you need to vent

11krop@gmail.com

krop

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Training a dog is not that hard of a deal, it takes a lot of effort and dedication. I noticed my lab made a steep increase in performance between its second and third bird and duck season. I perfer to do the training my own, it strengthens the bond.

Please read forum policy before posting again, thank you.

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Germanshorthairs, Come to a Field Trial some weekend, you will see it there. Thinking that a dog trained by a Pro will come home and not listen to you is completely and utterly WRONG!!!!

Most of the seminars the top Pro's in the country are putting on now will have gallery participation. Meaning they run other peoples dogs off the Pro's truck in a training set up.

I'm sorry to say but you are way off base with your comments about the dog not listening to the owner after being away for awhile with a Pro.

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Dokken is WWAAAAYYYYYYY over rated from a price standpoint for people who want a hunting dog.

Send your dog to a Hunt Test Pro and you will get as much or more from them for 1/2 the price!!!!

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I will second the suggestion of ON-LINE Retrievers. David is great to work with. He will take your pup to whatever level you want. I had only the obedience done, (with limited bird work) because at the time that is all I could afford, but what a difference. I will use them again and would reccomend them to anyone.

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Pumper,

If you aren't prepared to invest a large amount of time or you lack experience and confidence in training a dog, DO NOT hesitate to send it to a pro. The information given here about it being a waste of money and that it doesn't give you great end results is completely off base and without merit! Duckbuster is right... THEE most highly trained dogs in this country and even in Europe are taught by pros... and guess what? Many are run at the trials by their owners... not their trainers. They will listen to anyone who gives them a command.

I have owned, handled or trained close to twenty labs in my 25 years of running them. I have had 3 dogs with pros... 2 for issues I was not having luck working through and I felt they may get through those issues with a new training regimen, and my last one who went for a good chunk of her foundation work as I realized where I am in my life right now, time would be short. I knew it would be far better to pay a pro for 4 months of good quality training than me trying to muddle through it with the limited time I had.

DO NOT worry if they will listen to you or not! It is hog wash and anyone stating that they know a dog that didn't listen when they came back from a trainer, was not properly trained! I would take much greater delight in a well trained, well disciplined dog taught by a pro, than a half trained, un-disciplined dog who was trained by it's owner. Pride is irrelevant in who trained the dog... the pride show be with the work done by the dog! But I'm a stickler for obedience in the field. Nothing is worse than a dog that does not do as commanded and ruins a hunt.

With that said, do your homework... there are an incredible amount of quality trainers in this state that work dogs for $500-700 a month. I agree with Duckbuster, concentrate on a kennel who specializes in training dogs for hunt tests. These are the ones that produce the best "gun dogs". I also would not go to a kennel that holds more than 20 dogs at any one time... you want to insure that your student is getting his due diligence. Many of the large operations only get your dog out once a day for 15-20 minutes... hardly a great return on your investment. Talk to the trainer... take a tour of his facility, ask questions, a lot of questions, ask what you can expect with 3, 4, 5 months of training. Get all associated costs worked out up front. You want to make sure there are no surprises. Use your gut and ask for references. You will know if he is the right trainer or not. My guess is this... your dog would go in to a trainer at 8-9 months old (to get 100% past the teething stage), do some basic yard work, (a lot of obedience, beginning bird work, fun retrieves, collar conditioning, whistle work), then on to force fetch (to work out the chomping issues, and proper delivery of a bird, the longest portion of his training usually 4-5 weeks), then on to marks and steadying, then onto multiple marks and maybe some upland work (sitting to flush or at least recall on a fly away) and maybe if a star student some beginning lining and handling drills (though I see that further down the road)... total time? I'd say 4 months with a $2000-2500 price tag.

