When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

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duckingtugboat29
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When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by duckingtugboat29 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:36 am

Hey guys,

New on the forum. Thanks in advance for any advice.

I have a 6 month old chessie and he is a fetching machine. He is doing great on all basic commands. Heel, here, stay all that good stuff.
My question is what are the absolute basic commands he needs to know before I start really diving into hunting training. Also, when is a good time to force fetch him?

I have trained dogs in basic obedience but never for hunting so I’m very new. I am in the Denver area so any hunting trainers around here you guys know and would recommend let me know! Thanks


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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by reba » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:48 pm

If the dog is a fetching machine; why would you want or need to force fetch? Or maybe you don't understand the term "force fetch" It can be pretty extreme and not fun at all.

Don't forget the number one command to learn is WHOA. Once your dog will lock up solid to this command all else will follow.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:03 am

reba wrote:If the dog is a fetching machine; why would you want or need to force fetch?
That was my first thought on this too. I fully accept that F.F. may be needed if a dog is to compete in retrieve tests or trials but have never managed to get my head around why it would need to be done with a dog that is already very willing to retrieve anything at anytime, anywhere. Dogs with that mindset respond well to other forms of retrieve training .

If I wanted to work the dog as an upland hunter I'd train it to work like a spaniel. The retriever breeds usually greatly enjoy spaniel work ! :lol: There are books and videos galore on training a spaniel to hunt.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:12 am

Trekmoor wrote:
reba wrote:If the dog is a fetching machine; why would you want or need to force fetch?
That was my first thought on this too. I fully accept that F.F. may be needed if a dog is to compete in retrieve tests or trials but have never managed to get my head around why it would need to be done with a dog that is already very willing to retrieve anything at anytime, anywhere. Dogs with that mindset respond well to other forms of retrieve training .

Bill T.
Yep, Using PR methods to teach Hold combined with a strong natural retrieve nurtured from a young puppy forward will most often yield a very nice level of retrieving performance in a lot of dogs. Looking back over many years, I FF'd dogs in the past that I now think did not remotely need it, because I was following the herd at the time.

Now I see many folks having excellent success with other methods. I developed the natural retrieve of my current GWP using play retrieve starting at 9 weeks, then taught Hold and Fetch on a table using Marker/Treats, overlayed an ecollar on those commands at barely perceptible levels and have a very reliable retriever, land and water, waterfowl, upland, fur, hunting or testing. Check out Perfect Retrieve or Michael Ellis Leerburg DVDs if interested.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by gunguy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:50 am

If you have a solid recall, heel, and can stop your dog whether that be with a whistle or verbal command you will be good to go with moving on to more hunting specific work. Those are the commands that will keep your dog safe. That being said I don't wait to introduce birds and guns.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Timewise65 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:19 pm

reba wrote:If the dog is a fetching machine; why would you want or need to force fetch? Or maybe you don't understand the term "force fetch" It can be pretty extreme and not fun at all.

Don't forget the number one command to learn is WHOA. Once your dog will lock up solid to this command all else will follow.

Be careful here....we are talking about a Retriever, not an upland dog! They generally will not 'lock up' they will flush, but not lock up. Most of us retriever Owner/ trainers believe strongly in Force Fetch and would never teach the WHOA command to our dogs! Most trainers now have started using a softer form of training FF, using much less pressure and they always move to the E Collar as the last step in FF. We believe that the FF training builds a retriever that delivers to hand consistently, is soft mouthed, and overall understands that pressure is a reminder to do what you now you have been taught to do!


Additionally, we do teach our dogs to handle to a blind fall using whistle and hand commands and to deliver to hand, ALWAYS! :mrgreen:

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Timewise65 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:37 pm

duckingtugboat29 wrote:Hey guys,

New on the forum. Thanks in advance for any advice.

I have a 6 month old chessie and he is a fetching machine. He is doing great on all basic commands. Heel, here, stay all that good stuff.
My question is what are the absolute basic commands he needs to know before I start really diving into hunting training. Also, when is a good time to force fetch him?

