May I train my own retriever myself?

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JonBailey
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May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by JonBailey » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:49 pm

In other words can I personally develop a DIY trained retriever without paying for the services of expensive professional trainers?

Is there a whole library of books and manuals for the DIY retriever trainer?

Is there a smorgasbord of GOOD home training videos as well?

I would need to train my dog from puppyhood through his whole life.

I would need to housebreak him.

He would have to behave as a good canine citizen in public.

He would need to mind whenever I told him to do something with a bunch of distractions and temptations around.

Excessive barking and destructive behavior is an absolute no-no.

He needs to master all the proper basic commands as Come, Sit, Down, Heel and Leave-It.

He would need formal obedience training that meets Obedience trial standards.

He, I feel, would need formal hunting training as to be good for dove, pheasant, grouse and duck in the field, at the water-hole or in the blind. he would have to be trained well enough to pass a club-sanctioned hunt test.

He will have to master steadiness, multiple marks and blind retrieves in the field and on water.

Whether he really needs to meet formal field trials entry criteria to be a decent working hunting companion is questionable.

I've heard that field trials is just something fancy that pro breeders of hunting dogs need to get into.

Whether he needs to be trained to actually point and or flush to effectively hunt pheasants or grouse is also questionable.

How many of you here have actually trained a dog from start to finish yourself without investing one dime into a professional trainer?
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Sharon
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by Sharon » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:40 pm

I did with the setter I have now and I believe it can be done. However, I had a good pro mentor who made the difference. Not convinced a book/tape series is sufficient for a first time trainer.
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by Trekmoor » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:46 am

What you want is achievable but perhaps not for an inexperienced trainer. I have trained all my own gundogs for more than 50 years, those dogs were spaniels, Labradors, brittanies and GSP's. I won no tests or trials with my first spaniel or with my first lab …. I had no mentor and training by trial and error as I did is a bit too chancy ! Those two dogs became working gundogs but not high quality ones.


Once I did have some experience and did have "experts" I could ask questions of, my experience levels went up by leaps and bounds ….because I pinched some of the experts "experience" ! :lol: Then I won tests and trials.

I also read books ….no videos were available back then and no internet help either. Books are good but no author can cover every dog and every trainers personal "traits" or problems.

I think you should train the dog yourself but seek out 1-2-1 instruction on how to do it.

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by averageguy » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:17 am

Yes you can train your Retriever to do all those things, but you will need to study training materials and find some local training groups, one for OB and another for Retriever Training. Look for an HRC group which may cover both upland and retriever training subjects. Leerburg, Bill Hillman, Evan Graham DVDs would all be excellent materials for you to purchase and study. And you will need to locate training grounds, sources of birds, determine where and how you will house your birds.

Find these resources and study them prior to getting your puppy so that you have a mental roadmap for the building block steps to develop your dog. Training and shaping your puppy begins the day you bring it home. By joining up with some local training groups you will hopefully find a good experienced mentor to train with. Retriever training benefits from assistance from others at various stages so a mutually beneficial arrangement is very possible where you are assisting each other in your training efforts.

If you apply yourself in all areas making this a high priority, and through good research acquire a high quality puppy, you can have a great deal of success. Best of Luck.

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by gonehuntin' » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:44 am

Just how much about these dog's do you actually know? Sounds like nothing. I'd first decide what kind of dog you want. Next, how much time can you devote to the training? Do you have training grounds with land and water to train on?. When you answer these questions, first buy the training material, study it, develop a plan. Next, buy the pup.
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by fishvik » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:43 am

I'd say definitely yes if you have the time and the desire to do it. Get some books or videos, some basic equipment (leashes, check cords, dummies, and maybe an e-collar) and if possible some training buddies. Start with a young dog and develop a relationship with it, keep training session short but often and work into longer sessions as the pup matures. Keep a sense of humor and have patience. Good Luck.

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by birddogger2 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:34 am

It sounds to me like you really need to join a training group to see, first hand, what is involved in developing a dog to the level you describe.

I can tell you this... it is a commitment and a sizeable one, in terms of time especially. Training a dog to a high level is a lifestyle choice.

There are lots of things you can do in a 30X50 yard but you have to find the time to do them...every single day... seven days a week, once or twice a day. When I have pups, I work with them in the morning and in the evening...every single day...rain or shine, cold or hot... weekday or weekend. Like I said...lifestyle choice.

