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I have a new yellow lab 8 weeks old. I am debating take hin to a trainer or doing it myself. The main reason is money because it is very costly. Also if I do it myself where can I get live birds from?
 

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IMO do it yourself it is more enjoyable I think. Yes stressful at time but the end result for me is better knowing what you and your dog went through vs. having someone else do it. Just depends on what your dog means to you, pet/hunting partner or just a dog that retrieves birds just b/c. You can get birds from a lot of places and its not necessary to start out just on ducks but you can always freeze some you shoot and use them. There are several online places such as this one http://duckhunt.com/ducks.htm I cant think of the other ones right now but I can let you know. Check around your area someone may sell them you never know, I didn't until I started asking around. :thumbsup:
 

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I agree with SC. I think where most guys fail in training there own dog especially the first time is they get too emotional with the dog and put too much emotion into the training. If you read up everything you can, talk to everyone you can find, watch videos and take a positive approach to your training you will do well. If the dog doesnt listen and is not cooperating one day, just try the next day.

Have fun!

Mike
 

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Get a book and start reading. Maybe work slowly on obedience stuff at that young age. I am learning with mine now. He's been a family dog and now he's learning to be a duck dog too. I could never send my dog away. He feels like my third child to me and he's definately part of the family.
 

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Follow the Water Dog DVD. Start doing obedience training EACH AND EVERY DAY in 10 minute sessions, starting RIGHT NOW. If for the first six months you spend 90% of your time on obedience, you will have a HUGE leg up on the process. The remaining 10% of your training time between now and 6 months should be retrieves.

Most people make the mistake of reversing the percentage. They figure the most important thing for a duck dog is the retrieving. In fact, the most important step in having a GREAT duck dog is having rock solid obedience. The desire to retrieve and ability to mark (remember where something falls) is built into the dog if it is from a hunting pedigree. The trick is to make the dog COMPLETELY obedient WHILE they are retrieving, enhance their desire to retrieve, enhance their marking skills, and to teach them how to handle. That is the concise version, but it's the truth.

So starting today, work on the obedience and bond with that dog. Get to the point where you can communicate effectively. Watch the obedience section of the Water Dog DVD and memorize each step. Take sneak peaks at the retrieving part. Get some other training material, like Smark Work or the videos from Mike Lardy. Obedience is repetition, so do that while you study for what is ahead. In the process you'll teach the dog that training and learning is a part of everyday life.

Just my opinion...
 

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Oh yeah...

Most pro trainers won't take the dog until they are six months of age. So if you spend the time and get basic obedience (OB) out of the way, then IF you do go with a pro, they won't have to waste time doing the OB. They can go straight into retriever training.

again...just my opinion...
 

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id say trainer but wait i work at a kennel. I say kennel just for the simple fact that most people dont have the time to spend with a dog, dont know what to look for as far as if its right or wrong, and most people love their dog to much to put it through some things. What i mean by that is Force Fetching if done wrong can screw up your dog if done right most of the time the dog will 'scream' or whine the whole time doing it. Some take it and have no problems with it. My friend trained his dog alone and didnt turn out the way he wanted his dog to and he got fed up with it, by the time he got fed up is the time it was beginning to be to late the dog was already set in its way of doing things.
 

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Train it yourself. With all the information that is available both in print, video, and the internet, why pay someone $300 to $400 per month to train it for you........besides, I think it is better for the dog to bond with you instead of some trainer. Just always remember, never let your temper get the best of you. Patience is a virtue. If you ever feel like you are about to loose your cool, call it a day and come back tommorrow or the next day and start over.
 

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I've hunted with guys that have had their dogs trained by a professional trainer and while these dogs are obviously well trained there seems to be something missing between the owner and the dog, at least in the cases I've seen. I can't really describe it but you get the feeling that the dog is going through the paces because that's what it's supposed to do not because it's making it's owner happy. Anyway anyone with the time and inclination I think should have the experience of training their own dog. If you're trying to win a National field trial or if you just don't have the time maybe a trainer is a better idea.
 
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