I have trained dogs in basic obedience but never for hunting so I’m very new. I am in the Denver area so any hunting trainers around here you guys know and would recommend let me know! Thanks


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Hello and welcome aboard. Always nice to see another "Retriever Guy" join the group! Most folks on here have dogs for upland game. Many common discussion points for us and them, but be aware many are not experience with Retrievers. I on the other hand, have always had Golden Retrievers. I have worked with trainers over the years to get my dogs properly trained for waterfowl and running AKC Field Tests, so I have some idea on what it takes to train a retriever for bird hunting. I to am from Denver, but now live in KS.


Your Chessie sounds like he is off to a great start. Your obediance training is the foundation to a well trained dog. You should never stop training those basic commands as from those commands will branch all the other training he needs. Dogs reach maturity at different times, most of my dogs were ready to take on field training around 12 months. I took our current Golden to a trainer at 12 months, the trainer worked with her for 3 days and called me saying she was not yet mature enough, so I picked her up and brought her back at 15 months....she was ready and did very well. She is my top dog now....So to answer your question I would say for a retriever it would be between 12-15 months to have the dog Force Fetched and started to learn, Marking, Lining, Whistle commands, and handling. My question to you is do you plan to train the dog or do you have a pro to help you out? I would highly recommend you not Force Fetch you dog yourself, unless you have been trained on doing this. On a bid dog like a Chessie, you could do more harm than good.....


Some good information on Retriever Training......Bill Hillmann, Training a Retriever Puppy Evan Graham - SMARTWORKS For Retrievers----He provides a complete training program from day on through having a completed Gun Dog! I lke his program best...but the FF and a few other times are best done by having a pro involved with your training for a few weeks.


Good Luck...don't over train, keep it short session of 15 min. or so a day while the pup is young. End each session with some fun play....keep the puppy a puppy for a while....

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by JONOV » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:06 pm

What are your goals, specifically, for you and the dog?

I've hunted with a lot of retrievers that were never force fetched that are extremely competent at recovering and delivering game.

If you mostly want a bang up duck dog, work on what I never, ever seem to read about, but do see relatively commonly as a shortcoming: sitting there, quietly, with you, for an extended period of time. Sitting still in a tippy boat. Etc. Just my .02.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:45 pm

No doubt the vast majority of "Retriever Guys" are adamant about using FF.

That is different however, than how many of them are always using FF on every dog because they actually tried a different way on one or more dogs and became convinced through experience with multiple alternative approaches that FF is truly for the best for every dog ... A lot of culture/tradition on using FF in Retriever circles that causes few to experiment with alternatives is my observation.

My GWPs retrieve more wild birds of a wide variety than the vast majority of Retrievers do, annually. I call them a Versatile Dog, but I could just as easy call them Retrievers because they do a heck of a lot of it.

Would seem that much of Europe is getting what they want from their Retrievers without the US form of FF. I have done both, and as posted earlier, put several GWPs through FF through the years that I now believe looking back, absolutely did not need it. I did it because that is what you hear repeated by so many persons, and when you have no experience otherwise you are easily brought to the way it has always been done. That is not a good reason. Hillman does not use traditional FF and by all appearances gets excellent results in his dogs.

We breed dogs to have strong pointing and retrieving instincts (speaking to pointing breeds). And while we use methods to bring out the natural point instinct in the puppy, we certainly hope and in most cases do not have to resort to Force to get them to point a bird. The more natural the point can be brought out the better. (Steadiness is OB not natural ability based on instinct).

We do not force Hounds to track and tree, we don't force pointing dogs to point and search for birds, we don't force blooding tracking dogs to track, Terriers to go to ground after vermin. Rather we work with their genetic natural ability for that work.

Why do we treat Retrieving as a subject that automatically benefits from using force on dogs which are already displaying a great deal of joy and natural ability for the task?!

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Trekmoor » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:30 am

averageguy wrote:

Why do we treat Retrieving as a subject that automatically benefits from using force on dogs which are already displaying a great deal of joy and natural ability for the task?!
I have asked about this in the past and was told that while F.F. may not be needed if a retriever is not going to be field trialed , F.F. is pretty much essential if a dog is to win in your kind of field trial situations ?

