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Mar 25th, 2012
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Resources for training a bird dog #7309716
10/09/18 07:42 PM
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Slowing beginning to put together plans to get my first post-graduation dog and am hoping to train it to retrieve birds (primarily ducks). Still 6+ months out from getting a pup but wanted to start familiarizing myself with all the details of training. I was wondering if anyone has any suggested books or sites such as Cornerstone Gundog that you'd recommend? I'm hoping to do most of the training myself and not send the dog off if possible. Thanks in advance

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7309719
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10 minute retriever )(john and amy dahl) I used it on my first dog and am currently rereading to use with my new pup.

Retriever Training by Tom Dokken is good also, I am currently going through it for the first time.

And tritronics retriever training had some really good information in it also.

There are others that I'm sure are great books but these are the 3 that I am using/have used in the past.

Good on you for doing your homework, your retriever will be better because of it.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7309762
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Water Dog by Wolters is a simple and pretty straigt forward book. Some people love it some say its old school. I liked it because it was simple. Just train as much and as often as possible and be consistent, it will work out for the best. There is a guy on youtube for later help and progression Freddie King ive used some of his videos for help. You can also join a local hunting dog club


Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7309783
10/09/18 09:02 PM
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Chris Akins has a book and/or program you can look at and some videos on YouTube
Freddie King has a meat dog series on YouTube thats great IMO (at least to get you started on basics and get an idea what you're going to get into)
I joined Freddie King The Retreiver Trainer site as well which gives you access to tons of videos and FaceBook group that helps a ton for a year. Some very knowledgeable people on there that are quick to answer. For $60 its a no brainer. I just started training myself so take this FWIW.



Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7309797
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You'll get a lot of information but there are a lot of updated programs and material out. I'm going to send you a PM with my phone number. Give me a call and I'll help you out however I can.

The top DVDs and programs are:

Puppy:

Bill Hillmann's "Training a Retriever Puppy"
Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings"

Basics/Advanced

TRT2 by Mike Lardy
SmartWorks by Evan Graham
Bill Hillmann's Land and Water Fundamentals

Ive trained a few labs just winging it and they did the job but about 3 years ago I wanted to get into running tests. I joined Lonesome Dove HRC and started with a chocolate puppy from a good breeding. She obtained her HR title in straight passes and is one pass from her HRCH.

100% amateur trained by myself.

I follow Hillnann and Lardy's material.

If you really want to train your dog right I'll be more than willing to help you anyway I can.

My current pup


Last edited by BradyBuck; 10/09/18 09:36 PM.
Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Aggieduck] #7309915
10/10/18 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted By: Aggieduck
Water Dog by Wolters is a simple and pretty straigt forward book. Some people love it some say its old school.

Its not old school, it is just old. Its over 50 years old. There are just much better options now, back then it was the only option.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: BradyBuck] #7309942
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Originally Posted by BradyBuck
You'll get a lot of information but there are a lot of updated programs and material out. I'm going to send you a PM with my phone number. Give me a call and I'll help you out however I can.

The top DVDs and programs are:

Puppy:

Bill Hillmann's "Training a Retriever Puppy"
Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings"

Basics/Advanced

TRT2 by Mike Lardy
SmartWorks by Evan Graham
Bill Hillmann's Land and Water Fundamentals

Ive trained a few labs just winging it and they did the job but about 3 years ago I wanted to get into running tests. I joined Lonesome Dove HRC and started with a chocolate puppy from a good breeding. She obtained her HR title in straight passes and is one pass from her HRCH.

100% amateur trained by myself.

I follow Hillnann and Lardy's material.

If you really want to train your dog right I'll be more than willing to help you anyway I can.

My current pup


I have all Evan Graham's DVDs, and Mike Lardy e-collor conditioning DVD (oh and I have water dog too). I really like the Make Lardy DVD. There is lots of stuff I like about Evan Graham's methods, and some I don't. I do not agree with the "pressure conditioning" he does, does not work for all dogs.

I heard great things about Hillnann, especially the puppy DVD. I would for sure get that, and start watching that. That will get you through the first 6 months and you can think more about what other training material to invest it, it is expensive.

The DVDs and books are great, it will educate you and provide a foundation, but I would combine this with pro trainer one-on-one help, or a really good armature like Bradybuck. Every dog is different, many times requires you tailor your training to the pup. I trained 2 dogs, both times I worked with a pro, to train me, tell me what I'm doing wrong, and tailor drills for my pup, especially important for e-collor conditioning and FF, you don;t want to mess that up, and you got to get it right.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Guy] #7309959
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Originally Posted By: Guy
Originally Posted By: Aggieduck
Water Dog by Wolters is a simple and pretty straigt forward book. Some people love it some say its old school.

