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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...

I would like to request everyone's opinions -- with some justification or reasoning, if you don't mind.

As some of you, I am trying to train Misty to be a quail/pheasant/dove hunting dog. From this perspective (and the perspective that, at least for now, I will not be running trials with her, nor hunting waterfowl), which program would you suggest? Lardy's, or Graham's?

As a follow-up, which material would you suggest I start with, depending upon which trainer's program you suggest.

If Lardy, should I start with "Total Retriever Training," or "Total Retriever Marking," or even with "Total E-Collar Conditioning"?

If Graham, I assume I should start with "Smartwork Obedience." After that, then what? "Smartfetch"? "Smartwork Basic Handling"?

Thanks,

Steve
 

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I am less familiar with Lardy, so I dunno.

If you are going to use Smartworks, first buy the Smartwork's I book, and then fill in with the DVD's. You can get the 3 books (I, II and Smartfetch) and all the DVD's for a little over $200, and Evan hangs out on the main retriever forums to answer questions about his material if you have questions.
 

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I like Graham's books better personally. He seems more flexible in his training for the folks who may not want to buy/use an e-collar, for instance in the FF program. I've also been able to "see" more opportunities in his works to use certain methods in my competition obed training and since have spoken to other dual competitors who found the same. I think he's very fair regarding collar work-- very sensible, and as Gulfcoast says, is on some other retriever forums and always available for help (which is amazing to me). -Anne
 

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I like the Smartwork series better myself as a novice trainer learning things for the first time. He goes into more detail of the "why" certain drills are done and breaks everything down so that there is little guess work in how to get your dog from point A to point B. Plus, you can't beat the price and for someone like myself who is on a limited budget for my hobby, being able to buy each thing one at a time is a great advantage. Just buy what you need when you need it. I also have Lardy's materials, and it is a good system as well, but I don't find it as user friendly for those training their first dog. He tends to skip over things and doens't go into quite as much detail about getting your dog to the next step. There are parts where I know that if I hadn't purchased Evan's stuff first, I wouldn't have known how to get Roxy to the next step. But, for those who are interested in competiting in retriever events, I think they would find a lot of benefit from his stuff as well. Really, both Lardy and Graham have similar training methods and following a Carr-based program, they just differ in when they approach certain things or maybe tweeked a certain drill to their own liking.

If you go with Smartworks, buy the Smartworks Manual I and read through it. I would also advise getting the Smartworks Obedience DVD. It may not be very long, but it was very useful for someone like me to see how one goes through formalizing commands. Obedience is the most basic, but most important, aspect of your training so you want to do it right. If your obedience is shaky, everything beyond that will not be any better and probably worse.

Once you get to Force Fetching, I would purchase both the manual and dvd, but if you can only chose between one or the other, I would go for the DVD. Evan did an awesome job on it and is very thorough on it.

After FF, get the basic Handling DVD.

From what it sounds like, this should be everything you will need out of Evan's program, but once you start, you may find that you would like to get the Stickmen drill dvd and Waterforce/swimby dvd, but its certainly not necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the opinions so far, folks. You all are GREAT. Please keep them coming. I know there are others here whose opinions I'd like to hear on this issue, before I make a decision. I have someone I'm talking to, away from this forum, that INSISTS that Lardy's stuff is the way to go. Folks here seem to be presenting a pretty good case for Graham's material, so far. In the case of a "tie," I will lean toward Graham's, if for no other reason than the fact that you can buy his stuff in "pieces" ($25 to $ 50 a pop), versus having to buy the whole she-bang at once (a point well-presented by Tagen in this thread).

GulfCoast:

Can you tell me which forums Evan Graham can be contacted on?

birdbrainz:

IF I already have an e-collar (thus removing one of the reasons you said Graham's stuff might be the way to go), would you still recommend Graham? The way I thought of things a few months ago was that Graham was the way to go for training (smartworks), and Lardy for use of e-collar (total e-collar conditioning), since I DO want to learn to use the e-collar properly and humanely before I put it on Misty. SO, I was thinking of using both guys' stuff. Now, though, I see that Lardy has an entire program for trianing, in ADDITION to his e-collar material, and Graham also trains on use of the e-collar. SO, I now see, in my mind, both programs as sort of "all inclusive," and thus I have put them on an even footing, waiting for the recommendations of folks here.

