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First GSP, distracted training issues

First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby nmorris » Tue May 16, 2017 5:04 pm

Hi everyone,

I am having serious issued getting my GSP to listen when outdoors. He is 8 months old, and has completed basic obedience training. While we're inside he will come, sit, and stay flawlessly. When I take him to the field, he has no interest in me. He will come to voice and whistle, though only when he feels like it or if he's tired.

We ran him off leash until he was 5 months, and after that his instincts took over and he will take off for a scent, bird, or even a blowing leaf. We now have a 75' rope we keep him on in the field, and he is pulling it hard most of the time. Him being over 60lbs already, its getting difficult for the wife. I'm somewhat overwhelmed with where to start with this, and very much want to be able to have him off leash without losing him. We have an e collar, though haven't been using it.

He knows the commands, the issue is teaching him that it's not an option. I know he's still young, for now I would be happy with keeping him from running away while off leash, and some advice for reinforcing the "come command" while he's distracted.

I have tried special treats just for "come", and pulling him to me on the rope after he doesn't listen to "come".
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Nathan
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby randomnut » Tue May 16, 2017 6:34 pm

Coming from a fellow novice who is the worst "trainer". Don't give a command you can't or won't enforce. In you situation, I'd think collar conditioning would be next.

Me personally, I'd ditch the rope and e collar. Pup will learn a lot more on his own than you'll ever teach them. Go back to square one.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby fishvik » Wed May 17, 2017 10:06 am

I guess I would keep with the checkcord and start the e-collar at a low setting. Have the dog drag the cord. When you give the come command, if the dog doesn't respond give them a jolt and reel them in. Praise him when he gets to you if he did it on his own or you had to reel him in. Keep him on a short cord and work him on a longer section as you progress. Don't over due it though. Let him explore and hunt but also keep him in control.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby gonehuntin' » Wed May 17, 2017 11:29 am

Being able to enforce commands, consistency in training, challenging the dog on all commands. It's the consistency that is important. Every place, every time, every command. It's really very simple, you just have to do it.

I assume you have a good training program you're following?
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby Sharon » Wed May 17, 2017 1:20 pm

E- collar training begins in the back yard , not the field, using a proper programme. Start there and then move to a larger enclosed area, then the field. At 8 months of age, wanting to hunt rather than come is a bonus.

edited for the age
Last edited by Sharon on Wed May 17, 2017 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby polmaise » Wed May 17, 2017 2:10 pm

" He is 8 months old, and has completed basic obedience training."
Does he understand 'No' ?
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby nmorris » Wed May 17, 2017 5:12 pm

Thanks everyone for the prompt replies! Going to start by shortening the rope for and working on the training in the yard rather than the field, and slowly start the e collar conditioning. The more advice the better, I want to make sure I do this right the first time.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby nmorris » Wed May 17, 2017 5:15 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:Being able to enforce commands, consistency in training, challenging the dog on all commands. It's the consistency that is important. Every place, every time, every command. It's really very simple, you just have to do it.

I assume you have a good training program you're following?


I do not have a good training program, have been going mostly on the broad range of info found online. If you could recommend one I would be very interested . Thanks!
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NOT

Postby birddogger2 » Wed May 17, 2017 8:00 pm

Nathan -

You folks have already started. Unfortunately, you have allowed the dog to think that the rules he learned in the yard do not apply in the field.

What you need to do is to, in essence...start over.

I would do an obedience drill in the yard consisting of heel, stay or whoa and come...at a minimum. I would do the drill with a checkcord attached and either a prong or pinch collar on the dog. I would start with heel and make the dog heel and heel correctly. If not... pop the checkcord and correct the dog with the prong or pinch collar. Be insistent and be consistent. For the come command, I would start with two checkcords. Have your wife sit or stand across from you, with the dog in the middle. Take turns calling the dog to each person. if the dog comes slowly, pop the checkcord and reel him in. When he is by your sideor front(as you choose) one pat on the flank as a reward.
At some point in the yardwork, you should first overlay the e-collar giving very low momentary stims at the exactly same time as you pop the checkcord with the prong or pinch collar.

Once you have this foundation re-established in the yard, you need to move the operation into the field. You need to repeat the same drills in the field, so the dog understands that the rules are the same here in the field as they were in the yard. I let my youngsters drag a checkcord in the field attached to a flat collar...but they are also hooked up to an e-collar for control and corrections. I do not hold the checkcord, but let it drag. The e-collar is the means of correction and control. The only time I will pick up the checkcord is when I approach the dog on point. I prefer to do this by hand as opposed to e-stim. That is how I was taught and I am comfortable with doing some parts of the training by putting my hands on the dog. You may be different.

