* * Early Puppy Training Techniques * *

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* * Early Puppy Training Techniques * *

Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:09 pm

In another post, I said that I would post up some Write-Ups of things I send home to New Puppy Owners that I have. So I thought I would just start a new thread with it, and if anyone else has techniques that works for them, they could just add to it.

These are mainly thing you can start on day 1 home from the breeders. But I usually do HEEL last, at about 5 months.

I have Write-Ups that deal with:

(1) Praise
(2) Sit
(3) Here
(4) Heel
(5) Create & Potty Training
(6) Starting On A Leash
(7) Retrieving


If you are planning on getting a dog in the near future, or hope to get one soon, you might copy these. It may help you get started, but by NO MEANS is it meant to replace a New Puppy Owner buying a couple of good Dog Training Books, and reading over them. The more info you have, the easier your training will be. Just thought I might help a person or two. cooter
Last edited by cooter on Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Praise


Praise is going to be the driving force behind the pup wanting to perform the things you wish, at the early stages of training. With all commands (Including Potty) there should be a since of over excitement by you at the completion of any command. It doesn’t haft to be done perfect, but the attempt to comply, with you helping complete the task correctly is enough. The more, That A Boy, Good Girl, Good Sit, Good Potty, Good Sue Good, the more the pup will become excited. You also want to use excitement in the tone of which you are praising the pup. At this age, they are picking up the fact of doing good, by the excitement that is carried in your voice. So over emphasize the excitement and energy when you are praising your dog. At the puppy stage there are only good things, no aggravated scolding tones. The ONLY command we are going to use on the puppy to show dissatisfaction will be the command “NO”. Tying NO to things like No Bite is ok. But dogs do not understand sentences, so talking with your dog like they are people, may make you feel better, but the dog can only be confused. Most everything is a One Word Command. There are different levels of which a dog can accept praise. I have a couple dogs that absolutely need no praise. They are workers, and it is ALL about the work. They have the “Just Line Me Up, And Send Me Again” type of mind set. Then I have others that require a lot of praise, petting, and showing of excitement with the compliance of a task. One is NOT better than the other, nor does it show that one dog will have more desire or be a better dog than the other. It is just a difference in dog. But “READING” your dog will become the most important thing you can learn to do. Seeing by the way they act, to whether they have a understanding of what is being taught, or do we need to run a few more reps. Reading how much praise it takes to keep you pup motivated. My dogs that don’t require much praise, will accept all I have to give. But it tends to get them so excited that they lose focus of the task at hand. So they get just a “Good”, maybe 1 drag of the hand across their heads. Then after the training is over a hearty, and excitable round of praise to show a job well done. Then there are those that need a lot of praise, enjoy it, and makes them work harder. So I give them all they can stand after ever REP. As pups, you are looking to give them all you can give. But as you get into these commands, if it seems like they are getting distracted by the praise, then you may want to tone it down a notch.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:13 pm

SIT

SIT is a command that is easily taught, without the dog even knowing they are being taught, as are most of these puppy training techniques. As you as sitting around watching TV , reading the paper, or anything that you are going to be in one place for a while, is a good place to work on SIT. The pup will always want to be in the middle of what ever you are doing. So just move down and sit on the floor where you can get to the pup, and this will have them all over you in seconds. When they come over and start jumping on you wanting to play. Pick them up, sit them on your left side, in the sit position, then command SIT. Then let them go. They will not sit there long, if at all. But we are just looking to associate the Command with the Act. The pup will run off to do something else, and in just a minute or two will come back to jump on you. Pick them up, sit them on your left side, in the sit position, then command SIT. Then let them go. When you put them in the Sit Position, start petting them and praising them, Good Dog, Good Sit, Good Girl, but I am really parcel to the word Good, then whatever command you are working on. Good Sit. You are getting to opportunities to apply the command word. Which I just feel the more the merrier. As the dog start understanding the command, they should sit there a little longer as you are petting and praising them. So as you see “READ” your dog starting to sit longer, then ask a little more time out of them. As they start to leave, then grab them, and command, SIT. You are just looking to get the dog to perform the task a little longer. Once they start showing understanding, take this outside to the leash. Walk around a little, stop and command SIT. Put them at SIT, and praise. Once the pup has a understanding of SIT on the leash. We are going to start moving around a little in front of the pup while they are at SIT. Every time you move they will move with you. So when you start the moving process, expect the pup to move. Just take them back to the place you commanded SIT, and place them again. Hold your hand down in front of them like a policeman giving the STOP sign. While holding your hand in front of their face, commanding SIT, back away a step, and move a step or two from side to side. We aren’t wanting to be very far from them. Keep your hand out, and move a step or two from side to side. When the pup stays in this position, go back to where they are and give a lot of praise. As they get better at this, we are looking to extent the distance in front, plus make our movement from side to side bigger. Every time that the pup moves from the SIT position, they are taken back to the spot, and given the SIT command again. The goal is to be able to walk out in front of the pup the length of your leash, then walk completely around the pup, with them staying at the sit position. They will turn their heads until it looks like they are going to fall over, but as long as they don’t come to you, it is Ok. Remember, you have 3-4 months to get to this point, so it doesn’t haft to be done in a month, nor do you haft to work on it every time the dog comes close to you. I usually have a certain time of the evening set aside that I am going to make an effort to train. When it isn’t that time, I just play and enjoy the pup. This way he learns to enjoy you too, and everything is not work when you are involved. Pretty easy, just don’t get carried away with making it work. This is the playful time in the pup’s life, so make it enjoyable. Just get a little work in as you find the time.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:14 pm

