New Puppy

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New Puppy

Postby Roz Buckley » Sun 15 Aug 2010 3:14 pm

Hi all, I finally have a new puppy to start. She is 9 weeks old and off course another Longhair Weimaraner. My boys that I have been trialing started the retrieving trials at 7yrs of age and although they had been on ducks and bunny's, been through obedience trials and tracking I really missed some of the basics necessary for competitive field work. Would some of you like to advise where I should start with this youngster. I have the bug and hope to be around for a while yet. Thanks
Roz Buckley
 
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Re: New Puppy

Postby Diane McCann » Thu 19 Aug 2010 9:11 am

Hi Roz, congratulations on your new puppy and great to hear that you 'have the bug'. I am sure you will get lots of advice from handlers much better qualified than me, (I would like to hear their thoughts too), but here is what I think.

I would spend time getting the puppy to come in to, and sit to the whistle. Lots of repetition using food as a reward and aiming to get an absolute instant, automatic response. I don't know much about your breed but if it was a GSP pup I would also do lots of play retrieves down the hallway or somewhere similar where the pup can only come back to you, build their drive to retrieve and reward them for returning - letting them hold on to the toy while you praise them after each return. Use something that is not too heavy and is not tempting for them to chew or bite.

Good luck!
Diane
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Re: New Puppy

Postby Bill Allen » Tue 28 Sep 2010 11:12 am

Hi Roz.
I reckon it's all about confidence at this age.
I also like to start my Britts retrieving in water rather than on land.
The reason is that they are first & foremost a hunting/pointing dog, so their natural instinct on land is to go away from me to hunt. Unless you have done a fair bit of obedience with them this can present problems with the young dog not wanting to come back in.

I like to start em by getting em used to water (walking through shallows etc) & building their confidence with swimming before asking them to retrieve.
Once retrieving training starts I like to actually get into the water with em to start em off.
That's really important with utility dogs IMO.
It wont take em long to start questioning why you want them to go into the water but you wont go in yourself.
Your getting in there with em gives em confidence. Makes em want to be there with you.
The dog must also be very confident swimming before you start asking it to retrieve anything.
If it's worried about keeping it's head above water it's not going to concentrate on retrieving anything.
So I do LOTS of swimming practice with my young dogs before asking them to retrieve.

In water the natural instinct of just about every dog, even non-gundogs, is to come to you & climb all over you.
So their instinct to come to me is working for me rather than their hunting instinct working against me as it would be on land.

I start with dropping a bird wing a few feet in from of em & then lengthening it over a number of sessions.
The young dog will inevitably grab the wing as it swims past & then come toward you.
I take the wing as the dog swims past & then re-throw it, making the whole process a game.
Once I can get the young dog to swim out as far as I can throw the wing (usually only about 15 feet or so) I then transfer the wing onto a dummy & start the whole process again. Dont drop the dummy too close to the dog otherwise the spalsh will put the dog off. So keep it close enough that there's no difficulty in the dog confidently getting to it.
Dont be tempted to work the distance upo too quickly. Take as much time as the young dog needs.
Again confidence is everything. These aren't Labs & they can be very easilly put off if you knock their confidence.
The dog enjoys it's swim, enjoys the retrieve, get's used to having a dummy in it's mouth (easier to teach the dog to 'hold') & also get's the idea into his head that he's actually giving me the dummy rather than me taking it from him.
He get's used to bringing something to me so the game can continue rather than taking off with it as a lot of young pups will.

Just my current approach.

Bill.
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