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Well, training is progressing well with my 4 1/2 month old Lab. We have been having a blast and on top of the normal obedience work are now taking our nightly walks in the fields around where I live. She is doing great with retrieving. She's even about 90% steady to the throw on the bumper which is a nice surprise this young. Obedience is going pretty well. Sit with voice and whistle is pretty solid but not always as fast as I would like, but that's mostly just when she is in puppy mode. Here with voice and whistle is also pretty solid with the occasional distraction hiccup. Heel (no whistle for this, should I have one?) is getting there now. She does really well with this as long as she has her leash on. When I take the leash off she is not as quick to heal. That was a weird one for me because I have never used the leash to "correct" her when working heal. I just used it to guide her around behind me and to my left side. I think maybe she just still equates the heel command to having the leash on. Thoughts? Now my big question for this post. Where I live there are a lot of quail in the area. I take her out walking in the fields where I think quail might often be found. I'm trying to work on getting her to work out in front of me but she still seems reluctant much of the time. She wants to be right at my side. Is this from training her to walk on leash in the neighborhood? When we do come across a covey she does get all birdy when she notices them. She starts scenting around and flushing them out of the trees like I would hope. She even brought me back a dead bird the other day. It was real dead though :lol: . Had been there a week I would guess. But she brought it to me all proud so I took it and told her how awesome she was and discarded it discreetly at the first opportunity. :roll: I guess my question is how do I get her to start working out in front of me scenting for the birds? Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks...
 

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mdngtrdoboy

Well done my man, sounds good.

Just a couple of points ....

She's a very young dog and still probably lacking a bit of confidence; that's why she's reluctant to get out plus she hasn't had a chance to connect up hunting = flushing = bang = retrieve. When she does put it all together you'll probably see her go up a couple of gears, to the point where she will test your control.

Given that she isn't quite steady yet (why should she be at her age?) you might find it a help to only offer a retrieve as a reward for good behaviour. If she offers a sharp sit chuck the bumper; if she doesn't deny her the retrieve. Similarly for all the other basic obedience tasks. Once shes good at that you can start teaching her about handling on the retrieve; you'll have both an engine and brakes at that point.. then you need the steering wheel!

The heeling will come. A dog doesn't get much out of heeling, so make it worth her while; lots of "good girls", treats, pats, and general fusses. One thing to bear in mind is that she should see being by you as a place of safety and refuge so never reprimand her while shes there.

The hunting stuff ... too early in my opinion. Get her tighter on the whistle first, so that when anything goes belly up in teaching her to hunt, you stay in control. Drop me your email addy via PM and I'll let you have some diagrams, tips and advice on how to teach a proper "windshield wiper" hunting pattern. It was originally put together for Springers, but the principles apply.

Whilst you are still in the teaching phase i'd avoid gamey areas if you can; but as soon as she's solid on basic OB that area will be a great resource for you to transition from yard type training to the field.

Again well done, she sounds a bright wee thing, I'm sure you'll be a great partnership.

Regards
Eug
 
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