HERE

From the time I bring a pup home, it rarely goes outside without me, the wife and a leash or check cord. It does not take but just a second for a pup to see something and be off and running. We do not want any accidents happening to our newest family member and hunting buddy. Once you get this started, the dog will get excited every time they see you with the leash/check cord in your hands. They know the leash/check cord means OUTSIDE ! ! ! ! !  Once you have the dog walking on a leash, then you start looking for the pup to wonder away from you the length of the leash. I like a 15’ check cord for walking. I also have 2-3 other leashes for teaching different things. But 15’ is the length I like to walk and work on these other commands with. As the pup gets out to 10-15 ft away, call them by name, and command HERE. Then just reel them in, using the leash. When you reel them in, use lots of praise, and excitement. Once I make the command, I like to kneel down on one knee and clap my hands together, trying to induce excitement, such as praise. You are not caring if the pup to come on his on, or looking to make them ski across the ground. Just command HERE, and just reel them in. If they act like they do not want to come, Oh Well, your coming HERE. Then when they get there, whether your drug them to you are they acted like they were coming. Lots of praise, with Good HERE, being use regularly. Then start walking again. I try to wait until the pup has got their mind off of me, and are exploring new things. Then command HERE again, and reel them in. You do not want to wait to give them time to figure out the command and head that way. HERE, and start reeling them in. This is just a way of starting to instill the idea that a command is meant to be followed ASAP, which will be enforced during Formal Training. There will be an addition to HERE that will be written about in the Retrieving Portion of the command, that will help with HERE also. None of this is very hard, nor do we want it to leave a bad taste in the pup’s mouth. ALL of this puppy training has absolutely NO discipline involved. It comes later. We are building attitude and trying to get an understanding of the command word, and the Act, nothing more.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:15 pm

HEEL

HEEL is a command that is best left alone until HERE is understood. This way you are just asking 1 thing at a time out of the pup. Once they have a working knowledge of HERE, then I would move to HEEL. Working Knowledge does not mean performed flawlessly or perfect. Heel is basically achieved the same way as HERE. The only difference is as the pup approaches, you will pull them around to the left side. Lead them behind you on the left side, and pull them up to even with you. Then when they get in the HEEL position, the command will be SIT. This is two different commands. Although when the dog starts to get HEEL down, they will make it a single process. This is really not that important that you get this until Formal Training. If you are going to teach HEEL, then HEEL is also walking with the pup on the left side. When you are walking, while teaching HEEL, you need to shorten up on the leash. It is Ok for the pup to be able to lag back a little, or surge forward a little. When they try to cross over in front of you, or lag back behind you, you command HEEL and bring them into position with the leash, and keep walking. This is taught while walking. Once you get the pup to understand the position of HEEL. You add another step. While walking, you stop, command SIT. Now that the pup is at SIT. Take a couple steps in front, and face the pup. If they move from SIT, then take them back to the spot that the command was given, and give it again. Hold your hand down in front of them like a policeman giving the STOP sign. Many teach STAY, and this is what we are trying to achieve, but I don’t like STAY due to it being another thing for the dog to learn, when SIT should get you the same thing. As the pup learns to SIT with you not being beside them. We are looking to be in front of the pup, facing them. Start off at 3-5 feet, now command HEEL and reel them to the left side, around behind you, then pull them up to the point of being beside you. By leading them around behind you (just a little) gives them the chance to get their bodies square to you. We are not wanting the pup to HEEL and be at a 45 degree angle when they are in the HEEL position. They need to be facing the same way as you, and square to you. This will just take REPS. Once the pup starts getting the hang of it, back up another step when you are facing them and preparing to give the HEEL command. As you start backing up and getting farther away from the pup, they will want to move to get closer to you. When they do, just take them back to the spot that SIT was given, hold your hand down in front of them like a policeman giving the STOP sign. Keep your hand down in front of their face while you are backing up, it will help to keep the pup in place. Then command HEEL.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:19 pm

Create & Potty Training

First of all, let’s make sure we have a clear plan and are in the right mind set for this particular training lesson. Potty Training a dog to live in the house with us is probably the toughest training lesson that you will go through in training your new hunting and companion buddy. When we get to the age of 6-8 months where Formal Training will start, we are going to want a healthy, spirited, hard charging dog. So there are a couple things to get in our minds right off the bat. The methods of swatting, hitting, or loudly scolding your pup is not the methods you want to use. Things such as rubbing you pups nose in Pee & Poop are not very good methods of ending up with a spirited pup either. We don’t want our pups to have any fear of us, no cowling down or flinching when we raise our hands. So basically hitting or loud scolding is out. Never deal with you dog when frustrated in this part of training, or any part of training for that matter. Our dogs are bred to want to please us with everything they do. If you are having to hit or loudly scold your pup, it is really a lack of being a good teacher on your part, more than a bad dog, on the dog’s part. So with that said let’s see if we can get this lesson taught without making the puppy afraid of us, and keep their spirit as high as possible. This will keep your dog in the best training attitude possible.

