How Hard Is It To Train A Lab?

farhod

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With my dads death ive been really lonely the last few weeks and ive been thinking maybe i should get a lab pup and try training it to become my new hunting partner....but what are some signs that a dog would be a good hunter? Then how would i train it? I know there are a few places that will train dogs for you but i dont have 2 or 3 thousand to spend on training...thanks
 

easymoney

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No harder (or easier)than any other breed.
That being said, labs tend to take to training more smoothly than the pointing breeds. The are generally more mellow and require less training, mainly marking and retrieving skills. Pointing dogs have more complicated jobs and need more extensive training in the pointing skills as well as marking and retrieving.
Training your own dog is very rewarding and makes your dog more of a companion in the field and home.
I suggest buying a pup from a reputable breeder and checking out the parents at the home as well in the field. Bringing home a 49 day old pup and starting training immediately is the key to having a finished dog that is steady to wing and shot, as well as having good manners in the home and field.
Consistency and repetition are the foundation to training any dog for any reason, it can't obey if it does not understand what you expect it to do.
When checking out the litter, I always take a feather on a string and a tennis ball to see which of the pups is more interested in "hunting" them. And I tend to pass on the most aggressive pups and favor those that show great interest in the wing and ball yet are friendly or non threatening to the other pups. Alpha dogs tend to be more headstrong, show more canine aggression and want to hunt for themselves. I also have narrowed down my selections to females only, they tend to stay focused more and fight alot less.
There are many good books and videos to get you started (Richard Wolters series of "Gun Dog", "Water Dog" or Bill Tarrants "Best way to train your gun dog" the Delmar Smith Method are some of the best ever written, Delmar Smith is the best trainer I have ever seen), and joining your local hunting retriever club is invaluable. They tend to have more equipment and knowledge than an individual would and very willing to help you.
There are many training seminars hosted by some great trainers and handlers. Check out Tritronics or any of the Gun Dog magazines for links and ads to these seminars.
Just my two cents and experience in raising and training gun dogs for over 25 years...
 

BigDog

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Great post easymoney. Not much else I can add except to emphasize that patience and repitition are very important. Along with staying with the program. You can train a Lab but if you let it, the Lab will train you. Once you teach the dog to do what you want, don't accept anything less because they will take advantage of it.

Good Luck farhod!
 

easymoney

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Great point bigdog, in fact I have heard pro trainers say they are only training the human not the dog...
 

Maverick

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farhod,
First decide if you have the time to take on the responsibility of a high energy pup, then remember this is a 10-15 year commitment that you are making to the dog. The initial cost of the pup may be the the cheapest part. There are vet bill and other expenses that come up.
Since you are in so close to Prado Dog training center you should come out on a weekend when one of the local clubs have a training day and see the dogs and talk to the people training there. It might help you decide what type of breeding you want. I would suggest some more modern training books and method like "Sound Beginnings" by Jackie Mertens, "The 10-Minute Retriever" by John and Amy Dahl, Evan Graham "Smartwork" or Mike Lardys "total Retriever". Wolters book is very old and dated. The 49th day thing is a tail that Richard Wolters spread but was not meant for hunting labs. Clarence Pfaffenberger's book, "The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior" The author was doing work on dog developmental psychology to improve the success rate of guide dog pups. The 49th day thing pertained more to pups raised in a multi-litter situation where they don't get individual attention and socialization. Besides California law says that pup must be 8 weeks before they leave the breeder now. I got mine at 8 Weeks and At 2 years he is trained far beyond any dog Wolthers had.

If you have any questions just ask I more than willing to help I have been a Prado every Saturday for the past couple months.
Chris
 

feathershot

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A lab is probably the best companion/creature God ever created. I do not know what I would do withiout mine. All my friends on here that know me and own a lab as well know exactly what I am talking about. If you have the time and are looking for a true friend, a lab would be great. All posts above have great advice and information. I have trained my 3 year old dog all on my own, no pro help, and he/we just got his/our senior title last month. It has been very rewarding for me to train my dog. I have no one to blame if things don't go right, and my dog's is my teammate and best friend. Retrievertrainingforum.com has helped tons, as well as reading valuable posts here on Jesse's dog forums.. Until you own a lab, or form a bond with your own, it is tough to describe truly. This may be a great time if you can devote the time and patience/needs that your new buddy will demand from you. I went with Mike Lardy's DVD's, and they proved to be most helpful. My buddy Tellus Calhoun from Avery's Waterdog just had an awesome litter of great temperment hunting dogs. Let me know if you need help or an intro to him.

Best of luck!

FS
 

wmidbrook

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I'd have to agree with Feathershot. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
A lab is probably the best companion/creature God ever created.[/b]
especially after they reach 2 years old! Lol....

But, I think Mike Lardy is too much for 99 out of 100 beginners.....for your first dog I'd stick with the Wolter Gundog & Waterdog videos...it has everything you need for a hunting dog. If you get into hunt tests beyond JH or trials, you do want the Lardy materials.

And, I've got two very birdy 6 week old puppies (male) that are already proven on video: (green & dk blue collared are left)

VIDEO http://www.vimeo.com/868301

...over 15 Hall of Fame labs in the male's pedigree in the last 5 generations. Click Here to view great pedigree

The grandfather is Ebonstar LeanMac (2xNFC, 2xCNAFC), great grandpappy (3xNFC) Candlewood's Tanks - A - Lot (Lardy trained dog)...almost every dog in the pedigree is at least a FC...will make great hunting dogs!

One of the males has gone to a seasoned Field Trialer and he had a hard time picking! They are from a dam/sire both with fantastic temperments, lean, fast and very birdy. And very good looking pups.

Also, the yellow lab in some of the Duck Commander videos is from the same sire/dam as Bella.

I also have one small female left if you are interested....I actually will be dropping puppies off in CA next Thursday.
 

RickQU/DU

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Hey Farhod give me a call and we can talk about a dog and what you Might need for your hunting needs my number is 661-304-7011 and lets talk!!

Hope all is better for you and the Family, Rick
 

easymoney

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wmidbrook.
It's amazing the quality of the dogs out there now. My female has Ebonstar, candlewoods, honest abe and supertanker in her line. When we started the Central Coast Hunting Retriever Club in the early 80's there were a lot fewer high quality labs around, and now it's seems there are so many. It's a good testament to the hard work of all the breeders and fieldtrialers who have brought these dogs to this level.
 

wmidbrook

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EasyMoney....I agree with you. There are lots of good labs out there now....more than there used to be. But still there are a tons of labs for sale that aren't from proven lines. I'm glad I have homes for all but two of my pups and they'll go within a week or two.
 

easymoney

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wmid,
Yeah I have seen some very unusual breedings and some very great ones. IMHO, the tide turned when the NAHRA fieldlines got more credence over the traditional AKC show english labs.
I have not bred my female because my area is saturated with good labs and IMHO, I would have a hard time selling off a litter. 20 years ago there would be folks beating down the door to get a good pup.
 

GB Jack

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Do yourself a favor and watch the dog whisperer for about three weeks, basic obedience starts everything EVEN for hunting. If hes got the chops to be a hunter you wont have to do much. I've owened and trained three labs in my lifetime. My current lab got his junior huntr title 4 months after i got him. i stopped there cause it wasn't fun for me or him, but hes done some CRAZY crap (amazing actually) in ND and on the open waters of lake michigan. He's 9 now so hes slowed ALOT. Some lines better than others, but non the less, if you put your time in, dont put up with bullshit, and love the dickens outta em, not a better dog on the planet!
 

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