Then...when the yardwork is well on its way, you need to devote even more time and expense to field work. One day every weekend from the time the pup is 5 months old until it is about 2 yrs. old... would be typical of the time it will take, between travelling to a place to train and doing the actual training.

You could do less...but be willing to accept a dog that is not as well trained as you have said you wanted, or be willing to have it take longer.

Training a dog to do all the things you want is NOT rocket science. If you have good instruction on how to go about it and a good pupil, you should do just fine. But you have to absolutely WANT to do it and do it right, if you want a highly trained dog.

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by DonF » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:04 am

Got into quite a bit more than retrieve training. Retrieve training is fairly simple and you should be able to do it from the gitgo! Dogs chase thing's, nature of the beast. You generally throw something, not to far early on, and the dog chase's and when it get's what ever you throw, want's to go off and rip t apart, nature of the beast. So use that to your advantage. Go outside and flip something for the dog and you have no control over what it will do. Go into a hll way in the house and get down on your knees on one end and flip the object and the pup chase's and get's it but it's options on where to run to have ended, it can either stay where it is or try to run past you. Well fix the stay where it is and use a check cord on the dog. Now it has only one option, go to you. Careful, don't tug to hard or much, nudge it to you and as long s it's moving to you, don't nudge the check cord. in the end this need's to be looked at by the dog as it's idea!.

Now take it outside. You have to be able to control the dog still, even more because it does have more directions to go in. Back to the check cord. Kneel down and toss your object and keep it in range of the check cord. Keep in mind; anything your dog won't do 5 feet from you it won't do 6 feet from you, keep that in mind. Outside there are no walls so your gonna have to control the dog more with the check cord. You need to learn to feed the check cord in and out through your hands. Timing is very important in all you'll do, If the check cord is dragging on the ground you can not give command until you get the slack out of the cord. Well can't enforce the command. Bear in mind giving a command you can't enforce only teach's the dog that the command has no meaning! For an object, a small ball works great. It get's tossed and keep rolling. encourage's the dog to keep chasing. It is a h*ll of a lot quicker to do this stuff than it is to do it. The only obstetrical in your way is your own mind! Pay attention to what your training!

BTW, if you decide to force break or have your dog force broke, forget all about this. Force start's later in life and gives your dog no option other than to retrieve. If you decide to trial I think you need to look into force. You don't want a dog to refuse you there or play silly games before doing it!
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by crackerd » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:00 am

If you're asking, in proper Queen's English, "May I train my own retriever myself?" the answer is "Certainly, you may." If you're asking "Can I train my own retriever myself?" to do everything you've noted above, the answer is, Yes, you can - but there's a million-to-one odds against it, and that's conservative odds. Nobody trains a retriever up to the highest levels of either field trials or hunt tests by themselves. Nobody. OK, maybe that one-in-a-million. But that ain't you...or me.

You're advised instead to join a retriever club or three (and there are plenty of them in Cali, some even run by women [Sagehens Retriever Club]). From such club membership you will have training opportunities materialize, and from those opportunities may come others inviting you to join a training group or groups, plural. Depends on what kind of arm you've got for putting in sweat equity throwing birds, putting out 450-yard blind retrieves, listening to advice rather than giving it as a know-nothing (plenty of those in the retriever ranks), and last but not least, keeping your dog under control when it's not "going to the line" to participate in training. But the bottom line is "retrieve training" described as simple in the preceding post is...well, just say that retriever training is about as simple as nuclear physics when you go into it with competitive expectations.

MG

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BuckeyeSteve
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:22 pm

I'm trying to train my Brittany right now without paid trainer help.... but I've bought a bunch of training materials, asked a million questions to people on here, and I've spent thousands of dollars on the dog and gear, with a lot more to spend. If your thought is you are going to do it on the cheap by not hiring a trainer....nope. It doesn't work that way. Hunting dogs are expensive. In hindsight, I now realize I could have bought a 3 year old finished dog and not spent much, if any, more money.