Create Training

First thing to remember is if it is not where the pup can be supervised, they should be in their Create. Bored and unsupervised pups are nothing but a problem waiting to happen. A create should be the pups safe haven, and nothing bad should be happening to the pup in their safe haven. This does not mean that putting them in the create at times they do not want to be in it is a problem. The pups are going to always want to be with you, so rarely at the puppy age will they want to be in the create. While at work the pup should be in the create in the house, or at least through House Breaking (Potty Training). According to how long you are gone to work will be the measuring stick to how many accidents may/will happen in the create. The pup at the early weeks, systems are not able to keeping from pottying for long periods of time. But with them not wanting to potty in their own house, the pup usually makes this adjustment pretty quick. You may/will have to clean the create in the early days, and give the pup a bath, maybe daily at first. But we might as well get right to the lesson of, this is the puppies place, and will be spending a lot of time here. The pup will raise cane about being in the create, especially when they know you are at home. Again, they just want to be with you. But this can not be the bases for letting the pup out of the create. You just have to let the pup work through this. You will also want to keep the pup in the create at night while House Breaking is going on. It is important that the pup doesn’t think the create is a bad place, and they will just need to learn to spend the time there, and be pacified with that time. The first 4-5 nights are the toughest, because the pup will bark endlessly. You might want to put the create in the garage or work shop during the night, just make sure it is a place where it is not to hot during the night. Most nights are not hot enough to cause the pups a problem. Also if you live in the city, you have neighbors to contend with. So you might put the create in the car/truck in the garage, with the windows cracked as little as possible, but still have the vehicle ventilated. This will muffle the sound and hopefully keep the neighbors happy. This is just for a few days, until the pup gets the idea that this is home. With all the barking and raising cane, it will cause them to potty in their creates, but it is just part of the early days. Some people put the create in their bed rooms thinking that if the pup can see them, then they will calm down. I am not very big on this, because if the pup see’s you, they want to be with you. So now you are causing yourself to lose sleep. This results in you being tired and short tempered, which are bad things for the pup. Yelling, shaking the create or hitting on the create are the things we are trying to stay away from. It is just for a few days, and it is best to just get it over with, and everybody is happier. There is no happy medium, and once the pup understands the fact that he gets to come out when you are able to do a good job of watching and taking care of him. The barking will go away, and everybody is going to be much happier. But there are “No Short Cuts” to the early days, they just haft to happen. The pup is being taught where their place is and what their role is to be within the house. This is the same concept as picking up and holding a baby every time they cry. Somewhere you will haft to just let them cry it out, or you will be picking them up and holding them when they are 18 years old, and shaving. Take a deep breath, and show some patients here. It will be over soon, and you will have a puppy that will be ready to move on to other Training Lessons.

Potty Training

Leaving the pup in the create while you are at work for 8-10 hours is not a problem as long as Heat or Cold effect where the dog is. If you can arrange to come home during lunch for a Potty Break, then it is a better situation for the pup. But it is not required, just haft to clean up a few more Create messes. Pups system is not ready to control their pottying for these periods of time yet. But you might as well start training the pup to try and hold it. There WILL be accident in the create, but no matter what age you start this training, there are going to be accidents in the create, until the dog get the understanding that this is their home and shouldn’t be soiling it. There will be some washing out the create, and bathing the pup in the early weeks. But the pup will not like staying in a soiled create and will cut this out ASAP or as some as their young bodies will allow. Seem like the females catch on to the cleanliness concept quicker that the males. Just like in people.

As soon as you wake up in the morning take the pup outside to go potty. Not when you get around to it. “As Soon As You Get Up”. It doesn’t need to be a long drawn out thing, just the opportunity to relieve themselves. I would also Pick the pup up and carry them outside in the early days. You don’t want them to just get outside the create door and potty in the house. They are less likely to potty while you are holding them, than while you are trying to herd them towards the door. Once you have made this a first thing in the morning act, then you can probably get away with letting them walk out.

Pups will need to be fed twice a day at first. When feeding (Morning & Night) you are looking to put down food and water, and stand with the pup while they are eating. Don’t talk, pet or do anything that might distract them from eating. We will be training the pup to eat when it is time to eat, and available. So when they are finished or they walk away, then pick up the Food & Water. Feeding is over until Night. If they walk away and look around, and head back, they are not finished. They might just need to take a breath, or look for something they thought they heard. But they should not go far. If they walk into another room and start looking for someone else, want to play, or anything else. Feeding time is over. This will start training them to take advantage of the feeding time when it is time to feed. Pick up the Food & Water dishes, call the pup by name and command Potty, let’s go Potty. If they come, great, if not go get them and take them outside ASAP. The VERY next thing that happens after feeding is pottying. So if you get distracted, then you will be cleaning up an accident, which will not be the puppies fault. This trip outside you are looking to see them Pee & Poop. We are getting ready for the day in the create, so we need to see both, to have a chance at not soiling the create. When you see the pup Pee or Poop, the command is Potty, Good Potty. Using the word helps the dog associate the act with the command. We only want to use the command when trying to get the pup to understand that we are going outside to Potty, and during the actual act itself. We do not want to be outside commanding Potty, Potty, Potty, over and over again. It is to be a CUE for the act that we are wanting the dog to achieve. This trip outside should be timed with you leaving for work. Last thing you do before getting in the car to leave is Feed & Water, then Potty. Now you are ready to go. Put pup in create and walk right out the door. The less time you are in the house, the less barking, pacing and things that trigger the potty process. If you wife leaves after you, then I would suggest a leash, and another opportunity to go Potty, doing the exact same thing you did before.

When you return, or whoever returns first from work, should immediately let the pup out of the create and right outside. You are looking to use the same Potty Commands as before. If you let the pup out of the create or take the time to go change clothes, then the excitement of you being home will trigger the Potty process and they will soil the create, or house if you let them out and then change clothes. These things will get MUCH easier once the pup has the concept of what we are doing. But the early weeks MUST be ALL about the pup. Nightly feeding does not need to be done right before bed. After you have taken care of things that you need to do for yourself, and are ready to feed, is as good as any other time. But once you decide to feed, it is done just like the morning feeding. Food & Water are put down, and when they walk away it is over. Pick it up, and then right outside the pup goes. If you leave the food and water down, they know that it is always there. So they had rather play and be with you, then eat later. So that is what they will do. Also, if you Feed & Water several time, because you felt they didn’t get as much food as they should. They will learn to expect it. It will not take but a time or two of the pup not getting enough food, before they will not leave until the bowl is empty. We are teaching a lesson by picking up the dishes. Plus, it is for CERTAIN, if the pup walks by the water dish and gets 2 licks of water. They will go right in to a carpeted area and Pee 2 licks worth. So do not leave the food and water down. There will be enough accidents without these controllable ones. Just remember that anytime that the pup is fed, as soon as it is over, right outside. Then make the last thing you do before you go to bed, is to take the pup out. It is the Last and First thing done in the morning and at night.

