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Discussion Starter #1
so im thinking about getting a larger dog like a chocolat Lab or a golden retriever and i want to know the best way to train him or her for hunting but i want to make sure the dog will be good around lil kids because my girlfriend has a 2 year old son and we're planing on having at least 2 more kids so i want a friendly dog that will protect my loved ones and be helpful duck hunting
 

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Oooh Chocolate lab is definitely a good choice! My aunt and uncle have had two of them in the past, their first one was an ex-seeing eye dog.. She was the SWEETEST dog.. when they had their first child, she would let him crawl all over her. Where most dogs would have gotten up and walked away/ripped the childs face off.. she just laid there.. She was very careful with him and very caring. Their second dog is just as sweet. They got her as a puppy and my uncle trained her to be a hunting dog with him. She is still exceptionally good with their kids, and my uncle says her favorite thing to do is go hunting. 5/5 stars for the Chocolate lab from me :)

As for how to train them to be a hunting dog.. I have no idea! :D
 

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Both Labs and Goldens can be very good with cats. As long as they are introduced properly and never left alone together, it shouldn't be that much of a problem.

Training your dog to hunt ducks may be a little more complicated. They do have instincts that gear towards retrieving, but the difficulty lies in honing that instinct.
 

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First, make sure the pup has hunt test and/or field trial titles going back several generations in his pedigree. That's tougher to find with Goldens but it can be done. Goldens from solid hunting/hunt test/field trial lines will cost quite a bit more than a Lab with similar stats. Avoid show breeders who put a couple of Junior Hunter titles in the pedigree as those are very pretty dogs with lackluster hunting drive. Health testing going back several generations and health guarantees on the pup should always be a deal breaker. Backyard bred dogs without those things should not be considered--even if the parents have demonstrated hunting talent. You'll spend a significant amount of time, and some money, bring a hunting dog along. You'll want to stack the deck by starting off with a pup from good stock. Putting a couple of years into training a dog that ends up crippled with dysplasia is more than a disappointment.

Second, batten down the hatches! Pups with high hunting drive are lots of fun, but they do make for some interesting times.

My field bred Golden is fabulous with kids but as a pup he was as wild as the wind. He was like a hyena on crack much of the time. Not one second of the pup's time with the child should ever be unsupervised. Train hard and once you've ridden out the first year or so, you get a wonderful friend to all mankind, though it can be difficult to visualize that outcome when they are on their 10th rampage of the day (and it's not even lunch time).

If you want a protective hunting dog, get a Chessie.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i am also a trucker so how well can larger dogs handle being in a truck for 3-4 hours at a time and i want to teach a dog how to get a beer from the fridge thats been a goal of mine since i saw the movie shooter
 

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i am also a trucker so how well can larger dogs handle being in a truck for 3-4 hours at a time and i want to teach a dog how to get a beer from the fridge thats been a goal of mine since i saw the movie shooter
LOL.. the only problem I see with the beer fetching is a dog that knows how to open the refrigerator.... probably isn't a good thing. :rolleyes:
 

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Some dogs can be mellow and gentle, only turning it on in the field. I'd pay real money for a dog like that! However, most of the field type pups have an awful lot of crazy to get worked out of them before spending long hours on the road would be an option. They have major exercise requirements that you neglect at the risk of your sanity.

Once the dog matures, that would be no big problem as long as he gets plenty of training time. Of course if you leave a lunatic puppy at home for the wife to deal with (along with the babies), you may find the locks have been changed when you get home from a run.

You might want to consider getting a dog that's already well along in his training. Well respected kennels sometimes let started dogs go for various reasons. It looks at first like a lot of money to spend on a dog, but if you calculate how much you'd have into him by the time he's 18 months old, the economics actually work. If you factor in professional training time, it's a pretty good deal.
 

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First, make sure the pup has hunt test and/or field trial titles going back several generations in his pedigree. That's tougher to find with Goldens but it can be done. Goldens from solid hunting/hunt test/field trial lines will cost quite a bit more than a Lab with similar stats. Avoid show breeders who put a couple of Junior Hunter titles in the pedigree as those are very pretty dogs with lackluster hunting drive.

Second, batten down the hatches! Pups with high hunting drive are lots of fun, but they do make for some interesting times.

He was like a hyena on crack much of the time.
I disagree strongly. If the OP is looking not for a highly-powered competition machine, but a family companion hunting retriever that will most likely spend far more time as a family companion than as a hunting dog, I would not recommend a "hyena on crack" to a first-time owner.

Most field trial bred labradors or even goldens would be far too much dog for an inexperienced owner with young kids--they just need too much in terms of training and exercise and mental stimulation every single day--something you admit to in your posts.

While I also wouldn't suggest one of the lumbering fat labradors that you commonly see in the show ring, there are some lab and golden breeders out there that breed moderate dogs that both work and look good doing it. Moderation would be my suggestion, with a huge emphasis placed on temperament and health.

No matter what, ask not only about hip, elbow and eye clearances (and hearts with goldens), but also EIC, epilepsy and pay close attention to temperament.
 

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One thing at a time... find a good, reputable breeder who produces sound dogs. Read up on targeting and clicker-training if you want to teach your dog to get you a beer from the fridge. It's doable, sure, but not simple work.
 

