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early commands/ conflicting advice

 
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oldsoul
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PostPosted: 02/11/04, 2:29 pm    Post subject: early commands/ conflicting advice Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I'm glad I found your site. I presently have an eight week old pup. Before I got her I thought I had a game plan for raising her. I had intended to use the wolters gun dog method. Any thoughts on it? I have since acquired A LOT of conflicting advice. Some solicited, some not. Wolters was teaching come,sit,heel early where as others are saying don't teach sit or heel for at least a year. I was under the impression that my pup would be readsy to go (at least to some degree) by this fall. Is that unrealistic? Will teaching her to sit promote sitting on point ? Will heeling keep her from hunting out in front of me? It's hard to believe that with so many different training methods turning out presumably functionally sound dogs, that there can be a right and wrong ways. I just don't want to commit any DETRIMENTAL sins on behalf of my pup. I imagine I might continue to receive conflicting advice even from all of you fine people. Thats OK, I would greatly appreciate any further ideas. Best to You and yours from the great state of Kansas.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 02/11/04, 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for sure you will get conflicting advice, just sort through it all, contemplate it all and figure out what works for your personality and your pups as well.

Wolters books and training advice is ok for a "general how to book" but really isn't too focused on raising a really top notch versatile dog. Sure, all puppies need to learn their manners, they all need to learn to be social critters and they all need to learn how to be good citizens. But in my opinion, i like to let a puppy be a puppy when it comes to formal obedience IF I want that puppy to be a really good independent field dog. Just the way I do things, won't work for everyone or every circumstance.

Pointing breeds, breeds needing to use their minds, their noses, their eyes and their intelligence need to learn how to use all of those things. We can't teach them how.. we can only help them learn what's in there. Our job is to mold them into the desired behaviours, not force them into them. Thats why it's so important to expose them to so many things as youngsters, and to allow them to figure out so much on their own.

But...... some dogs need more than others, some owners are more comfortable with more control than others. If you want your dog to sit, teach it to sit. Just be ready to teach him not to sit when or if sit becomes a problem.

There is a following of teaching a dog to lie down when commanded, immediately, now, no questions asked. From my readings, the idea is total obedience and total control on the dog. I can see where this can come in handy, and with some dogs could be beneficial, I have just never found it to be of any use for me. But... again, different strokes.

Read all you can, rent videos, attend seminars... all of these things will teach you various techniques to help you down the road.
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KYSER
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PostPosted: 02/11/04, 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a firm believer that Mueller's Speed train you own bird dog has a great puppy program, starts the pup at 8 weeks. He also suggests giving the pup his first hunting season but dont expect a lot and never shoot a bird that wasn't pointed.
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akwire
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My GWP (my first pointing/versatile dog) is just coming up on 1 year of age and I found Joan Bailey's "How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves" to be really helpful in getting through the first year. Coming from a Lab/Wolters background I found the conditioning process she advocates, which includes very little if any formal training, to be almost too hands-off, but gave it a try and was amazed at what my pup had "learned" by the time hunting season rolled around.

We hunted and guided for 5 species of upland birds and waterfowl in all kinds of different terrain and conditions and I couldn't have been more pleased with his work (although pheasants took some time). This all happened before he was 8 months old.

I'm now getting more formal about some aspects of training and using "The Training and Care of the Versatile Hunting Dog" which is put out by NAVHDA for much of it. He's taking to this well so it looks like the year without formal training didn't set him back.

This is all based on one dog and is coming from a first-timer, but I'd say both these books are worth sifting through to come up with your training plan. The only thing I'd add personally, is to get your pup as much wild bird contact as possible.

