Rome, Jewls & Me

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Hi, My name is Nick Conley. I have two awesome dogs named Rome & Jewls, after Romeo and Juliet. (Don't know why) I live in the great State of Idaho next door to the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness. I hunt on beautiful Cascade Reservoir, the Payette River, and local ponds. This is my first real season in the Waterfowler and Game Dog world, and am glad to say, I'M HOOKED!

Rome is a gorgous 11 month old Labrador Retriever. He was pick of the liter from a family friend who has been breeding for some time. Both of Rome's parents are excellent hunters and Rome is determined to carry on the family name, along with some help from his master. Rome is my first working dog. I have been training Rome for waterfowl hunting for close to six months. I'm following the book, "Game Dog" by Wolters. This book is my bible when it comes to training my dogs. I started Rome's training when he was six months old. Wish I would have read that book sooner, then I would have started months earlier. Anyways, my plans for Rome are to continue his training hard though this winter and hope to enter him in a Junior Bird Dog Trial or Hunting Test sometime next spring. Rome is at the handling stage in his training. He is progressing really well. I usually spend one week teaching each skill. Then on the weekends I test him on everything he has learned, and reinforce any weak spots. If he doesnt grasp any skill 100% I reinforce for another week.

Jewls Training Journal

I'm going to keep this journal on Jewls's training since I'm just beginning with her.

Week 1: I began teaching the command "SIT". Before each meal and when ever I am around Jewls I periodically give her the "SIT" command. Said only once. If she doesn't sit right away I make her do it, by gently pulling her collar up while pushing her rear down. It took three nights for her to get this down. I'm also playing fetch with her in a narrow hallway where she has nowhere else to go but back to me. I never hold on to her bumper for long. When she brings the bumper to me I let her hold it and give lots of praise. By letting her hold the bumper I am unconciously teaching her I dont want her to drop the bumper, I want the bumper in my hand and not the ground. I grab the bumper then give the "RELEASE" command, and immediatly throw the bumper again. The whole time making it a happy enviroment. I want everything in this early stage to be fun.

Week 2: Jewls is doing very well with the "SIT" Command. Now instead of saying "SIT" I incorperated the whistle. One sharp blast means sit. For the first two days I only blew the whistle for sit before each meal. On the third day I interupted Rome and Jewls's play with a sharp quick blast of the whistle while standing right over her. She stoped and looked at me and did nothing. I gave it one more blast then sat her rear on the ground for her. I want her to know that when that whistle goes off, no matter what she is doing, I'm the boss and she is to sit every time. There is no negative force or voice gestures. When she sits, even if I made her sit, soon as her rear touches the ground I give plenty of praise. We still play fetch every night. Except now its out on the beach by the lake with longer throws.

Week 3: This morning before Jewls breakfest I started the "Heel" Command. By grabbing her collar and pulling her to my left side and sitting her butt down. All in one motion while saying "HEEL".  I also let her sniff this Teal I shot over the weekend and she seemed not to be to freaked out about this new object. So I'm going to start playing fetch with one of its wings.

If you have any questions about the book "Game Dog", or something about training. I am by no means a professional. Like I said, I'm not even done training my first dog. But I would be glad to give you my opinion and help in any way that I can. I fell in love with training my dogs and feel I have a preety decent grasp on the subject. I'm injured from work so all day I look up training articles. I've googled everything! My Email is

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