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Training a mutt to hunt?


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Hey guys, I have a couple questions for you. I am a big duck hunter and get out every chance I can. Two years ago my wife and I rescued a lab/springer mutt from a really really bad situation. I never really considered her a hunter until duck opener this year. We had some extra room, so my buddies and I threw her in the truck for a trip to western MN. The hunting was the best we have had out there in years...and the dog actually showed a little promise. She is not gun shy at all and actually retrieved a couple of the ducks. The only problem was she wouldn't commit to retrieving all the ducks. She would pick and choose when she would pick it up. We would send her on a retrieve, and she would take off like a bat-outa-hell through mud and cattails to get to the duck but once she got to it, she would either pick it up, or just nudge it and run back.

This is where the force fetch and formal training comes in. I have decided to take a run at making her a hunter. I believe she has it in her, but am also realistic understanding she is simply a mutt. Now I need to find someone to train me and my dog on how to consistently retrieve ducks.

Now the questions: 1) Does anyone know of a trainer that would be willing to work with a mutt and a young hunter that really wants to learn how to train his dogs? 2) I am not really interested in simply shipping her off to have her trained for 3 months. I am looking for someone who would teach me how to train dogs at the same time. Am I going to have a hard time finding someone that would work with a mutt? The first two places I called this morning said they wanted lineage records.

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your first and best step would be to get some reading material by way of book and or the net. What you need to look for is how to force break the dog to fetch on command. Its really not that hard it just takes some dedicated time on your part. With your dog being half lab and springer it should come easy. Good luck and let me know or all of us here on the forms know how its going. I have been breeding and training shorthairs for 20 years and they are a breeze most if not all the dogs i have bred took little or no force breaking at all.

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You may have more of a hunting dog there than you think!! By all means spend some money on a couple good books/videos on training. Do what they tell you to do and do it with a LOT of patience.

Be firm when you gotta be and be sure to make a big fuss over the dog when it does what you want. I'm betting you end of with a very nice little hunting dog. Don't expect yourself to be perfect and don't expect the dog to be perfect. Things will improve with time.

The dog sounds like it is ready and willing to hunt, so that is not a problem. Go for it. Be sure to send back some reports.

We are ALL with you and your pal.

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If you happen to be in the north metro part of the Twin Cities, you might want to think about checking into the Retriever classes offered through the Monticello Pet Hospital. I've had my own 18-month-old "mutt" (lab/golden) enrolled in a few sessions and have had great results so far--have met some great dog people too!

The main focus of the class is retrieving to hand and obedience. Once a solid retrieve to hand has been established, you can work your way up to some more advanced handling. There dogs of all levels in the classes, a few of which already have hunt test titles under their collars, so there can be a lot to learn just by showing up.

I believe they have some new sessions starting mid-October and late November. ($75 for a 5-week session)

Shoot me a PM if you're interested and/or have any questions...

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Guys this is great! I really appreciate the help and support. Bobby-O did you go to the Monticello Pet Hospital also? I live in Shoreview, MN so a weekly run to Monticello wouldn't be horrible.

I think I am going to go and get some classes. I have read 8 different training books since picking up this pup two years ago. Can't get enough of them. I am at a point where I need some help above and beyond where I am. She is a great dog that listens and is a pleasure in the blind. Just need to get her to retrieve like it is her job.

Other than the Monticello Pet Hosipital; does anyone know of any classes around the North Metro that would be worth checking out?

Man, I am pumped just thinking about training her to be a finished retriever!!!

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