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I thought I'd start a thread to help people that are thinking about getting into hunt/field. How did any of us get started and how far have we gone? Many people on here are very advanced, some are pros, some are like me just getting started. I thought it would be interesting to hear about everyone's first time at what sent them in this direction?

I'm lucky I had a puppy that was very birdy. I asked her breeder for help and she directed me to the local golden retriever club field chair for help. She set up a training group and we've had a lot of fun. I haven't gone very far with my dogs, just a few hunt tests and lots of training. One dog has been through forced fetch, the other not. I think I could pass a junior test, but nothing farther at this time.

Anyone else?
 

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Great thread!
My girlfriend in college wanted a puppy for her birthday; the first litter we visited was Goldens; you know that it is impossible to say "no" to a Golden puppy. Well, a year later I "needed" my own Golden, so I found a well bred a field dog. At first, I trained alone via Richard Wolters' "Water Dog." At some point, I went to a field trial and thought, "Holy Cow, that looks like fun." I read more books and went to more trials, where I met other folks interested in training retrievers. Eventually, I got in a position to where I could occasionally train with other amateurs and, on rare but valuable opportunities, pros.
I've had competitive Open dogs.
FTGoldens
 

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Just getting started, too. Was ready to retire Tito from the breed ring since he had gotten his CH, and the obedience ring since he had his UDX, and was sort of looking for something to do with him as he had just turned 3 and I figured he had a lot of years of activity left. Someone suggested field, we tried it, and we love it!
 

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So I found this website with a list of AKC Field Trials: theRetrieverNews.com - AKC Field Trials I'm very excited because there is one less than an hour away from me the first weekend of May. I'm going to email the person linked with the trial, but can anyone show up and watch these? I have no idea what to even watch, expect, etc.
 

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I would have never considered field training if it weren't for this forum. I had read a lot that many conformation dogs can't do the work, so I was curious if Molly could do it and if she would enjoy it. I had no idea where to start.. So I asked my obedience instructor who had put hunting titles on her goldens. She connected me with someone still in the sport who gave me names of pros and told me to go to a training day at the local HRC (which I am now a board member of, who woulda thunk?!!). That was just about a year ago. Molly got her WC last October and we will probably run Junior in May. We run our trainer's setups twice a week and he kind of guides us somewhat (taught me how to FF and how to teach Molly to handle). We just started seeing a pro (1-2 times a month) who provides us with more of a detailed plan and he is also sort of my troubleshooter now, patching up the holes in Molly's training.

Oh and Molly LOVES it and as far as I can tell she CAN do the work! I thought she loved obedience, but after starting field, I'm pretty sure she thinks obedience is boring in comparison.


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I would have never considered field training if it weren't for this forum. I had read a lot that many conformation dogs can't do the work, so I was curious if Molly could do it and if she would enjoy it. I had no idea where to start.. So I asked my obedience instructor who had put hunting titles on her goldens. She connected me with someone still in the sport who gave me names of pros and told me to go to a training day at the local HRC (which I am now a board member of, who woulda thunk?!!). That was just about a year ago. Molly got her WC last October and we will probably run Junior in May. We run our trainer's setups twice a week and he kind of guides us somewhat (taught me how to FF and how to teach Molly to handle). We just started seeing a pro (1-2 times a month) who provides us with more of a detailed plan and he is also sort of my troubleshooter now, patching up the holes in Molly's training.

Oh and Molly LOVES it and as far as I can tell she CAN do the work! I thought she loved obedience, but after starting field, I'm pretty sure she thinks obedience is boring in comparison.


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I guess that's my concern...I don't know if Josie has the right temperament and personality for this. She is not good at focusing, but I've never tried anything like this with her, so maybe it would be good for her to help with her focusing issues.
 
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KCGold
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Our family grew to where we had three kids, I had always wanted a big dog as I had raised a Siberian Husky when I was young in the mountains of Colorado. My time with that dog 'Kiska' was a special time in my life.

So after my wife and I did a ton of research we settled on a Golden. We found a good hobby breeder and got our first Golden, Amber...we all fell in love with her right away. As my two boys grew they got into bird hunting with me and we always took Amber with us. She was 'birdy' and would fetch birds for us, if she saw them fall or found them by smell.

