My dog is only six months old and I really want to intensify his training now. So far, I've been trying to teach him the hold command and some single marks. He's been doing pretty good but I need some advice on how to get him better. I've only been doing about 15 yard retrieves and he's ok but there are times when he just keeps running past it so now what I wanna do is teach him to sit at any distance but I dont really know where to start. Any suggestions?
Do you have a hunt test club near you? That's the perfect place to start, esp if you have no one experienced to train with.
Also, I'd recommend Evan Graham's SmartFetch and SmartWorks series. You really need GOOD basic obed right now to build the foundation. He needs to have Sit down pat, near you first, before you can do it at a distance. Evan has a suggestion in there using a long line that works well.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
Look for your nearest local Hunting Retriever Club and join ASAP!!! Having someone who has "been there and done that" near you is invaluable. Try here for HRC: http://www.huntingretrieverclub.org/clubinfo.htm There is probably something similar for AKC, I just don't know where it is located.
I would suggest you start using a bird boy to throw marks in very short cover (like a soccer field) right now to build marking and momentum. "Handler thrown" birds create problems.
HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
Justlabradors.com -- the best site for your Labrador needs.
Find a retriever club is without a doubt the best thing you can do and finding someone you can train with in your area. At 6 mos, keeps the marks short and on mown grass. The bumper should always be in sight. The main thing you should strive for is success.
I highly recommend Danny Farmer/Judy Aycock's DVD "Basics." For beginning handlers, I feel it is the easiests to understand and everything is explained for the beginner.
Gulfcoast is right, handler-thrown marks can create some trouble down the road, but if that's all you have, it's better than no marks at all.
Also, don't forget obedience. Now is when you can really get to work on obedience, which is one of the most important things.
Volunteer at hunt tests or field trials this will get you seen and known to the trainers. Get the word out that you will help throw and shoot for the pro's dogs and they will help you train (generally). Also non-pros also get together in groups to help each other train and they can always use more help/throwers etc. Its generally much harder, more expensive, and takes longer to train on your own.
You can do some really long marks on your own if your dog has a reliable sit stay. All you do is place dog on stay and then go out in the field and throw your own mark and send your dog from out in the field, not a perfect way of teaching marking but a good way of teaching obedience (trainability). You can also go out and throw your own mark and then come back to your dog and send it, but this is alot harder on the dogs memory. You can also buy a remote controled duck launcher, or bumper launcher.
You really do need to find someone to teach you how to train a retriever.
Kelly and Amber and Ready