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If you could do it all over again...


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Looking through that 20/20 hindsight, what do you all wish you had done differently when training / raising your dog? My yellow lab (Tucker) is now 16 weeks old and is the first dog I've ever owned on my own, let alone trained (or attempted to). Although I'm feeling good about where he's at now, I'm wondering what you would have done differently with your pup if you could have done it again - any potential pitfalls I should be weary of, "I would have done 'this' with him earlier", "I pushed him too hard too early with this", etc... Any wisdom from the troops??? Living in west central MN, I plan on hunting ducks, geese, and pheasants with him.

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I've had 3 Labs and a GSP over the past 25yrs.

If I had it to do over again, I would buy an Electronic Training collar. I bought one for my GSP when she was about 6 months old because I couldn't stop her when she started running. She would run onto the road, into the neighbors yard, and hunt too far ahead. I was amazed at how much she knew once I put the collar on. All it took was 3 very light shocks and she would do anything I asked. She would turn and come anytime I called or blew the whistle, she would heal without a leash, she would stop and take hand signals, and follow any other commands we had worked on.

My labs were difficult to keep under control (close while pheasant hunting), would not come when called(sometimes), would run onto the road in front of cars, and barked in the kennel. I think an e-collar would have made them much better dogs.

I would never train another hunting dog without an e-collar.

I know some people will disagree with this but it made MY GSP a 200% better dog and much more enjoyable to hunt and live with.

I always use very low level stimulations and I test it on my hand before I place it on the dog.


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The whoa command comes to mind right away for me and Duey. Not a lot, but there are a handful of times each season, he gets on a runner in thin CRP type cover, gets pretty single minded, which results in a flushed bird out of range. We will be working on that during the off season, again. An e-collar is a must, pick your favorite brand, Tri-tronics, Dogtra, etc.. I got my lab as a Christmas present and he was about 10 months old when we first went to the field. Getting them out on birds as often as possible makes a world of difference IMHO, you can see the progress from trip to trip and when the day comes that you see your dog put it all together, from getting birdy to flush to retrieve, that is a day you will never forget. Have fun, and remember, you will get out of it what you put in to it.

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hand signals come to mind right away. i dont duck hunt much, but i think its awesome to watch a dog and its handler working together. i'd also work more on finding crips. good luck on the training.

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It does not matter how many dogs a guy works with in his life I feel you will always feel you could do better. Biggest things are make sure they understand what is expected of them and don't rush them. I feel the best pups are the ones that you are most likely to ruin , cause one tries to move them along to fast and you end up cooking them. The dog is not the only one learning.

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