A friend of mine invited me to a 'hunt test' and said bring your pup along as they are having a puppy run also. So we all went, that did it! I was hooked... I met so many great people and their great dogs. We really enjoyed working our young dog on birds and the older guys told us what she was doing, and encouraged us to do more training. That started my life long learning on Golden's and Field Golden's. I have read everything I can find, attend many hunt tests and field trials. Hired trainers and trained my Golden's and it is something we all still do together even though we are over 60 and our kids are over 30 (and our Grand kids are now included)

I have trained and had trained 5 Golden's with 3 titled as JH and 1 SH.

Have a young one in training now and I hope to go to the MH level with her...

All have been great family dogs and great hunting companions....

The best way to get your adult kids to invite you to go hunting with them is to have a trained retriever......!
 

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can anyone show up and watch these? I have no idea what to even watch, expect, etc.
Absolutely! You can show up and watch these magnificent animals doing what they love to do because they are bred to do it! Unfortunately, you will see mostly labs, but if you're lucky there will be a few Goldens entered as well. A few suggestions:
1. If possible, view all 4 stakes, beginning with Derby, ending with the Open, so you can see everything from the super-enthusiastic young guns who can mark with incredible precision, as well as the more experienced dogs who can recall the location of 3 or 4 birds, run straight lines no matter what obstacles are in their way, and take hand signals from 300-400 yards away.
2. Don't wear white (the dogs running blinds will be looking for their handlers who will be wearing white, so you don't want to confuse the dogs).
3. Find someone to talk to, let them know that you are there as a spectator, it's your first visit, etc. (Hint: Don't try to strike up a conversation with anyone heading to the line with a dog ... they are getting focused on the task, developing a game plan, etc. OR heading from the line with a dog ... they may be mulling over the mistakes they or their dog made).
FTGoldens
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also offer to volunteer! It's great fun to go out there and throw birds for the dogs. You'll need someone to show you how to do it, but once you get going it's so much fun. If you can shoot a bird even better.
 

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aka Shelby
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Got the dogs in December of 2012 and never had dogs or knew what to do with them other than obedience and show ring stuff. I love being outdoors and was taking them everywhere in ditches, in the woods, ect. My oldest LOVED getting the balls and sticks and I joked to the breeder wish they had a venue in retrieving. ha! So she said they do its hunt/field. So she had a friend that went day training with a local pro in my area and gave me his email. He literally lived a few miles from my house and said come out and watch. That was in Feb/March 2013.
I was hooked. I loved his training methods and when I finished up with less than satisfying obedience classes I started going out more and more.
Now our families are good friends, I train with him nearly every day and I've learned more about dogs and training than I ever realized existed.
Our lives have literally done a 180 because of this stuff in ways I can't even explain. I love it and am so grateful for our dogs!
 

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Lexx and I will be starting field training next month. To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect from him. He loves water and loves retrieving so I'm crossing my fingers that he will enjoy this. My biggest worry is that he won`t pick up a dead bird!! Bumpers....no problem!

In any event, I`m really looking forward to it. If he does well, I hope to attempt our WC later this summer.
 

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Our family grew to where we had three kids, I had always wanted a big dog as I had raised a Siberian Husky when I was young in the mountains of Colorado. My time with that dog 'Kiska' was a special time in my life.

So after my wife and I did a ton of research we settled on a Golden. We found a good hobby breeder and got our first Golden, Amber...we all fell in love with her right away. As my two boys grew they got into bird hunting with me and we always took Amber with us. She was 'birdy' and would fetch birds for us, if she saw them fall or found them by smell.

A friend of mine invited me to a 'hunt test' and said bring your pup along as they are having a puppy run also. So we all went, that did it! I was hooked... I met so many great people and their great dogs. We really enjoyed working our young dog on birds and the older guys told us what she was doing, and encouraged us to do more training. That started my life long learning on Golden's and Field Golden's. I have read everything I can find, attend many hunt tests and field trials. Hired trainers and trained my Golden's and it is something we all still do together even though we are over 60 and our kids are over 30 (and our Grand kids are now included)

I have trained and had trained 5 Golden's with 3 titled as JH and 1 SH.