Its not old school, it is just old. Its over 50 years old. There are just much better options now, back then it was the only option.

What I really don't like about water dog is that it does not talk about force fetch, or even the concept of force. Maybe it was not used back then, but that is a critical method this is missed in that book. People read that book and think they do not need to FF their dog.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Guy] #7309960
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Originally Posted by Guy
Originally Posted by BradyBuck
You'll get a lot of information but there are a lot of updated programs and material out. I'm going to send you a PM with my phone number. Give me a call and I'll help you out however I can.

The top DVDs and programs are:

Puppy:

Bill Hillmann's "Training a Retriever Puppy"
Jackie Mertens "Sound Beginnings"

Basics/Advanced

TRT2 by Mike Lardy
SmartWorks by Evan Graham
Bill Hillmann's Land and Water Fundamentals

Ive trained a few labs just winging it and they did the job but about 3 years ago I wanted to get into running tests. I joined Lonesome Dove HRC and started with a chocolate puppy from a good breeding. She obtained her HR title in straight passes and is one pass from her HRCH.

100% amateur trained by myself.

I follow Hillnann and Lardy's material.

If you really want to train your dog right I'll be more than willing to help you anyway I can.

My current pup


I have all Evan Graham's DVDs, and Mike Lardy e-collor conditioning DVD (oh and I have water dog too). I really like the Make Lardy DVD. There is lots of stuff I like about Evan Graham's methods, and some I don't. I do not agree with the "pressure conditioning" he does, does not work for all dogs.

I heard great things about Hillnann, especially the puppy DVD. I would for sure get that, and start watching that. That will get you through the first 6 months and you can think more about what other training material to invest it, it is expensive.

The DVDs and books are great, it will educate you and provide a foundation, but I would combine this with pro trainer one-on-one help, or a really good armature like Bradybuck. Every dog is different, many times requires you tailor your training to the pup. I trained 2 dogs, both times I worked with a pro, to train me, tell me what I'm doing wrong, and tailor drills for my pup, especially important for e-collor conditioning and FF, you don;t want to mess that up, and you got to get it right.


Good advice. That's where joining a club helps. Typically they'll have a pro or two who can help you. I've got several on speed dial. I've also attended a couple seminars.

Last edited by BradyBuck; 10/10/18 12:58 AM.
Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7311404
10/11/18 05:30 PM
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Fresh out of college I got a golden and the dog was a pure natural. I got real lucky on that one. It was mostly a family dog but I noticed over time that she was very birdy and always chasing things. No formal training at all and started hunting at about 4. Never lost a bird with her. She would dive after wounded ducks and fetch geese that fell 300 or 400 yards out. Sat perfectly still and especially with ducks you never had to watch the sky just her. She would perk up when ducks were a good 1/4 mile out. Never had to worry about giving here a line she knew better where the bird fell than you did. I wish I could have cloned her. I have never seen a dog like her and may never again. I had a lab a few years back that was ok. Just dumb as a box of rocks. Best thing is start taking them with you when young. That is what I did with the lab and she turned in to a decent retriever even with 1/2 a brain. I read some stuff but it was just things here and there.


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Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7311964
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Determine what capabilities you want your dog to have as well as their natural tendencies before choosing a program. As you can see everyone has their own opinion of what works best. I couldn't disagree more with Guy's comment on FF, definitely not a must have. Also, some people intend not to use a collar and the dogs personality can play a big role as well.

Regardless of all the training programs and opinions we all have, the foundation is basic obedience. If your dog can sit, stay, place, come, and heel on first command under any situation and distance you will be ahead of 75% of people.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: TrackQuack] #7312161
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Originally Posted By: TrackQuack
I couldn't disagree more with Guy's comment on FF, definitely not a must have.

98% of the people that say you donít need to force your dog donít understand it. Yeah you donít have to do it, but your dogís performance and reliability will be greatly improved with it. Without it, your dog only knows positive reinforcement. Itís important that your dog also knows negative reinforcement, and teaching them the concept that they are in control, and they can avoid the negative consequence by performing the known command quickly and swiftly. When they grasp this concept, the results are amazing.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7312180
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When done properly there are absolutely 0 reasons not to FF or CC any dog no matter their demeanor.

Last edited by BradyBuck; 10/12/18 02:38 PM.
Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7312706
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Originally Posted By: BradyBuck
When done properly there are absolutely 0 reasons not to FF or CC any dog no matter their demeanor.
I agree almost completely. When the dog refuses to fetch you then you have that "I wish I had done that" thought. Force Fetch is necessary unless it is okay with you for your dog to retrieve when it wants to.

