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Winter and I are also getting back in the swing of training.
I have Maise's littermate Flyer and FF is going well for us too.
 

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How old are Flyer and Maise? I've been debating about when to start FF with Riot. He hasn't lost any teeth yet. Don't want to start too soon or too early???
 

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I've been doing a little "hold" too. More encouragement when he doesn't drop the bumper. I'm hoping that "hold" is easy for him to grasp. I need to get to the pool and start working on water retrieves and getting him to hang onto the bumper when he comes out of the water. Easier to do with they are puppies!
 

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I know this isn't field related. But Lucy really has excepted the little guy and decided not to kill him. It was touch and go for the first couple of weeks. But I think we're all good now. Here they are laying under the office conference table. It won't be long and he will be bigger than her.
 

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Stacy, I had not planned on FF Flyer until he was a bit older.
My Pro is leaving in Feb. to head south to train and will be gone until May. He knew I was a little nervous with the thought of doing this with him so far away. ( I have only FF one dog 5+ years ago) So this fall, when he had a couple of dogs going though basics and I would arrive early to training days to watch him work with them. He would talk me though what he was doing and what he was seeing in the dog. It was a little Master class in FF. About three weeks ago after he was done working with a dog, he told me to go get Flyer. He checked out his mouth and said he thought we were fine as far as his mouth went for FF. We talked about it and he said that he would like to start Hold with him and see if Flyer was mental mature enough to start FF. So that day the Pro started Hold. He worked with Flyer because he wanted to be able to judge whether or not Flyer was ready to start this process. He likes to start puppies a little older. Fly was just fine with hold and I worked it for a week and then we went back down and moved into FF. If Flyer would not have been ready we would have stopped and waited a couple of months and I would have tried again. I actually almost chickened out and had the Pro put him through FF. He told me he would take him but that I would do just fine and the knowledge that I gained about who my puppy is, would be well worth it. This last week we moved to FF on birds and I have been either texting or talking to the Pro every day and I’m being quizzed about his momentum. He likes to be careful with pressure when you move to birds.
I should be finishing up FF this week and getting FlyBoy out marking. My plan is to mark him for about 3 months and let him mature before I move forward with handling.
 

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Thanks for sharing your process Holly. I have Saturday classes I take with a pro. In class all the dogs are at different levels. So each week he works with each individual dog on hold, or FF, or pile work, or wherever the dog is at. So I've been watching each week and learned a lot. When Lucy was FF by a friend, I did video several of the sessions. Lucy was a completely different dog to FF than Riot will be I can tell already. The pro I work with does come into Anchorage most week days for his job. He has offered to work one on one with Riot when we are ready. DH may do the FF since he is far better reading dogs than I am. FF for me is so intimidating. I feel like I am not very good at reading dogs at all.

Yesterday I took off early and went with a friend to Potter Marsh before it got dark. We ran our dogs on a mark and a walk out blind. So with each dog we threw a mark in the reeds, then sent the dog to blind, then sent the dog to the mark. Nice little drill. So last came Riot. I shortened it all up. I walked him to the pile and kept it at about 25 feet away. I tossed the bumpers up in the air, said dead bird, let him retrieve one. Then walked him back to the line. My friend threw a bumper about 40 feet away and I sent Riot to retrieve. He came back all happy. So I turned him to the pile. He was confused and had forgotten I think. The pile was in the snow and I was using black/white bumpers so they were obvious to me. So I took a step forward towards the pile, said dead bird and did a throwing motion. The light went on in his head and he dashed off to the pile. He shopped a bit until he found the right bumper (there were only 3 in the pile). He came running back all happy. So I turned him back to the thrower and he did another retrieve. Then turned back to the pile. I did the same dead bird, took a step forward and said back. He went running to the pile. Happy dog! So we repeated that drill with Riot 3 times. He was so good! I can tell when we do FTP work he will happily go to the pile again and again (unlike another dog I know).
 

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Maisey saw her first duck today and she LOVED it. She practically did somersaults in the air (she has springs for feet). It is really big for her mouth right now so we just went back to hold. I threw a few fun ones and she grabs it better when retrieving it than when I put it in her mouth.
 

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Wrapping up the month on a high note with the pup. He turned 15 weeks today. We are definitely headed in a good direction. His recall is wonderful, verbal or whistle. His sits are nice. He understands double retrieves (short). He understands a walk out blind. He is happy to run through brush instead of going around. He is in great shape and enjoys running with the bikes on the trails. He does very well off leash. Good in the crate. Started working on "hold". Nice pup all around. Super biddable.

Not so good walking on a leash. He's good until he sees or hears something he's interested in, then he pulls hard on the leash. His housebreaking is going a little slower than planned. We still have occasional accidents, usually my fault, but he's not good at letting me know he needs to go out. Need to get more solid on whistle sits.

