Hunting Dog

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#16
February or March is the ideal time to bring a pup home . . . old enough & far enough along to hunt a bit in the Fall. Tho I no longer have Labs, I'd strongly recommend a Lab pup for a 1st time owner/trainer. Wolters book/formula works very well for Labs, but do follow it & spend the time required (I also growl at my dog rather than use "No." It works once you're established as the Alpha leader. That & clapping your hands is all the discipline you'll ever need if you start that from the get-go. I've seen lots of dogs that "understood" verbal commands, but have never met one who could speak English or any other language except canine.) Good luck with your pup.
 

martyg

Active Member
#17
February or March is the ideal time to bring a pup home . . . old enough & far enough along to hunt a bit in the Fall. Tho I no longer have Labs, I'd strongly recommend a Lab pup for a 1st time owner/trainer. Wolters book/formula works very well for Labs, but do follow it & spend the time required (I also growl at my dog rather than use "No." It works once you're established as the Alpha leader. That & clapping your hands is all the discipline you'll ever need if you start that from the get-go. I've seen lots of dogs that "understood" verbal commands, but have never met one who could speak English or any other language except canine.) Good luck with your pup.
Wolter's books are a good starting point - but they were written a LONG, LONG time ago. Since that point gun dog training has evolved hugely. It would be like trying to compare automotive technology from 35 years ago to today.

For training guidance I highly recommend Dan Hosford's DVD series. Dan is in Spokane, and of all of the trainers that I interact with - on either coast - he is by far the best - he really studies a dog, its personality, and tailors the training program to fit the dog, while most professional trainers push every dog into the same program to save time. If the dog doesn't make it the dog is obviously un trainable - at least in the trainer's opinion.

I used to live south of DC and trained every week with the Wolter's crew. Richard was a huge fan of e-collars, but said he wouldn't have sold nearly as many books if he promoted their use. He was as much a business person as dog trainer.
 
#18
Hey Marty,

Not to hijack this thread, but what do you think of Evan Graham's Smartworks series? I'm thinking about purchasing the system prior to getting my next lab.

Also - Anyone looking at lab puppies, please make sure BOTH parents have these health checks completed:
OFA'd Hips and Elbows
CERF'd eyes
EIC and CNM clear or only one parent is a carrier

A breeders word of "they've never been sick" or "They hunt all day and never show any lameness" count for nothing. With puppies, you definitely get what you pay for.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#19
There are lots of good books, training videos, and tools out there. Likely all of them will work, IF they are followed. Unfortunately, some folks want instant success & progress to a polished dog & it just doesn't happen that way. . . it takes dedication, time, & consistency no matter what program is used. I'm a big fan of e-collars . . . for several reasons, the most important of which to me is that I can control my pup at a distance & thus keep him out of harms way. Wolters books worked with my dogs (several Labs, 1 Bourbonnais (a work in-progress that is progressing nicely), and a couple Jack Russells so I reckon I see no reason to fix what ain't broke in my case.
 

Brazda

Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge
#20
I have watched good trainers use a collar wile in the field and on the training bench, they seem to have an instant read on what the dog is doing via there reaction and the use of pressure on Pressure off is a very tight field of perfection. Something I am not comfortable doing, I seem to have mixed results in the field with the E-coller, no responce to over responce depending on what the dog is doing. I will stick to the dedicated and consistant aproach to training and leave the coller to the more experianced or until I get more used to my dogs reactions. besides the power knob I suppose there could be some sort of adjustment I am not getting right?
 

martyg

Active Member
#21
Hey Marty,

Not to hijack this thread, but what do you think of Evan Graham's Smartworks series? I'm thinking about purchasing the system prior to getting my next lab.