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wab: we actually agree. However, unless you live near a large number of breeders who put solid hunting dogs on the ground, you pretty much have to rely on paper to assess your prospect. Hunt test dogs are typically less maniacal than field trial dogs, and there are lines of both that are known for (comparatively) easy going temperaments. This is why I suggested a started dog. They are normally about (+/-) 18 months old, have good training under their belts, and have mostly passed through the puppy crazies and teenage rebellion. You get to see the dog you buy not just the raw material.

Leaving a hunting pup at home for the little ones to play tug o' war with (and other verbotten games) makes everything more difficult than it needs to be. What you spend on a trained dog is money well spent. IMO. That's actually the way I wanted to go, but this dog is not actually mine. I just do what I'm told.
 

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what would be the best recomend breed for my needs?
That depends on how much you value a well behaved truck buddy vs. a hard charging hunting partner. Whether you primarily intend to hunt waterfowl or upland birds. Whether you hunt sea ducks off the coast of Maine, geese in the corn fields of Ohio, chukars in Idaho, pheasant in the Dakotas, quail in Georgia, grouse in Vermont...and I could go on like that all day. Some breeds have utility as all 'rounders, but the reason there are so many different hunting breeds is because different hunting conditions and different game require different physical conformation and skill sets.
 

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im big into the grouse hunting but having a truck buddy who is well behaved is very important
Grouse! Now your talking my lingo.

You have 2 basic hunting styles with grouse: flushers and pointers. A flusher finds the bird and forces it into the air within gun range. A pointer finds the bird and pins it (not literally) on the ground until you arrive to flush it. As a very general rule of thumb (very general) a flushing dog requires fewer training hours and less finesse on the part of the trainer than a pointing dog.

Pure pointing breeds (pointers and setters) are not the greatest retrievers. Some do well, though. The English Setter is the classic grouse dog. Versatile pointing breeds are more natural retrievers, but many lines are sharp on fur. They can be socialized with your cats, but getting them to ignore the neighbor's tabby might present a challenge.

Labs are popular as flushing dogs and there are even lines of pointing Labradors. In certain circles discussion of pointing Labs is an absolute minefield. Any retriever with a strong prey drive can learn to scare birds, and some non-traditional breed like Australian Cattle Dogs and Airedales have even been put to work. The traditional flushing dog is the spaniel. Field bred Springers and English Cockers are very popular. In the upper mid west, the American Water Spaniel is a favorite as they also do yeoman's work on retrieving waterfowl.

A good retriever will certainly get the job done, but that's putting a lot of horsepower to the ground for a <1 lb. bird. A 30 lb. spaniel can get into places that my 75 lb. Golden doesn't even know are places.
 

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I'm not sure what qualifies as a flusher and what qualifies as a retriever... but for grouse hunting, a truck buddy, and a pal for the kids, how about a Brittany Spaniel?
 

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I'm not sure what qualifies as a flusher and what qualifies as a retriever... but for grouse hunting, a truck buddy, and a pal for the kids, how about a Brittany Spaniel?
Brittanies are the pointing spaniels. The hunting style is that of a pointing dog, but the size and personality is typical spaniel. I believe the "spaniel" part of the name was dropped some time ago. At least for the American version.

A flushing retriever vs. a retrieving spaniel doesn't make much diff. A full size retriever is at a disadvantage in thick coverts and a spaniel doesn't have the coat or the size to make a dedicated goose dog. There are exceptions. There are even lines of Labs that are bred specifically for the upland hunter and they tend to be smaller and quite racy.

It really boils down to what kind of dog fits your personality. There are exceptions to every generality (including that one) but Labs tend to be very forgiving of new trainers. If you lose your patience with a Lab, they will generally get over it quicker than you will. Spaniels tend to be a good deal softer. They can all exhibit some impressive mischief-making skills as pups.

Assuming a sound dog, retrievers make awesome best friends. I know some guys who's wives would be well advised to never press their man to make a choice between them. On the other hand, I could never trust a person who couldn't love a spaniel.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
went down to the SPCA here and looked at some of the dogs that they have and there is a 5 month old german short hair poniter what does everyone think of this pup he is very friendly and the last owners couldnt keep him because they could not find a place to live that would alow pets
 

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GSPs are fine dogs and generally have sweet dispositions. Like Labs and Goldens, they tend to be very high energy pups with all kinds of go. The German versatile dogs--German Shothairs, German Wirehairs, Weimaraners-- tend to be more protective of their owners' property than some other hunting breeds. They are not guard dogs by any stretch of the imagination, though. Adopting a dog for specific work is a roll of the dice. You don't often know his breeding or how he's been handled before. As long as you go into it with no high expectations, you'll enjoy the pup. Understand that once everybody falls in love with him, you'll be keeping him whether he pans out as a hunting partner or not. Hey, that just gives you an excuse to get another dog in the future. Win-win!

The GSP is a versatile pointer which means they make very competent retrievers. They don't have the heavy coat needed for working extensively in cold water, but are good on early season ducks and geese.

5 months is young enough to work with as long as he has decent prey drive and pointing instinct. If he has not already been made gun shy, you can work with the rest. The dog's introduction to gunfire is critical. Don't take the advice many will give you to take the pup down to the skeet range and tie him to a post while you shoot a couple of rounds. You can ruin him for hunting in one or two sessions with that method.

Mr. Vasko can give you some help with training methods, but you will be working on basic obedience to start with. You'll want to keep him out of the woods while ground nesting birds are sitting/raising broods, but otherwise just let him get his nose into wild birds. Wild grouse and pheasant will teach him that he's never gonna have success at catching one. If he's got decent pointing instinct, he'll figure out how to get close without flushing the bird.
 
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