At what age...

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At what age...

Postby Bigbopper916 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:35 pm

...do you start your lab pup on birds? Do you start with dead or live pigeons, and where do you get the pigeons? Please overlook my inexperience, but I cannot find this information in any of the books I heave read. I pick up my first YLF in ten days, and I am just trying to be prepared.

Thanks in advance. :thumbsup:
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Postby SteveInTN » Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:52 am

The sooner the better. Start obedience the day you bring her home. Get some clipped duck wings now and use them for puppy retrieves in the hallway as soon as she is interested. Progress that to dead pigeons when she is a three months or so. Then to live-shackled pigeons. Then to dead ducks (frozen). Then to live-shackled ducks.

The timeline isn't as important as getting her on the feather as early as possible and keeping her on it. The jump to shackled birds is also important, as they need to become accustomed to handling live/wounded birds. Don't neglect the move to the duck either. There is a distinct difference in the smell & taste of waterfowl.

Just my opinion...
"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"
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Postby 98ramtough » Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:54 am

Steve gives great advise, get a quail or grouse wing and play fetch with it the day you bring her home. I had my puppy fetching grouse wings across the yard at 10 weeks, then had to back off when the teeth really started coming in, then when they were finally in she already knew the game and birds etc....
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Postby zx2dxz » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:09 pm

start off throwing something small like a Dokken Deadfowl Teal or Dove and or wings in the house 2-3 times a day 2-3 retrieves nothing more then that. In the house first for the simple fact that they know where they are and no distractions like outside. Try a hallway or something so its basicly the bird and you. Work on OB training nothing hard and not forcing the dog to, remember very very short periods. Make it seem like a game. By 4-5 months start working on gun and bird.

as for the pigeons we buy them by the 1000s so i dont know where you could pick them up. if there is a kennel somewhere next to you i would prolly think that they would sell you a doz or even give you some fresh dead ones.
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Postby Browningshooter » Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:46 pm

Start as soon as you get the pup. I had mine retrieving a pheasant scented toy at 2 months and he was retrieving dead quail at 10 weeks and was pointing and retreiving wild quail at 4 months.
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Postby gsphunter » Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:54 pm

BigBopper
Are you going to use the dog for any upland work, or just waterfowl?
Brian
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Postby Bigbopper916 » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:37 pm

Dove and waterfowl only...thanks
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Postby Rat Creek » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:55 am

I agree with all, but practice extreme patience for a year. It seems like a long time, but the first year needs to be all fun for the pup. Stay away from all heavy handed stuff in the first year and you will never need it at all.
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Postby SteveInTN » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:07 pm

Rat Creek wrote:I agree with all, but practice extreme patience for a year. It seems like a long time, but the first year needs to be all fun for the pup. Stay away from all heavy handed stuff in the first year and you will never need it at all.


Different schools of thought on a general statement like that. Extreme patience should be practiced for the life of the dog, not just the first year. As for being 'heavy handed', some might argue that it is better to do it sooner rather than later. While I'm not advocating ever being 'heavy handed', I think that you need to communicate to the dog at an early age who is the master (alpha dog) in the relationship. Nor do I think you can make a general statement about all dogs and all trainers. Basically, I think that is sort of a 'utopian' idea. You do what you need to do in order to accomplish the task at hand (training) in the timeline you want to get it done on.

And the first year being 'all fun', I don't agree with that at all. The dog needs to learn VERY EARLY that there is a time for work and a time for play. I've said it before, but raising and training a dog is like raising a kid. With a kid, I am of the opinion that you need to be the PARENT in the relationship, not another buddy. You need to instill the proper morals and responsibility in the child. Similarly, with the dog, you must be the MASTER and teach the dog to obey and to work, BOTH at an early age. I'm of the opinion that by taking the 'warm, touchy, feely' approach and allowing the dog to progress on its own is entirely too dependent on the dog, and most people will fail to produce a WORKING RETRIEVER.

Just my opinion...
"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"
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Postby zx2dxz » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:29 am

Rat Creek wrote:I agree with all, but practice extreme patience for a year. It seems like a long time, but the first year needs to be all fun for the pup. Stay away from all heavy handed stuff in the first year and you will never need it at all.


i agree with the patience but i dont agree with the first year. This is a critical time in a dogs life, their mind is like a sponge. By 10 months old you could already have a strong retriever and flusher. There is pretty much no time that you can put on a dog, except start early and no retrieves too hard until 4-5 months when they stop teething. Mainly at 4-5 months we get puppies for 'bird and gun' and by 8 month we get them back for 'intermediate' and by 10 1/2 they are out working the field for owners. Just started off slow and let you dog tell u whats right. Remember train at the dogs pace not yours. Yes, i kno hunting season comes fast, but there no need to rush him and screw him up for the rest of his life.
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Postby HatterWayne » Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:34 am

According to research and studies, a dog's brain is fully developed on the 42nd day after birth, it's body just hasn't fully matured yet. We try to start the fundemental training as close to that day as possible before their "sponges" start getting filled with everything else. Training at that early stage has proven to be very successful for us.

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