Like just about everyone else on this side of the pond I don't train F.F. to retrievers or to spaniels or to the versatile breeds......because I have never needed to. If the breeder has done his job then a pup I buy from him will have everything I need already there inside it just waiting for me to make a start with and then polish up a bit.

If I were to move to the States I'd take a really good look at the field trials there and then decide whether I needed to train F.F. in order to win. If I decided I would need to train F.F. then I'd do it .... I like winning as much as the next man ! If I decided not to trial I'd just keep on with using the methods I have always used because they produce perfectly good retrievers.....good enough to have won me several field trials on this side of the pond.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Timewise65 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:51 pm

Many who have not been involved with AKC Field events which includes Field Hunt Tests for Retrievers (not competitive but tests a Retriever's abiliyies to a set of AKC Standards for Retrievers. The dogs that meets these test standard will get a 'Pass" for the event and eventually get a hunt test title).

Field Trails (which is competitive where dogs are competitively judged against a set of AKC Standards, only a few can win or place at each event, over time get enough points and you get a Title).

For Breeding purposes... Breeders who breed dogs for hunting, and breed dogs with Titles from AKC Field Trials are of higher value than dogs without.

Dogs with Hunt Test titles are not as highly valued as Field Trial titled dogs, but are move valued than a breeders dog whose parents have no Field titles at all. Again this assumes the breeder is breeding gun dogs. Of course we all know that you can pick up a pup from anywhere and end up with a world class hunt dog. But, breeder who us Field titled dogs have a much greater chance of having pups that are exceptional hunting dogs.

Rarely, have I heard of either a Retriever who won a Field Trial or and Hunt Test that did not have a Force Fetch in their early training routine.

It is not all about just 'Fetching' it develops a dog that is crazy about bumpers (which is a primary tool throughout training). It also helps resolve any 'mouthing issues' or 'hard mouth'. It also teaches the dog to hold game until the trainer commands "drop it'! This avoids a wounded bird that is dropped in front of the hunter, from running off, they are trained to deliver to hand and drop on command. Finally, it lays the groundwork for collar pressure or pressure in general to be used to reinforce following a command already learned. Let's face it all dogs at some time will decided to not to follow a learned command! The ecollar properly included in the FF routine, gives the trainer the ability to reinforce trained commands both verbal, whistle, and hand commands when and if needed.


I am not saying all dogs should be FF. I am only saying from my experience with Retrievers, most all of the pro's I know include FF in all training! I have seen exceptions, but few and far between.....

Nuff Said

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Trekmoor » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:53 am

I am not anti F.F. , I'd use it if I had to . I do get "mouthing issues" ….like a pup that holds a buck so loosely that it slips out of it's mouth. Sometimes I can "cure" this by changing the type of buck used . A softer buck or a buck with an old sock pulled tight and then tied over it sometimes works. Some training bucks seem to be almost designed to be slippy ….the harder plastic ones can be very bad in this respect. I avoid using them or I put them inside an old sock to provide a surface that is easier to grip.

If the pup or young dog is still inclined to let bucks slip from it's jaws I send the pup for runners ! Doing that has always worked for me...if the pup lets a runner slip free the runner takes off again and the pup has to recatch it....the bird teaches the pup how firmly it should grip.

So far, in more than 50 years of training gundogs, I have never had a hard mouthed dog of any gundog breed. Maybe I have just been very lucky but maybe because I try to train retrieving in ways that do not cause a pup "anxieties" about "proper deliveries" this has helped me not to make a hard mouthed dog by handler error ?

I work my lab, spaniels and versatile breeds as "picking-up" dogs on big driven shoots and I usually work 2 to 4 dogs at the same time. Occasionally 2 dogs arrive back at me at the same time with birds in their mouths. They hold onto those birds until I am ready to take them.
It's just what I grew up doing and it gets about the same end results as with F.F.'d dogs.

Quote ...." Let's face it all dogs at some time will decided to not to follow a learned command!" ...end Quote …..I certainly agree with that statement ! :lol: It is what makes dog training interesting !


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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:38 am

A very young puppy can be trained the Hold command using clicker or marker word and treats. A properly trained Hold command is the solution to avoiding and or correcting mouthing issues, and has nothing to do with ear or toe pinches which come later in a traditional FF program.