As Gonehuntin' asked...: "Are you following a program?" If not... you really should be. There are several good ones to choose from. Pick one you are comfortable with following and stick to it. Believe it or not...they ALL work and will get you and your dog to where you want to be. Some folks are wired differently than others and may be more comfortable with one approach over another. If you, the trainer, are more comfortable and more confident with a particular approach or method, it is a virtual certainty that the dog will progress better and faster with a method the trainer is comfortable with.

Patience and persistence is key. Be consistent and insistent. A healthy sense of humor helps a lot as well.

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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby cjhills » Thu May 18, 2017 6:56 am

My biggest question is how the heck do you use a 75 foot checkcord and why would you need that?..........................Cj
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby Cicada » Thu May 18, 2017 10:08 am

Lots of great advise given.
He sounds like a lot like a dog I had 20 years ago working him on an ecollar was my only solution. After his first season of hunting he was tuning it in and as long as I had a gun he stayed within sight. By the time he was 3 he was a machine none of my other dogs could work heavy cover and hold birds as well as he did.

Have you given him any birds yet? Have you given him any gun introduction? And how much time are you training. I always thought I was doing the right amount of training but once I retired I realized that work takes up a lot of dog time.

Be patient, stay calm and try not to worry when he buggers off to the next county looking for that covey he found last week.

Grant
PS I wish I had a GPS for my GSP 20 years ago!
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby deseeker » Fri May 19, 2017 7:31 am

You are getting a lot of good advice. I had a pro tell me the dog doesn't know the command until you have him where he'll do the command right 100% of the time at at least 7 DIFFERENT locations--after that then start adding more and more distractions to the training(kids in the distance, birds walking and flying around, other dogs in the distance, load noises, etc.) Good luck with your training. :D
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby birddogger2 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:37 am

cjhills wrote:My biggest question is how the heck do you use a 75 foot checkcord and why would you need that?..........................Cj


C'mon Cj. Be nice.

The OP has already admitted they don't know what they should do. They asked for help. That is the main reason I am on here. I know that it is the same for others.

First time bird dog owners can be at a loss regarding how to deal effectively with the awesome drive of a well bred bird dog. They may not fully understand that the only way you can "control" that level of drive, without squelching it, is to show the dog how to co-operate with you.

Those of us who have worked fairly extensively with these kinds of dogs, tend to take some of this knowledge for granted.

Nathan. ASK AWAY. The only dumb question is the one you DO NOT ASK. If you are not comfortable asking on an open forum, send a PM.

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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby cjhills » Fri May 19, 2017 12:11 pm

I guess I do not see how my question was not "being nice" Sorry. I thought it was a good question. I could not use one that long. In fact The only reason I have a collar on my 4 month old puppy is for him to carry his rabies tag and my phone number. But then I am not the Expert........................Cj
Last edited by cjhills on Fri May 19, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby polmaise » Fri May 19, 2017 2:45 pm

Like cj...
If the issues from the OP is distraction ,any of them 75 foot away are harder to remedy than them 1 foot away. . That's nothing to do with being nice or not . Just Common sense.
....
Coincidentally, I have a dog in for training (but that has an issue of wanting to eat 'sheep poo' ) even on lead ! ..So I shortened the lead to 2 inches from my hand .
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby birddogger2 » Fri May 19, 2017 7:58 pm

cjhills wrote:I guess I do not see how my question was not "being nice" Sorry. I thought it was a good question. I could not use one that long. In fact The only reason I have a collar on my 4 month old puppy is for him to carry his rabies tag and my phone number. But then I am not the Expert........................Cj



Cj-

We both know that a 75 ft. cord is not a good idea for a whole multitude of reasons. We both know that restraining a bird dog in the field with a cord, of ANY length, is almost certainly not going to get us and the dog to where we want to be. We both know that there are better ways to encourage a bird dog to work with us and for us. We both know that there are at least a half dozen ways to get from here to there with a bird dog.

But all of that is not really important.

The important thing is that NOW the OP knows it too. The OP asked for help. He got some help from several folks. I hope he asks for more.

My main goal on these boards is simply to try to help the novice bird dog trainer to become better, if I can, so they can enjoy their dogs and their sport as much as I do. No more, no less.

