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Where do I start

Old 08-07-2012, 04:20 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Helena Mt USA
Posts: 1,834
Default Where do I start

Just got my first hunting dog; A yellow lab. I am clueless on where or how to start training him for birds. Mainly pheasants and grouse. He is 9 weeks old.

Any tips on books or videos or gear or just tips in general to get started would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:11 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colville WA USA
Posts: 1,974

You start with a good, sequential training program.
My preference is the "Smartwork" series by Evan Graham.
Evan's website is at

Also, join a good Hunting Retriever Club -- There are a couple near you.
To find them, go to


Last edited by Doc E; 08-07-2012 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:15 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Kenly, North Carolina
Posts: 370

Doc E, has some good advise there.
Evan's Smart Work program is a very good program.

Get his basics down, obedience on top, then retrieving work, then bird exposure the last 2 can work hand in hand, the bird will do more training of the dog then any human can.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 32

The book that helped me the most was "Retriever training for the Duck Hunter" by Robert Milner. It is an old book now and surprisingly very expensive. He has a revised book where he changed some of his methods but I found it very easy to follow and read and it took you step by step to a well trained retriever.

At that age let the pup have fun so very light when you are training. Train in ways that do not seem to be training. Sit before he gets his food, or fetch when you throw a small dummy and here when he is coming to you.

His method allowed me with little gun dog experience to train a dog to a pretty high level and by the time the dog was old enough for serious training, it already was pretty well trained and the last phase just really insured that the dog obeyed commands instantly.

This book will not help you train for field trials but if you want a dog that gets the ducks and geese you shoot and listens to commands then give it a read.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1

A book that has served me well over the years is: "Training your Retriever" by James Lamb Free. I am sure your local library has a copy. He is very old school, but his methods WORKED for me with every dog I have owned. Chessie's Brittany's and now a Boykin Spaniel. Pay particular attention to the obedience training part. Good Luck
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