Have a young one in training now and I hope to go to the MH level with her...

All have been great family dogs and great hunting companions....

The best way to get your adult kids to invite you to go hunting with them is to have a trained retriever......!
My dad and I went pheasant hunting in North Dakota this past October. Me and seven guys! Thankfully we were all related. :) We had a 3 year old German Shorthair and a 2 year old chocolate lab with us and they did an amazing job. There were times I missed birds because I was too busy watching the dogs do what they do best! :) The weather was crummy, but we still managed to limit out our 3 1/2 days of hunting. It was a fantastic trip.

Allison
 

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Absolutely! You can show up and watch these magnificent animals doing what they love to do because they are bred to do it! Unfortunately, you will see mostly labs, but if you're lucky there will be a few Goldens entered as well. A few suggestions:
1. If possible, view all 4 stakes, beginning with Derby, ending with the Open, so you can see everything from the super-enthusiastic young guns who can mark with incredible precision, as well as the more experienced dogs who can recall the location of 3 or 4 birds, run straight lines no matter what obstacles are in their way, and take hand signals from 300-400 yards away.
2. Don't wear white (the dogs running blinds will be looking for their handlers who will be wearing white, so you don't want to confuse the dogs).
3. Find someone to talk to, let them know that you are there as a spectator, it's your first visit, etc. (Hint: Don't try to strike up a conversation with anyone heading to the line with a dog ... they are getting focused on the task, developing a game plan, etc. OR heading from the line with a dog ... they may be mulling over the mistakes they or their dog made).
FTGoldens
Thank you! This was so helpful. I think I have some reading to do before the event. :)
 

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Do they use live birds at the trials? I'm a hunter, so no big deal if they do. I had always assumed they just used decoys and bumpers.
 
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aka Shelby
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Great thread!
My girlfriend in college wanted a puppy for her birthday; the first litter we visited was Goldens; you know that it is impossible to say "no" to a Golden puppy. Well, a year later I "needed" my own Golden, so I found a well bred a field dog. At first, I trained alone via Richard Wolters' "Water Dog." At some point, I went to a field trial and thought, "Holy Cow, that looks like fun." I read more books and went to more trials, where I met other folks interested in training retrievers. Eventually, I got in a position to where I could occasionally train with other amateurs and, on rare but valuable opportunities, pros.
I've had competitive Open dogs.
FTGoldens
I know what you mean about looking into more field bred goldens after your first. My girl is pretty slow and sometimes I wish she'd have a more speed. But she is super steady and it is easy for me to learn the gun and all that jazz so its a 50/50 win/lose with her. But my second is turing out to be a little demon! I swear she is so fast and marks perfectly and takes a line like no one else. Her only flaw is her stubbornness which comes and goes. Ever since she had her first heat she is getting her stuff together and I'm really excited to run her all week at training. I'm a little jealous that my daughter gets to run her at tests but don't tell!!!
 

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Do they use live birds at the trials? I'm a hunter, so no big deal if they do. I had always assumed they just used decoys and bumpers.
The birds are dead but they will have a live flyer that is shot and is often still alive and squawking. The decoys are used to divert their attention. No bumpers.
 

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Thank you for all of the information. This has been so helpful. :)
 
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the party's crashing us
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With my first golden who was born in 1992, our first night of obedience class (he was 12 weeks, I was 13 years old) we immediately befriended Loyd & June Kiernan who had Sunfire goldens and were big proponents of field work. They took us under their wing and made us go field training :) I remember my first golden was a nut for bumpers but took a lot of encouragement to pick up a pigeon. It took us two times but we passed the WC. When I got Fisher I did JH and WC as a matter of course, I think we practiced maybe 6 times for each :)
When Fisher was 3 I was approached by a well known performance breeder who was interested in breeding to Fisher. I said sure -- if you'll help me train him for Senior :) I also attended a Mike Lardy seminar soon after which set me on the right path. From then we just kept training, Fisher eventually got his Master Hunter and ran in several quals. I now have his son Slater who was a MH at 3 yrs old and needs one pass for HRCH (actually Fisher needs one pass for HRCH too but not sure if he'll ever get it -- he will be 11 next month and has been out of training for some months). I have even higher hopes for my 14 month old Bally :)
 
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