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When is a good time to take a lab to training


Bushwacker

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I have a 4 month old lab that is doing pretty well with the amateur training that I have been doing with her. I am thinking about taking her to a trainer for a month when she is 6 months old. I am getting married and we are going on a 10 day honeymoon so she will have to go to a boarder if she doesn't go to training. Is it worth taking her to the trainer for a month? Is six months a good age? Any other advise would be great. Thank you.

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bushwacker, I think when the dog has started to lose its teeth this would be a good time. It is at this time the force fetch is started. I would say leave the dog as long as you can so that the trainer can put the dog through his/her training program. If that is not possible then at the very least leave her there until the force fetch is complete. That might be a month , it might take longer but I would not advise taking her back if the trainer is in the middle of a certain part of a program. Examples of this would be the force fetch, pile work, line work or maybe collar conditioning to name a few.
GOOD LUCK

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I forgot one thing. Where is the Honeymoon?
Also, congratulations on the upcoming wedding!!!!

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Duckbuster,
Thanks for the quick reply and the advise. Honeymoon is in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Might even get out fishing one day down there. Creeping up on two months away- WoW- but it will be nice to get all the planning over with. I am in charge of getting my buddies' addresses and that seems like a lot to do- My poor fiancee is spending more time on the wedding than she is sleeping!!

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Where are you staying in Playa? We were at the Gala Playacar last March with 5 other couples. It was absolutely fabulous. You and your lovely bride will really have a great time!!!
Keep us posted on the dog AND the honeymoon!

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I would agree that a month is just not long enough to get in to the training. It is better than none at all but if you could swing 3 months you will thank yourself later.

Finishing a dog is a lot easier when you are only doing the finer points. The yard work for casting and handling is worth the time away. 6 months is when most trainers will take pups in. A lot of trainers are still in Texas training and will be back up in April.


Have a great time in Sunny Mex.!

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duckbuster,
We are going to the Riu Palace in Playa- We had some friends that were at one of the Riu resorts and said they were great. I guess you can eat and drink and hang out at any of the five and they bring you to and from. Really looking forward to it after having to clean my driveway 7 of the last 10 days!
Sauk River Labs has been recommended to me as a trainer. Has anybody had any experience with them? It is around $400 a month is that the going rate? This is my first dog and in turn my first dog I'm taking to a trainer. A little nervous over dropping her off for such a long period after spending hours playing everyday and doing some training myself. Is training definitely worth it for the $ and the time. Her time at the trainer will make us cut back on the center pieces for the reception smile.gifsmile.gif Is it worth that kind of sacrifice?

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Bushwacker: Of course it's worth it. You will only see those center pieces one night but you will hunt and train with your other best friend for the next 10-13 years.
I do know what you mean about missing her. Our little female turned 1 on 1-29-04 and we didn't get to give her any b-day treats because she has been down in Florida with the trainer since 11-15-03. I just keep looking at the picture of her with the 3 Pheasant we shot the day before she left. I know that she is getting better every day she is down there and that if I would have kept her this winter she would not have improved. Looking at the picture puts a big smile on my face, along with a warm feeling inside. I do miss her greatly and look forward to the end of April when she will again be back in our home.
The RUI was right down the street from the GALA if I remember right. It looked like a beautiful place. One thing, what ever you do, DO NOT let your new bride talk you into going to excaret. Remember this word, for if you go on this tour you will throw away 1 whole day in mexico. BORING does not even begin to describe the torture you will go thru on this tour!!!
HAVE A GREAT TIME & GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR DOG!!!

P.S. I think $400.00 a month is fair for the training. I think they will range from about 300.00 all the way up to over 1000.00.

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To me half the fun of having a pup is having the fun and satisfaction of training them yourself and watching them grow and learn and develop. Training a dog is not rocket science, its time and repitition and using the right techniques. Get a good training book, I recomend 'Game Dog' by Walters. Ask questions on this and other forums. Ask yourself what your goals in a gun dog are? Do you need a dog that will do a blind 100 yard retieve? How often do you get out duck hunting or pheasant hunting? Think about your style of hunting, do you sit in duck blind for hours where you need a steady retrieving machine or do you just jump shoot a few ponds where you just need Rover to retrieve a couple of ducks? Are you going to try and field trial the dog? To me that $400-$1000 a month will buy a lot of nice toys (a trail camera? a new gun? a trip to South Dakota?).

