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Work for the dogs in the off season.

613 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jumpshootin'
With duck season now closed and goose hunting being only a part time passion at this point I was wondering what others do to keep the dogs in shape in the winter months?
I have come to realize that I didnt train my dog to do dry land retrieves so that is on list but she also needs alot more water work as well as blind retrieves. Anyway as you can see I have a huge list for my dog in general but what do those of you that have a working dog do in the off months?
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By all means work on the land retrieves and obediance. Water work is the easiest for a retriever. Virtually every retriever will swim out and retrieve straight back in. The land work is more challenging and takes quite a bit more control.
Start on land with single marks of 25 yards or so, gradually stretching them out to 100 yards or so(out to 200+ yards if you plan on hunt-testing) When she has that down go to double marks. One close, the other far, etc...
Then you can work on handling to marks(hand signals).
Then comes training for blind retrieves.
Do you have a simple training book such as The Ten Minute Retriever or other training program?
My Lab pup is 6.5 months old now and I am concentrating on obediance work; sit, heel, stay, here. We go grouse hunting a couple time a week. And work on single marks once a week. We're up to 3 or 4 marks per session out to 75 yards. He's becoming a pinpoint marker, running straight to the fall and retrieving straight back. He has pretty much grown out of wanting to run around and play with the dummy. After the first of the year I'll start to get serious and collar condition him and do force fetch. Then the serious retriever training will start.
The off-season is a very good time to work on all the basics with your dog. The pressure/desire to get birds is no longer there and you have plenty of time to do things the right way. If it takes a month to train her to get a task down, then so be it.
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ET, I did get the pup from Kim. He's out of her Talon & Maggie dogs. I am pleased with his progress so far. He is probably the most intelligent Lab pup that I have had. But he's also the most stubborn. But once he gets focused on a task he learns it quickly. Still, he's always testing my dedication to his training. Once he figures out that I won't back down or slack off he gives in and does everything that I expect of him.
How's your Lab coming along?
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