Am I doing something wrong?


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By OK_Duck_Hunter - 2/27/2013 11:02:27 PM
I have a 5 1/2 month old female lab. She fetches good, marks well, has a ton of energy, but she just won't listen half the time. I'll tell her to come and she will look at me and just go on with her business or she will go on a retrieve gets 3 feet away and then bolts with the dummy. I've recently bought a check cord but when I go to reel her in she fights me like I'm reeling in a large flat head. Is this because she is still so young? Anything will help, I just want her to turn out to be my hunting partner and not just a yard dog.
By Mallard Mugger - 2/28/2013 12:36:04 PM
There is no reason this dog needs to be a "yard" dog.  Training should have started the day you brought her home.  The retrieving is the best part but they only get a few a day when they're young.  This dog is acting normal for her age with no/minimal obedience training but now is when you need to step it up.  Otherwise, it could be a long road.

The first thing I would get would be a good training program if you don't already have one (see Tim's Post "My thoughts on training books - videos" that I just bumped).  Second would be to find a training group to be involved with whether its a retriever club, helping out a pro, or some well seasoned amatuers.  These resources will be invaluable but expect to throw birds more than running your own dog.  If you do that, you will find a lot of help.  Lastly, kennel/crate her for about an hour before you start working with her each day.  This will help her to get into the correct mind set.

She is retrieving and playing on her terms right now.  Whether or not she becomes a hunting dog is irrelevant at this point.  She needs to become a good canine citizen.  This will happen through obedience training followed by Formal OB.  Then you can start working on your duck dog.  There is no point to be harsh with her because you want her to want to be by YOU.  Repetition is your friend.  As long as the dog gets OB down, there is a lot that can be done.  My BLM at 4 yrs old still gets OB a couple or more times a week and he will continue to keep getting it.  OB is something that needs to be practiced/trained all the time.

Good Luck!
By ESutter - 2/28/2013 2:41:11 PM
I'm not sure what kind of reinforcement you've used before, but I think it's really easy for all of us to fall into the bad habit of giving command after command without actually requiring the dog's obedience.  If you've been a bit less strict, it's time to amp it up. Give a command one time, and make the dog respond...a check cord was a good purchase. Sit means sit NOW, come means come NOW, and so on.

Something you'll find written all over the place, for good reason, is "Don't give a command that you can't reinforce." Work on close recalls for a while so it's easy to reel the pup in if she's not responding. Have her sit at heel so you can give her a little reminder if she's hesitant.

Good luck! My pup is only 10 months now, so I'm not too much further down the road than you...consistant training goes a very long way!
By Swamper - 3/2/2013 5:40:25 PM
all the above.

and to include my humble opinion.....................

you sound too much like me.... you are expecting waaaaaaaay to much, too soon.

that dog will be immature until she is at least another year old.

she can certainly be trained and make good progress from day one....but a puppy is a puppy.  obedience is king right now. but she will still insert puppy personality and that is something you deal with as part of the process.

have fun and enjoy the ride.
By Mallard Mugger - 3/4/2013 10:24:29 AM
How is your other lab doing from this thread?

http://www.ducks.org/mydu/members/messageboards/Topic758372.aspx
By OK_Duck_Hunter - 3/5/2013 10:36:39 PM
He is just a family pet. My wife and I got 2 labs from the same litter in high school hers enjoys the water and retrieving but doesn't bring back the dummy mine will stand on the bank and bring me the dummy after the other retrieves it... My wife started talking about kids on our honeymoon and I persuaded her to get another lab instead of kids so the new addition is going to be the hunting partner. Don't get me wrong I love all my dogs but we got them when we were young and we both went to college so we never had the chance to be with them everyday and are still a little young for kids I figured why not get another lab now that I have the time and hold off on kids for a few more years.
By Swamper - 3/6/2013 4:41:16 PM
OK_Duck_Hunter (3/5/2013)
He is just a family pet. My wife and I got 2 labs from the same litter in high school hers enjoys the water and retrieving but doesn't bring back the dummy mine will stand on the bank and bring me the dummy after the other retrieves it... My wife started talking about kids on our honeymoon and I persuaded her to get another lab instead of kids so the new addition is going to be the hunting partner. Don't get me wrong I love all my dogs but we got them when we were young and we both went to college so we never had the chance to be with them everyday and are still a little young for kids I figured why not get another lab now that I have the time and hold off on kids for a few more years.


little okie duck hunters make great retrievers!!  :)
By hunter951 - 3/6/2013 5:20:13 PM
Experienced duck hunters used to send me in for the deep ducks...Found out what cold water feels like running down my pants!
I've now earned my position in the blind:D
By Mallard Mugger - 3/10/2013 9:40:44 PM
OK_Duck_Hunter (3/5/2013)
He is just a family pet. My wife and I got 2 labs from the same litter in high school hers enjoys the water and retrieving but doesn't bring back the dummy mine will stand on the bank and bring me the dummy after the other retrieves it... My wife started talking about kids on our honeymoon and I persuaded her to get another lab instead of kids so the new addition is going to be the hunting partner. Don't get me wrong I love all my dogs but we got them when we were young and we both went to college so we never had the chance to be with them everyday and are still a little young for kids I figured why not get another lab now that I have the time and hold off on kids for a few more years.
You potentially have 3 dogs that could be your hunting buddies.

"Am I doing something wrong?"  To be quite honest, IMO and take it for the price you paid for it, YES.

Several people have outlined great training resources for all your dogs and you have not bothered to follow those resources.  The "quick fix" is not a part of training animals.  It takes consistency, teaching, repetition, and fairness.  You haven't given the other two a fair chance, I don't believe you will with this pup either.  I hope I'm wrong.  While picking up birds is natural for retrievers, returning them to you is not, it needs to be trained.

Here is a tidbit of knowledge that I hope you take to heart - If the dog is not understanding, the TRAINER needs to find the path for communication.  In other words, if the dog is not understanding, change your approach.  Are you willing to change?

If you're not willing to help yourself/dogs, there is nothing I can do for you.  Good Luck