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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am on the waiting list for a couple potential breedings of labs (male). Growing up, my dad and I trained 3 labs for our hunting partners. All three were different. Max was a gentle souled dog, but all business in the field; Newt was a hard charger (run over/tackled a wounded goose after it nailed him with a wing), but noticeably more keyed up in the house than Max was; Jake, his current dog is supper laid back, but does not react well when scolded (tail between the legs, and acts "wounded" for quite a while).

I have read through Water Dog, Top Dog, and 10 Minute Retriever while prepping for my first solo training (My father retired to Northern WI, thus leaving me without a retriever). My goal is to stress these aspects of the dog:
1) Obedience and family dog ( I have a 4 year old daughter, so this is by far the highest priority for me)
2)Hunting (In the following order of importance)
a) Canada Goose
b) Duck
c) Pheasants
d) Ruffed Grouse
3) Maybe, just maybe I will try to run some junior hunt tests (something we never did before, as we were focused on the actual hunting)

What do you recommend for a DVD or series, especially one that jives well with my goals, my semi beginner nature, and the books I have read? I don't have a super huge amount of cash to spend as I have had to purchase many items as this will be the first dog in our house.

Thanks for your help!

2,470 Posts
Hi Matt,
I would recommend Sound Beginnings By Jackie Mertens to begin with..It is a puppy training DVD that starts at 7 weeks of age..

Then I would recommend Fowldawgs 1..It is a Good DVD for the money!!!

There is also the Smartwork series that is a Great step by step program..I would start with Vol.1 and Basic Obediance DVD if going this route..

Feel free to call 641 203-2867 or PM if you need further detail..

279 Posts
It's nice to see that you have thought your goals through. It's hard to know when you've achieved success without them! I submit for your consideration the following focus goals for your training efforts.

Goals for the aspiring trainer

1. Do you want your dog to obey your commands promptly and reliably?
2. Do you want your dog to go when he's sent, even when distracted?
3. Do you want your dog to stop when commanded, i.e. whistle?
4. Do you want your dog to cast accurately as directed?
5. Do you want your dog to take the line you have given him, even when it's a difficult line?
6. Do you want sterling mouth habits?
7. Do you want your dog to have the most positive water attitude possible, and do you want to know he'll go on the toughest days?
8. Are you interested in a program of development to achieve these goals that is seamless, so you aren't left to fill in gaps of information on your own?
9. Would you like the option to acquire your training material in the affordable portions you need, when you need them, instead of having to buy it all at once?
10. Would you like the author of your training program to be available to answer your questions as needed?
11. Have you really looked at Smartwork?

Perhaps it's time.


882 Posts
Sound Beginnings is a very good puppy DVD.

Fowl Dawgs is a good video. The question is where will you do your training and will you have a DVD player with you.

I have to give a vote to Evan's SmartWorks. You have a workbook that you can take to the field. If you want the DVDs, those are available also. It is a very good program. The other advantage is that Evan does hang out on several forums and answer peoples questions. See post above.

By the way, call GHD, that is where I got my Smartworks, Sound Beginnings, and a bunch more stuff. He will talk to you and make recomendations, based on the info you give him. He hasn't led me astray yet.
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