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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After hunting waterfowl on and off for the last 20 years or so without a dog I finally was in a position last year to purchase my first Lab. My sons are coming of age and I wanted to show them the "proper" way to hund ducks and geese. This year is her first season and my first with a full time huntin buddy, (Xena is her name and she's a year and a half old black lab.) I have to tell you that I don't know how I hunted all those years without a good dog. So far this year I have lost only 1 cripple for around a dozen trips total. The dog puts a whole new dimension into the hunting trip, and makes it an even more rewarding experience IMHO.

To be honest I almost feel a tad bit irresponsible for hunting all those years without a dog. The last trip, for example I would have come home empty handed but instead I came home with 2 birds.

I guess my point is this: if you are serious about hunting waterfowl, don't put off getting a dog. Of course if you don't have the time to take care of a pet that is one thing, but if you do have the means, you should look into owning one ASAP! I wish I would have done so years ago.
 

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i find even going out on a hunt where i know its not likely to need the dog, i want to take him anyway cuz its just not the same.
 

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The best times are hunting with your dog. Not much else can replace that, sounds like you are enjoying taking the whole family out, great job.

I can't imagine going hunting with my lab. Basically, if he can't go I don't go. Easy as that.

As long as he gets wet, it makes the day perfect. if he stays dry, well it was a fun day. Figure of speech of course, if I ever get to hunt a field, I would hope he gets to fetch some birds up and stay dry !
 

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This is my fourth year waterfowling and I have a deposit on a litter due November 3. I guess I'm taking your advice. I can't afford a trainer but I have a program I purchased, have joined the local retriever club, and will be asking a lot of questions here and on the DU dog training forum. Can't wait to be in Cardinal's shoes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is my fourth year waterfowling and I have a deposit on a litter due November 3. I guess I'm taking your advice. I can't afford a trainer but I have a program I purchased, have joined the local retriever club, and will be asking a lot of questions here and on the DU dog training forum. Can't wait to be in Cardinal's shoes!
I didn't use a trainer either, I read the book Game Dog by Richard A. Wolters and found it very helpful. I would recommend it to anyone who was going to train a hunting dog. (not just waterfowl - upland birds too)
 

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I found the dog training forum on DU to have some really helpful and knowledgeable guys on it. I have Wolter's Water Dog book, but I also bought Evan Graham's SmartWorks series. Wolter's seems to be regarded as a little dated, not to knock him-he was revolutionary in his day, but there have been a LOT of advances in training techniques since then. I did a lot of research for the last year on the subject but I AM a newbie at it. Just my very humble opinion.
 

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I love hunting over a good dog nothing better.

Their is no doubt they find birds that would be lost otherwise. Just this Sunday I was hunting with a good friend his dog and my dog. His dog found three ducks we would not have retrieved in the woods. Mine found a black duck buried in cover. We went for a walk and were close to a half mile away from where we were hunting and mine found a crippled black duck tucked under the shoreline and came running up to me. GOOD GIRL!!!

It was one of those that you rock and the foot drops. Both myself and my partner emptied our guns trying to drop it but it kept flying and I felt like crap. What a great feeling to find that bird hours later.
 

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i couldn't agree with you more. This was my first year with my first dog and four legged hunting partner. I love it and it makes me a proud daddy to see him retrieve. I also take him small game hunting with me just cause he loves to be out in the woods and on a hunt.
 

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If you hunt over water, a dog is a plus. I hunted with out one for many years. Many trips in the boat to retrieve birds, only to lose out on the opportunity to shoot more. Shooting at crips, looking threw the flooded corn strips, trying to out run a swimming duck and spending hours looking for sailers...I don't miss those days at all. I've seen my kill numbers go up and my lost numbers go way down.
 

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If you hunt over water, a dog is a plus. I hunted with out one for many years. Many trips in the boat to retrieve birds, only to lose out on the opportunity to shoot more. Shooting at crips, looking threw the flooded corn strips, trying to out run a swimming duck and spending hours looking for sailers...I don't miss those days at all. I've seen my kill numbers go up and my lost numbers go way down.

they are a benefit in any scenario. I hunt mine in water or in the field. Can't think of how many times i've sailed a goose 200yds and the dog is out and back with it in a minute and I can stay in my blind and worry about the next flock. I had mine in standing barley (3'-4' tall) in canada this year which was a trip. A dog was absolutely imperative.... you could drop a duck 10' in front of you with a perfect mark and you still might never find it. Hard on the dogs eyes and nose, but he wouldn't ever let that slow him down.
 

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I found the dog training forum on DU to have some really helpful and knowledgeable guys on it. I have Wolter's Water Dog book, but I also bought Evan Graham's SmartWorks series. Wolter's seems to be regarded as a little dated, not to knock him-he was revolutionary in his day, but there have been a LOT of advances in training techniques since then. I did a lot of research for the last year on the subject but I AM a newbie at it. Just my very humble opinion.
SmartWorks is great. I have Grahams puppy dvd and its very good.
Stick with the DU waterdog forum, there's lots of good advice on it. I've learned a lot from it.
 

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I found the dog training forum on DU to have some really helpful and knowledgeable guys on it. I have Wolter's Water Dog book, but I also bought Evan Graham's SmartWorks series. Wolter's seems to be regarded as a little dated, not to knock him-he was revolutionary in his day, but there have been a LOT of advances in training techniques since then. I did a lot of research for the last year on the subject but I AM a newbie at it. Just my very humble opinion.

