xxDuckWildxx wrote:Well, it was his first duck hunt. He did well on doves this year without ever being exposed to them. I knew he would not be a "pro" on his first time out for ducks. My concerns really arose when I expected his prey drive to kick in and instead he hightailed it the other direction. As for training, I have limited resources (access to birds, areas to shoot live birds in training, training ponds, helpers, etc). I've been using Dokken's hunting retriever as a basis for my training and I've held off on the blind retrieve work based on the book. Dokken's say wait until after their first hunting season to start that training. I'm starting to feel like that was a mistake
One thing you will learn over time is that if you ask 10 people a question on dog training you may in fact get 10 different answers
And this does not mean the any or all the answers are wrong.
I have viewed many different systems of training dogs and have tired many different programs and ideas presented by different people.Even blended some from this or that person to make my own. I guess your problem would be to sort through all that information for the right answer or program for you and your dog.
No# 1 when was that book copyright ? Did this man recommend force breaking to retrieve ?I disagree with Dokken on teaching blind retrieves after a season of hunting . You see there are some that advocate one system or another. And some of these systems are very outdated IMHO not to say that even in Dokken's book I could find something I could use and even never thought of !But I recommend information by Lardy / Hillmann /Voight /Farmer or any information written by the best pros of today. You do not have to train your own dog to some of these higher levels just to be a duck dog . But the programs and systems will point you in the right direction to have a dog to hunt ducks and run a water / land blind ect..ect..
If all you want your dog for is hunting then you do not need to train at some higher levels. But I also recommend joining a club or training group as some here pointed out .
What you did the first hunt might be find with one dog but not such a good idea with about 10 others. In your case you NEED to introduce your dog to flyer ducks shot on Land first . Or shoot flyer Ducks on a pond of sorts in broad day light. Not while hunting . My one dog this year was afraid of shot cripples at first . Good thing I did that on LAND first. Now after a few cripples he is Aok and I would not be afraid to hunt him. Of course he has had lots of birds shot for him now on land and water.
You should NOT have listened to your friend about sending dog to a pro. I can not think of any dog I have washed out in last 41 years as a gun dog.Maybe your friend has field trial washed outs mixed up with gun dogs? Every dog I have worked so far could be force broke to retrieve and that should take place at 6 months of age or close to that age, IMHO.There are LOTS of good pros just find one that you can trust . By the time your dog was 8 -10 months old it should have been through basics. I have 8 month old pup here that was ff / ftp/ cc/ mini T / long T / Double T / Swim-by / and is now running pattern blinds. She is very fast and very fast learner, we are doing 100-200 yard marks with her . The goal is FC/AFC . We are NOW introducing ducks and pheasants and will start to shoot birds for her soon . Lots of birds , land and water before ever being hunted or sent to a field trail. My own dog was running 300 yard land blinds at 10 months old and long before being hunted. Never hurt her ! Don't fret though I force fetched a 6 year old dog this year and put him through basics and he is running blinds now. Never say to late or to early !
Side note : I force fetched a CBR for a man and the job was not complete due to not shooting live birds over the dog on land and water . He insisted on taking the dog and hunting him. Guess what ? Dog swam out to duck , bumped it with nose and went back to owner without duck.
Cure ? He brought him back , I gave the dog a ear pinch before even throwing the duck.Dog Went out and fetched it then we threw lots of birds and fired the gun and he retrieved every one. Next he took him hunting and had NO further issue of retrieving a duck again.
As some one here pointed out to you it is NOT the same with a fresh shot duck on water as throwing a thawed out frozen duck or gassed duck as in HRC. Wow that is sad! I can say one thing for sure I would never run HRC trials if they do not shoot flyers. Guess I will stay with AKC test/ trials.
Before going hunting try and get some birds to shoot for your dog . No reason why you could not start FF / then hand signal drills during this hunting season.