I trained my current dog the Hold command on table using a clicker and treats and then a marker word instead of the clicker so both hands were free to work with the dog. Play retrieve had been developed starting at 9 weeks. Then I overlayed the ecollar using very low level continuous stimulation teaching the dog that getting the object in his mouth is what turns it off. I also used the marker word and treat to mark and reward the behavior.

He retrieves every form of game to hand starting at 7 months of age with 30 doves on his first wild bird hunt, Passed his NAVHDA UT Prize 1 at 18 months of age which required retrieve to hand of chukars shot over his points, running a 200 yard track to a hidden duck immediately picked up and retrieved back to the handler, and marked water retrieve.

We worked on Blind retrieve handling skills this past summer and had a good deal of success with it, with more work ahead. Hillman would be one prominent example of a successful pro who is not using FF with a plethora of DVDs to learn from for those interested in doing so.

Many dogs a person may find themselves working with will not thrive under the same levels of pressure that FT Labs are bred to excel under so having more information and methods is for the best. PR based training can be applied at far younger ages than the pressure based methods. Nearly no-one is willingly to pay a pro trainer to start training their puppies at 9 weeks of age. Pros get puppies at 8 months of age on average and then are given only a 3-4 months at best to work with the dog. That plays a key role in why PR based training is not more prominent in their work, but we amateur trainers have a huge advantage of working with one puppy at a time for the most part staring at 9 weeks of age. The powers of PR based training in that setting are HUGE and worth exploring for all. It is not an either or proposition, I use both. I have numerous Friends succeeding in high level Hunt Tests doing the same.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by crackerd » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:12 am

Double post
Last edited by crackerd on Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by crackerd » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:22 am

Trekmoor wrote:
averageguy wrote:

Why do we treat Retrieving as a subject that automatically benefits from using force on dogs which are already displaying a great deal of joy and natural ability for the task?!
I have asked about this in the past and was told that while F.F. may not be needed if a retriever is not going to be field trialed , F.F. is pretty much essential if a dog is to win in your kind of field trial situations ?

Like just about everyone else on this side of the pond I don't train F.F. to retrievers or to spaniels or to the versatile breeds......because I have never needed to. If the breeder has done his job then a pup I buy from him will have everything I need already there inside it just waiting for me to make a start with and then polish up a bit.

If I were to move to the States I'd take a really good look at the field trials there and then decide whether I needed to train F.F. in order to win. If I decided I would need to train F.F. then I'd do it .... I like winning as much as the next man ! If I decided not to trial I'd just keep on with using the methods I have always used because they produce perfectly good retrievers.....good enough to have won me several field trials on this side of the pond.
Bill, that's a pretty darned good job of paraphrasing - force fetch is a foundation for, and prerequisite to having a handling retriever, particularly handling in water - on which our trials are both won and lost.

Which leads me back to putting average guy right:
averageguy wrote:No doubt the vast majority of "Retriever Guys" are adamant about using FF. ... Would seem that much of Europe is getting what they want from their Retrievers without the US form of FF.
"Much of Europe is getting what they want from their retrievers" largely because "their retrievers" - FT retrievers - probably never pick up a duck in their lives. Certainly not if they are running British field trials, which are conducted about 100.1% of the time on terra firma - water not figuring into their trials but as an afterthought for the dogs maybe crossing a creek to make a retrieve of a pheasant, but never, I repeat never picking a bird from the water nor having to be handled in the water to get to a mark, much less running a water blind, where they have to be stopped en route and kept on-line with whistle and casting commands.

MG

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by JONOV » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:20 am

quote="Timewise65"]

I am not saying all dogs should be FF. I am only saying from my experience with Retrievers, most all of the pro's I know include FF in all training! I have seen exceptions, but few and far between.....

Nuff Said[/quote]

Pro's...Let's think about that. Professional Trainers, Professional Field Trialers, are taking people's money to perform a service and deliver a tangible product. They have an organized, set amount of time every day and hopefully know what they're doing to get the dog in out and through it.

