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redhead77

How young is to young?

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After all the reading I have done and the consulting with various trainers...I think the answer is up to the dog. They obviously aren't going to be hunting at a very young age but, my pup is just about six months and I feel I could take her hunting. I actually am in 2 weeks. She obviously won't be what she will in a couple years but she has the idea.

Another interesting thing I was told by more than one trainer is that a pups best time to learn is from 6 months to 14 months. He described them as sponges during this crucial window.

I also ran into one guy and we were talking about puppies. I was telling him about my 5 month old pup at the time. I was talking about training for hunting. He thought I was an one-who-thinks-I-am-silly. He told me to not even think about training the dog on hunting until at least a year old. He said what you teach them one day they won't remeber the next.....I just laughed!! at him and told him maybe he should come out with me and Luci some time!

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I agree that is somewhat up to the dog. I don't think you can do any harm in putting a young pup in hunting situations. Just need your expectations to be relistic and make it fun not work.
I took my 6 month old GSP to the duck blind with me on an opener just to hang out and I was shocked when the first duck went down and we were looking for it in the cattails we gave up eventually and climbed back on shoreempty handed guess who sitting there with a perfect teal in his mouth. A couple weeks later he was pointing Pheasants like he had been doing it for years. I didn't start any "real" training untill the next spring.

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I'd rather be skunked than follow the crowd!

Brian Rogers

[This message has been edited by BDR (edited 04-03-2004).]

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The way I looked at it is as long as the dog doesn't ruin the hunt by getting to far ahead or being totally out of control the sooner the better. Just don't expect to much and you won't be disapointed. I took my pup out when she was 5 months old by the end of the season she was remarkable. She was flushing the birds, her retrieves where much to be desired but I din't expect her to deliver to hand. I remember at the end of the season and we where just hanging out by the truck when the pup got scent of something and took off running down a corn row. I figured it was a rabbit since we where busting them all day. But after calling her for about 5 minutes she showed up out of the cornfield with a pheasent in her mouth. But I also remember at the begining of the season and I shot one down right in front of her and she ran right past it. So I guess what I am saying is the more exposure they get to hunting the better off they will be.

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In my opinion, the sooner you can get your pup in hunting situations the better. Assuming that you've already gotten the pup used to the gun and that sort of thing. The main thing is to keep it fun, and don't worry about bagging your limit. It's going to be a learning experience for you both. You'll be surprised how young a dog can pick things up. Yes, he might make mistakes, but like I said, it's a learning process.

I had my 6mth old lab out chasing pheasants last fall and he did great. He picked up scent and flushed the birds. He had a hard time the first time he tried to retrieve a wounded bird, but I was proud.

A buddy of mine even had his 5 mth old yellow lab retrieving geese out of the water. I was impressed...

Waiting to work with a dog until a year is just plain nonsense...

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I agree that it's up to the dog. I would also say tread lightly.

My choc. lab was 5 months old on her first opener. We sat in a bit too much cover and had a bit too much gun fire for her. She was a bit scared! Not good.

However, 2 weeks later as her and I sat in a sea of Indian Puzzle on the banks of the Crow 2 woodies swam in. As I lifted my gun she lifted her head off of my lap. As soon as the first one jumped I popped him. That day at 5.5 months she retrieved her first duck. I still think back to how much I felt like a proud pappa that day.

I would highly recommend outings like that for a young dog. Just the master and the dog with no distractions. This will be the best way to gage if it's too soon IMHO.

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