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"