Many times getting back a 'finished' dog, exposes you as to what you should expect from a dog in the field. Then in future years, if you decide you want to train one yourself, you know what you can reasonably expect and you have an end goal. Also getting your dog back from a trainer 'trained', does not mean it's learning is done. You will need to continue to work with your pooch to at least keep him to the level he is at, or to continue to progress to advance levels. This will help transition you into a trainer. Calm, steady, deliberate and repititious are traits you need to develop within yourself to be a good trainer and handler.

If you do decide to go the route of training your dog yourself. It can be done... get many books on the subject and start reading them now. I don't recommend following just one book as you may run into hiccups that won't be properly addressed in the book as to how to work past it. I feel it's best to get at least 3 training perspectives and meld them together as you see fit. I bet you find 2/3rds of their perspective regimens are closely related to each other. I can't stress how important obedience is! It is imperitive that your dog masters "SIT, STAY, HERE, and HEEL". This is the foundation of all future work and if you have a shakey foundation, everything else you build will be shakey. Master each level of training you are working on before moving on to the next level. That is an important key to training. Too many guys train on too many different aspects at the same time. Make your dog focus on the task at hand and let him show you he fully understands it before moving on to the next task to be taught. This way the dog will not be confused as to what he is learning.

Let us know how things are progressing and if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask and we can all chime in!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Good post Ken...and I agree completely.

The only thing I would cation to a rookie trainer is following 2-3 different training methods or merging any togeather. In my opinion someone new to training dogs can get themselves in trouble if they try to follow or combine different training methods. Find one good, proven method and stick to it for your first time around. Troubleshooting a problem can be much tougher when an new trainer jumps around training methods.

There are other gun dogs site on the web and many owners (or Authors) that have a lot of experience. When following one method these sites can be helpful with troubleshooting training issues.

For someone new I still recommend reading 2-3 books, but recommend choosing one to start out with until you get a better idea what you are doing any why.

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That is actually what I meant when I said to read 2-3 books and meld them together...

I meant it to get a good training perspective, and to have been exposed to a couple of ways to work through a problem... not necassarily to blend each and every training regimen with 3 different book's approaches.

I see a subtle difference in many training books that leave how how to address certain problems and work though them, but by reading a couple books, you have some knowledge as to how to begin to work through those problems.

Thanks!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Great post Labs!!

When I picked up my lab from training the trainer made a point of it that Elvis would listen to anyone and anytime..guess what, he does. He listens to anyone in the field when hunting, whether its my wife, father, mother or friends.

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Nice post LABS, The only thing I would suggest is if you have your dog trained by a pro make sure the training includes you working with the dog & trainer for a few sessions. This way you will learn how to handle the trained dog.

Ike

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Good follow up point IKE!!!

I often forget to add that to what to expect from a trainer... but a very important point to remember and one a trainer should offer to all those who send their dog with them... Thanks

Good Luck!

Ken

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In two weeks you are not going to get much done!! the only thing a gun course does is insure the dog is not gun shy by introducing the dog to gunfire the proper way! 3600.00 for 10 weeks is silly! thats just over two months. Many great trainers are at the 4-500 a month range plus birds

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I guess I will take the heat. I am just giving my two cents on my life experiences-plain and simple. I have not bashed any trainer or pro like some have on this post. I think this site is about giving opinions and getting them. Sorry if I offended you. And no thanks on the field trials- I hunt my dogs on wild birds and am not interested in field trials, nor do I have the time. I am to busy hunting!

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My dog is first and foremost my best friend. Next she is my hunting companion and lastly she is my trial dog. As I stated, I do hunt mine as well but for the other nine months of the year guess what?

Because of the field trial training and the field trial running we do together she gets flyers shot over her 12 months out of the year.

To each there own and that is fine and the point I'm sure you are making.

Lets not kid ourselves though, dogs trained by a professional dog trainer WILL in fact be a better trained dog than 99% of any amateur trained dog. Why?

Because it is what THEY do for a living.

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Thanks guys for all of the great info on the subject. I will do my homework on the trainers and talk to my wife. This has really helped a ton, and taught me a few things also. thanks to all for the great wors of wisdom.

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