Also, it sounds like you are looking for a rare breed of superdog. You're wanting a pointing, flushing, retrieving, upland & water dog that will do obedience trials and possibly hunt tests and field trials. It kindof sounds like you are looking for a Ferrari with 42" Super Swampers that can also traverse underwater terrain and shoot lasers out of it's headlights. I think you'd be setting yourself up for a lot less disappointment if you just picked a specific purpose dog and tried to train for one thing....and be happy with whatever your best effort turns out. It won't be the dogs fault if lofty dreams aren't reached....

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by DonF » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:39 pm

BuckeyeSteve wrote:I'm trying to train my Brittany right now without paid trainer help.... but I've bought a bunch of training materials, asked a million questions to people on here, and I've spent thousands of dollars on the dog and gear, with a lot more to spend. If your thought is you are going to do it on the cheap by not hiring a trainer....nope. It doesn't work that way. Hunting dogs are expensive. In hindsight, I now realize I could have bought a 3 year old finished dog and not spent much, if any, more money.

Also, it sounds like you are looking for a rare breed of superdog. You're wanting a pointing, flushing, retrieving, upland & water dog that will do obedience trials and possibly hunt tests and field trials. It kindof sounds like you are looking for a Ferrari with 42" Super Swampers that can also traverse underwater terrain and shoot lasers out of it's headlights. I think you'd be setting yourself up for a lot less disappointment if you just picked a specific purpose dog and tried to train for one thing....and be happy with whatever your best effort turns out. It won't be the dogs fault if lofty dreams aren't reached....
Actually you can do it on the cheap without spending ton's of money and get a dog that does what you want. You need a few bumper's, Mine are made out of old jean leg's and filler with the stuffing out of an old pillow. You can get better filler from a sewing store. an't remember what it's call but I used it years ago and they float like a cork. If you know what your wanting to do, go for it. I've done just a few retriever's nd never finished out one to trial, they were hunter's

Obedience is very important, I've never forced a retriever but for myself, obedience is the key. A retriever running crazy all over won't serve you one bit. Work on obedience! I've started out on retrieveing with a buck, just on. Until your dog is fetching one buck the way you want it's doubtful it'll do two. Start close and work your way out. I started them on a 20' check cord so I could control them. Bear in mind it you throw a buck out 25" just to test, you will no lokger be able to handle him if he decided to go play! Control! It should not be to long an he's gonna be doing it the way you want. So here come's in obedience, throw the bumper out that 25' and call him back. Notice you don't have hold of the check cord anymore, he must mind you! Obedience. Work your way out with him. I used to like heeling the dog around after retrieving was going well and while walking drop a bumper behind me. Get away from it a bit then turn, he has to heel and stop. Put the back of my hand next to his head and the nose pointed toward the buck laying on the ground maybe 20 yds off. Your dog should recoginse the buck laying there. Your starting to teach him to take a line. At some point when he's doing it well, toss the bumper toward high grass but try to stop it before going into the grass. last retrieve in the session goes into the grass just out of might. As I recall, with every buck thrown I would get the hand down and say Mark, get him started on marking. From there I went to what they used to call the baseball diamond. Set it up just like a baseball diamond and your spot is on home plate, your dog on the pitcher's mound. This is another spot where obedience lacking can kill you. Your gonna throw the buck to a base and the dog need's to understand it can't go till you release it. In the beginning, one base at a time. Throw the buck to first and before sending give a signal with the wave of your arm to the base and hold it there till you release the dog. The other base's will hve you doing the same thing. The arm signal I used for back was my arm directly over my head. Probably take two or three month's to get it down well. The name of the game is repetition, over and over. You do the same drill over and over and the dog will pick it up.

Now at this point you'll have a 20' check cord, I like hard core braided nylon. You have three homemade bumpers and a dog collar! Oh, get some scent to rub on the bumper's right from the start. Into the blind areas the dog needs something to help find the bumper! Tat's not all that much money but the cost is time spent training. You might get a few feral pigeons, catch them, they are free! At some point along the way the dog needs to learn to pick up feather's. If it doesn't the first bird you kill that lands in cover, the dog might not fin, needs a smell to look for.

When I was in Montana I had a friend with a lab that was really great on bucks but, he'd never thrown a dead bird for it. We were hunting on a river and there was a little bare island on it. We only had his dog with us. One of use killed a duck that fell on that island, in plain sight. He sent his dog and the dog wouldn't pick up the bird! It would go to the bird but wouldn't pick it up. We had to go home and get my lab to go get the duck! You must at some point kill some birds for your dog to retrieve.

