Lab puppy training

Thread starter #1


Senior Member
I am getting a female lab in March with a proven bloodline. This will be the first dog I have trained. My goals are to have a family companion first and a friend who can go with me to the dove field, duck swamp and even out west to hunt pheasants and upland birds. I have been looking at all the various books, DVDs recommended online but wanted to come here from recommendations. I do not have any illusions that this will be an easy endeavor that is accomplished in a few weeks. I work from home and will have a lot of time to dedicate to basic obedience training first and then progressing from there. As this will be a family dog I do not want to send her off for months. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated
I have an 1.5 year old lab that fits the exact description you have just given. He is not my first dog, but he is the first one I have ever trained. He goes everywhere with me and will retrieve on the dove field, has retrieved pheasants at a tower shoot we went to recently, and has retrieved ducks. I have done all the work myself, however, to get him started with his obedience and building his drive, I did an online training program with a trainer from Kentucky. I was sent training videos via google drive, kept an online training journal, sent my own videos to the trainer, and he would write me back giving me direction based on my journal comments and videos. I was able to do all of the training myself, building the bond with my dog, with the professional consultation, while becoming an amateur dog trainer. I really enjoyed doing the program and my dog is super well behaved due to all of the hard work. I highly recommend going that route.

Mark K

Senior Member
First of all, when you get a puppy it doesn’t immediately go to a trainer. You build the bond first.
I know of dogs that were bought from trainers after being trained to Master level and were true hunting machines and lap dogs.
Basic obedience can be started as a pup. The rest takes a lot of time, some cussing, a lot of head shaking, and plenty of rewards later on.
I trained my first and only, lol. If I ever get another it will be bought already trained or sent off to be trained. Most dogs are only as good as the trainer. Most professionals know their trade and produce outstanding companions. Just be careful if you go that route. There’s one in middle Ga that you couldn’t pay me enough money to ever take a dog to.


Senior Member
Training a dog might just be the most over rated thing on the planet. Working with a dog to become a team is not rocket science. Why or when guys started thinking they had to send their dog to a "trainer" to have a hunting partner is beyond me. It's like asking for lessons on how to mow the lawn. Dogs are pretty smart and figure things out pretty quick.


Senior Member
I would highly recommend the Duck Dog Basics dvd set by Chris Akin. It is a step by step process to train a pup, start to finish
In my experience someone who has more experience then you will be really helpful when you run into difficulties. I would really try to find somebody with experience to bounce some questions off of when in need.

If I had a lab and I wanted to train him on my own I would consider this. From what I understand it’s hours of video and access to a forum. Maybe more.
The Lardy program or smartworks by Evan Graham are really good and go step by step ... I've been around a ton of dogs that can pick up a duck and if the dog didn't see the mark then they'll throw rocks over toward it till dog goes to the splash ... a lot of people throw around the word finished that have no idea of what a finished dog can do ... they have a different difinition of a finished dog then I do ... join a local Retriever club if 1 is not that far from you ... it will be invaluable ... good luck ... enjoy the adventure


Senior Member
As others have said, it totally depends on expectations. Your pup’s mom and dad gave her everything needed to go and retrieve; it’s getting that under control, getting her to behave around other dogs and people, and then getting her to do what you need when hunting that takes work.
We’ve all been on dove shoots where the guy brings a dog because it looks like a hunting dog; one that takes off when it shouldn’t and gets everyone else’s birds, won’t come back or stop when told to, and the owner screams the whole afternoon at the dog as if it’s the dog’s fault. We’ve also seen dogs on a duck hunt that can’t sit still, haven’t been taught how to go get a duck unless it sees the duck down, which may not be the best time to retrieve if ducks are still flying, or has to have a rock thrown to lure her in a direction where a duck might be found. Again, it’s all what you want out of a dog, but your pup’s lifetime with you can be a wonderful thing with the basics properly instilled. For many of us, investing just a few months into a trainer can bring many years of rewards. The good ones know so much, can read a dog’s needs, and get your pup on the fast track to being a very accomplished dog, and certainly not one that will frustrate the other hunters you’re with.
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If u have a chance this wk end go ck out a hunt test or field trial and watch the dogs work ... there's a ukc hunt test in Americus a AKC hunt test in Thomasville and a Field Trial in Lincolnton if any of those are close to you ... you'll see some great dogs and some that need more training ... even if you have no intention on running events it's still a fun and learning experience for a gun dog owner ... good luck ... post pics of the little dude when u get him or her