Good luck with her.
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's pretty hard to do it wrong if you do it slow and easy. When you decide that every task has to be preformed to a level that demands that you use force to instill the lesson then you have to be ready for the consequences of your own short comings. If you really know what you are doing and how you are going to get there, then you should be prepared for the consequences. Slow and easy does very little long-term damage. When you get a Pup with some specific goals to attain then you are hoping that you did enough pre-selection effort to ensure that your Pup is tough enough for the pressure that result orientated development requires.
I believe that all dog owners, regardless of breed, must determine their own personal owner/trainer philosophy. To me, this means that you must decide what you want out of the Pup and what are you willing to put into the bargain. This is more then just feed and time.
I am thinking that 80% plus of these Pups will give you a great day in the field and then come home and give you shot of youth. The difference is the degree and what it takes to "Make Sammy Run" meaning what floats you boat.
If you expect to hunt with a group of other hunter then your demands on your dog is going to be measured by what is acceptable and prized within your group. I know that you know that every group of hunters, car owner, bridge player etc., are made up of a number very smart people. There will always be the "I know it all", "The I am just learning, but…", and everything in between. In any fair sized group you will have a couple of people that really know what they are talking about and while they will both be right and they will seldom agree.
I didn't post this to make it any easier for you but rather to give you a chance to think about your own personal philosophy and what kind of bargain you have made with your Pup.
A side note: Wolters has got a lot of good points, start early and never ever stop teaching. Bad point: Don’t use the fishing pole and the wing more then once or twice and then get rid of it. It is fun to show your family and fiends that your pup will point, but you are teaching the pup to sight point non scent point, and you may have hell to pay the first time you take the Pup fishing with you.
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Roundtuitfarms
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're getting lots of good advice here, but I'd suggest you weight the advice provided by authors and professional trainers like Wolters, Koehler, and other long standing experts in dog training. Like suggested above, read and review as many sources (documented and authoritative), and they'll typically provide you with a workable consensus on your questions.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I let a pup be a pup. Not a lot of training when they are real young. Lots of field exposure. Every day if possible. Lots of game contact. Retrieves out of the water as soon as warm enough. The pup has to learn on his own how to hunt. Where to find birds, how to handle them, how to use his nose.
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oldsoul
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really appreciate all the responses thus far. Please keep em' coming if you want. My pup is of course a family dog and will be in and out of our house. With that being the case, my wife is insistant that our pup receive some basic obedience within the first year. I can't say that I disagree with her, it's just that I am concerned that it will affect her performance as a hunting companion. This past pheasant season, I had the unfortunate opportunity to go on a hunt with some guys and their " bird dogs". The first 30 minutes of the hunt were spent listening to the owners yell and curse at the dogs as they ran around flushing birds and causing general havoc. I can't help but wonder what effect "sit" "come" and "Heel" might have had on these dogs. It seems to me that the absence of obedience was more damaging than it's presence. I will take the advice you have all given and continue to read up and utilize all of it. Just out of curiosity, I don't hear much talk of Wolters and wonder if his methods are cosidered obsolete by trainers. Thanks again everybody.
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/13/04, 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dog talk and training methods is a subject that just never has and end. I think that I got Wolters book, in the early 60's, and I thought that it was great. I loaned it to someone and never got it back. A lot of books have come out since, but he was the first one that I knew of that laid out a training plan based on Animal Psychology, or Animal Behaviorism. As I mentioned in my earlier post I do not agree with the use of the fishing pole and the quail wing, I also do not agree with taking a young pup to a skeet range or trap shoot to introduce them to the gun. Not having his book here makes it hard to remember much more, but I kind of credit him with firming up my belief in teaching the pup all the time. Teaching them anything, just so they learn that when school is in session it is time to settle down and listen. I try to never pass up a chance to teach. I use meal time, play time and coming in and out of the house or moving from room to room in the house to teach come, whoa, stay, and eventually down and sit. I also use the bench to polish the commands. I believe the dog will learn to hunt and handle the game, it is my job to teach the dog to hunt for me. This has never been a problem (Knock on wood) and I think that it is because I spend a lot of time reading my pup and giving my pup a chance to read me.
Another point that I would strongly recommend is that you have a really good feeling for the hunters and their dogs before you take you pup afield with them. I would not have wanted to have my young pup in the field with that group on the day you described.
I have had Wires for a long time and I normally hunt alone or with my wife and I hunt at my pace for what I want to shot. When I was a kid we hunted for the table, but now it is just for fun, and I like it that way.
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oacona
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PostPosted: 02/20/04, 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My two cents worth on how much obedience training while pup is young, and we're just on star GWP number one, is that general obedience, started young, taken slow and steady so as to not 'force' a sensitive animal to be a soldier is very important. We generally followed Meuller's book. We let the pup be a pup while learning sit, down, heel, and then whoa pretty darn well. That served us well in the field when he was young, primarily for his own safety. We found it vital he know that he has to obey. But teach these commands slowly and with reward, not in one miserable afternoon. But we have never had any problems with too much fear or too much obedience training with the young dog. Everything in moderation, as they say.
And our other big lesson - wild birds, don't overdo puppy training with pen birds.
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