Here are a couple of things this training will get you, beside House Breaking. Many times when I am out hunting away from home, I will stay in a motel or with a friend, and the dog may not be allowed to just run around freely. The dog will be comfortable in their create, and not be a pain in the rear, not allowing you to sleep or watch TV, or go out to eat. There is nothing worse than when you leave, the dog start barking, and the rooms besides yours are ALL calling the front desk complaining. So we are looking to get this training in as a pup, while the pup doesn’t even know he is being trained. Also, while out hunting and at motels, your schedules are different than at the house. But by taking up the food in the early weeks, you have trained the dog to eat when it is offered. So if you haft to feed at 3-4pm, instead of 6-7pm, the dog has been trained to eat. You will have also trained the dog the Potty command, and when you go out to a new environment, or area. The dog doesn’t think they are there for any other reason once the queue/command of Potty is given. They will understand what we are here for, and take advantage of it. It has been VERY helpful when I have been hunting, and it happens to be raining in the afternoon. If your dog has a understanding of these Queues, you are going to spend less time in undesirable situations. It is really not that hard, but does require a schedule change on your part until this training is done.

Again, and probably the most important thing about this, and any other training is this: Hitting, Loud Scolding, Yelling, or anything that you would perceive as something that would make the dog nervous or uncomfortable is not a good thing. The dogs genuinely want, is to please you, and get praise and acceptance from you. So they are not causing problems, with the calculated thought of “Will I Get Caught”. They just don’t know any better, and if that is the case. We as owners have failed them, not the other way around. Plus, if you can keep the spirits high on your pup, then when they turn into a dog, and have the hunting skills that you will teach them. There is a measurable difference in the attitude, style, and trainability you will see from your dog. Just remember, you are working on a dog that will hopefully spend the next 12-15 years as a member of your family, and companion in the field. So a few weeks, or even a mouth is not that long in the grand scheme of things. And there is nothing more gratifying than seeing a spirited dog out retrieving birds for you and your friends.
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Postby Peake1 » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:20 pm

Cooter very good advice here is a short article I once wrote for my HR clubs a brief commentary on puppies for a club training day. If it could be of use to anyone please read....
(methods may vary)

"That's My Pup!"

I've put together a simple list of "frequently asked questions" that are vital to all retriever puppies regardless of how high our future goals for them might be. These answers are all based on proven training practices that will help set the stage for more formal training in the future to come.

1) How to introduce the retrieve? (7Wks-8Wks)
Using a small racket ball or knotted sock with the help of a narrow hallway playfully tease the pup until his intirest is peaked. Starting out with a short toss of five feet-ten feet allow the pup to chase it free. When he snaps it up and while still down on your knees praise and encourage him to come back. If he would resist coming back right away there are a couple tricks to encourage this behavior. Try either swinging another object to "tease" him back or simply walk away calling and praising him. When pup arrives at yourside DO NOT attempt to take the object from him rather pick the pup up and praise. Not until your pup drops the object themself pick it up and throw a second time, repeat no more than three times total! "Always leav'em wanting more!"

2) When and how to introduce Birds? (10Wks-6MO)
After pup is doing well on play retrieves with small bumpers it is time to introduce birds. Using a freshly killed pigeon arouse the pups intirest and give it a short toss. If the pup chases out and picks up the bird pour on the praise but only after your pup has actually picked up the bird. If your pup doesn’t look like it is going to pick the bird up try one more excited throw and put the bird away even if they don't pick it up on this second try. To get pup back you might have to use a light check cord (15ft) and reel them in gently. Always remembering to reach for the pup and not the object pick pup up and usually they will release the bird. If they hang on gently press down on the lower jar and roll the bird out praising the whole time. Continue to mix in birds occasionally with your play retrieves to keep their desire high until the adult teeth come in and F-F begins.

3) When and how to introduce water? (Warm Water)
Creating a positive attitude towards water is everything for a future "duck dawg". With that said, it's not until the water is warm enough for you to wade in yourself is the timing right to introduce pup! A fun simple way is to wade right in to the shallows of a flat still pond avoiding any type of running water or uneven bottoms. Praise and encourage the pup to follow behind. Once the pup is comfortable in wading water with the help of an assistant on the shore take pup out 10 ft(knee deep) and holding pup under the chest and back legs turn them back towards the shore. Have the assistant call to the pup excitedly as you hold pup in the water and he begins to paddle and then release him. When pup has "smoothed out" their swimming ability start to introduce short retrieves from shore. Again never introduce pup to cold or deep water! Warm temps and a shallow flat bottom will insure a positive attitude for your future water dawg.

4) When and how to introduce gunfire? (3MO-4MO)
When pup has been lengthened out to thirty - forty yard single retrieves it is a good time to introduce gunfire. With the help of a thrower have them give two or three easy marks to get the pups excitement up and focused on retrieving. At this point have the thrower fire a .22 starter pistol as he throws one more mark. Over time graduate to perhaps a shot from a .209 blank pistol and on up through the various shotgun gauges. Eventually pup will come to associate the loud noise of the gun with his passion in life, retrieving, and they will both become what he lives for. As a word of caution do not jump ahead straight to the blast of a 12gauge AKA BAD IDEA!

