First dogs hunt....how old?

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First dogs hunt....how old?

Postby SilverLakehunter » Tue Dec 14, 2004 6:50 pm

Ive been taking my 4month old lab bree out hunting with me lately....mainly because she drives the wife crazy if i dont but also to get her used to being out there.....the little devil loves it.....watchs the birds work sits next to me the whole 9 yards.....when did you guys start? and what are your thoughts?

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Postby SteveInTN » Tue Dec 14, 2004 8:57 pm

When they are ready, there is no real set age. Mine started hard core at 10 months, some think that is too young. If you live in a climate that isn't too harsh, and hunt under conditions that aren't extreme, let her make some simple retrieves when they drop right in front of you in shallow water. Make sure and keep a lead on her so that she doesn't get the idea early that she can break on the gun. Under no circumstance should you put pressure on her or scold her if she fails on the simple retrieves. Experience in the blind, around guns, and underneath working birds will prove very valuable later on. As long as the conditions are good and your partners don't mind a pup along, go for it. Just be protective, very supportive, and very patient. Be careful that she doesn't get herself into a bad situation (deep water, long retrieve, etc) and generally let her have fun, yet be a good, well mannered occupant of the blind.

Let me stress once again to MAKE SURE she doesn't leave your side unless it is a no-brainer, simple, nothing can go wrong retrieve. Make SURE that duck (no geese) is dead as a doornail and that your buddies know she is getting in the water. Be VERY deliberate. This all about her gaining environmental and social skills, it is NOT about her making retrieves. So you'll have to temper yourself as much as you temper her.

Sounds like fun if it is feasable...

Just my opinion...

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Postby MossyOakClub » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:46 pm

Very good points & ideas...Thx
RETRIEVING IS A PRETTY SIGHT & DESIRABLE, BUT IF YOU HAVE NO SUCCESS, REMEMBER THAT IT IS A RARE SIGHT TO SEE A MAN POINT AT A BIRD. HOWEVER, MANY MEN HAVE A BACK STRONG ENOUGH TO LEAN DOWN AND PICK UP A BIRD THAT A DOG HAS LOCATED AND POINTED DEAD.
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Postby IBBoykin » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:05 pm

Me personally, if my dogs have not been completely training in obedience, they will not set foot in a blind or boat during an actual hunt. This can cause problems that you have to go backwards in your training in order to train things out of the dog. Plus, if the dog is not 100% obedient, then there is the inherent danger.
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pup

Postby SilverLakehunter » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:11 pm

my pups pretty great about sittin with me and watchin the birds which is all i want right now just to get her used to it a little bit, i wouldnt let her retrieve a bird or leave my side. if shes not sittin with me shes sleepin in her kennel i bring along.
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Postby SteveInTN » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:41 pm

If things are slow and the climate is mild, throw a shot duck or two out in front of the blind. Once a true 'hunting' dog gets an idea of what the end game is all about, I find that their attitude is boosted. It'll make her birdy too. No super-cold water.

As for the OB, that is why I said to keep her on a lead. For a pup under six months of age Environmental and Social training (both of which really equate to exposure versus training) are ALMOST as important as OB, and five times more important than retriever training.

If you've got a 'good one', it'll pay off. Just be protective and demand good manners.

Again, just my opinion...
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Postby SCoutdoorsman » Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:14 pm

SteveInTN said it for me :thumbsup:
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Postby 98ramtough » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:53 pm

Make sure the dog has been properly introduced to gun fire. If the dog has never been around a shotgun and you and your buds start shooting its a bad thing... Other than that Steve nailed it.
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Postby duckaholic_16p » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:21 pm

i did what everyone says not to do, i took my lab dove hunting at 9 months for his first time. He did GREAT. 45 doves on his first day afield. Im not saying this was right or even a good thing but it worked for me
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Postby Novamag » Sat Dec 25, 2004 11:45 pm

