2 Weeks of Professional Training for my Lab?

Print Topic | Close Window

By Burton - 10/17/2013 11:35:29 AM
Hey all,

I am new to DU, and soaking up all of the information that I can!

I have a 14 month old chocolate lab that I really want to duck hunt with. She fetches well, swims well, and overall is a very well mannered dog. I have absolutely no complaints as a dog owner.


When it comes to hunting, she struggles. I have had her out duck hunting twice, and it is just too much for her. She can't sit still, the duck calls make her all giddy and excited, she wants to grab the decoys, and she whines with frustration while I hold her leash. Basically she ruins the hunt...both because I am focused on trying to get her under control and because ducks won't come close with her antics.

I want to enjoy hunting with my dog - she is a fantastic dog and a loyal friend - I love her to death. I really, really want to be able to enjoy hunting together and obviously it would make getting the birds I kill a lot easier.

My question is this...

I am strapped for cash, but I can afford to have her go to a professional gun dog trainer for two weeks. He has been doing it 30 years, has champion dogs, is retired and trains them 24/7, blah blah blah. Seems like a good guy and a good place.

Is 2 weeks going to be enough to make a different? I know that ideally she needs much more training, but I can't afford it right now. Will 2 weeks get enough done with her to at least bring her hunting while I save to take her back for additional training?

Any information would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks guys!
By Swamper - 10/17/2013 12:21:07 PM
what I would hope the "Professional trainer" would tell you, without you having to ask us is:

NO, I can't make a noticeable difference in your dog's uncontrollable behavior in two weeks.

I he says he can.............go down the highway with the windows open at 90 miles per hour and let the money blow away.

your dog needs months of training, beginning with basic obedience.

wish I could give you a more warm and fuzzy feeling, but the truth is the truth, and I believe that's what you were wanted here.

you may very well have the potential of a fantastic duck hunting partner for life, but right now, you have a nice dog.

find a training program that you like, (DVD), start today, 20 mins, twice a day,  every day.

next year you will have the foundation of the kind of duck dog you want.

if you let these behaviors continue, it will be MUCH harder to make forward progress.

good luck.
By Burton - 10/17/2013 12:41:51 PM
Yeah, I hear you for sure. That is kinda what I expected to hear. I don't expect her to become a perfect hunting dog after two weeks of training.

I was more hoping that he could lay a positive foundation for her that I could build off of - perhaps that isn't really possible without going in for months of training and dropping thousands of dollars.
By Swamper - 10/17/2013 6:38:16 PM
Burton (10/17/2013)
Yeah, I hear you for sure. That is kinda what I expected to hear. I don't expect her to become a perfect hunting dog after two weeks of training. I was more hoping that he could lay a positive foundation for her that I could build off of - perhaps that isn't really possible without going in for months of training and dropping thousands of dollars.
foundations take a lot of hours. hours that become weeks and months.  it is lots of fun training your dog and well worth every minute.  AND, even if you did want a pro to do some of the upfront basics, it should not cost you thousands of dollars.  do your homework. there are lots of qualified trainers that are reasonably priced.
By Windjammer - 10/18/2013 9:49:50 AM
Grab book such as Tom Dokken's http://www.amazon.com/Tom-Dokkens-Retriever-Training-Developing/dp/089689858X and do the work yourself. I trained my yellow lab using this book, and some advice of local friends. Do I have a world class retriever? No. Do I feel safe with him in the blind or upland hunting? Yes. But, I work full time, and to be honest, I would put my dog against most "home schooled" dogs out there.
By Mark B - 10/18/2013 11:05:14 PM
Something you might want to think about is obedience classes. If your dog is retrieving to your satisfaction now, then what you need is for the dog to be settled and sit means sit.  It needs to be locked in for it to stick under the pressure and commotion of hunting. Also you might want to forgo shooting on a few of your trips, let your buddies drop the birds and your focus can be on just your dog. 

Good luck 
By Burton - 10/22/2013 10:45:51 AM
I have decided to forgo the training, and do the work myself. I ordered an e-collar and I am reading through a few different training books to decide how I want to proceed.
I will be starting it all today. I am hoping I can get out a couple times with my dog before the end of the season. Not focused on the hunt, but just focused on working with her and getting her some time in the field where I am not concerned with a hunt being ruined. 

I appreciate all of the feedback - I am excited to be doing it myself!
By Swamper - 10/22/2013 11:44:19 AM
good choice.  take it slow.  a year from now, you will have a great hunting partner.
By Burton - 10/22/2013 1:17:25 PM
Right on. She has a good foundation for basic commands (here, sit, stay) - now I just need to reinforce these commands, and condition her to the collar.

Should be a fun journey!
By Mark B - 10/22/2013 10:20:10 PM
Good luck !
By Burton - 10/31/2013 10:52:28 AM
Just wanted to thank you guys for the encouragement to do the work myself.

It has been extremely fun, and really rewarding. My pup is catching on very quickly, and we are enjoying the bonding through the process.
By coastie91 - 1/31/2014 6:06:52 PM
my personal opinion is that if she is doing that shes not ruining your hunt shes just so fired up she cant think straight....my 8 month old did the same thing and it made my buddy so mad......then i asked him why he duck hunts he said to watch em pitch in and the "rush" he gets.....what do you think the pup is doin? only way to express that he is excited is to act crazy.....he changed his thoiughts real quick. my suggestion is during the off season go out set decoys go in waders get your gun and train just like its a hunt......expose them to everything all the time....then it will be work time next season. just remember every time they dont get a bird or act up they have saved you how many strip downs to your skivies and swimming out in 35 deg water.....
By Duckhunter15857 - 2/25/2014 11:49:54 PM
Take it slow with your dog and teach it 1 simple obedience comand at a time and then when the dog gets that down work on another command. You can't get the dog to duck hunt if it doesn't know sit , stay and here. Also always reward your dog when does a command properly but avoid food treats or your dog will work for himself and  you want your dog to work for you so reward your dog with a pat on the side and say good boy/girl instead. good luck
By bigrick_2u - 4/17/2014 9:02:09 AM
I can't believe no one else has said this yet, and I'm sure this post is old enough that the mistakes have already been made... but..

If you don't know how or when to use an e-collar, then DON'T.

Your dog doesn't need any collar training until you and the dog both know the basics. I think of an e-collar as a fine tuner or a teacher of advanced stages. I know a lot of people dont wait this long, but my pup didn't have a collar on her neck until she was 11 months old. And that was after being trained and gone through all obedience trainings from the time she was 8 weeks old. The response has been phenominal. If your dog is still grabbing decoys, set some up in the yard. Scold her verbally when she picks one up. With time, this is enough. If your dog has the capacity to understand this, you'll be fine. I will use a nip from the collar now if my dog grabbed one, but that's bc she knows better. That's just an example.

Good luck!

Hope this helps.
By woodiewcker - 6/20/2014 10:48:49 PM
save your money buy a dvd and start working with her on your own it takes a lot of time and patience.