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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby cjhills » Fri May 19, 2017 8:13 pm

birddogger2 wrote:
cjhills wrote:I guess I do not see how my question was not "being nice" Sorry. I thought it was a good question. I could not use one that long. In fact The only reason I have a collar on my 4 month old puppy is for him to carry his rabies tag and my phone number. But then I am not the Expert........................Cj



Cj-

We both know that a 75 ft. cord is not a good idea for a whole multitude of reasons. We both know that restraining a bird dog in the field with a cord, of ANY length, is almost certainly not going to get us and the dog to where we want to be. We both know that there are better ways to encourage a bird dog to work with us and for us. We both know that there are at least a half dozen ways to get from here to there with a bird dog.

But all of that is not really important.

The important thing is that NOW the OP knows it too. The OP asked for help. He got some help from several folks. I hope he asks for more.

My main goal on these boards is simply to try to help the novice bird dog trainer to become better, if I can, so they can enjoy their dogs and their sport as much as I do. No more, no less.

RayG

Ray:
How about you Just get off my back and let me write what I want without your insults and criticism. I really do not care what your goal is.Thank You..
It is dangerous and makes no sense to use a 75 foot check cord. I hope he knows that now too.......Cj
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby Timewise65 » Sat May 20, 2017 11:02 am

Coming from a Retriever guy, I would go back to the beginning obedience as others have recommended. One of the hardest things to do with a dog is take yard training to field training and then even worse start hunting live birds! Each phase will usually include going back and reinforcing commands and training until the dog get's it. At 8 month I am suspect he is just not mature enough to control his natural desired when out in the field, maybe slow down and give him a couple more months of yard training.

Secondarily, I am a firm believer in Force Fetching (FF). I did not see you mention this in his training. This is best done by someone who knows the proper way to do it. And I prefer that the e collar be included in the FF training. In this way the dog is collar conditioned and understands when he feels the collar that he must obey. Then if he 100% knows his commands (Obedience Training) the collar becomes a great training aid. Never use a collar on a dog that is not clearing understanding the commands you give.....

Good Luck
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby birddogger2 » Sat May 20, 2017 12:34 pm

cjhills wrote:
birddogger2 wrote:
cjhills wrote:I guess I do not see how my question was not "being nice" Sorry. I thought it was a good question. I could not use one that long. In fact The only reason I have a collar on my 4 month old puppy is for him to carry his rabies tag and my phone number. But then I am not the Expert........................Cj



Cj-

We both know that a 75 ft. cord is not a good idea for a whole multitude of reasons. We both know that restraining a bird dog in the field with a cord, of ANY length, is almost certainly not going to get us and the dog to where we want to be. We both know that there are better ways to encourage a bird dog to work with us and for us. We both know that there are at least a half dozen ways to get from here to there with a bird dog.

But all of that is not really important.

The important thing is that NOW the OP knows it too. The OP asked for help. He got some help from several folks. I hope he asks for more.

My main goal on these boards is simply to try to help the novice bird dog trainer to become better, if I can, so they can enjoy their dogs and their sport as much as I do. No more, no less.

RayG

Ray:
How about you Just get off my back and let me write what I want without your insults and criticism. I really do not care what your goal is.Thank You..
It is dangerous and makes no sense to use a 75 foot check cord. I hope he knows that now too.......Cj


How about you trying not to be dismissive and demeaning to folks who are just trying to do the right thing by their dogs. I was NOT being insulting to you, just critical, but perhaps you take criticism as an insult. That my man, is YOUR problem and you need to deal with it.

So... NO, I will continue to call them as I see them. If you don't like it, you have all the options. I'll let the moderators do any policing they think appropriate.

It does take a certain amount of courage to admit in an open forum , such as this, that you messed up and need help. Instead of poking fun at someone who cares enough about doing the right thing by their dog to go on a forum like this, I would rather show a measure of respect for that kind of courage and try to be helpful.

RayG
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby shags » Sat May 20, 2017 1:56 pm

Sharon wrote:E- collar training begins in the back yard , not the field, using a proper programme. Start there and then move to a larger enclosed area, then the field. At 8 months of age, wanting to hunt rather than come is a bonus.

edited for the age


Yes to this ^^^

What you experiencing is normal...adolescent dogs go through a stage of what they might think of as 'independence' but what *I* call ' blowing me off'.

