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Discussion Starter #1
Just to start a discussion going here...(the opinions herein are not necessarily those of the management, or even mine)
I heard an opinion last night that the hunt/field trainers have gotten so good that it's hurting the retrieving breeds.
This person said that because the trainers are so good, the breeders don't need to improve the dogs, or even produce particularly good ones (this was followed by a lengthy explanation of what "good" means, including soft mouth, tractability, calm disposition, etc) because whatever they produce can be corrected by a decent trainer.
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Well, I don't hunt. I don't train. Me and Lucky....we're just couch potatos.

Now that my credentials are out of the way, I will offer my opinion.

No, I don't think you can replace innate drive and ability with super training. There is a joy and intensity within a dog doing something he was born good at.
 

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I might ad that I do think a soft mouth is pure training...whether it be learned when its with its puppy sibling or learned by a trainer. I personally don't think a soft mouth is dependent on a gene.
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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I consider myself a pretty good trainer (not field specifically - just commenting in general). I still want to start with the best piece of clay possible. IMO, it would be a great disservice to the breed if breeders were to start "getting lazy" b/c they felt the trainer could "fix" anything that wasn't attempted to be bred into the dog.

Besides, they can't *really* control (at least not with great accuracy) which traits will come and go with "sloppy" breeding. You end up with a dog that lacks drive, for example, and that will be a very difficult thing to "train" into the dog.

All in all, I think that's a very poor argument.
 

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In some ways, I think that the skill and success of the great trainers in the field game lead to a requirement for better breeding, not make it less important--particularly in FTs. As the training has gotten better and it has become more difficult to choose between dogs, the various tests at trials have gotten tougher. Distances are longer, concepts tougher, etc. A dog who is not well bred simply won't stand up to the physical and mental demands placed on them.
 

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the party's crashing us
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This sounds like someone I wouldn't want training MY dog :)
You hear this argument also from the anti-e-collar crowd...that the e-collar has produced fire-breathing, bird-chomping rock-brains rather than, I suppose, the popping bank runners touted as "British-trained."
There are no training methods that make up for a non-biddable, unintelligent, non-birdy retriever.
Advancements in training methods allow the trainer to better communicate to the dog, and a dog with good breeding can flourish under good methods.
--Anney
 

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I don't think that would be true. If you look at the catalogs for field trials all the Golden Retrievers have pedigrees filled with field titles, most with top level titles. If any dog could win or even compete at a field trial with a good trainer, you would see more dogs with no titles in their lines.

I have heard the saying you cannot make filet mignon out of ground beef...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies. As I said, the opinion originally given wasn't necessarily mine. In fact, it wasn't mine at all, but I don't know enough to have counter-argued so I wanted to hear from people who do know!
 

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Just to start a discussion going here...(the opinions herein are not necessarily those of the management, or even mine)
I heard an opinion last night that the hunt/field trainers have gotten so good that it's hurting the retrieving breeds.
This person said that because the trainers are so good, the breeders don't need to improve the dogs, or even produce particularly good ones (this was followed by a lengthy explanation of what "good" means, including soft mouth, tractability, calm disposition, etc) because whatever they produce can be corrected by a decent trainer.
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How can I put this delicately? Rubbish!!! There! Was I diplomatic enough? :)

Whoever said that to you was confessing their ignorance. The requirements made of dogs in field trial competition require the finest traits in the greatest density possible.

If one trainer were to make a single stride that separated his/her dogs from all the others it may lead one to make such a stretch. But the trainers & handlers in that sport, overall, have raised the bar together over time, and will likely continue to do that. That still leaves the greater edge to the dog that brought the best genetic traits to the game in order to distinguish themselves as a consistent winner.

EvanG
 
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