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Old 12-10-2011, 05:54 PM   #11
Rainbowgirl
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Kamloops, B.C., Canada
Posts: 416

S/C/G: 269/*see ticker*/170

Height: 5'7

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Princess (love your Halo Kitty - that's my name on another site b/c of my lurve of that game!): I have a Labrador. Retrievers (no matter what branch; Chesapeakes, Goldens, or Labradors) are exceptional bird dogs. They do take a ridiculous amount of work to train though and if you get into competitions (hunt tests or field trials) you need to train to a certain standard. Force fetching is usually used; that's associating pressure (usually an ear pinch) with the word "Fetch" and relieved when the dog reaches for and grabs the "bumper" (canvas covered boat-bumper like thing or plastic). Then there's force to pile which I don't understand at all.

I don't do competitions with mine for various reasons.

You are right - they need a LOT of work to get them to where they can be handled on a hunt. Nilla had her first hunt this year and it went poorly because I didn't have the foresight to work her on retrieving anything heavy and feathered. She retrieved wings like nothing, but when it came to an actual bird with weight on it, she had no idea what to do and I couldn't convince her that I wanted her to pick it up. A week of working with grouse wings tied to a training bumper and the next hunt she brought back a spruce hen (which I'd never seen before) after listening to hand and whistle instructions to get to it, and the second retrieve she did was on a rabbit (which we don't think even her great-aunt, my dad's dog, would have done), although it did take some coaxing and whistle corrections.

She's not perfect by far, and she's no where near what she "should" be according to some people, but we're only concerned with her getting the birds and bringing them back; not how fast she enters the water or how fast she runs down the road, etc. Get the bird, bring it back, deliver to hand. That's all we care about

So far, it's taken about a year (From November to October) of working with her nearly daily on learning whistle commands, obedience commands, and retrieving skills.

Your husband CAN get "started" dogs or "finished" dogs too, but you'd miss out on the puppy stages (that's good and bad lol), but they're much more expensive than a puppy because of all the training needed.

You cannot beat a retriever though; no matter which branch; they're (and I'm biased lol) the best family dogs out there and the cutest puppies

Cheers!
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