Tagen:

He tends to skip over things and doens't go into quite as much detail about getting your dog to the next step. There are parts where I know that if I hadn't purchased Evan's stuff first, I wouldn't have known how to get Roxy to the next step.
For me, this is a STRONG selling point for Graham's stuff. I like as much detail as possible.

Steve
 

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Smartworks by far the best for any beginning trainer. Evan's diagrams and drills are very well laid out and are a must for any hunting dog.

For Basics and Collar Conditioning, Danny Farmer's material is hard to beat. Danny not only trains but, he actually competes the dogs he trains too. For the dog past Basics, his Problems & Solutions is the most hands on friendly material avaliable.

I would suggest compiling a library of Farmer & Aycock two DVD's Basics and Problems and Solutions, Mike Lardy reprint from Retriver Journal Magazine titled, Training with Mike lardy and Smartworks for the drills and diagrams.
 

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Both are essentially the same, they both follow Rex Carr's methods. What I have done is to buy both and incorporate the two. Little tips and tricks from both. Both follow the same progression and same basic flow charts. Can't wait for my Danny Farmer DVDs to come.
 

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tkpaul said:
Both are essentially the same, they both follow Rex Carr's methods. What I have done is to buy both and incorporate the two. Little tips and tricks from both. Both follow the same progression and same basic flow charts. Can't wait for my Danny Farmer DVDs to come.
I have done the same thing over the years, used kind of a mish-mash of ideas combined in a workable fashion for what *I* do w/ my dogs (hunt tests & obed are the ones that would use collar work of the 4 venues I do). I found that Graham put it together even better than I had prior, so I guess that colors my opinion a bit. I was able to quickly see some spots that his program helped in reinforcing the more advanced obedience exercises. He explains HOW important the foundation obed is prior to using the collar, which I felt Lardy glossed over. I'm all for fairness in training a dog, and not taking short cuts as I've seen many folks do. Several of my dyed in the wool Lardy disciple/friends recently bought the Graham series too though and REALLY like it. We do alot of his stick man drills now (helps to have 6 wingers betw us!). I'll have to get ahold of Danny Farmers stuff too.
 

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As far as Lardy or Graham, I believe they both work off of the same concepts (Rex Carr) but I do like how Evan explains in more detail and breaks the steps further down than Lardy. However, we (like birdbrainz) use a mish-mash of both at this point.

Here's an example of the difference between the two (Note: These are not all inclusive and are not replacements for the books, but they are brief overviews of each's program):

Graham's Training Progression
http://www.ndrc.org/documents/2006/Smart%20Work%20Training%20Progression.pdf

Lardy's Training Flowchart
http://www.totalretriever.com/rj/totalretPDF.pdf

Good luck!
 

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OK...

I would like to request everyone's opinions -- with some justification or reasoning, if you don't mind.

As some of you, I am trying to train Misty to be a quail/pheasant/dove hunting dog. From this perspective (and the perspective that, at least for now, I will not be running trials with her, nor hunting waterfowl), which program would you suggest? Lardy's, or Graham's?

As a follow-up, which material would you suggest I start with, depending upon which trainer's program you suggest.

If Lardy, should I start with "Total Retriever Training," or "Total Retriever Marking," or even with "Total E-Collar Conditioning"?

If Graham, I assume I should start with "Smartwork Obedience." After that, then what? "Smartfetch"? "Smartwork Basic Handling"?

Thanks,

Steve
I’ll give you my experience with both programs. Take it for what it’s worth. I started by watching 21 DVD series of Larry’s some of it I was lost. I then used Evan Grahams Smartworks and it was extremely easy to follow and I had great success. After going through Evan Gramham’s program I watched Larry’s again snd it made sense. So I’d start with Even Grahams Smartworks series .
 

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I’ll give you my experience with both programs. Take it for what it’s worth. I started by watching 21 DVD series of Lardy’s some of it I was lost. I then used Evan Grahams Smartworks and it was extremely easy to follow and I had great success. After going through Evan Graham’s program I watched Lardy’s again snd it made sense. So I’d start with Even Grahams Smartworks series .
 
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