4) Steadying - When and how much?
Puppyhood is the time to create the burning
retrieving desire we all want to see in our future hunting retrievers. And one of the quickest ways to diminish that born in instinct is to require strict steadiness from a young pup to early before his desire and maturity are ready for it. Rather introduce the steadying concept gradually through "restraint" only. Start this process with young pups (7Wks-12Wks) after having many free play retrieves place pup in the "Sit" position and hold them gently by the collar releasing as soon as the thrown bumper or ball is about to hit the ground. For older pups (4M0-5MO) require "slight restraint" by your side with a short tab atattched to pups collar put them in the "Sit/Heel" position with an arm around the chest and holding the lead and the other arm over the back. With your assistant throwing marks from the field restrain pup only until he tenses to break on the mark and then release. With this gradual introduction you will be setting the stage for a rock solid steady retriever to come AFTER pup has completed Force Fetch training.

6) Puppy obedience - the right approach? The topic of OB (obedience) is an easy one to end this list on as puppy obedience is ALL play! Well, maybe not all play but it should be approached with a very light hearted and informal attitude. Puppies from ages seven weeks to perhaps five months are just babies and although we should introduce and lightly enforce the fundamentals of "Sit"(Stay), "Here"(Come) and "Heel" it is not meant to be corrected beyond a "light tug" of the check cord at this point. At this early stage keep your sessions short limited to under ten minutes and perhaps only twice a day. It is not until pup turns about twenty weeks do we want to enter into what is reffered to as "formal obedience training". At this later time we will then begin to enforce strict "Sit" "Here" and "Heel" commands that need to be solid before beginning the "Hold" portion of F-F. Remember with OB at any stage to only give a command ONCE always in a calm voice and never give a command you are not prepared to enforce.

I hope this short list has shed some new light on early retriever training or
has given you some friendly reminders from training your last puppy.

Good Training,
Peake1
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:22 pm

Starting Out On A Leash

This is one of those things that there is no easy way around. Most dogs don’t like being confined to a leash, and fight it tooth and toe nail until someone wins. This will be you. You will need a regular fixed collar, not a choke or pinch collar, just a regular fixed collar, and a 8’-10’ leash. You might just start out by sitting outside in a chair, with the pup on a leash. They are going to fight, but that is Ok. Don’t do anything but hold the leash. If they are biting the leash, wrapped around the chair leg, we are not going to even act like we seeing them. The only way I will get involved, is if they are wrapped up in a way that I fear injury. I do not want the pup associating me with anything that is happening. It is the leashes fault and theirs. Once they start to calming down a little, then get up and start walking around in large circles. Pup may be flipping and twisting, or any amount of things, but just keep walking. Injury is the only reason to interfere. They are likely to just lay down, and roll over on their backs. Whoops, but we are just going to keep dragging them on their backs or whatever until they decide to walk. Don’t even hesitate, just keep stepping and acting like you don’t have a care in the world. This is all on the dog, and as soon as they work this out in their minds, it will be over. Rarely takes more than a couple walks. There is no way to work this out with them. It is just a winner takes all type of thing, and the pup must lose. Injury is the only reason for getting involved. It is between the pup and the leash.
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Postby cooter » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:25 pm

Retrieving


Retrieving is the most fun part of dog training, so therefore we haft to watch it the closest. When you bring you pup home there are many things that the pup is going to be experiencing, so their attention span will not be very long form one thing to another. The same will be for retrieving. I like to keep a tennis ball in the floor for the pup to play with. They will be chasing it on their own, and not require us to throw it for them. I also use a pair of rolled up socks, made to look like a bumper. I will use the socks as my retrieving toy, and allow the tennis ball to be theirs. When you are playing with the pup, and retrieving is involve, do not throw anything more that 3-4 times. We are always trying to leave the pup wanting more. We do not want to teach them that quitting is Ok when he gets tired. As they get older we will be able to increase the amount of retrieves, but this training should be short and sweet. When you first bring them home, don’t worry about if they bring it back to you. Many will, but many will want to play keep away. We don’t want to get into chasing them to get the bumper. This makes it a game, we will haft to break later on. Once you have the dog actually retrieving, we are going to move the retrieving game to a certain part of the house. We are looking for a place like a hallway. Somewhere that is narrow, and you can shut off ALL exits, except the one you will sit in. My hall way is about 15’ long which is great. When I shut the doors to the other rooms, it only leaves one way for the pup to get out. And that would be the door I am sitting in. Sit in the door way and call the pup to you. Sit them beside you, waving the bumper (tennis ball, socks, puppy bumper) in front of them to the point of excitement, then toss the bumper to the end of the hallway, and let the pup go. Also be aware that a pup has trouble seeing an object leave you hands. Not because there is a problem with their vision, but they are watching so many things, that their attention doesn’t focus any one place for every long. Also a quick flick of your wrist, doesn’t draw enough attention to catch the pup’s attention. After you have played this game 4-5 times, they will know what to look for and what to expect. This shouldn’t be a problem anymore. So make sure you are getting the pup’s attention with the bumper and they see the bumper thrown. As you let the pup go to retrieve the bumper, call their NAME as they are leaving. Their name is going to be the trigger for sending them on retrieves during Formal Training, so we might as well get them use to hearing it now. Every time that you throw a bumper for the pup, you should call their name. They should charge down the hall to retrieve the bumper and then realize that there is no way out but back to you. Once they pick up the bumper, clap hands softly, pat the floor with excitement, commanding HERE, HERE. When the pup come back to you, lots, lots, and lots of praise. We’re only looking to do this 3-4 times in a session. Retrieving once in the morning if you have time, then once in the evening is plenty in the first month weeks of being at home. I also like to use 1 particular thing as retrieving tool. This way when the pup sees this item, they know we are going to play. When it is over, I put up this item, and only use it when I a working with the pup. I don’t allow the kids or wife to play with the dog with this item. They can play with the pup with the pup’s toys. This item is not going to be a toy, but a tool. All we are looking for is the pup to be able to identify an item that is our retrieving object. As the pup gets a little older, then you can move to 5-6 retrieves, but I would make them all in the hallway. By closing off the escape of the pup, we are teaching HERE at the same time. This is how one lesson, usually leads into another. And most of the training techniques are just like this from now till it is over. Retrieving should be fun, with lots of excitement. We are always looking to increase the excitement of the pup when retrieving is involved. And this is done by you showing excitement in your tone of voice, the waving of the bumper, swishing it back and forth on the floor.

