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Thread: how do you train a hunting dog?

  1. #21
    GulfCoast's Avatar
    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
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    Don't get hung up on what people who don't regularly use e-collars as a consistent part of a comprehensive training program tell you about e-collars. Profound ignorance abounds. Its a compliance tool, not a teaching tool. Its really no different than a pinch collar, choke chain, heeling stick, rolled up newspaper or human hand. Think of it as a 1/2 mile long leash, and you get the picture. "Always worn, seldom used." With your commitment to education before use (very commendable and rare) your dog should be an enthusiastic happy camper!

    If you think a pigeon gets her jacked up, wait 'till she meets a rooster pheasant!

    Have fun!
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  3. #22
    lab_koda is offline Junior Member
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    When I take her to the lake, is it ok to force her into the water if she is afraid or to let her come in by herself? I don't want to force her and traumatize her and not be able to break her from her fear or water. Or slowly walk with her into the shallow parts until she is playing and jumping around by herself?

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  6. #24
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    Let her come in by herself at this point. Enlist a couple of "friend dogs" to go swim around and you may see her timidity go right away. Start with very shallow water.
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  7. #25
    lab_koda is offline Junior Member
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    Is it a good idea to play fetch with her right now since she is not properly trained? I've read that it is not a good idea to play fetch when they are not yet trained because it will be hard to break them in the future. What should I do at the moment for fun besides playing fetch? I'm waiting until August to go check out the Land of Lakes HRC training near me and until I find an obedience training class.

  8. #26
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    I differ from many folks, I see no problem at all with playing "fetch" with a dog that you intend to train to "fetch" game birds. You just need to keep in mind not creating any bad habits. Don't get them so tired they refuse a retrieve, and use a bumper, or a bumper with wings zip tied to it. Don't use sticks. People wonder "why did my dog give up on that bird and just bring me a stick back?" 'Cause you trained him to do that without realizing it.....
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  9. #27
    lab_koda is offline Junior Member
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    My dog likes to chew sticks and runs away when I tell her to bring it to me, but she loves to play fetch with her toys. I'm afraid that she might chew the feathers off the bumper with wings. I have a peking duck at my parents house and she had chewed her way out of the check cord and got a hold of the duck. oh man she made some feathers fly off. I didn't see what happen, but my dad got a hold of her and screamed for us. We had her chase some pigeons a few months ago and she just walked around with it in her mouth. I'm not sure how soft or hard of a hold she has with birds. How do you tell or teach that?

    I also heard that the wings and bumper with wings at the stores are not good because they have been in the plastic for too long so they lose their scent and its not so good for training. What's your opinion on this?

    So what are bad habits that shouldn't be used when playing fetch?

    The only thing I can think of is letting her run for the toy before being told to do so, this will tell her its ok to retreive whenever something falls.

  10. #28
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    You don't need to worry about steadying a dog this early. That will come way later. Steadying TOO early does more harm than good. If the dog knows "sit" it will be easy squeezy to get the dog steady when the time comes.

    You teach a dog good mouth habits, and how to deal with/turn off pressure in the force fetch process, starting with a "taught hold. " You need very solid OB and recall and the dog must have its permanent teeth before that process should be started.

    You don't want the dog to develop bad habits prior to going through basics. So, I never play "tug" with a puppy that I am training for a hunting dog, and don't let them get in a situation where they can play "keep away." Don't get them so tired they turn down a retrieve, always stop with the dog wanting MORE!

    Putting wings on a bumper is not really "scent training." So, it does not really matter if the wings have any scent or not. You put the wings on the bumper (with zip ties) to get the puppy acustomed to the feel of feathers in its mouth so it does not go "SPIT" with real ducks. Especially cold ones used in training, dogs react to them differently than fresh killed (warm) or live birds.

    This is Mike Lardy's flow chart of what needs to happen and when for field training. It is considered THE GOSPEL to serious field trainers: http://www.totalretriever.com/rj/totalretPDF.pdf

    Talk to the folks at your HRC training day, get yourself on a program, start from the beginning, and DON'T SKIP STEPS, and you will have an enthusiastic, jam-up hunting dog at the end of the process, and great fun while teaching the dog.
    Last edited by GulfCoast; 07-20-2010 at 12:06 AM.
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  11. #29
    lab_koda is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all your help GulfCoast, you've been really helpful. I guess I really need to get on a program because it sounds like I'm jumping around a lot with all these questions. I'll let you know if I have more questions (thats if you don't mind).

  12. #30
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    I don't mind a bit. Glad to share what little I know.
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