Professionals (in many, many venues of life) do things for reasons that may not be at all relevant for Joe Duckhunter. Take chew toys; they generally won't let dogs have them, they have a lot of dogs, it can cause a fight. Its not a problem if Fido has a bone while your average dog owner watches the news at night. It includes the breeds of dogs they run, equipment they purchase and use, etc...

I've done it, but it was so effing frustrating for me. Now my dog will pick up my beer can if I tell him to, but I still wonder if what I did was the best way. Certainly, it hasn't resolved every possible problem.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by CDN_Cocker » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:41 pm

reba wrote:If the dog is a fetching machine; why would you want or need to force fetch? Or maybe you don't understand the term "force fetch" It can be pretty extreme and not fun at all.

Don't forget the number one command to learn is WHOA. Once your dog will lock up solid to this command all else will follow.
He has a Chessie- force fetch is an important step in every retriever's education. Also whoa is not a retriever command. That stuff's for pointing dogs. Sit is what retrievers and spaniels use.
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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:01 pm

Thanks MG. Chuckling a bit. I posted in a thread about a person training their first hunting dog and now we are discussing what it takes to win a US Retriever FT.

My GWP will reliably do long range straight line water blinds and some basic over and back handling in fairly clean water. When the cover in the water increases, the Duck Search training we did for his UT, along with alot of actual hunting, takes over and my ability to override the dog's desire to search independently for the bird starts falling apart. But I do not think my not having pinched his ear along the way has anything to do with that, and think if I take the training back up next spring/summer we will improve on it. I am having zero instances of refusals, but I also approach his training to avoid them.

At 2 years old what we have accomplished thus far is far short of passing a Master Level Retriever Test and a FT is never ever for us. The dog will fetch 30-40 head of waterfowl in a single hunt from an iced filled swift running river in January and anything/everything that hits the ground on land so my standards are being met thus far.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Trekmoor » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:08 pm

[quote="crackerd]




"Much of Europe is getting what they want from their retrievers" largely because "their retrievers" - FT retrievers - probably never pick up a duck in their lives. Certainly not if they are running British field trials, which are conducted about 100.1% of the time on terra firma - water not figuring into their trials but as an afterthought for the dogs maybe crossing a creek to make a retrieve of a pheasant, but never, I repeat never picking a bird from the water nor having to be handled in the water to get to a mark, much less running a water blind, where they have to be stopped en route and kept on-line with whistle and casting commands.

MG[/quote]

Sorry MG , that is not quite correct. I don't really know what happens in continental Europe field trials but here in Britain a retriever is expected to be experienced with just about all kinds of gamebird ....and woe betide you if your retriever is not multi-species experienced ! I was eliminated from one retriever trial because my 13 months old lab refused to pick an unfamiliar species ....a snipe. I just hadn't got around to shooting any snipe for her . :oops:

Two weeks later and she was happily retrieving them but I was never again required to send her for a snipe in a trial . :roll:

It is true that ducks are seldom shot during our field trials but it does happen and every field trialer I know makes sure his dog will retrieve them. It is also true that water work is seldom needed in our trials but again ......woe betide you if your lab will not swim very willingly and handle pretty well too .

I attended the British Championships at Arniston Estate some years ago and at the very end of the 2nd day a pheasant drive was held that sent the birds sailing out over Portmore Loch .... it's a good sized loch. In the fast approaching darkness the dogs were sent for the birds in the loch and those birds were being blown further out by the wind. The dogs were breaking the skim ice to get to the birds and the last bird to be retrieved was well over 100 yards out and barely visible even to human eyes among the little waves.
The dog that was sent made the retrieve look easy, it seldom needed handled and it handled very well when it was needed..... I was very impressed !

The winning dog was F.T.Ch. Pocklington Glen owned and worked by Dave Garbutt .

