As a fellow novice, I would go with SmartWorks. Evan's workbook can be taken to the field with you. You can reference the book when problems arise. You can get the videos for a visual if you want, I did.
Total Retriever is a good program, but the video is the core of the system. The books are more like cliff notes. The good part is that you see how all of the steps are done.
You should call GHD, I got my Smartworks from him. You may also want to ask about Sound Beginnings, it will show you the early training that Lardy and Graham don't cover.
I have been following Smartworks and Smartfetch. I find them easy to follow. I am just in the beginning stages, getting through force to pile, but I am pleased with the progress and how things are working. I didn't buy the videos at first, but I would recommend them as the dogs in the videos make the same kind of mistakes that my dog made and are corrected matter of factly and consistantly. It lets you know you are on the right track.
Very good choice, I just got smartworks from GHD a few weeks ago, and couldn't be happier with the way that things are broken down. My pup seems to be very content with the natural progression that it takes you through. Good choice.
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