With that being said I have not had to force fetch my 3.5 year old Cocker Spaniel male Buster but he has and is being trained by me to do multiple retrieves with me throwing multiple objects at the same time and he has never refused to go get each and every one and deliver them to hand. He does directional searching and sits by hand signal waiting to be sent in another direction. He knows when he does the deal he gets his ball. That is his positive reward. He is an exception to the rule from all the dogs I have had in the past. If he ever refuses he too will be force fetched. I don't think that will happen. He has been retrieving to hand since he was 8 weeks old. We practice 2-3 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. He still wants to keep going but I stop and keep him wanting it.

Now my female Cocker Spaniel Missy will be force fetched without question. She will be 2 in January. She is very fast and loves to retrieve. She goes and gets anything I throw but will not hold until told to give. She drops it at my feet or somewhere in my vicinity. Not good enough for me. So force fetch is in her future.


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Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: bobcat1] #7312835
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Originally Posted By: bobcat1
Originally Posted By: BradyBuck
When done properly there are absolutely 0 reasons not to FF or CC any dog no matter their demeanor.
I agree almost completely. When the dog refuses to fetch you then you have that "I wish I had done that" thought. Force Fetch is necessary unless it is okay with you for your dog to retrieve when it wants to.

With that being said I have not had to force fetch my 3.5 year old Cocker Spaniel male Buster but he has and is being trained by me to do multiple retrieves with me throwing multiple objects at the same time and he has never refused to go get each and every one and deliver them to hand. He does directional searching and sits by hand signal waiting to be sent in another direction. He knows when he does the deal he gets his ball. That is his positive reward. He is an exception to the rule from all the dogs I have had in the past. If he ever refuses he too will be force fetched. I don't think that will happen. He has been retrieving to hand since he was 8 weeks old. We practice 2-3 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. He still wants to keep going but I stop and keep him wanting it.

Now my female Cocker Spaniel Missy will be force fetched without question. She will be 2 in January. She is very fast and loves to retrieve. She goes and gets anything I throw but will not hold until told to give. She drops it at my feet or somewhere in my vicinity. Not good enough for me. So force fetch is in her future.


I agree that FF isn't always necessary for a gun dog. That pup in the videos never showed me any signs that she would ever even think about not retrieving. Loves birds, loves retrieving and had an excellent hold before I FFed her.

She would have made a fine hunting dog for anyone but when you get involved in competitive events the training is pushed to another level. The fact that I see no negatives if done properly is why I'll FF every dog I own.

Last edited by BradyBuck; 10/13/18 03:25 AM.
Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7312890
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Exactly what I meant when I said "When the dog refuses to fetch you then you have that "I wish I had done that" thought. Force Fetch is necessary unless it is okay with you for your dog to retrieve when it wants to" In a trial situation you can't run that risk. Every Pointer trial dog I ever had was force fetched by me.

I don't trial anymore so it is not that critical but it is still only another form of training that instills another level of discipline in your dog that makes the relationship even better.


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Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: bobcat1] #7313985
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Originally Posted by bobcat1
Originally Posted by BradyBuck
When done properly there are absolutely 0 reasons not to FF or CC any dog no matter their demeanor.
I agree almost completely. When the dog refuses to fetch you then you have that "I wish I had done that" thought. Force Fetch is necessary unless it is okay with you for your dog to retrieve when it wants to.

I agree with that completely. "when it wants to" is the key wording there. Forece fetch teaches them to also fetch "when they don't want to", and to do it under pressure.

But labs love to retrieve, you don't have to teach them this, they do it naturally. They love it, "oh boy this is fun to fetch!". Force fetch also teaches them "Oh chit, I better fetch fast!!". They need to also fetch under these conditions.

When I trained my girl Molly 2006, it was my first gun dog to train. I got retriever puppy DVD, I cant remember then name of it, I let someone use it and never got it back. But that was a great DVD. And then I read water dog. So after all this, I knew nothing about force fetch. I first leaned about force fetch from this forum actually. Back then I don't think there was much on the internet either. So in june/jul 2006, Molly is 10 months old, she is fetching great, I have her sitting and holding, all without force fetch. I joined an HRC, they explained the concept of FF to me a little, but I still did not understand it very well, especially why I needed it. Not really understanding it completely but everyone telling me I need it, I decided I would pay a pro to do it, I knew she would be done before dove season. So this pro I wanted to use, he was already full, and it was getting hot, he did not want to take on another pup. But he said he would help me (train me) for me to FF Molly myself. I meet with him weekly, he gave me new drills, he watched me do them, I worked on it all week, next week review and new drill.... It worked great. I did the same thing with Tara summer 2017.

