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Training Books/Resources for 99.9% couch potato 0.1% hunting dog

gwhunter

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So we just got a new pet for the family and kids. But, because the dog has the name Retriever in it I thought I would look to try to give some basic hunting training a go for the 1-2 duck hunts per year I go on and the maybe 1 upland hunt per year as the previous three dogs we have had have all been some variation of mutt picked up from the pound.

The dog is a female, 12 week old, Golden Retriever that will spend all but 2-3 days as the family pet. However, we are an active family and I'm looking to instill some additional responsibility with my children as they have expressed an interest in training the dog. Even if they don't continue in earnest, it's something I want to do. A public park backs up to our house with fields large enough for any type of training. We spend at least an hour outside with our dogs & kids everyday that it isn't raining.

I'm a Behavior Analyst by training so the idea of positive/negative reinforcement, positive/negative punishment, shaping, etc. is my everyday (only with humans and not with dogs ;) ). So I guess what I'm reaching out for is if anyone has any good resources/books/online guides on the skills to teach and in what order (even starting with obedience, but me not knowing what skills are considered 'obedience' skills) as opposed to the 'how' to teach skills. I'm confident in my abilities to teach, just not what to teach. Google searches bring back everything under the sun so I'm looking to see if anyone has anything they really liked. Thanks!
 

Scott85

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MTLabrador

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I’m as amateur as it gets for dog training and I’ve never really used any books or other professional resources. I just made sure to get my dogs a ton of exposure to everything as puppies. I did a lot of work on basic obedience and made a big deal out of them showing any interest in birds. They picked up the rest pretty quick on their own and grew up into great hunters, at least for what I do.

His first fall of pheasant hunting:

097DEAE2-81E3-4628-ADEC-63702A7462A2.jpeg
 

JShane

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Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor. Absolutely Positively Gundog Training, Robert Milner. Read the first one twice and the second one Im half way through it. As a behavior analyst Karen Pryors book will make a lot of sense to you. Roberts book translates all of that operant conditioning into a gundog training regiment.
 

BuckRut

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Also look for any of the “Gun Dog” books by Richard A. Wolters. They were out in the 60’s and a lot of libraries have them. Some great training pointers in there!
I 2nd this. One is even called Family Dog and is geared more towards general obedience.
 

SO7mm

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As mentioned above Walters has some great tips. I've used "Water Dog" for my previous two labs and am using a lot of the techniques for my 10 month old. I now have 9 and 12 year old kids, a niece that's at the house a lot and a wife. I'm learning it's much tougher for me to train the dog with all the different inputs and overall lack of free time. It's still fun though and he's coming along.
 

Scott85

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How do you have a dog tread without a single picture of your puppy posted…..
 

OntarioHunter

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With that breed you don't have much to worry about. I'm on my sixth and seventh hunting dog now: all Labs and one French Brittany (wait ... the best of the lot was actually Lab-golden cross). I haven't used a book yet. But I seem to have a way with animals. Living with the dog as a pet gives you a great advantage. Kennelled dogs can require more "training." I haven't owned an e-collar in my life and my dogs have all been exceptional hunters. The Lab I have now is probably the "highest maintenance" of the lot. I suppose an e-collar could have made a few annoying defects easier but they were not important in the grand scheme of things. For example it was no problem keeping her from chasing deer when upland hunting (though she was interested) but every single time I let her out of the vehicle to start hunting, she has to run around it exactly three times barking her head off. Then she's ready to go. Annoys the hell out of me (too often literally) but that dog is absolutely fabulous hunting uplands. Great pointer, stays close, and wearing radar for retreiving. So I try not to let little imperfections that really don't matter bother me so much. Dogs like to have fun too. And this one has a lot of it in her, even for a Lab. I replaced all the seatbelts in my Jimmy THREE TIMES before she stopped chewing them off. Last time she was four years old so not a teething issue. Just having fun. Never chewed up a shoe though (weird!). Some days Ellie can still be a trial but I've never had a dog so in my face affectionate. And for a Lab among Labs, that's saying something! 20211220_152350.jpg
 
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Ben Lamb

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Tom Dokken's retriever training book & video series are good as well. Wolters books are a solid suggestion as well. Have fun & if there is a local gun dog club, join! Having folks close by to help also gets you new hunting buddies. :)
 

OntarioHunter

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Tom Dokken's retriever training book & video series are good as well. Wolters books are a solid suggestion as well. Have fun & if there is a local gun dog club, join! Having folks close by to help also gets you new hunting buddies. :)
I haven't read his books but suggest giving his fancy expensive duck shaped training dummies a pass. They become waterlogged and moldy. Stunk so bad I couldn't keep mine in the house.
 

gwhunter

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Michigan
Tom Dokken's retriever training book & video series are good as well. Wolters books are a solid suggestion as well. Have fun & if there is a local gun dog club, join! Having folks close by to help also gets you new hunting buddies. :)

I'm down to my last local hunting buddy that I've had since we were in grade school. Everyone else is either too old(or passed), moved away, or no longer has the drive to hunt. This is a timely post, Ben, as my wife and I were just talking about if there was anyone else we knew that still hunts.
 

huntin24/7

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We just lost our 13.5 year old lab. I’ve trained a few retrievers now and they’ve turned out well. For what you’re explaining, consistent obedience training along with some gun training once it’s 6 months or so give or take along with some retrieving training should work. One thing I did was start with a basic retrieving dummy. Then move on to a dummy with a few pheasant tail feathers or duck wing feathers securely taped to the dummy. Next use a full wing taped to the dummy. The biggest thing is that the feathers or wing are secured enough that the dog has to retrieve the whole dummy and can’t drag by the feathers or wing. I really like to drag the dummy around through tall grass with the feathers or wing later in the training and make them follow the scent to find and retrieve the dummy.
 

David658

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Oct 15, 2021
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Northern NM
Very different approach, not for hunting but for general training and understanding your dog - the Monks of New Skete have published several good books on training your dog. They support their monastary by raising, training, and selling Germand Shepherds, and training dogs. I found their books enlightening.
 
Yeti

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