Also - Anyone looking at lab puppies, please make sure BOTH parents have these health checks completed:
OFA'd Hips and Elbows
CERF'd eyes
EIC and CNM clear or only one parent is a carrier

A breeders word of "they've never been sick" or "They hunt all day and never show any lameness" count for nothing. With puppies, you definitely get what you pay for.
Hey Kaari - I've never looked at anyone's DVDs - but rather have had opportunities to train with them, watch them at hunt test or judge them. The trainers with the softest demeanor seem to get the most out of the dogs. That doesn't mean that you cannot establish that you are the boss, you can just do it intelligently instead of being a hardass. I've never tripped across Evan, but Mike Lardy is a great guy.

When we do multi-day river trips in ID we drop the dogs at Dan Hosford's. They get boarded in a great environment and get a lot of work in my absence.
 

martyg

Active Member
#22
I have watched good trainers use a collar wile in the field and on the training bench, they seem to have an instant read on what the dog is doing via there reaction and the use of pressure on Pressure off is a very tight field of perfection. Something I am not comfortable doing, I seem to have mixed results in the field with the E-coller, no responce to over responce depending on what the dog is doing. I will stick to the dedicated and consistant aproach to training and leave the coller to the more experianced or until I get more used to my dogs reactions. besides the power knob I suppose there could be some sort of adjustment I am not getting right?
Brazda - In my experience usually the collar is not tight enough. I find that if the collar is marginally loose, and the dog is looking down the contact points are not on the dog's skin, and I get no response. You might want to check on that and / or get longer contact points for the collar.
 

Brazda

Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge
#23
Brazda - In my experience usually the collar is not tight enough. I find that if the collar is marginally loose, and the dog is looking down the contact points are not on the dog's skin, and I get no response. You might want to check on that and / or get longer contact points for the collar.
I bet your right as the last time she was in that exact position! and when she looked up and stll ignoring me me she felt the zap and vocalized, that was two weeks ago I have not tried the collar since,,, going to try that monday thanks,,,brazda
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#24
Puget Sound Retriever Club is having a training day in Dewatto on 12.10.11. I highly suggest you put the time and gas into coming down. Several members have Chessies and it would provide you with a great opportunity to talk to some experienced dog trainers and get their opinions. One member has a puppy that was maybe 16 weeks when we had our December hunt test. I think he's had one other dog - a Lab - so it would be good for you to get his read. More importantly, it would give you an opportunity to see Chessies and labs handled in identical situations and let you draw your own conclusions about which breeds from that sample perform best in the field with regards to marking ability, handling ability, obedience, etc..

IMO, and my opinion is from judging hunt tests, training dogs, and running dogs in hunt tests for 35 years you'd be better off with a Lab. If this is your first hunting dog, I'd definitely point you towards a Lab. Unless you've successfully trained 5 to 10 dogs to mid level titles a Chessie (and this is a generalized statement because there are particularly hard and soft dogs within any breed) will eat your lunch. Unless you are going to spend money on a large, high and roofed over dog run, spend $500 on a good remote training collar, and spend money on a trainer, just don't go there. As a first time dog owner I'd still HIGHLY recommend that you invest in those things, but with a Chessie they are not optional.

One person recommended a solid breeder, and I could not agree more with ANY breed. Plan on $1,500. You might get one for less, but you get what you pay for. Sometimes you luck out, but relying on luck for anything is a poor place to come from. I'd rather be good than lucky. Unless the breeder's sire and dam both OFA good or excellent and have clearances on eyes, OSD, EIC, CNM and thyroid you'd best look elsewhere. All of these tests cost money, and that cost is compensated for in the cost of a puppy. The alternative is that you get a $250 puppy of of CL, hope that your lucky, when the dog is 18 months old it may be diagnosed with degenerative hip disease and you have a choice between the $2,000 hip surgery or the $50.00 shot to end its life - and that is after you and your family have invested so much emotion in the dog. One of the best breeders in the country is http://www.deeprunretrievers.com/. I have several dogs from them and they are superb. I will also be running them at Dewatto.

PM me for more details and good luck! Dogs are a treat!
This is probably the best post I've read on this forum regarding dog selection, training, and issues. Well said.
 