But before we got started with Molly force fetch summer 2006, I'm still trying to understand why I need to do this, so I ask the pro. "Why do I need this", he said because you want your dog to fire on the bumper. I said Molly will fire on a bumper. He lays a bumper down, and says "tell her to fetch it", I tell Molly fetch and she fetches it like a bolt of lighting and holds it. We both started laughing because she fetch it so fast. But one thing I learned, Molly fetched because she "wanted to", it was fun for her. When the tone of my voice changed from a fun "go get it girl" to a not so fun ear pinch fetch command (pain goes away when bumper is in mouth), she wanted no part of that. This is not fun. This is not natural. But once they learn they are in control and can avoid the pressure by fetching fast, and don't even think about not fetching, life is great, and they are a fetching machine, they are now hard wired to fetch under any condition.

This is a short little 18 second video of Molly, this is 2012 west youth season, this was Molly's first duck hunt of the season, we got to west texas motel late at night, unloading the gear, Molly all excited she knows we getting ready to hunt. I pull her collar out to charge it up, she sees that and says "strap that baby on!". But that is what you want. At her age then, 7 years old, I normally put collar on her first hunt of season in case she decides to break or creep which he always seem to do, but one correction and she was good for the season.


Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7313992
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Great post Guy!


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Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Guy] #7315777
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2%'er here. I get that you think it is a must have for anyone. Still don't agree especially that it guarantees performance improvement as if to say without it a dog isn't meeting their potential. This doesn't mean you are wrong it is just a difference in opinion, glad it works for you. On other dogs I will own I will potentially need to FF or E-collar, the one i have had for the past 9 years doesn't need it and isn't hampered by not having FF.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7316058
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This is all good info and great resource references. My advice is to look into all of this and find out what works best for you and your dog. I use a combination of water dog, Bill Hillmann, Chris Akin, and a little of gun dog academy's stuff. I trained my first dog using only water dog and he was terrible, but I was also terrible. Didn't have a clue what I was doing. Then on my second dog I found and read as many things from other guys as I could find. Put together my own little "training program" if you will using bits of all of it and that was the best dog I've ever had. just find what you like and what is working for you and go with it.

on the force fetching issue, I'm completely indifferent on it. I don't FF myself but I get why some do. I've just never needed to do it.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: TrackQuack] #7316104
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Originally Posted By: TrackQuack
2%'er here. I get that you think it is a must have for anyone. Still don't agree especially that it guarantees performance improvement as if to say without it a dog isn't meeting their potential. This doesn't mean you are wrong it is just a difference in opinion, glad it works for you. On other dogs I will own I will potentially need to FF or E-collar, the one i have had for the past 9 years doesn't need it and isn't hampered by not having FF.








Here is the deal on the FF issue. Yes, most can get by without doing it and have a fine dog by most peoples standards. However, most people don't understand or know what these dogs are truly capable of.

If you are going to be competing in field trials or hunt tests it is just about impossible to do without FFing.

The proof is that there hasn't been a FC in probably 30 or 40 years that wasn't force fetched. There are very very very few dogs that make it to the highest levels of HTs that aren't forced.

The number of repetitions needed to train a dog to that level requires it.

I've trained several "meat dogs" that I thought were all world and they were fine retrievers but I'll never not FF another one of my dogs. There is just no reason not to if your willing to learn how or pay someone to do it.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: BradyBuck] #7316819
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I just went on the internet looking for something like this, and found this, thought it was pretty good. Shows the difference between a force fetched dog and one that is not. I think her analogy about the kid playing soccer (no rules, not force fetch) vs learning the rules (with force fetch) is a good one. The no force fetch dog, that dogs does all that "naturally", you don't have to teach that. To follow rules, not drop it, fetch, hold till told otherwise..etc...That is not natural, it reacquires force in the form negative correction. If you are teaching your dog to hold, release on command, that is force fetch. There is more to force fetch than that, but it is part of it.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Guy] #7316839
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I have seen many times friends (members on this forum) talk about how great their unforced fetch dog is, just to see them come out and dog acts just like the unforced fetch dog in the video I posted. lol.

Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: Guy] #7316846
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Originally Posted by Guy
I just went on the internet looking for something like this, and found this, thought it was pretty good. Shows the difference between a force fetched dog and one that is not. I think her analogy about the kid playing soccer (no rules, not force fetch) vs learning the rules (with force fetch) is a good one. The no force fetch dog, that dogs does all that "naturally", you don't have to teach that. To follow rules, not drop it, fetch, hold till told otherwise..etc...That is not natural, it reacquires force in the form negative correction. If you are teaching your dog to hold, release on command, that is force fetch. There is more to force fetch than that, but it is part of it.



Guy, while I agree with you I will say you can teach a dog the "fetch" command and teach a dog to "hold" without FF.

FF is more than just teaching a dog to fetch on command.

The dog in the video didn't even know "Fetch" as a command or "hold".


Re: Resources for training a bird dog [Re: aggiehunter15] #7331869
10/30/18 04:36 PM
10/30/18 04:36 PM
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