98ramtough wrote:Have any of you ever seen a guy who spent as much time as possible with a dog and it turn out not to want to hunt?
I guess that was my point to Sully. The simple fact he is so diligent pretty much buys him the fact that his dog is going to turn out fine, in the end. Given an average candidate dog from any of the retrieving breeds and a trainer willing to ask for advice and follow up on it (i.e. Learn), then an acceptable retriever will most likely result. There is always the occasional knot-head dog, or one without drive, but for the most part it is going to work. A good trainer can always adjust to the knot-head or driveless dog too. Basically, if you have a trainer willing to do whatever it takes and not give up, an acceptable level can be reached.
I think the common mistake made by most amateur trainers is them concentrating so heavily on the retrieving end of training at too young of an age. They do this because it is kind of fun and is usually a bit easier since it is something the dog wants to do. They completely forget about the total package that makes up a good hunting retriever. Obedience, Environmental, and Social training are every bit as important, if not more so, than retriever training, in terms of 'starting' a dog. If you've got a dog that will go through the gates of Hades in order to make a retrieve, it doesn't mean that much if he:
* doesn't know how to hunt out of a blind/pit
* isn't steady and can't mark single or multiple falls
* bugs the crap out of everyone in the blind
* wanders around the area and flares birds
* won't ride in a vehicle
* goes berzerk when the game warden walks/floats up to you
* breaks on the gun (unsafe for dog and people!)
the list goes on and on.
Probably 1% of the time I send my dog on a retrieve from the heel position. The rest of the time he is away from me in some way, shape or form. Yet MOST AMATUER trainers never practice that. So simple it is not obviouis.
I'm of the opinion that the retrieving is built in to retrievers with a good bloodline. You will have to help them hone their skills in that area. It's the other stuff that needs to be taught to them, and that is where most people drop the ball, then get pissed at the dog while they are hunting.
Talk about dog videos... Watch the new Hunters Specialties video, Take Em 6 I think. Their is a goose hunt with an unruly lab on it. The handler is constantly growlilng/screaming at the dog to get him back under cover. The dog doesn't seem to know any better, he is running around in the dekes having a good time. Who cares if 1000 geese are heading his way.
"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"