So our goals for February are getting better on doubles and walk out blinds. Getting some "hold" work done. He's teething now. Get better on leash walking. Need to get him on a leash more often, my dogs are off leash almost all the time, which doesn't help. Need to get him returning to my side. Right now his fronts are super nice, but need him sitting at my side and looking out for the next bird. I also need to get him to the pool for some swimming retrieves. I'd like to get him to some show n gos. I'm not showing him, but I think standing in line with other dogs that might be in heat, that have treats like him, and need to learn to walk nicely on a thin lead/collar would be good for him. Learning to stand quietly as someone goes over him is a good thing for him to learn. We also will continue on with our field classes. Oh and continue to work on steadiness. So much to do!
 

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Is it the norm to work steadiness at the line with puppies? I would think at this age it should be all about going. Steadiness will come later. Unless you're talking about sit stays in general.
 

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Not at the line yet. I have all my dogs/puppies work on sitting until I say go. Whether it's waiting to put down the food bowls or at the front door. To me that's part of learning steadiness. At the line with bumpers, right now I'm holding him lightly and sending him as the bumper hits the ground. But as time goes on, I'm going to wait a little longer after the bumper hits the ground before sending and work farther and farther from that. DH and I believe that sit means sit until I tell you to do something else. For me that builds steadiness. I see it as a progression and it's all tied together. Riot is excellent at waiting at the door until I let him go (off leash). He's also excellent at waiting for me to release him to his food bowl to eat. All those things will help him sit calmly in the holding blind or at the line later on. I also work on "watch". Look at me before you do something. So I don't release the dogs to their bowls until they are looking at me.
 
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That makes much more sense, just different terminology. I just call it waiting, and we also practice sit means sit. So much that when I started to add the word "wait", Maise got confused. I thought about not using the word "wait" or "stay" at all, but I like to take advantage of that that extra "wait" or "stay" command we get to give in obedience when the judge says, "leave your dog" for the recall or group stay. Steadiness to me means steadiness at the line.
 

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MOP,
But you did sit means sit until I tell you differently right? How about sitting at the door and waiting until I tell you to go through. Or waiting to load in the crate. You probably did the same thing I'm doing. In the past I waited until the pup was older, I didn't think they would understand at such a young age. This puppy I went a bit differently. DH told me just assume he knows what you mean and go from there. Be committed in your commands and don't make them a suggestion (I'm still working on that part).
 

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I was different in that I was so concerned about momentum and confidence because I overdid with Katniss. Plus, Proof did everything I wanted. I am just not as strict on a ton of house stuff but I do have limitations and boundaries. I had him fairly steady at 7 months already but I started to get on him with force at seven months. before he would just not get to pick up a bird if he broke and that started as soon as he was pinning birds with great speed, around six months. I could ask Ben he'd remember better than me. There are things I do wrong I know, but there are other things I do right. So I don't try to judge everyone's methods for the most part. Unless they are utterly crazy, which I know a few of those.
 

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MOP,
Now you have me worried that I'm overdoing it on obedience. I don't want to loose momentum, but I don't want to have a crazy beast that is a pain at the line. Hmmm you have me thinking...
 

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don't worry about me at all! Just do what you feel is right for your pup. Proof has a little too much momentum so I probably could have been a bit harder on him when he was a pup. BUT that dog had the best recall I've ever seen and he was just doing everything I asked so I didn't push him harder than he needed. I was very afraid of overdoing it.

then one day a FT great saw me run him at 7 months and called out his window get his A$$ sitting on that mat! And that is what prompted me to get on him harder. He told me that with a dog like proof I didn't need to worry about momentum anymore. Only on dogs that crept out to retriever or acted shy. I doubt that is Riot, ha ha ha. I'm sure you are doing better than me!
 

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I think you can train house manners and not have it interfere with momentum in the field. I don't tell Maisey to sit at the line. She doesn't even know she's supposed to. I just hold her collar so she doesn't go until I let go, but I let her go RIGHT when that bird hits the ground. When she was *really* young, I actually let her go half a second before it hit the ground. She can heel and sit in general, but I don't ask for anything at all at the line. The only thing that matters is going.
 

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Yep at first I just let him go as the bird was falling and gradually made him wait longer and longer.

And house manners do matter to me, I am just not super uptight about every detail. I did make Proof sit for his food and he would do it perfectly but after awhile I just gave it to him because heck, I'm running after my kids and doing stuff. But every so often I will make him sit and he will do it without hassle. Proof didn't chew really too much up, slept in his crate quietly when he was in it and didn't have many accidents. He was a pretty easy puppy to be honest. Still he is a good house dog.
 

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Sounds like Riot and Proof are a lot alike. Riot's house manners matter a little more to me because he comes to work with us every day. So I can't have him being a pain around the office.

At the line I am still letting him go right as the bumper hits the ground. He's crazy fast to get the bumper and crazy fast to come back. He marks super well. I'll gradually hold him back a little longer and eventually not hold his collar. Even now though, I don't have to hold him back much, just very lightly. He's got it all figured out. I was pretty shocked this week when he ran those walk out blinds without any issue. Just a little help and he was on his way. This weekend I think we'll continue on that. I have been trying to send him from both sides. That's a lot harder for me to remember to do.

I really hope I don't screw this puppy up! He's such a super puppy.
 
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