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By MossyMech - 6/18/2013 8:43:11 PM
I have an 8 month old Black Lab named Ellie. Im new to duck hunting and this will be my first year. She loves fetching and will retrieve almost anything I throw at her. She always stayed close to me outside with little training. She is something like 3rd generation gun dog. I have yet to train her on the gun. Being military it hasn't worked into the schedule yet. She is getting close to that age where she is already way behind most. However I also came to possess a Weimaraner recently. He is already pretty well trained, just not for ducks. I think he will be good with pheasant cause he likes to run about 20-30 yards out and never goes father than that and returns on command. But here's my issue. since I had him, my lab has been rather mischievous. She runs all over in the yard, won't come to her name, and i usually end up having to go get a tennis ball and convincing her to come with that. I don't give it to her so she doesn't associate her behavior as "good". I think getting her fixed will help, he is fixed too, but i want to wait because she is kinda small for a lab her age and I'm hoping her going through one cycle might help her grow? i don't know. She started out doing really good and it all seems at a loss lately. Either way I will have her around just really hoping to make her a good gun dog. ANy tips on breaking the habit?
By ducker - 6/19/2013 6:41:29 AM
I guess I don't understand why someone who, admittedly, has no time to train one dog properly would take on a second dog.

Your lab sounds like she is making a bid for your attention any way possible, including acting up.

There are several things you can do;

(1)Take your lab to a pro and let her be properly trained while you spend what little time you have with the other dog.

(2)Get rid of one dog or the other devoting what little time you have to trying to train the other dog.

(3)Keep both dogs and devote what little time you have to the dog that you think will do you the most good in the field for the type of hunting you do most and the area of the country you live in. Understand that this solution will probably relegate the other dog to pet status.

If you decide to keep both dogs do not let them cohabitate. Keep them crated when not under supervision and let them out seperately so they are not both vying for your attention at the same time. this way the little time you spend with each dog will be their special time.
By MossyMech - 6/19/2013 7:56:13 AM
I have time now, I just moved into a new house in OCT, and had some training. I have plenty of time to train now. They are both crate trained and are crated whenever me and my wife leave. I do believe a lot of it is due to the attention seeking. But I have had them both out before and they both did great until this last week or so. Its just the lab that runs. She listens and responds well indoors. She is completely focused with me and whats going on. She is very obedient. As soon as she is out its like a switch is flipped. But yeah about the second dog, he is already pretty much trained. I didn't get him as a pup so I have very little left to do with him. Mostly just work with him staying closer when I need him too. I have started taking them out separate and it seems to show improvement. She is leashed though when we go out. I work with her around the yard on heeling and focus. Just was asking for any tips on how to play a little catch up or maybe some advice from people who had the experience before. I don't need a life choice lecture on why I should or shouldn't have another dog thanks.
I think I will use your advice on taking them out separately like I have been and working with them 1 at a time. thanks
By Mallard Mugger - 6/23/2013 9:41:49 PM
First off, THANKS for your service to our country.

A dog needs time in order to be properly trained.  You also need a training plan/program.  There is no "catch up" training you can do, it takes what it takes.  That's why a lot of the better training materials out there don't show age timetables.  They will say something along the lines of you have completed this step when your dog does ___ 95% of the time or is capable of doing "x" in multiple situations.  This step may take 2 weeks or 2 months and that is about all you will see.  BTW - OB is an ongoing practice.  This is where a lot of issues may arise due to inconsistencies in your day to day routine.  You now have the time so it's onto the plan.

TRT (Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy), Smartwork by Evan Graham, or Fowl Dawgs by Rick Stawski come to the top of the list for me.  For the most part listed from most expensive to least.  These are all Rex Carr based programs.  They do use pressure.  If you choose to go non pressure there are programs out there by several individuals.  I don't have much experience with any of them, I can not comment on which one is better.

I would also recommend joining a retriever club, a training group, or even offering to throw birds for a pro.  Any of these will lead to invaluable knowledge, opportunities, and friends.

As far as the 8 month old lab not listening as of lately, well, what changed?  You got the other dog?  Moved?  Haven't given her the time she requires?  etc..  She grew older for one.  A puppy very rarely will travel to far from you, but once you hit that 5-7 month age depending on the pup, they want to explore on their own and start testing boundaries.  They want to find their place in the pack.  It could be any of the above or something else.  It's difficult to diagnosis from this end of the keyboard.  Do keep them in separate kennels/crates.  You want them to bond the best with you.  Your the pack leader.

Good Luck!
By MossyMech - 6/25/2013 7:21:32 PM
Thanks MallardMugger. I was looking into tools like check cords so she gets some freedom but i can manage her distance. I got her motivated to fetch and do retrieves. She is tiny for her age and breed so it was pretty cool to see her bring objects about the size of a large goose I throw out back. She is ball orientated and also likes the bumpers from time to time. I think i mostly need to go back to square one with the steadiness and focus. If she sees me with a ball, she is at my side. Focused on when I am going to throw it. She returns and everything. I have some buddies I plan on hunting with this fall I keep trying to persuade to come with me to help with the gun aspect and shooting some .22 around her. (I don't have one and only know a few people around here who have them here) It's kind of a pain to have guns in the military ironically. She is improving on listening off leash after the last couple weeks of leash training. I am just going to keep at this and introduce the check cord and look into the trainers you mentioned for more ideas. thanks again.
By Williamk8987 - 6/26/2013 9:52:48 AM
If I may throw in my 2 cents.. Your Lab is still a puppy and she is a new puppy with a friend.  She is just trying to have fun with her new friend.  Just hammer the basics into your puppy, sit, stay, come, and no.  Then take her into the woods often and throw bumpers with duck scent or duck feathers.  Also, start shooting some rounds off around the puppy.  Now if your dog is truly a third generation hunting dog, then this will all she needs for this season.  Next season you can hammer the finer things into her and make her a brag dog.

