How old should a pup be before you start training them? I have a black female that is around 14 weeks old and wondering when I should begin working with her. What skills should I start to work with her on first?
I'd suggest you get the "Ten Minute Retriever" by John and Amy Dahl.
It's a real good book for training your Retriever from pup to Finished Dawg.
Basic OB is all your pup needs for the next couple months.... and some fun bumpers.
Don't forget to let your pup be a pup for a while.
Best thing right now is to make everything a game with rewards and praise for the next while...Dont expect big things. Obediance is first such as sit stay heal down..that kind of thing. there is no set age as to when you can start all depends on the pups ability to mature in my opinion. Other aspects of the pup are a factor of course ie desire to retrieve, birdiness. Make sure pup had basic obediance, and while doing this get yourself into a good training program. Dont rush anything, have fun, and congrats
I like to start my pups on BASIC obedience (sit, stay, heel) at around 10 weeks of age.
Remember - at this age an average training session is 5 minutes at most and it is in no way a regimented training session. Keep it fun and upbeat for the pup and then throw him/her two or three puppy bumpers then put him away.
Do NOT give in to the temptation to continue throwing more bumpers even if you feel your pup is having a great time - put them up wanting more!
At that age I always tell folks that everything a pup learns is set in "silly putty". The pups brain is actually grasping skills that will be very valuable later in life but the ability to transfer that knowledge to to the task at hand is somewhat limitted - hence the "silly putty" anology.
When the dog reaches around 6 months of age and has completed his force fetch program then it's time to formalize obedience for the life of the dog. It is at this point that known commands that are ignored are rectified by timely correction.
Good luck with your pup - find yourself a training book that you are comfortable with and use that program. I would caution you though that there are some books out there still available that were written years ago. There are new and updated training methods that accomplish the task with greater ease so pay attention to the copyright date on the programs you are looking at!
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