Wolters still has some good stuff but much is missing. I never like Wolters after watching one of his tapes; what a blow hard. SmartWork and The Total Retriever System by Mike Lardy are infinitely better and have DVDs to help along the way.

If you cannot afford a trainer, getting with a local retriever club is the best route. The clubs have the gear to get you into real marks and blinds and away from those marks which you throw at the dog's side.

Also, when joining a club, find out who the experienced Finished handlers are and hang with them. Ask a ton of questions and LISTEN to what they have to say. Above all, avoid the Started and Seasoned pros who act like they know everything there is to know about dog training and don't know squat. These misguided folks will tell you everything that's wrong with your dog and lead you on a wild goose chase fixing problems which don't exist.

Be polite and all, but then go out and seek the Jim Thompsons, Bill Ferrans, Steve Nelsons, Steve Pittiglios, Tim Doanes, Jack Helzermans, Glen Nobles, Randy McComas', etc... of the HRC world and learn how to handle a dog. You might just wind up with a hunting buddy in the process.
 

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First of all, apologies to Cardinal, I didn't intend to take over your thread. But it does still pertain to your original point I think.

Black Dog, I almost bought the Lardy series, everyone seems to agree it is a little better. The reason I got Smartworks was someone with both told me the Lardy is a bit technical and a little hard to understand for a beginner like me. I've read the Smartworks cover to cover and watched all the videos and my pup hasn't even been born yet. I really want to be prepared for him well in advance. I also agree on the DU forum, there are some REALLY knowledgeable guys on there who are very helpful, I've already asked a few questions of them.

Justbehindit, thanks for your comments about the clubs too, I will take your advice on who to listen to and who to shy away from. I can tell already what you say is true from watching the hunt tests on Harsen's this past summer. Are any of those names you listed local guys? I think I recognized one of them from the SCFHRC club, the first guy I met actually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First of all, apologies to Cardinal, I didn't intend to take over your thread. But it does still pertain to your original point I think.

Black Dog, I almost bought the Lardy series, everyone seems to agree it is a little better. The reason I got Smartworks was someone with both told me the Lardy is a bit technical and a little hard to understand for a beginner like me. I've read the Smartworks cover to cover and watched all the videos and my pup hasn't even been born yet. I really want to be prepared for him well in advance. I also agree on the DU forum, there are some REALLY knowledgeable guys on there who are very helpful, I've already asked a few questions of them.

Justbehindit, thanks for your comments about the clubs too, I will take your advice on who to listen to and who to shy away from. I can tell already what you say is true from watching the hunt tests on Harsen's this past summer. Are any of those names you listed local guys? I think I recognized one of them from the SCFHRC club, the first guy I met actually.
No problem, that's what the forum is for. I am also a beginner and am learning much from reading through this....
 

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First of all, apologies to Cardinal, I didn't intend to take over your thread. But it does still pertain to your original point I think.

Black Dog, I almost bought the Lardy series, everyone seems to agree it is a little better. The reason I got Smartworks was someone with both told me the Lardy is a bit technical and a little hard to understand for a beginner like me. I've read the Smartworks cover to cover and watched all the videos and my pup hasn't even been born yet. I really want to be prepared for him well in advance. I also agree on the DU forum, there are some REALLY knowledgeable guys on there who are very helpful, I've already asked a few questions of them.

Justbehindit, thanks for your comments about the clubs too, I will take your advice on who to listen to and who to shy away from. I can tell already what you say is true from watching the hunt tests on Harsen's this past summer. Are any of those names you listed local guys? I think I recognized one of them from the SCFHRC club, the first guy I met actually.
I was going to go with Smartworks, but the trainer I use mainly works off of Lardy. It is fairly technical for a beginner like me. I just wish there were more details and diagrams for yahoos like me. :)
 

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You really can't go wrong with either Lardy or Graham.

imho, Lardy's collar conditioning dvd is the best there is.

I totally agree with getting in a club. You'll learn a lot, meet some great people and its fun.
I'm working with a pro on forch fetch with my pup. We meet once a week. He works with me and the dog then gives me homework to do at home.
I wanted to do it myself, but its nice to have a pro there for guidence.
 

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I would almost stay home if my dog was not with me. That's how strongly I feel about hunting with my partner. We trained for two years and competed in Hunt Test that taught us both a ton. If you go to a Hunt Test beware!
you will end up spending all your free time and money running your dog. I know cause I did it, it will HOOK YOU!

I'm sure other people on this forum can say the same. Michigan has some great clubs. Good luck with your dog and keep us up to date on your progress.

John.
 

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Justbehindit, thanks for your comments about the clubs too, I will take your advice on who to listen to and who to shy away from. I can tell already what you say is true from watching the hunt tests on Harsen's this past summer. Are any of those names you listed local guys? I think I recognized one of them from the SCFHRC club, the first guy I met actually.
Depends on what you call local. I assume you are an east sider so Bill Ferrrans and Steve Pittiglio are local to the east side and on the board of SCFHRC as I am. I'm in Howell so I don't get to train with those guys like I used to.

Keep an eye out at http://www.scfhrc.net for the annual meeting. Become a member and get with a solid training group.

If you decide that force fetch isn't something which you want to tackle yourself, contact me via PM or visit the website http://www.firestormretrievers.com.
 
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