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Scott M

If you could change one thing you did when you started

12 posts in this topic

If you could change one thing you did when you started...training your dog (or first dog for those in the business), what would it be?

Just curious what mistakes some made or what they would have changed so I don't do the same...

Thanks.

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Pushing retrieving and formal field training at a young age. I've learned over the years to set the basic obedience package firmly in place with some "fun" retrieves thrown in as rewards... along with bird and gun intros.... most guys WAY over do retrieving and flushing work before their dogs are truley solid on obedience... I used to be the same way, but have learned you will fight life long battles. If it's bred in them, you don't need to concentrate too much on the field stuff... it will come out!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Labs hit the nail on the head on this one. That is exactly right.

I see alot of people throwing bumpers and doing all this retrieving work at a young age. Well most labs instictivly will have the field work come out when you have them great on obedience.

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Holy smokes. Could almost put a lock on this thread. Pretty much covers it for 95+% of all problems owners are going to encounter.

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I would have broke my dog right away, she was naturally broke about 75% of the time and I thought it might just come, but never did.

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I would have whistled trained my dog when she was a pup. I did it this summer, she was 1.5 yrs, but I wish I would have done it right away.

This piece of advice comes from watching my roommate train his dog. Don't let the dog get away with certain things like jumping on people, chewing things around the house or biting people because the dog is a "cute little puppy." Correct the dog right away so you won't have problems in the future (like chewing through seven TV remotes).

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or sleeping on the bed...

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Keep in mind I'm a total novice, but have done a couple Labs.

LABS4ME hit it on the money. Obedience first and "fun" as the reward. Don't push until the basics are established.

It helped to establish "you" (me) as the primary trainer, I didn't let others assist, unless they really knew what they're doing and were a primary figure that's consistently there to reinforce the message, and the right message. Mixed messages are not good. I had a guy try to use a McDonalds hamburger once as "stolen" and "not stolen" on my dog... it even confused me. Translation: don't let the neighbor help, unless the last name is Bakken or something like that.

My best lab was decent on obedience early on, and I was lucky enough to introduce to her to ducks her first year with another well trained dog on a trip with a lot of birds flying. She learned on the job. By the end of the weekend she was head skyward, looking for birds, waiting for me to release her on a retrieve. Honestly, I think I got lucky with an exceptional dog, but I'll take some credit. Took her to So Dak later that Fall for phesants in a similar situation with a couple good dogs and she was an all-star, and was from there on.

My good results were, in my mind, the product of obedience first, a little help, a little love, and letting instincts kick in.

Above all, have fun and let the dog have fun too, but in a constructive manner. I'll say this, I miss that girl and look forward to breaking another in when I'm ready and the time is ready.

Chris

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I agree with you cjac,, I took my brit to SD after some obedience training, (heel, stay) the rest was mostly natural instinct. But the SD birds trained my dog. My biggest problem was not trusting her in the earlier years, she would go too far to the side of us and I would always call her back, after letting her go, she would go on point almost every time, I think I missed alot of birds because I didnt trust the dog.

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I wish I would have put more effort into designating a spot for my dog to use to do his business. Now my whole yard is basically a mine field.

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I would have spent more time with obdience training. A lot more time.

Most dogs already know how to hunt, to a certain degree. A dog that won't come to me when I call him, all the time, every time, is a nusience to me. I don't want to be "That guy" that doesn't have his dog under control.

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I know I put way too much emphasis on the retrieves, which really tried my patience. That led to some poor training sessions and distracted me from making progress in other areas. In the end, we figured it out, but cut out two things that I started on but never finished that I wish I had now.

Use of a place board or mat. Guys that do it are rewarded with dogs that are enthusiastic about taking their "place."

Sit and stay on gunfire. Fortunately, my dog is not typically a bolter, but when you drop a bird and five more get up when the dog starts on a retrieve, you have a confused dog. Ken warned me about this, and I regret not following through.

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