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David Frank

My first puppy!! A few general questions.

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I have had my first puppy for a little over 5 weeks now and he will be 12 weeks on Saturday. He is a yellow lab who comes from R & R Pheasant Hunts near Seneca, SD. Both parents come from Hunter's Point Kennel (Papers to come in the mail soon) so he should have hunting in his blood. Being a new puppy owner, I have a few general questions. I have been working with Toby for about 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. I feel like he is doing very well as he will come, sit, stay, shake and lay down. The exceptions to this is when we are outside and there are people walking/riding bike by. He is very easily distracted and I assume this is something that I should not be concerned about as he is still a puppy! My concern is he is becoming more and more adventerous and has recently been leaving the yard to "check these new people out". Does anybody have any advice on a fun way to train him to stay out of the street? When we take him for walks, we tell him to sit and stay at every corner and only let him go into the street when called.

Also, There are some days when Toby is super excited to retreive the training dummy, while other days he acts like it doesn't even exist when I throw it! I have been limiting his retreives to under a half dozen when he will bring it back so that he doesn't get bored with it, and have been sure to give him plenty of praise when he does well. Any advise or is this something that will come with time when he isn't so easily distracted as a puppy?

Wow! This got to be pretty long quick. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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As far as the retrieving goes... keep it short, fun and to the point. DO not worry to much about making a retriever out of him. If it's bred in him, he'll be a super retriever. A couple of short fun retrieves is all that is nessacary as you are doing right now. If he doesn't show much interest on a certain day, put the bumper away and try again the next day. They are very small children right now... they aren't going to be ready to complete certain tasks day in and day out. Concentrate fully on obedience at this age... sit, stay, here, heel are mandatory and lay down, sit on the whistle, come on the whistle, down etc. are all good commands to have when hunting. Make sure others work with your dog too, so he will obey commands from other people when out hunting.

Puppies are easily distracted. Goes with the territory. Try to do your training in quiet areas without interruption. If he goes out into the street to investigate people, you need to use that as a tool to teach him his yard boundries. You can even set him up with a buddy walking by. If he goes into the street o say "HI", have your buddy slip a lead over his neck and hold him for you till you get out to him, tell him "NO" forcefully and 'get in the yard'! using the lead to get him in the yard. Immediatley release him off the lead and prasie him for being in the yard (re-inforce command).

Have him (or someone else you know) come by and do it again... at this age it shouldn't take long for him to begin to understand he is not allowed in the road. Go across the street to your mailbox and command him to 'get in the yard' and praise him when he complies... this training may save his life!

I wouldn't fret about a 'fun' way to keep him out of the street. I'd make it a 'bad' place to be! My dogs all know the command 'get in the yard' and they do not leave the curb. The street is not a pleasant place for them to go when they hear that command. They aren't afraid of the street, but will not go out into it without me heeling them on a walk. This training would be akin to you teaching a very young child that the stove is hot. You don't worry about doing it in a fun way... you make it a bad place to keep them safe.

Good Luck!

Ken

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I completely agree with LABS4ME. I live on a lake with 75 x 140 lot. I have a highway right next to my place. When my dog was a pup I walked him around the yard on a leash if he step on the road or neighbors property "NO" and a quick jerk-bait of the cord. Then praise once he got off the property.

He now knows the property lines and I have no concerns leaving him outside by himself for 10 to 15 minutes. I always treated every bad behavior like it was "The End of the World" (No Beatings but a firm pat on the rear works) . Once that behavior stopped it he was the "Greatest thing in the World" Dogs have a difficult time understanding mediocre commands. I took the same approach for house breaking.

He still wants to visit the neighbors occationally and I let him cross the property either with me or if we are going for a walk or run or going to visit the dog across the street he is on lead. I want him to know my neighbors but I want him to understand I come first.

As for the retrieving your doing just fine. My dog is 2 now and he gets bored retrieving dummys in my yard and after 10 tosses he starts to run around with the dummy and not want to come untill he get done prancing. I dont worry about it since he is nothing but serious about hunting and pays no attention to other hunters or dogs and only want to bring me birds.

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Agree with all of the above. Just a little advise from an old time dog trainer. Don't over train, Keep it fun, let Toby be Toby and enjoy him for who he is.

Tink

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Only one thing I'd add. Admittedly, I have shorthairs, and that may be different than a lab, but I do not take my dogs for leash walks. I'm currently training my new 13 week old pup and, at this age, I don't want to do anything to take away from her instinct to run and cover ground. Sure, there are basic obedience issues I deal with like any pup owner would, but I have seen too many dogs that have limited range in the field. I think at least some of the times this can be partially due to the fact that they are taught at a young age that the end of the leash is as far as they are supposed to go. I often hunt with a buddy who has 2 yellow labs that never get much farther out than 50 feet or so...about the same length as the leash I see them on walking the town streets each night. I prefer to take the pup out to a large open area with limited distractions and "let her roll". Public areas like this are quite common where I live. Once they're grown you can always reign them in, but it's tough to push them out.

Of course, if this were strictly a waterfowl dog, that'd be an entirely different story.

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I'm not saying I disagree with NWBuck. As my dog is only on a leash in public areas (i.e.) the bike path. But the healing can be a very useful hunting tool if you have to move past cattle, racoons, or past pheasents or ducks if your hunting one and not the other. My dog never had an issue with staying too close. He's a runner and if I dont have the collar on him he knows he can get away.

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