My current labs first hunt was on quail at 12 weeks and she loved it, romping through the snow which was taller than she was. I think I was lucky though. She has pretty much trained herself, not because I didn't try but I figured if she's "getting it" why mess her up.
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Postby TXwaterfowler » Sun Dec 26, 2004 1:33 am

I've trained 3 labs all black and all males i used a wonderfull book called Water Dog it told me to start the sitting at 10 weeks old. from there the book will train your dog for you. right now i'm able to have my 2 labs down with me hunting and never no mess ups. Really all that dog wants to do for u regaurdless of the breed is please you and make you happy
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Postby REDLEGGER » Mon Dec 27, 2004 9:25 am

I have a chessy that 10 years old he started when he was 8 months he is a tremdous dog a retrieving machine I also use the game dog book it is in my opion the best way to train a dog. if there ready @ 6mouth then go for it but i do agree with the rest. should not expose to very cold water and do not put alot of pressure on a young dog to make alot of tough retrieves they can stress out. the more GOOD experience you can give a young dog the better he will be in the long run. there is nothing better than to see a dog at work. if you get a good dog don't take him or her for granted. Good dogs are hard to come by.but by exposing a dog to hunting early and having success will build great confidence. " take a kid hunting you will never regret it" :thumbsup:
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Postby flyman420 » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:08 pm

I started training my pup nelli at 8 weeks and she was in the blind for opening day when she was 8 mo. and finished the season with 50 retrieves at 10 mo. I agree not to cold of water but as far as no tough retrieves I sent her if she wanted to go which was always I think the tough 100 plus yard retrieves through the muck for a cripple strengthened her drive. If you do not think your dog is ready then it probably isnt but here is only one real way to tell and that is to bring em along and see what happens if it is not going to work out then call it a day dont scold your dog just pack up and head home for some training work. Thats my 2 cents
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Postby birdgunner04 » Tue Dec 28, 2004 8:53 pm

I took mine at 6mo dont expect alot but there is no substitue for time on real birds
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Wed Dec 29, 2004 10:36 pm

I waited 'till mine were a lil over a year and I'm glad I did.
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Postby SCoutdoorsman » Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:14 am

AlaskaRedneK wrote:I waited 'till mine were a lil over a year and I'm glad I did.


Why is that?
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age?

Postby Mr Frog » Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:48 pm

first lab i had was 25 yrs ago. she went dove hunting at 12 weeks. she was great for 13 yrs.
next lab went dove hunting at 9 weeks, made first retreive in 8' tall cane on bird i thought was lost forever. she was big and bold and an awesome companion for 11 yrs.
now have an english pointer, she was barely 5 weeks old last yr on first day of dove season. retreived 5 birds before laying under my feet and going to sleep. she is just now 14 months old and starting to water retrieve. did not try to get her into water before this past summer. was pretty shy at first, but acts like a lab / fish now.
IMHO, what age to take them, as soon as you feel they can. mine were all very mild tempered and I hunted alone or very small group for several trips.
Good luck and enjoy, a good dog is the best hunting companion you will ever have.
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Postby greenster » Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:55 pm

I never have had my own dog in blind with me. The only dog I had that was fully ready for hunt was my Black lab "drake" he was about year and a half and I had him working in a few retriever trials but he got ran over in drive way before I had chance to take him on an actual hunt.
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Postby choclab » Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:56 pm

I worked maggie on real birds when she was real young. Took her in the blind at 6 months and she did a few retrieves. The new pup was carrying around chuckers yesterday, she was walking all pround and struttin. She was showing off her prize. It was really funny. She is nine weeks.
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Postby Duck Whittler » Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:04 pm

One thing that wasn't mentioned, the first few time you take a pup out you should decide to not be too active in the hunt and pay more attention to the dog. It is hard to go and just not do any shooting, and just work with the dog, but it will time well spent untill you know how the dog will react to all of the excitement , and will be better for both of you in the long run.
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