Also, you mentioned you are new to duck hunting and you have a WP.  You got yourself a GREAT pair of hunting dogs and versatile ones.  The WP can hunt waterfowl and the lab is great in the uplands, both with grace and style.  Why not make the best of the situation.   Plus, you are green to duck hunting you may be better off jump shooting ducks this season, learn honey holes, get to know patterns, and get your dogs into the duck scent.  Here is what I did and still do and it works great for the dogs, my hunting partners, and me.

Go out upland hunting in a area with water (I find most pheasants fields are surrounded by streams and swamps).  When you limit out or get sick of striking out with pheasants switch gears.  Go hide behind a rock, bush, or tree and see if ducks come in.  If not walk the water edges and see if you dogs put up and ducks.  This works great and gets you a taste of upland hunting and waterfowl hunting. 
By Mallard Mugger - 6/26/2013 12:35:17 PM
Couple of things I want to bring up from your last post that threw some flags up for me.  Gun Intro is my biggest concern at the moment.  Dogs are not born gun shy, they are made gun shy.  I'd be willing to wager that 95% of the gun shy dogs out there were improperly introduced to gunfire.  The other 5% became gun shy later on for various reasons associated with us humans and being ignorant.

You'll hear all kinds of advice on how to intro to gunfire - while they're eating by banging pans and working up to gunfire, gradually taking them closer and closer to a trap range, etc.. all the way to putting pup in the yard and shooting over them to see if they are gun shy or not.  While some of those methods can and do work, I have a slightly different philosphy on it.  I want the dogs I train to associate gun fire with a retrieve, I want the gunfire to mean fun!  I don't want them to just tolerate it (although in the duck blind the association of gunfire to retrieve isn't nearly as high in training :blush: )

Kghops, who use to be on here all the time, took me through this.  He even made a video for it.  First, your dog has to have a good desire to retrieve.  I prefer that we work with shackled birds.  We'll start out with 410 poppers or a 209 primer at about 150 yds and the bird.  The gun is pointed away from dog.  This should be done on a wide open field, you're not trying to improve marking here, just intro the gun and you want the bird as visible as possible.  The handler has the dog at the line and will restrain it from breaking.  Get the dogs attention, throw the bird, and fire the shot.  The shackled bird makes for a lot of fun for the dog and starts the association of the shot to a bird/retrieve.  The most important part is reading the dog during the shot.  Any flinching, hesitation, bolting, cowering, pretty much anything but eagerness to get that bird results in the handler or gunner moving 50yds further apart or if severe enough, moving to a quieter gun.  If all is good, the handler sends the dog for the bird.  Next one is 25yds closer.  Rinse and repeat.  Pretty soon you're shooting over the dog with the 410 poppers.  Next step is start it all over with 12 gauge poppers, then 12 gauge loads.  By this time, the dog is usually busting at the seams to get the bird, the excitement for the gun has been started and the association of gunfire and retrieve is well on its way.  If there is any hesitation along the way, that distance is either repeated or you move back to the previous spot until the dog is good and comfortable there.  This process can take an evening or two depending on the dog.  I worked with Kg on getting over gun shyness for 2 dogs this way.  He made me a believer.

OK, moving on.  The next flag for me was the use of balls for retrieving.  It's very good to see that she has a strong desire to retrieve them and that drives her motivation to bring it back to you to throw again.  However, you're not going out hunting tennis/racquet/etc. balls!  Training bumpers aren't the real deal either but play an important part.  Don't take me wrong, a dog needs to be a dog but a steady diet of balls doesn't promote a good training attitude.  I would put the balls away for a while and I would stop all retrieves for several days at least probably until the point where she can't handle not retrieving any more.  Then start with birds or bumpers in an organized manner and by all means, use the check cord.  I wouldn't be without it at this stage.  At this point she should want to retrieve anything over and over again and will likely bring the bumper/bird back to you to throw again.  If not, you have the cord to reel her in.

Finally, if you only get one video from any of the programs I get below, be sure to get the one containing Formal OB.  A lot of problems start from not having a solid foundation.

Good Luck!
By Williamk8987 - 6/26/2013 3:51:54 PM
I agree with you Mallard.  By shooting around the pup, I meant shooting with a well thought out plan.  Otherwise you'll hurt the puppy.  I had my wife hold the puppy 150 yards out and I would shoot 3-5 rounds.  I would ask my wife how the pup handled the rounds, and depending on the answer I would move her up 25 yards. I did this till the pup was next to me this worked for us. Now I take the pup out in the woods, toss a bumper high in the air and blast a round off.  This simulates a real hunt. 

Also, in reagrds to live birds.  Depending on where you live those can be tough and pricey to get.  I find it cheaper, easier, and just as practical to tape wings to bumpers.  Easy on my wallet and gets the job done.