Another thought is that this is an excellent way to get your new wife involved in your hunting adventures, maybe after she helps train the pup, she'll want to come sit in the duck blind with your or go with on a pehasant hunt and see the results of the training. Have her throw dummies AND also control the dog while you throw dummies. Get her to do some of the obedience work while you're away, she may love it. Good luck!

I know that I'll get blasted for this post but just because a few people feel that they need to send their dogs to pro trainers doesn't mean that everyone does. If you can train your dog to do the basics and keep them in control, you'll have a good hunting dog - a 'meat dog' as the pros refer to them, but a good hunting dog.

[This message has been edited by BLACKJACK (edited 02-10-2004).]

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BLACKJACK: Nothing wrong with your post at all. I think you hit the nail on the head! You, as an owner, must ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your friend. If you want strictly a gun dog I think most of the training can be done by us amateurs. If you want to dabble in the hunt test/field trial stuff then I think you might have to have a pro strengthen some areas. The other thing to remember is the fact that training dogs is what they do, it's ALL they do and for the most part most of them do it well!!

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First off the center piece question was tongue in cheek. Wow is there a lot of little stuff that goes into planning a wedding!!

Blackjack,
I never thought I would bring a dog to a trainer, but the situation that I'm in makes it the obvious choice. We are getting married on Sat. and leaving for the honeymoon on Mon., and there are a rehearsal and gift opening mixed in there. That means taking Libby to a boarding place for 12 days at $9/day. So price wise that is $96 and 12 days of her sitting around developing bad habits. So if we take her to the trainer for 1 month at $400 I expect that she will only be gaining skills and not regressing at all. Plus there is a lot of other stuff involved with getting married that it would be really nice not have to worry about her for a month. The idea of involving my fiance/wife in training is a great idea, and I already have. She read GameDog the first week we picked up Libby. I have read GameDog, GunDog, and WaterDog. I have SmartFetch on order from Evan Graham and also The Pointing Labrador by Steve and Julie Knutson.(She is from pointing breeding, but that was not important to me when I picked her out, just an added bonus if it works out) I do really enjoy working with her and training her. It is very rewarding yelling for my fiance to "come and look at what Libby can do"

duckbuster,
Thanks for all the advice, both for the dog and for Playa. Did you ever do any charter fishing when you were down there or talk to anybody that has? That would be my favorite way to " throw away a day in Mexico smile.gif "

Now for what I want out of my dog. I get out duck hunting about 20 times a fall, that includes a couple of trips to ND. We spend the majority of time in blinds and do a little bit of pothole jumping. I want her to sit while in the blind and heal while jumping. (This is more to ask of her than any other dog that I have hunted with, all great retrievers, but they would get a lot more retrieving if they would listen the rest of the hunt-this is the point that I am most concerned with). I get out pheasant hunting around 15 days a year including ND and SD, and I am just looking for her to quarter and to stay close and not run off on hens. I think the whistle training that I have done has this under control in our training situations, hopefully that will transfer to the field. I would also like her to retrieve to the hand, which I am having the most difficulty with so far. Either dropping at my feet or trying to play tug of war. I am not looking for field trials, just a dog people really like to have along hunting. Dogs are my favorite part of bird hunting, and I hope Libby can take my enjoyment to the next level.

[This message has been edited by Bushwacker (edited 02-10-2004).]

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Bushwacker: I kinda figured the center piece was a joke. But you know we don't want to upset the bride.

With the amount of hunting it sounds like you do I think Libby is one lucky lab!!!! Hell my little female gets a grand total of 6 weekends (Thursday thru Sunday). If she is only 3 months old I wouldn't worry to much right now about her dropping the bird at your feet. If she is already doing that I feel you are ahead of the game. When her puppy teeth come out that is when you will want to get the force fetch done, then she will deliver to hand. This takes place around 5-6 months of age.
One thing a pro, who was a great friend of mine and hunted ducks up on LOW (he recently past away)told me to do was to get a twist-in-the-ground stake and put a short 3 foot leash on it. Attach her to the leash just to the left of the blind or right, which ever side you decide you will send her from, by the end of the 2nd year my 1st lab was like a rock. She sat there and glared into the sky looking for ducks, it was amazing. I was very fortunate with my first blk lab. I will be hard pressed to EVER again have a duck dog like her, unfortunatley we had to put her down this past summer at the age of 13 1/2. Anyway the leash technique worked well for me.
The best thing you have going for you bushwacker is the fact that she will get to hunt A LOT.

GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND & HAVE FUN!!

P.S. We did not fish when we were down there but a friend almost drowned over at Cozumel scuba diving. We played golf 3 days at the Playacar course right down the road.

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