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by crackerd » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:37 pm

Bill, I know the IGL championship may have a last-day duck flighting which gives a competing dog the chance to retrieve a duck, and I also know that Labs (and the occasional Chessie) are used for wildfowling over there. I didn't say that a British retriever won't pick a duck, I said a British FT retriever could go a lifetime without ever being asked or required to do so in competition. The retrieving isn't in question, the handling from what I've seen is pretty rudimentary, and certainly nowhere in the same ballpark as what American handlers expect as a benefit from imparting force fetch.

average guy, what it takes to win an American field trial isn't at issue here, it's what it takes (or doesn't take) for "Europeans to get what they want from their retrievers" without force fetching them. And again emphasizing the handling that force fetch facilitates - real handling in the water, not just releasing a dog to find a bird or to be sent on a duck search, ain't there.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:18 pm

Yes, I understand the difference between handling in water and Duck Search. I trained my current dog to do both, and he has never had his ear pinched. I trained prior dogs to do both basic handling in water and Duck Search as well, but also took them through a FF program which included the traditional ear pinch.

I have not seen any dramatic differences between the dogs' desire to work and accept handling having used an ear pinch program and now using a different approach. (Hillman sure seems to get some nice handling accomplished on his dogs including in the water without pinching their ears.)

Which is why I posted in this thread when reba and Trekmoor responded to the OP as to whether FF was even necessary with a Chessie that was already a "fetching machine". I did not assume the OP training their first hunting dog aspired to win a Retriever FT which is far above the practical requirements of actual hunting or even a Retriever Hunt Test (which are increasingly being passed by dogs and handlers who did not use a traditional ear pinch or toe hitch).

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Trekmoor » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:00 am

MG , I fully accept that British retrievers would be very unlikely to handle well enough to win trials in America. They do , however, handle well enough to win our kind of trials which are , I think, a little bit more "natural" or more similar to an actual shooting day than those in America.

I certainly have not trained any dog to handle in or over water for distances much in excess of 100 yards . I'd be too worried my dog might get into trouble out there and I'd be unable to do anything about it. Almost all of the water retrieves I've done with dummies or on fresh shot birds have been within 80 yards.

The most difficult water retrieve, and the most dangerous, I have ever sent a dog for was a blind retrieve over the river Tay here in Scotland. My young GSP bitch did that long swim and was carried off by the river for quite a long way before she reached the far bank . She found the bird over there and was again swept along by the river before she got back to me. She won that trial but I decided there and then that never again would I send a dog for a really long and maybe dangerous swim ….not even to win a trial. It's just not worth a dog's life.

On land I could handle my labs at up to about 400 yards , I only once tried for a bird beyond that distance . It was all of 600 yards and I tried to claim 800 to my mates who witnessed this blind retrieve.....but they disallowed my boastful claim ! :lol: :lol:
The bitch that did this retrieve was "Trekmoor Tessa," she was probably my best ever lab but she was also, by far, the "hottest !" :lol:

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by crackerd » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:17 am

Thanks, Bill - all your insights and unique experiences appreciated, as always. From our side, on the distance thing and safety concerns in the water about a retriever for handling, that's where the custom-dug "technical ponds" of uniform depth and "clean" water as described by our Canadian friend at your other gundog "port of call" come into play. On land, at distance, I always remember Eric Begbie talking up Bill Meldrum's handling one of QEII's Labs to an 800+ yard retrieve of a red legged partridge -
Trekmoor wrote:MG , I fully accept that British retrievers would be very unlikely to handle well enough to win trials in America. They do , however, handle well enough to win our kind of trials which are , I think, a little bit more "natural" or more similar to an actual shooting day than those in America.

I certainly have not trained any dog to handle in or over water for distances much in excess of 100 yards. I'd be too worried my dog might get into trouble out there and I'd be unable to do anything about it. Almost all of the water retrieves I've done with dummies or on fresh shot birds have been within 80 yards.

The most difficult water retrieve, and the most dangerous, I have ever sent a dog for was a blind retrieve over the river Tay here in Scotland. My young GSP bitch did that long swim and was carried off by the river for quite a long way before she reached the far bank . She found the bird over there and was again swept along by the river before she got back to me. She won that trial but I decided there and then that never again would I send a dog for a really long and maybe dangerous swim ….not even to win a trial. It's just not worth a dog's life.

On land I could handle my labs at up to about 400 yards , I only once tried for a bird beyond that distance . It was all of 600 yards and I tried to claim 800 to my mates who witnessed this blind retrieve.....but they disallowed my boastful claim ! :lol: :lol:
The bitch that did this retrieve was "Trekmoor Tessa," she was probably my best ever lab but she was also, by far, the "hottest !" :lol:

Bill T.

