Duck dog Where to start?


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By justbridge1 - 8/6/2013 9:10:01 AM
One of my family members has offered me a registered lab pup ( pick of the litter) for free . I have never trained a duck dog before and don't really know where to start . Male or female ? Training aids ? Books , videos ? Any help would be greatly appreciated ! I still have time to prepare be fore she has the pups. 
By Migs53 - 8/6/2013 12:55:14 PM
I would suggest an immediate trip to a Barnes and Noble or library at the least.  There are plenty of good dog books out there, and many have their own guidelines to abide by when training your dog.  10 minute Retriever is a solid book that can give you quick overview of the general idea of training dogs, and also, should you choose to follow it, can guide you to training your pup.   Regardless of which methodology you choose, the main things you should always do is 1) BE CONSISTENT 2) READ YOUR DOG'S BODY LANGUAGE (PAY ATTENTION) 3) DON'T GET LAZY WITH CORRECTIONS OR POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTS 4) DON'T BE AFRAID TO INTRODUCE YOUR DOG TO NEW THINGS - let your pup learn on it's own, there will be plenty of time to rein in it's curiosity and enthusiasm later.

Hope this helps, even though it's quite vague.
By justbridge1 - 8/6/2013 1:28:57 PM
It does help , I will check out that book . I figure the more I learn about training now the better off I will be when I get the pup!  
By Simar35 - 8/7/2013 7:27:28 AM
I highly recommend the book "Retriever Training" by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs. The book goes into detail about every single step to train your dog from a pup all the way to a finished retriever if that is what you are looking for. I have used this book as a guideline for all of the dogs that I train. And like someone said on the previous response, be sure to pay attention to your dogs behavior and how it reacts to corrections. Some dogs are just naturally softer hearted than others. With this being your first go at it, I would highly recommend picking a Male. Males tend to take pressure better than females. The most important thing is to not get in a rush with anything. I've had some dogs have no interest in picking up a bumper until they were 6 or 7 months old. I hope some of this helps you and would be glad to help if you have any questions along the way. Good luck and have fun with the new puppy!
By justbridge1 - 8/7/2013 10:09:34 AM
Thank you simar35 !! Iam sure I will have many questions later ,I just want a good well behaved hunting companion to fetch a few duck for me. It just makes me a little nervous cause I don't need a hyper  backyard pet for my son to play with I need a working retriever !
By Simar35 - 8/7/2013 2:06:26 PM
The book even starts off on how to pick a puppy. The hyperness will start to fade away with age, usually by the time they get to two years old they tend to lose some of that puppy hyperness. Either way, labs make great family pets and are generally very good around children especially when they grow up around them. The only way you can really ruin a retriever is to push training too hard too fast if he isnt ready to learn and is punished for it through discipline. Take your time and let him be a puppy for a while if he doesnt show intrest and you will be just fine.
By justbridge1 - 8/7/2013 2:45:56 PM
Just to be sure I am looking at the correct book is it , Tri-Tronics "Retriever Training" by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs
By Swamper - 8/7/2013 8:45:26 PM
start with a flying dog.

 photo sagelaunch_zps359621a5.jpg

and go from there.....  :)

bringing home, socializing, and training a new pup is a lot of work.   all require time and focus.  you will end up with a dog that clearly reflects your commitment.

good luck! and enjoy.
By ducker - 8/8/2013 4:33:09 PM
A word of caution, "AKC registered lab pup" can mean anything from a hard driven workaholic to a couch potato with 2 bad hips. Labs, and goldens for that matter, tend to come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and temperments. Do your relatives have a pedigree or health clearances for the male or female? are there any hunt test or field trial dogs listed on those pedigrees?

The best trainer in the world can do little to motivate an unmotivated dog.

Swamper is exactly right. you need to start with a flying dog.

Free puppies are great. They give you a chance to hone your training skills for a somewhat reduced price (you'll still have vet bills and food costs).

However if this is a dog your family will get attached to, and you can't just give away in a year when it turns out to be a "hyper back yard pet" or worse an unmotivated lump on your carpet, you may want to consider other options.
By justbridge1 - 8/8/2013 5:22:13 PM
Thanks ducker , not sure about the blood line , but they do hunt their dogs and are pretty impressive in action !
By Swamper - 8/8/2013 9:12:32 PM
ducker brings up a good point.  "pick of the litter" is pretty much an old wives tale.

the last little runt left in a litter can turn out to be best dog of the bunch given excellent training and commitment.

if your friends dog have a history of good health, then "free" might be a good deal indeed.

but you can't beat OFA clearances and good pedigree. 

AKC is just a paid membership to a dog club.  they don't monitor, track or even care about the dogs health, so don't put any weight on your decision based on AKC registered bitches and sires.
By justbridge1 - 8/9/2013 6:53:52 AM
Thanks for the advise swamper! I will definitely look into the pedigree , you and ducker make great points. 
By Simar35 - 8/9/2013 10:40:32 AM
Yes "Tritronics Retriver Training" is the one.
By ducker - 8/9/2013 5:33:28 PM
As far as male/female goes, I prefer a male in the upland field and a female in the duck blind. males seem to be more natural hunters, probably because they are always sniffing around for something to eat, hump or urinate on anyway while females tend to sit quieter in the blind for longer periods and take handling much better than most males. Males I have duck hunted with tend to give you the old "screw you" after about the fourth cast and try to hunt on their own.

Now keep in mind that these are just my observances after more than 30yrs. hunting with retrievers and not hard and fast rules. others may have a completely different take.
By Mark B - 8/9/2013 10:44:20 PM
I agree with most of ducker's thought. But while each gender has a few unique traits, I do feel that heredity and training has the biggest impact on the ultimate behavior of the dog.