As the pup gets bigger and you can see that they have out grown the hallway, we are ready to move outside. By now the pup should have the idea, that if they bring back the bumper, you will throw it again. So, you should not be chasing them around by now, hopefully. BUT, I NEVER take the pup outside without the leash or a check cord of some kind. NEVER ! ! ! I have a 15’ check cord, with a snap on one end and nothing on the other, not even a knot. This is what the pup wears out EVERY TIME we go out. This is just a handle for you. If the pup makes a retrieve and come back and runs pass you. Just reach down and get the check cord and command HERE and reel him in. We never want to give the pup a chance to refuse a command. We are not looking to enforce anything, but just change the pup’s direction, and get them back in focus. It will also keep the pup much safer, due to your ability to grab or step on the check cord. If for some reason, the pup heads to the street, it is much easier to grab the cord, than get to the pup. I NEVER take the pup out without a leash or check cord. Even to Potty. All of this is done where I can praise them for every little thing they do right. For the things they do wrong, I don’t enforce or discipline. I just don’t give them the praise. That should be the worst of the discipline for the pup until Formal Training. The pup will learn not to even notice that the check cord is on him. We will use the check cord until we get them through Collar Conditioning (E-Collar) in Formal Training.
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Postby H20fwlkillr » Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:36 am

Great post Cooter. I have always found love and attention (praise) is the best motivater for dogs. My dogs do as I ask, not because of their training or fear of me, but because they feel it's what I want. Dogs want to please. Too many people think heavy handed tactics are needed to get results.
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Postby PADuckhunter » Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:36 pm

10 Pitfalls in Retriever Training
copied from http://www.ducks.org/page91.aspx
By Mike Stewart
Wildrose Kennels - Home of Drake the DU Dog

Many of the problems that owner-trainers experience when training retrievers could be easily minimized if addressed early in training. It is much better to not condition in a problem that you must later train out. Here are some of the top pitfalls trainers face:

1. Long Training Session

Too much enthusiasm from the trainer often proves detrimental to young pups. As a result of lengthy, repetitive training sessions, the pup simply loses focus, becomes distracted, and finally burns out. Pups under six months have very short attention spans. Sessions should not exceed 5 minutes and should include only a few repetitions-any more than that and they will lose focus. It is not essential to train every day. A few minutes twice a day is more effective than an hour every day. Often a break of a few days in training produces surprising results.

Pups between 6 and 12 months must maintain a positive attitude toward training. Pups this age will benefit most from sessions no longer than 20 minutes. Never continue to the point of boredom. If things are going well and the session is complete, there is no need to push pups past 2 to 3 repetitions. Always stop on a positive, successful exercise or response. A good duck dog can be trained with the investment of 10 minutes a day three to four times per week if one adheres to an effective training plan.

2. Premature Hunting

Nothing can be gained by exposing pups to hunting situations under the age of 10 months, whether it's upland game or waterfowl shooting. Taking a 4 to 5 month old pup on a dove or duck shoot for "experience" is similar to taking a first grade child to high school for "experience." What positive effects could possibly be achieved? Yet the downside potential is huge: gun shy, water shy, bird shy, even physical injury.

Shyness can result from the exposure to aggressive dogs on the hunt, fatigue, frigid water, etc. What is the up side? Be patient. Let the pup mature and do your homework building strong basic gundog skills. No dog should be exposed to a hunting situation until all basic gundog skills are entrenched, excluding blinds. Don't rush the process.


3. Waiting to Steady

People are fearful that if they attempt to steady their pups early in basic gundog training, the dog will lose enthusiasm and drive. Not true if properly accomplished with gentle methods. Steadiness to shot and fall is one of the most important lessons a young dog will learn. Any properly bred retriever can mark and retrieve with very little formal training; it's knowing when not to retrieve that takes the conditioning. Start early denying pup retrieves. Pick up 50% of all bumpers and later 50-60% of all the downed birds on your pup's first few hunts. Condition patience from the beginning.

4. Too Many Meaningless Marks

After a pup is enthusiastic about early retrieve (no more than 2 to 3 per session), there is little point to continuing meaningless, repetitive, hand-thrown retrieves in elementary sessions. Once the pup dashes out, picks the mark and returns back to the handler, nothing more is necessary. Marks now must teach something-falls in long grass, in water, over water onto land or in high crops.

Marks can be used to teach doubles, lengthen the dog's retrieving distance, or to exercise watching the sky. Excessive marking can be counterproductive by unsteadying the pup and promoting independence rather than interdependent relationships. Additionally, marking to improve memory is actually is the poorest of methods. Place more emphasis in the early steps of training on steadiness and memory development rather than marks.

5. Setting Pups Up to Fail

Nothing is learned from failure in the dog world. It is vital that pups succeed every time in training to develop confidence in you and in themselves. Don't ask young dogs to exceed their capabilities. Nothing succeeds like success. If necessary, walk out and help locate the fall yourself, shorten distances, simplify the concept or re-visit basic core skills. Train-don't test.