#25
Rfyall, I'm a little late to this party but appreciate your post. I have hunted with Chessies over in Idaho in some of the absolute worst hunting conditions and have admired their ability to step up and deliver, no matter how may ice blocks they have to maneuver through to retrieve their bird. However, on further investigation my experience was similar to many of the responses you have already received. A tough dog that requries an equally tough and experienced trainer,

I lost my ten year old golden this summer who had been a great waterfowl dog. I've had a gimpy knee for the past year and was about accepted the fact that my hunting days were over. I've just had a total knee replacement and expect to be back in the game before very long. In preparation, I just committed to a yet to be born Golden in Surrey BC. with a terrific field pedigree. I live nearby in Richmond Beach and suggest that we both might be training an new retriever at about the same time. Martyag's mention of the Puget Sound Retriever Club sounds like a great way to get our new retrievers on the right track.

If you are interested, let's get together and see if we can't solve some of the logistics of dog training, by living so near to each other. My phone # (206) 542-2407
 
#26
Thanks everyone for the great feedback! I'm putting a deposit down on a black lab and hopefully can figure out how to train the darn thing....

This thread will definitely help others down the road. Thanks again.
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#28
Congrats on getting your Lab. I hope your's brings you as much enjoyment as mine has. That said, I wince when I hear folks talk about learning to train their dogs when they buy them (I did it, too with a previous dog). I hope and pray you will contact a very experienced dog trainer and either pay them to teach you or hire you on weekends (barter training for work) so you can learn the science and the art of training. I am tired of guys hunting with dogs that don't have even the most basic obedience skills down. One other thought, do not expect to train your dog during hunting season, it needs to be trained on birds for months before it ever goes into the field for hunting. Hunting season is when the dog gets it's experience. You will be doing yourself and your dog a favor. Check Jim's posts on the history of his dog that just entered it's first season. Very best wishes to you and your new partner and many, many good adventures together!

Sorry for the rant but I had five episodes this year with dogs that had great potential but are now pretty much beyond hope due to owners that don't get it.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#29
Good choice & enjoy the great times ahead of you. Karl's advice re: a trainer is worth it's weight in many limits of birds and countless trips wherein you'll be filled with pride versus frustration. I once thought that I knew all I needed to know about training a pup & did do a good job on obedience training and retrieving, however after spending time with a quality trainer, we are BOTH much better & smarter. I invested a couple visits with a great trainer & both the pup & I learned a great deal. At 10-months (in 3 more days), Hank is well on his way to being one helluva bird dog . . . he tracks, points, retrieves, handles, and is undoubtably the most well-behaved partner/dog with whom I've had the pleasure of sharing my life & adventures. Hank pointed one of these & honored on the other, then made both flawless retrieves:


He rooted this one out of the bulrushes & cattails today, then did a stellar track-down & retrieve (I was using a 28-gauge & didn't kill the bird quite dead-enough; picture is lousy, photog should flogged, big bird/smallish pup, but the pup is absolutely perfect):


He did almost the same thing yesterday . . . outfoxed a smart Rooster in dense cover, but I passed on the shot because it flushed into the sun & I couldn't identify it as a cock until it had flown-out to marginal range for my 20-gauge. As my cyber-friend Alex once posted: "This dog'll HUNT!" And so he does & with intensity . . .
 
#30
You've great advice from these folks, and now you've a lab, excellent choice. I've had chessies, labs, and goldens, and I like the goldens the best because they are so eminently biddable, and the fact they're not hard chargin' rootin' tootin' go dogs is OK by me now that I'm 30 years older...and there's not that much difference between breeds when you get right down to it, though chessies are pretty much one-guy dogs. One bit of advice on training: go to the trainer to train you, not to train your dog. You need the training, on how to communicate with your dog. The dog just wants to make you happy...most of the time, and they will if you can communicate what is acceptable and what is not. Make sure, for your money, the trainer trains you. And then, if you want a hunting dog, take the dog hunting. Training, then experience. And the training and experience you give your dog will come back to you tenfold.