I would collar condition your dog for the recall command in the back yard or some safe enclosed space like a schoolyard ( please take poop bags if you go there, picking up keeps everyone happy). Then you can go to the field with the ecollar to reienforce your recall if the pup ignores you. Be sure to collar condition properly - it's way too easy to mess up and put you and the dog back quite a bit. If you don't have an experienced trainer to help you, look to youtube or various bird dog training sites. Always remember you don't want to apply electrical stimulation that makes your pup jump or yelp; keep the stim low as possible, looking for signs like lip licking, swallowing, or ear twitching.

For my pups, I take them to the field and let them rip. At a certain point - like if they take a wrong turn or don't turn with me, I give my recall command, give them second to respond, then stimulate. Usually that's all it takes, but once in a while I've had to jack up the juice one notch and call again. I don't fuss or anything when they come to me, but encourage them with 'OK, let's go!'

Limit yourself to one or two recalls per session. Don't nag with multiple recalls. When it's time to go home, save a few minutes for some happy-timing so your pup doesn't associate obedience with the end of fun, and end your sessions at different places and times on your course.

Once the pups know I can enforce my command from a distance, they are pretty reliable. But from then on, they always wear that ecollar afield, until I know for certain I can trust them to recall under any circumstances. IME all pups need a little reminder now and again until they are 100%.

Good luck with your pup, he sounds like a good one.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby polmaise » Sat May 20, 2017 4:50 pm

shags wrote:
Sharon wrote:E- collar training begins in the back yard , not the field, using a proper programme. Start there and then move to a larger enclosed area, then the field. At 8 months of age, wanting to hunt rather than come is a bonus.

edited for the age


Yes to this ^^^

Once the pups know I can enforce my command from a distance, they are pretty reliable. But from then on, they always wear that ecollar afield, until I know for certain I can trust them to recall under any circumstances. IME all pups need a little reminder now and again until they are 100%.

Good luck with your pup, he sounds like a good one.

Hmmm? Is Your Yes to the edit or the original or just to the poster ? ..for sake.
On the whole reply it looks really sweet ! ... Like all politically correct.
So ..what if the pup decides it doesn't fit in your program ?..or Sharon's ..or any one else's for that matter ..? btw ..what is a 'Proper Program' ? ..I digress...Pretty reliable ? ..Is that like ..if you wish or often or when you like ?..or enforce with a collar if you don't ? ...sounding different now ..Not all sweet any more ?...So why the collar if you can enforce your command from a distance ? ...Your words .not mine
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby shags » Sat May 20, 2017 6:17 pm

A proper program would be a method tried and true. Like Smith's, for instance. It means don't just wing it.

If dog and program aren't a good fit, try another. Just stay with something proven rather than off the cuff methods of a new, inexperienced trainer.

Do you know any 8 month old pups with a good measure of independence that are 100% reliable? I don't. They test handlers. So even when they are 'pretty reliable' they need to know that commands can be enforced from a distance, via Reddy Kilowatt in this instance, until they are 100%. My dogs got to that stage around 2- 2 1/2 years. Even so they may forget every few years and need a reminder. They're dogs, not robots.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby polmaise » Sat May 20, 2017 7:04 pm

shags wrote:A proper program would be a method tried and true.
They're dogs, not robots.

All in the same sentence ? :lol:
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby nmorris » Sat May 20, 2017 8:11 pm

Seeing lots of very helpful advice here, thanks to everyone! The idea behind the 75' rope was to let him run in a field, as we have no fenced in areas handy and he has disappeared on us several times now. We keep him exercised, though the running off is becoming an issue. I work away 3 nights a week so until we can find a better fenced in area its what we came up with for the wife while I'm gone. We wont be using it while training, just for play time.

Did some yard work with him today, though he listens very well while on the CC in the yard. Going to keep that up until its solid enough to try and transition to the field. Also, he has not been introduced to birds, and we will be starting to introduce light gunfire shortly. Started with a cap gun, he was curious but by no means scared of it.

Bird dogs are not very common in this area, I don't personally know anyone who has trained them, any gun dog trainers or clubs near by, so I will be pestering the people of this forum quite often I imagine.