Teach every skill within a concept and then link them together. Dogs learn from association established through consistent repetition. In effect we are establishing a learning chain through causal relationships. Be careful not to circumvent this process. Think "win, win"…how can the exercise be set up to enhance the possibilities of success?

6. No Transitional Training

This error commonly occurs in one or two forms when individuals eagerly press their dogs into hunting situations too quickly. For example:

A. They rush through skills and exercises without sufficient repetition to make a skill a habit. When pressed on the hunt, the pup becomes confused or merely disregards the commands, and spins out of control.

B. Individuals do not sufficiently transfer training skills introduced in drills to practical hunting situations.

A proper training sequence for a gundog includes:
Yard work - introduction to skills in a controlled environment

Field training sessions - training exercises and drills usually conducted on familiar training grounds to entrench skills

Transitional training - practical exercises on simulated hunting situations including varied terrain, locations, and natural environmental factors that will likely be confronted on the hunt, such as birds, gunfire, boats, etc.

Training on the hunt - The first hunts with a young gundog must be dedicated to training, not taking game. Early hunting experiences are extensions of training. The settings, circumstances, and conditions of the hunt must be controlled to the highest extent possible. Focus remains on specific goals. Attention is placed on the dog and his particular needs. Young prospects should not be rushed into hunting situations until all basic gundog skills are understood and thorough transitional experiences have been afforded the handler and the dog.

7. Counterproductive Interference

Many hunting dog prospects spend much of their time in uncontrolled environments such as the home, apartment, or office where they remain unconfined during off-training periods. Well-meaning friends, visitors, or neighbors commonly confront them with opportunities for dysfunctional behavior/activities. Dogs are learning all the time, not just in training.

Question what is being learned outside the controlled training environment. Many times the experiences occur while the owner/handler is not present. People love to amuse themselves by playing with an eager, enthusiastic retriever and they may be promoting unsteadiness by tossing repeated, meaningless retrieves, encouraging free running or swimming, or perhaps even a bit of rough house, tug-of-war, or chase. Guests, kids at home, and neighbors all may unintentionally become ambassadors of hyperactivity and dysfunctional habits for our gundogs.

People may also interfere with the concentration of your dog/pup during training by attempting to praise, interact, or provide treats while the dog is involved with a session. These acts are seemingly harmless from the individual's perspective. They only want to interact briefly with your dog, but the practice must be discouraged and avoided.

a. Set rules for family members to follow when handling the dog while you are away.

b. Instruct visitors and neighbors about acceptable conduct with your dog, especially pups.

c. If you cannot control the situation while you are absent, control the dog's environment. Invest in a space where the dog can remain away from others while you're away, like an outdoor pen, enclosure, etc.

d. Don't allow others to interfere with or distract your dog while involved in training.


8. Late Whistle Introductions

Often, individuals introduce whistle commands far too late in the pup's training cycle. Starting pups very young on the whistle for recall (here) and sit (stop) pays huge dividends, yet most ignore the opportunity. Introduce the whistle by associating pleasurable experiences early during the days of puppyhood. Pups will readily respond to the recall whistle by eight weeks old. I have had entire litters of six-week-old pups rush to the whistle peeps in excitement.

When pups associate a positive experience with the whistle, they will respond to accept their reward of affection, food, treats, or a short retrieve...always something positive. The same is true of the "sit" whistle. Pups can consistently comply with this whistle command by three months old. They will eagerly sit on the whistle when the associated reward is sufficient and the commands are conducted infrequently.

Waiting to implement whistle commands offers no benefit. Too often six- to seven-month-old pups pay no heed to their handler's recall command, making the training challenge more difficult. Similarly, once the pup has advanced in basic training and is charging hard on retrieves, whistle stops are much more difficult to introduce.

9. Postponing Hand Signals

Another common mistake is to wait to introduce hand signals until a pup has completed extensive marking training and has had some actual hunt experience. This strategy promotes a self-employed, overly independent dog. What we want to produce is an interdependent hunting partner who readily works with us to locate game, and one who easily complies with direction in the field. Get the young dog handling well on casts and whistle commands before providing two many marking exercises and certainly before hunting exposure.

10. Poor Timing

Incorrect timing of praise and rewards for correct behavior is meaningless. Incorrectly timed correction or punishment for inappropriate behavior likewise has no value and is often counterproductive. A simple rule applies here: Rewards and/or corrections, to be effective at modifying behavior, must occur exactly when the desired or undesired behavior occurs, and rewards and corrections must occur at the location of the action. If we wait to reward a great cast or stylish water entry with verbal praise until the dog returns to our side, the dog associates the reward with returning to heel with the bumper, which is his most recent act, not the act we wanted to encourage.

The same is true of correction. Negative behavior or improper response to commands must be corrected immediately at the time of the behavior and as close to the exact spot of the infraction as possible. For instance, a non-response on a stop whistle must be corrected immediately and in the exact place the refusal occurred, if possible. It requires immediately returning the dog to the exact spot where the refusal occurred, making the correction, and re-emphasizing the command at that location. This is why we must thoroughly drill skills to proficiency on land before progressing to water, unless we are fond of swimming.

Correction in dog training seems to be a favored method for many trainers. Actually, reward stimulus usually carries a much more powerful behavior modification effect if properly utilized. Yet from my observation of handlers, they do not properly reward their prospects in training enough for effort and when they do it is usually mis-timed, holding little meaning for their dog.

