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Old 01-15-2013, 11:59 AM
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How to get started in hunt/field training?

Kea is hopefully going to be finishing up her RN title next month in Denver. My initial intention with her was to pursue obedience titles since that is where all of MY past experience lies. However, I just don't think she really enjoys obedience, so I'm starting to investigate other venues in which we can participate. We're starting to dabble in conformation, which she seems to enjoy. She's very food motivated, so that might be part of it. I have limited experience in conformation, have turned her over to handlers a few times, but am working toward developing the skills I need to train and show her myself, fully recognizing that this might be a dead end street for us since I'm not a known face in this arena.

We're going to try agility and I've enjoyed reading forum posts from those of you who are involved in hunting with your dogs. I'm hoping you'll be willing to entertain my questions.

First of all, how does one get started in hunting? I'm guessing we'd need to find a trainer or facility. What do I need to look for? What questions should I ask? Do we need any special equipment? We're in Northern Colorado if that helps. She loves the water and getting things out of the water. Sticks, toys, etc. The muddier the better. She is also very confident and notices birds, although she was wary of the gondola when we went to Steamboat last summer, hehe. How could I assess her aptitude for hunting - anything specific I should be looking for besides an affinity for water and birds?

Can I still be involved in her training even if I myself do not hunt?

Thanks, all!
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:33 PM
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Yes, you can, although AKC events will be better for you than UKC-HRC as in HRC beyond the introductory level you must handle the gun. There are a good group of people dedicated to working their dogs in the Mile-Hi GRC. So hooking up with that club would be a good resource. Other good info is available here: GRCA-FIELD
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:31 PM
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I am going through training with my puppy Lucy that started last fall. I approached my breeder for a referral. She sent me to a friend that is the GR club field trial organizer. This person is training me and 3 other puppies from the same litter all at the same time. It's been a great experience. So for ideas you might want to start with your breeder. I looked at your girl's pedigree, and had to search back a few generations for hunt or field titles. They are there, just not recent. So your girl has potential.

Do you have anyone that can give you a wing or a tail to try and see if your girl is interested? I have 2 dogs that are super interested and one that simply doesn't care. You can also buy them online at GUN DOG SUPPLY: Hunting Dog Training Collars & Supplies for Retrievers & Bird Dogs if you can't find one. Some dogs like to retrieve and will retrieve anything. Some dogs won't get a bumper no matter what. One of my boys is like that. Have you thrown a ball a lot for your dog or used a chuckit? My trainer suggests not doing that with your dog so that they will be interested in bumpers and birds.

I got interested in hunt and field by accident. One of my carpenters brought a goose wing to work one morning to test the pup, she was over the top. So we started looking around.

If you are interested in more details, you can always PM me. Have fun!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:42 PM
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One other thing I'd like to mention, the obedience required in hunt/field is very important. Even if you never compete or shoot a gun, your dog will learn so much about being patient and long stays. Those are always good things if you continue in obedience or rally.

I'm also not good with a gun. So when my girl is good enough to take hunting, my husband will handle the guns and I'll handle the dogs. I think that will be a good arrangement since I'm a terrible shot and terrible about seeing the game and being quick about taking a shot.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeaColorado View Post
First of all, how does one get started in hunting?
I can help you get in touch with a nearby retriever club, and I'm speaking of an organization that hosts field trials and hunt tests. Especially in hunt tests a high percentage of members are avid hunters. That's how they got started. They can teach you the nuances of hunting, and advise you on training issues, although that is not always the best place for a new field trainer to learn how to do that. Your dog will need formal Basics so support his work in the field. "Basics" is a term often misunderstood by newer trainers, and trainers from other venues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeaColorado View Post
I'm guessing we'd need to find a trainer or facility. What do I need to look for? What questions should I ask? Do we need any special equipment?
The club members can guide you to dates and locations so you can watch hunt tests. Those will be especially helpful in getting you familiar with the standard field skills, and how they are used. But I'll tell you up front; only hunting is hunting. The try to make hunt tests realistic, and I appreciate the effort. But you won't really appreciate a well trained gundog until you actually go on a hunt. The first time or two it would be best to leave your dog at home and hunt with an experienced hunter who has a trained dog.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeaColorado View Post
We're in Northern Colorado if that helps....anything specific I should be looking for besides an affinity for water and birds?

Can I still be involved in her training even if I myself do not hunt?

Thanks, all!
If your dog is maniacal about retrieving birds, and is willing to take training, the rest will come. Each dog has only so much drive, and so much fondness for water. You won't know any of that until you begin training.

The components of Basics in order

1) “Here”
2) “Heel & Sit”
3) “Hold”; automatically evolves to Walking “Hold, Heel, Sit”
4) “Fetch”; ear pinch, which evolves into Walking “Fetch” & “Fetch-no-fetch”, e-collar conditioning to “Fetch”
5) Pile work, including Mini-pile, Nine bumper pile; AKA Force to pile
6) 3-handed casting; teaching the 3 basic casts – “Back” and both “Over’s”, including 2-hands “Back”
7) Mini tee; includes collar conditioning to all basic commands, transferring to the go, stop, cast functions in micro dimension as preparation for the Single tee. Also includes De-bolting
8) Single tee
9) Double tee
10)Water force, Water tee with Swim-by

Questions?

EvanG
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:46 PM
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How to get started in hunt/field training?

When my old golden was a puppy we got him used to feathers, fake ducks and eventually a chained duck to get him used to them, you might wana start there


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Old 01-20-2013, 03:23 PM
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I had a good friend get me started. I peaked at this forum a few times but found some of the information to be overwhelming and I was concerned about getting out there on my own (you know, visions of men and butt cracks, ecollars, rough training, etc). My friend took me out to club training days and introduced to a group of people who regularly trained. Things just evolved from there. I've learned a lot and it has been a lot of fun but an incredible amount of work and a huge learning curve. I don't regret it though. I've also learned how incredibly nice and friendly many of the people are in the sport. There are a lot of really nice people who just love their dogs and hunting.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:34 PM
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Finding a training group is a great idea. Finding people that hunt their dogs is not so easy in my neck of the woods. It might be different where you are. Out of the maybe 100 members of my breed club, there are maybe 6 of us that actually hunt our dogs although there are may be 15 or 20 all together that may show up in the field.

I have to say that I have gotten the greatest pleasure out of the teamwork that I develop with my dogs when I am afield. If you start hunting your dog you will see what I mean.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
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you know, visions of men and butt cracks, ecollars, rough training, etc....There are a lot of really nice people who just love their dogs and hunting.
hahaha - that just made me laugh; it is amazing how many people have that impression about hunters.
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