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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
I have a 6 month old black lab and will hopefully be taking him to some gun dog training classed next month. These classes are in the evening at 7:30pm.
Our current routine is a walk at around 5:30 with his supper at 6:30 ish, after a mad 5 min he usually sleeps then until I take him out at around 10:30 for a last pee / poo before putting him in his crate for the night.
How should I change things for the classes? I can see my options as:
Feed him earlier, around 5:30 on those nights (he will not mind an early feed I’m sure!);
Feed him late, after the classes
Or would it be best to permanently change his whole routine?
Any advice / tips gratefully appreciated
:)
 

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If I need to feed mine an hour later or earlier, then I just do it on that occasion, they will pester me for a while if it's later than 'normal', but they soon realise I'm the one with the opposable thumbs that gets to say when they actually get fed. Tonight, I even stopped dishing out their tea just because my youngster got so overexcited and wouldn't sit and wait nicely, so all their dishes went away until she'd calmed down and kept her bum planted. She tends to leap straight up in the air, and whilst quite impressive, sometimes she gets very over excited and lands on her grandma, which is not something I want to happen, so I encourage her as much as possible to keep her bum planted, and, if she gets giddy, then they all have to wait a bit longer.
 

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Personally I would feed early. Ideally you want at least an hour after feeding before starting work to let the food settle. Have fun in class, keep the training light and he will be wanting more. :)
 

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Gundog Training. I dont know what your eventual aims are, but gundog training can be great fun for both dog and handler. For a pet I feel much of gundog work is more appropriate than competitive obedience. But gundog work can form a wonderful healthy activity, exercise in the fresh air is good for both people and dogs! It's also something you can take as far as you want to go. The competitive side, competing in Gundog Working Tests, which entails retrieving canvas dummies, through to Field Trials, (Though I would recommend anyone wanting to compete in Field Trials should start with Working Tests.) Many people dont want competition, but enjoy working their dog on shoots, either beating or picking up. (I did all the competition I wanted in my younger days, racing motorcycles.) Many clubs dont hold training sessions through the winter because the instructors are working on shoots.

Shoots can be little "farm shoots" walking the hedges and small areas of cover up to huge estates selling days. I'm (unpaid) underkeeper on a lovely small syndicated shoot. On shoots like that you get to know everybody because the same people are there every shoot day.

As an underkeeper I need a "Jack of all trades" dog. I dog who will sit quietly outside the pen while I'm feeding the birds, will dog in with me, (pushing the young birds back into the centre of the shoot if they start wandering too far from home. Then on shoot days it's whatever is needed. I run the picking up, placing the other pickers up where they are needed, mean while I might be picking up, I might be bringing a hedge down, making sure the guns are where they should be standing, transporting the guns to the next drive, and answering such questions as "Where do the birds fly from on this drive?" or "Where is peg 5?"

Below is my Chloe out training with me at around 6 months. (The distance is not as far as it seems.)

Long retrieve - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your replies, an early feed for him on those days will be the way forward.

Re actual aims, at the moment I’m just looking for some training that will give him mental stimulation and to help with the socialisation (issue is at the moment he wants to say ‘hello’ to all and sundry) and to get out to somewhere different and see how things progress.

Impressive work with Chloe at 6 months John, I have a fair bit of work to do! He would sit and then wait before going to ‘get it’ but the ’bringing back’ (which is sort of crucial in a retriever :ROFLMAO:) is not on his agenda yet ! (And I know that indicates more of an issue with my training than the dog!)

(on a slightly nosey tangent, what did you race John? Motor cross or road racing?)
 