Pigeon's will work fine to start. Getting the dog out farther you'll probably need someone out there to throw a bird in the aid for the dog to mark. shoot a gun gives the helper the que to throw the bird and you call mark. When he's looking the right way, send him. These days they have dome dummy launcher's that throw the dummy a lot frther than you can and you might get away with one without a helper.

Consttitently think about what your doing and what you want your dog to do, think like a dog!
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by JONOV » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:10 pm

JonBailey wrote:In other words can I personally develop a DIY trained retriever without paying for the services of expensive professional trainers?

Is there a whole library of books and manuals for the DIY retriever trainer?

Is there a smorgasbord of GOOD home training videos as well?

I would need to train my dog from puppyhood through his whole life.
Yeah, they take polish to continue to shine. And there are all sorts of DVD series out there, youtube, etc...
JonBailey wrote:I would need to housebreak him.
Of course you would, unless you purchase a finished dog.
JonBailey wrote:He would have to behave as a good canine citizen in public.
Easier for you than a trainer to do that.
JonBailey wrote:He would need to mind whenever I told him to do something with a bunch of distractions and temptations around.
It just takes practice.
JonBailey wrote:Excessive barking and destructive behavior is an absolute no-no.
Doesn't have much to do with a pro trainer.
JonBailey wrote:He needs to master all the proper basic commands as Come, Sit, Down, Heel and Leave-It.
Lots of people do this with all sorts of dogs, its pretty simple to teach it. Consistent and enthusiastic compliance is the challenge, but again, not impossible at all.
JonBailey wrote:He would need formal obedience training that meets Obedience trial standards.
WHY? I've looked into that, and its impressive, but what purpose would it serve? Its presumably a pet and a hunting dog, not a seeing eye dog.
JonBailey wrote:He, I feel, would need formal hunting training as to be good for dove, pheasant, grouse and duck in the field, at the water-hole or in the blind. he would have to be trained well enough to pass a club-sanctioned hunt test.
Which can be accomplished going to a retriever club.
JonBailey wrote:He will have to master steadiness, multiple marks and blind retrieves in the field and on water.
The more advanced you proceed in this, the more likely you'll need to, at least consult with, a pro.
JonBailey wrote:Whether he really needs to meet formal field trials entry criteria to be a decent working hunting companion is questionable.
A dog that can pass hunt tests is all that's needed. Top level trial work is unlikely to land you with a dog you would be "happier" with. Trials are one game available out there of many in the dog world. Impressive dogs, for sure.
JonBailey wrote:I've heard that field trials is just something fancy that pro breeders of hunting dogs need to get into.
Its one competition venue of many within the hunting dog world.
JonBailey wrote:Whether he needs to be trained to actually point and or flush to effectively hunt pheasants or grouse is also questionable.
I think they tend to figure it out on their own if you put some work into helping them learn. Keeping them in range is likely your biggest challenge.

How many of you here have actually trained a dog from start to finish yourself without investing one dime into a professional trainer?[/quote]
Lots and lots of people do it.

Start by going to retriever club meetings in your area.

OB is easy if you're consistent with it. People from all walks of life with everything from shelter mutts to high-dollar bird dogs house break and teach obedience to their dog (come, sit, heal, down, leave it.)

Some things you mention aren't training as much as they are socialization. If you start taking your dog all over the place from a young age, then it will learn to behave well in public, even if you never teach it so much as sit.

Its when you get into more complicated tasks that you might need help (long multiples, blinds, cheating the bank if you care about that.)

But you're missing the real question. How patient and long term goal oriented are you towards this? Willing to lose some shots? Willing to hunt and have your buddy shoot? Are you going to lose your temper and give up on the dog? Or take it in stride? What about when the book doesn't really mention your dog doing something that it does, are you going to think its broken or work through it.

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Sharon
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by Sharon » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:45 pm

Excellent post Jonov! :)
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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by polmaise » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:18 am

Sharon wrote:Excellent post Jonov! :)
+1
I particularly like the way it's tabulated .. :lol:

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Re: May I train my own retriever myself?

Post by fishvik » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:11 pm

polmaise wrote:
Sharon wrote:Excellent post Jonov! :)
+1
I particularly like the way it's tabulated .. :lol:
+2

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