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When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by duckingtugboat29 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:12 am

Thanks for all the tips guys. I’m still really new to retriever training so I appreciate all the help


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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by crackerd » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:21 am

Good luck going forward. If you're in this country, you could always get plugged into a retriever club or two and proceed from there. If you're in the UK, you could always go see Polmaise or Trekmoor. But seeking out a retriever club for help in training a hunting retriever, well, that's ostensibly why the parent org. I'd point you toward is called The Hunting Retriever Club (HRC) http://www.huntingretrieverclub.org/

Again good luck and sounds like you're off to a good start on your own -

MG

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by Timewise65 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:53 am

averageguy wrote:A very young puppy can be trained the Hold command using clicker or marker word and treats. A properly trained Hold command is the solution to avoiding and or correcting mouthing issues, and has nothing to do with ear or toe pinches which come later in a traditional FF program.

I trained my current dog the Hold command on table using a clicker and treats and then a marker word instead of the clicker so both hands were free to work with the dog. Play retrieve had been developed starting at 9 weeks. Then I overlayed the ecollar using very low level continuous stimulation teaching the dog that getting the object in his mouth is what turns it off. I also used the marker word and treat to mark and reward the behavior.

He retrieves every form of game to hand starting at 7 months of age with 30 doves on his first wild bird hunt, Passed his NAVHDA UT Prize 1 at 18 months of age which required retrieve to hand of chukars shot over his points, running a 200 yard track to a hidden duck immediately picked up and retrieved back to the handler, and marked water retrieve.

We worked on Blind retrieve handling skills this past summer and had a good deal of success with it, with more work ahead. Hillman would be one prominent example of a successful pro who is not using FF with a plethora of DVDs to learn from for those interested in doing so.

Many dogs a person may find themselves working with will not thrive under the same levels of pressure that FT Labs are bred to excel under so having more information and methods is for the best. PR based training can be applied at far younger ages than the pressure based methods. Nearly no-one is willingly to pay a pro trainer to start training their puppies at 9 weeks of age. Pros get puppies at 8 months of age on average and then are given only a 3-4 months at best to work with the dog. That plays a key role in why PR based training is not more prominent in their work, but we amateur trainers have a huge advantage of working with one puppy at a time for the most part staring at 9 weeks of age. The powers of PR based training in that setting are HUGE and worth exploring for all. It is not an either or proposition, I use both. I have numerous Friends succeeding in high level Hunt Tests doing the same.
As I said, "I have seen exceptions'.........and I also mentioned that the "Traditional' FF training methods have changed with many trainers. So I don't doubt what you say. But for me, when doing a complex blind in excess of 100 yds. I always prefer the whistle and ecollar as a means of assuring a retrieve, just in case a dog is pulled off a scent by a deer or whatever! But like most things in life we all have our own opionions.

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Re: When to switch from basic obedience to hunt training

Post by averageguy » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:37 pm

Timewise65 - I use a whistle and an ecollar as well. I did not use an ear pinch while working on Trained Retrieve on my current dog, (but did on prior dogs). For this dog I taught Hold, then Fetch on the table, overlayed the ecollar at level 1 or 2 low depending on how the dog was working, went to the ground, did the normal FTP, Ladder Drills, T Drills, Baseball, Walking Baseball, land blinds, then water blinds, then basic backs and over in water and that is where we are now. I seldom ever use the ecollar while working handling and never in water. This dog would not respond well to that. But I used an ecollar at very low levels (550 at levels one and two) for many other training items including the Fetch, FTP, Ladder Drills work... Hybrid approach. I attended a Retriever Training Day a month ago and watched some talented dogs and handlers. Some of them respond better to the traditional approaches very well and some do not. This dog did really well with the approach I used, but I am sure not suggesting that many tough minded Retrievers cannot do well with FF. But when the notion they can be trained without it, was raised in this thread, I chimed in as I have done it, and seen it done very successfully by others as well. Good Discussion, appreciate yours and others thoughts.

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