Parting Thought: As always, the best strategy for gundog training is to set pups up to succeed and to not condition in a problem that will have to be rectified later.
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Postby huntnchic » Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:20 pm

Thanks for the info! I currently have several books and training videos for our pup. I will reread and try to implement some of your ideas.

We just brought our pup home on Sunday, she's 13 weeks old. She retrieved well when we first brought her home. Her prev. owner started some training. Now we knew there would be stress for her...new house, kids, other family dogs etc. But I really have no idea what I'm doing except for what I see on the videos and have read.
I try each day to take her out and work with her...come, sit, and her retrieves. Now she is balking at returning her retrieves. COME???? I try to keep our sessions short to 10-15 minutes. What can I do to fix this before it gets out of hand and everything she learned is undone? I have high expectations of her but I don't want to rush her either.Any suggestions?
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Postby cooter » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:22 pm

With a pup, we have NO expectations of their performing. At the pup stage, we are just looking to START associating the COMMAND with the ACT. The way I go about it is listed above. If you get the performance with the command, then there is ALOT of praise. If not, you act like you don't even notice with no shown attention (Good or Bad) either way. Positive Attention when there is performance, and nothing when there isn't. It usually doesn't take the pup long to figure out which way he/she like it best. Absolutely NO PRESSURE on pups. I do teach NO, but I don't Yell, Hit, Scream, Hit, Bark, Hit, Jerk, Hit, Swat, Hit in the puppy stages, which is up till Formal Training.

All of these things are done through Reps, Reps, and more Reps. Just keep it positive and do the same thing over and over again. All of the command above have little things to push the pup to higher levels, as they start catching on. cooter
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im getting a puppy

Postby yakima hunter » Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:59 am

this is great information i have learned alot i pick up my female black lab pup on christmas eve and this is all great information thatnkyou everyone
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Postby Atlantic Junkie » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:57 pm

Had to bump this (even though you were good enough to link to it) so I could find it again for my wife and I to read. We just won pick of the litter at a DU banquet and are psyched to be getting a dog again (last one passed 5 years ago and we just haven't been able to get back on the horse - kids (~3,5,7) thankfully forced us to :smile: ).

Looking forward to training (us first, then the dog) again. Thanks for the great posts.

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Postby Goosehunterdog » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:15 pm

VERY VERY VERY GREAT INFORMATION!!!!! :thumbsup:
Happy Training!!!!
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Postby cooter » Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:53 am

Bump
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Thanks

Postby buckmeister » Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:50 pm

Thanks for taking your time to post the information.
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Postby Duckslayer920 » Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:39 pm

Cooter, great post man. This is extremely helpful.
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Postby MacMan » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:01 pm

As usual - Cooter blows me away with the knowledgebase; therefore to bump this AGAIN and to learn something I have a question - Probably should be a thread in and of itself. Here goes:

I train alone most of the time as I work her daily - especially in the winter or during hunting season when local HRC is inactive. I use a .22 dummy launcher. Jaz seems to be smart enough to understand where it's coming from be it from be or a birdboy - I'm launching 4 dummys - Ex long 75yrd + to short 35 - 40yrds. Sometimes in water and land or mixed. She gets them fine even if I mix the order; am I creating a bad habit here? Sometimes I'll put her on the line with a STAY and move 25 yrds away and launch then return to the line. Her trainer didn't really like this too much as her attention would be on me!

Thoughts?
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Postby HNTFSH » Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:08 pm

MacMan...I do some of this as well but it's mainly exercise and I'll pop 2-3 for multiple marks. I also like to use this for heavier cover. I don't think it 'hurts' anything for hunting but it doesn't help much with depth perception which is needed for tests as well as marks for multiple hunters/shooters.

If your trainer is rolling his eyes ity's probably cause it's marginally useful for advancing the dog's skills. I employed my kids for tossing some bumpers at a distance with a duck call blow to help the depth perception and marking things not coming from me. Advice BTW I got from guys on this board last year.

I use mine more for water retrieves to get longer swims out and back along with landing the bird on land past the waters edge.
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Postby MacMan » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:06 pm

You are right HNTFSH, mainly excercise with OB and a few other ancillary benefits as well. I didn't consider the perception issue for the hunt tests. I've seen that now with hind sight. Jaz has adapted and has learned to goto towards the mark and circle before she gets there in order to get the scent cone. Other than having enough money for remote slings or launchers it's all I have to work with. Actual hunting is so different than the tests - each kill is different. It is great however for the 150 yrd swimming on occassion to keep her active.
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Postby HNTFSH » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:11 pm

MacMan wrote:You are right HNTFSH, mainly excercise with OB and a few other ancillary benefits as well. I didn't consider the perception issue for the hunt tests. I've seen that now with hind sight. Jaz has adapted and has learned to goto towards the mark and circle before she gets there in order to get the scent cone. Other than having enough money for remote slings or launchers it's all I have to work with. Actual hunting is so different than the tests - each kill is different. It is great however for the 150 yrd swimming on occassion to keep her active.


Amen brother. I have the savings account going so I can work Goosehunterdog for a discount on a zinger and a box launcher. :yes:
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Postby HNTFSH » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:13 pm

MacMan wrote:It is great however for the 150 yrd swimming on occassion to keep her active.


Not to mention scaring a few soccer moms at the local park. :yes:
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Postby MacMan » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:26 am

HNTFSH wrote:
MacMan wrote:It is great however for the 150 yrd swimming on occassion to keep her active.


Not to mention scaring a few soccer moms at the local park. :yes:


I think Jaz and I both get a kick from some folks reaction. . . Once at a park a lady walked all the way around where we were training and asked me not to fire that thing - her dog wouldn't come out from the bushes - Yes Mam!

Our HRC has a pneumatic 6 dummy launcher w/ remote that's real nice -
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