Thanks again, and like before, any advice or training program recommendations are very much appreciated! Certainly helps knowing that people have had success with the methods mentioned.
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby cjhills » Sun May 21, 2017 10:41 am

nmorris:
I hope you are aware that I meant no "ill will" with my post about the long rope.
"Ray" generally has some problem with anything I write. It is just how things are. He gets something out of it, I guess, so that is fine with me.
A rope like that is extremely dangerous to both the handler and the dog.
There are dogs who just are not bred to hunt with people and they will be a battle and not a lot of fun for there whole life.
Gun intro without birds is noise conditioning and not a lot of value.
It may be worth your time and expense to have your dog evaluated by professional trainer if you can locate one you are comfortable with. Most will want to see the dog and not diagnose the issue in a email.
I use George Hickox's e collar intro. It is easy to understand and works well.
Perfection Kennels DVDs are good but require a lot of birds and help.
Sorry, If my post upset you it was not intended that way. Good Luck with the dog.......................Cj
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby Cicada » Sun May 21, 2017 12:11 pm

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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby nmorris » Sun May 21, 2017 4:07 pm

cjhills: No harm done about the rope, no worries. I will check out Hickox e collar intro for sure.

Grant: I just looked into the link you attached, looks like a great place. It is nearly 3hrs drive from my place, which isn't too bad for day trips on the weekend. I will contact them about local trainers and advice. I have also found a NAVHDA chapter about 2.5 hours away in the southern part of NB which I imagine could be very helpful so I will be contacting them as well. Thanks!
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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby birddogger2 » Sun May 21, 2017 7:08 pm

nmorris wrote:Seeing lots of very helpful advice here, thanks to everyone! The idea behind the 75' rope was to let him run in a field, as we have no fenced in areas handy and he has disappeared on us several times now. We keep him exercised, though the running off is becoming an issue. I work away 3 nights a week so until we can find a better fenced in area its what we came up with for the wife while I'm gone. We wont be using it while training, just for play time.

Did some yard work with him today, though he listens very well while on the CC in the yard. Going to keep that up until its solid enough to try and transition to the field. Also, he has not been introduced to birds, and we will be starting to introduce light gunfire shortly. Started with a cap gun, he was curious but by no means scared of it.

Bird dogs are not very common in this area, I don't personally know anyone who has trained them, any gun dog trainers or clubs near by, so I will be pestering the people of this forum quite often I imagine.

Thanks again, and like before, any advice or training program recommendations are very much appreciated! Certainly helps knowing that people have had success with the methods mentioned.


Nathan-

If you work on the "here" or come command in the yard with a checkcordand eventually even with that 75' cord, the goal is for the dog to respond very quickly with the first verbal command. When the dog does not respond instantly, a pop on the checkcord would be the next "cue", with the final cue being physicaly reeled in.

I suggest that you do that in the yardand, with the e-collar placed high up on the dog's neck, right behind the ears, a pop on the checkcord and a simultaneous, low level "nick on the e-collar can be used to overlay the command, with the goal of eventually replacing the physical checkcord with the electronic one.

As was suggested, you can take the dog into the field, on a checkcord and repeat the yardwork drills. Do as many sessions as it takes, keeping each session fairly short and ending with a happy dog. Eventually, you can just let the checkcord drag or even take it off completely, becasue the dog will have been conditioned to "come in" on command. You goal should be to have the dog understand that if it comes in when called, it is pretty free to do what it wants the rest of the time. The beauty of this approach is that you can relax and be comfortable with your dog...off lead... and the dog can be confident and independent, and still be under control.

As mentioned by others, dogs will test you and you need to be able to respond in a timely manner. The e-collar(electronic checkcord) gives you that ability with none of the drawbacks of a physical checkcord.


Navhda chapters generally have a fairly wide range of trainer experience, so you should get to see a bunch of dogs doing some of the things you want to do with yours. I would definitely go see what they are all about. The chapter we have down by me has some really nice folks.

As I said previously, ask away.

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Re: First GSP, distracted training issues

Postby DeLo727 » Wed May 24, 2017 11:48 am

It really just sounds like the dog needs to be reigned in. Work him at shorter ranges under complete control and start working in the ecollar. I start with tone. You cant rush this at all. You are going to be hunting with this rocketship for 10-15 years. What's a little more time in the training regiment. My dog was over a year old when he heard his first pistol, take your time and enjoy the process. Obedience is the foundation for all field commands and in my humble opinion, obedience needs to be rock solid before you start giving him some freedom. I think you're doing fine, just don't put any pressure on him or yourself. Some dogs learn quick, others take a very long time. My pooch would never be where he is now if I rushed him through it, I don't have the skill to push my way through his training.
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Rank: Senior Hunter
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:15 pm
Location: Wilmington, NY


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