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(on a slightly nosey tangent, what did you race John? Motor cross or road racing?)
Motocross, or Scrambling as it was called in those days. (1960's/70's) I still have my bike rusting away in the shed, a 250cc Cotton. I also rode in trials, Scrambles was a summer sport and Trials in the winter. I built my trials bike using a 197cc James frame and put a 250cc Villiers engine in it and BSA C11g front forks and a BSA Bantam petrol tank. I drilled so many holes in it to lighten it that it threatened to fall apart! I was never that good at either, just a reasonable club scratcher, but we had lots of fun. Interestingly I worked in engineering, and on Mondays I would spend most of the day machining parts to replace what I had broken the day before. Then at the end of my working life I was trouble shooting machine shop problems, and our head of Quality Assurance used to spanner for a classic racing team, and I used to use Mondays making parts for a Manx Norton. Got to say, I loved my job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Motocross, or Scrambling as it was called in those days. (1960's/70's) I still have my bike rusting away in the shed, a 250cc Cotton. I also rode in trials, Scrambles was a summer sport and Trials in the winter. I built my trials bike using a 197cc James frame and put a 250cc Villiers engine in it and BSA C11g front forks and a BSA Bantam petrol tank. I drilled so many holes in it to lighten it that it threatened to fall apart! I was never that good at either, just a reasonable club scratcher, but we had lots of fun. Interestingly I worked in engineering, and on Mondays I would spend most of the day machining parts to replace what I had broken the day before. Then at the end of my working life I was trouble shooting machine shop problems, and our head of Quality Assurance used to spanner for a classic racing team, and I used to use Mondays making parts for a Manx Norton. Got to say, I loved my job!
A slightly different take on ‘Race on Sunday, sell on Monday’!
Brings back memories of motorsport events, the smell of hot oil, unburnt hydrocarbons and Castrol R!
 

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A tin of molybdenum based grease standing on a Gamping Gaz stove, melting the grease to soak the chain in. Strip the engine to fit new rings before the next weekend's race. Paint the number on with white wall tyre pain on Friday so we could dip a piece of rag in the petrol tank to wipe them off on Monday ready for the next number. (We were never high enough in the pecking order to keep the same number!)
 

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but the ’bringing back’ (which is sort of crucial in a retriever :ROFLMAO:) is not on his agenda yet !
With a young dog I construct a "Training corridor" in the garden using chicken wire and garden canes. So I'm restricting my pup's ability to run off with it. I also used to have a training jump in the garden. Not there any more because Chloe will be my last ever dog. I've had a good innings, had dogs since 1955, but sadly all good things have to come to an end.

Chloe Jumping 2 - YouTube
 

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Funnily enough at gundog training this is something Branta was really good at, steadiness not so much, but retrieving to hand she was brilliant. From being a small puppy I've always encouraged her to come to me with whatever she has, and made sure I don't mug her for it, ie just take it, but make a huge fuss of her and if it's something she can keep, ie one of her toys, then let her have it back. I've also encouraged her to carry things for me (once she could do stairs), like washing, when I'm taking it down to the utility room, so she knows she carries it for so long and then I take it off her. So although we had no steadiness she came back when called and delivered to hand, and at quite a good speed as well.
 

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Steadiness you can train in, if they don’t retrieve by nature then you’re stuffed. Freddie is a 100% natural retriever and a pleasure to work with and building in steadiness is what we work on. Pops (despite being the granddaughter of a dual champion) isn’t that bothered so we work on making retrieving a great thing to do (she loves carrying stuff so we’re part way there). She’ll happily retrieve all sorts apart from canvas dummies 🤣🤣. She will pick up the dummies if they’re wrapped in fur or feathers.
 

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Steadiness you can train in, if they don’t retrieve by nature then you’re stuffed. Freddie is a 100% natural retriever and a pleasure to work with and building in steadiness is what we work on. Pops (despite being the granddaughter of a dual champion) isn’t that bothered so we work on making retrieving a great thing to do (she loves carrying stuff so we’re part way there). She’ll happily retrieve all sorts apart from canvas dummies 🤣🤣. She will pick up the dummies if they’re wrapped in fur or feathers.
Yep, which is why I just keep it fun for pups, now I'm starting to build in steadiness out and about with Branta, she'll sit and wait at home, not for long, but she will sit and wait, but it was all far too exciting with other dogs getting retrieves around her, so I'll be taking her out to places with other dogs about, and slowly building up steadiness so that I can take her to joint training classes again. She's a bit like Rhuna, every retrieve MUST be hers.
 

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I start steadiness training quite early, but not as in a retrieve.

Steadiness - YouTube
This is what I'm now starting to do more of with Branta, and with her favourite toys rather than the normal house toys she can have at any point. They never get the proper dummies or tennis balls except during training, so excitement levels go up when they are out.
 
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