Golden Retriever Training – Ultimate Handbook
In the beginning the golden retriever was named the yellow retriever. In later years the name was largely replaced by the golden retriever, a name made up by the late Lord Harcourt. Also at the beginning of this century there was consternation about the origin of the breed. Black with a wavy coat retrievers were known in certain circles in the south of Scotland in those days, but especially black Labradors are very popular. Actual yellow retrievers were hardly known, except for a few members of noble families and their close friends. Their subsequent spread to all parts of England was not easy to provide. Therefore, it is rather late to try to put facts and truth. Fortunately there is still an undisputed source of information available.
In Britain, Europe, the United States, South Africa, Australia and Japan this dog is very familiar. It is one of the six retriever breeds we know: the Labrador Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, the Curly Coated Retriever, Chesapeake Bayretriever and the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever(yes, really!). The golden retriever is full of life, workaholic and controllable of nature, and is therefore often used as a working dog such as service dog and hound. As a family dog he is very sound. Towards children, he is regularly understanding and good-natured, a real do-gooder, but not very watchful. Golden retrievers are often forceful but are softer in nature than the Labradors.
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History of The Chesapeake Bay Retriever:
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is of the British origin and was perfected in 19th century Maryland. This breed filled the need for a dog that could retrieve ducks all day in the cold, turbulent waters of the Chesapeake Bay. His greater size and strength gave him an edge over the Labrador Retriever.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever stands approximately 21 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 90 pounds. He has a powerful medium- to large-boned structure. His shedding, water-resistant wavy coat, which is relatively short and easy to maintain, does an excellent job of insulating the dog against cold water. Regular brushing should keep the coat in good condition. The color may be brown or tan.
About The Chesapeake Bay Retriever:
This is an intelligent, hardy breed who is an excellent retriever and devoted to his owner. He is a big, strong dog with great courage and stamina. He is also an extremely dominant, obstinate dog that requires a strong, no-nonsense leadership. He is very stubborn and territorial and can be dog-aggressive. Chesapeakes are not recommended for families with young children because of their physical, controlling demeanor. They are very suspicious of strangers and are excellent watchdogs. The owner of a Chessie should start obedience training and socialization as early as possible. Those who wish to avoid some of the breed’s inherent dominant aggressive behavior would do well choosing a female. They can suffer from hip dysplasia and bloat.
Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 ½ – 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.
The owner of this breed must be a strong, consistent leader from day one. These dogs will quickly fill any lack of leadership, and a spoiling, nurturing owner may be overwhelmed by the time the dog is six months old. This is not a dog for the elderly or the disabled. Chessies quickly perceive physical weakness or lack of confidence in an owner and will soon take over. A house with a fenced yard is mandatory. If left alone too long, this breed may bark excessively and be very destructive. Obedience training and socialization with people and dogs should start from the time the puppy arrives home. If you want a good watchdog that will be affectionate, intelligent, and athletic, and if you have great leadership skills and time to socialize the dog, then you may wish to consider the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
The Labrador Retriever is often found working in airports, on street patrol, and in other public locations, as it has been found that they have the concentration capacity and staying power to maintain scent work in large, populated areas.
The Labrador Retriever is becoming more popular in this job and have been known for their ability to work among civilians without creating anxiety which is often known to occur when the more traditional police dogs such as German Shepherds and Dobermans are used.
Following in the path of the Saint Bernard, the Labrador Retriever has become a vital part of rescue teams. The Labrador’s superior scenting ability has made him one of the top Disaster Dogs. Because of their keen sense of smell, Labradors are being trained to find people buried by the debris of earthquakes or similar disasters.
The work is arduous and requires great concentration in dangerous surroundings; The dog must go to his task in the rubble of collapsed buildings, surrounded by the clamor of emergency vehicles, and often fire.
In these crisis situations, the air is usually choked with dust, smoke, and gas escaping from broken gas lines. A Labrador Retriever is able to focus on the human scent and locate trapped victims. Upon making a find, the Disaster Dog is trained to indicate this to his handler by barking and scratching gently at the spot.
The intensity of the bark generally indicates whether the victim is dead or alive. The handler calls in another team to verify and then notifies the rescue officials, who do the removal.
The Labrador Retriever works efficiently, in a calm, gentle manner, rather than the aggressive, almost attacking method exhibited by breeds that have been tried but eliminated from the program. Each Disaster Dog has undergone extensive training and must be fully reliable to work individually off-lead and be fully responsive to his handler.
Despite his desire to continue searching, a Disaster Dog must withdraw immediately upon command, as the handler may spot a danger that the dog is unaware of.
The Disaster Dog program is run by unpaid volunteers who teach the dog to master all obedience skills as well special techniques.
A Disaster Dog must be trained to climb over difficult obstacles, such as ladders, thin walk ways, rocks, and downed trees, and avoid broken glass, collapsing surface and other life-threatening situations. He must also be able to climb on through small windows or crevices where people may be trapped.
This type of work requires a superlative dog like the Labrador Retriever that is dedicated to saving lives, putting his own on the line without fear.
Labrador Retriever owners are blessed with a breed that loves to learn. All training must enforce the idea that learning not only is fun but it will bring positive responses from the owner. Learning is not a game, but it need not be unpleasant either.
Training your Labrador Retriever to be a mannerly adult is begun at birth, by its mother. Once the Labrador Retriever puppy arrives at the new owner’s home, it has already been given some basic instructions on behavior – so don’t be fooled into thinking it is too young to behave. A puppy is, of course, too young to teach formal commands, but early lessons in manners and on who is in charge can begin at once.
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The Labrador retriever is a highly intelligent animal and a capable learner. It embodies many natural instincts and abilities that make this breed distinct among others of similar heritage. But at the core, a Labrador retriever is a dog – originally a pack animal. From earliest times, pack animals have exhibited a pattern of behavior that affects the process of training:
A pack animal assumes it is the boss until proved otherwise (the leader-of-the-pack syndrome). At birth, the dam assumes the leadership position and keeps her young in line. As the puppies begin to assert their independence, she will remind them of their place through low growls, a swat of the paw, or an occasional shake of the neck. Little else is necessary. She admonishes her young swiftly, fairly, consistently, and unemotionally, and they respect her position as leader. The wise owner follows the dam’s example.
Consistency is vital. Should the dog misbehave, respond accordingly and appropriately. Do not let his “cute little antics” go uncorrected as this will undermine your leadership. Respond firmly but fairly, letting him know what is expected of him and what will not be tolerated. Brute force is not required and is counterproductive. When a dog is testing your authority, correct it in a manner a dog will understand – a firm vocal reprimand, a stem look, a shake of the neck. Little more should be necessary to make your displeasure clear if you are carrying out the corrections authoritatively.
Be sure never to whine, nag, plead, or preach at the dog, as these are clearly not the actions of a leader and the Labrador Retriever will not feel compelled to obey.
Mutual trust and understanding are required between the hunter and his Labrador Retriever before a satisfactory retrieving companion is developed.
The intelligent Labrador Retriever, brought up as a house pet with the love and understanding of the person who is to take him hunting, requires a minimum of training in order to accomplish the job. Much of this training can be done in the house and a few minutes a day is enough.
Such things as blind retrieves and hand signals can become a game in the house with the dog learning to trust his nose as one of the important by-products.
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Introduction to feathers can be accomplished by tying feathers on a dummy or using a pigeon or chicken wing with the feathers intact. Remember that a Labrador should hand you the object retrieved and not drop it on the ground as is allowed with other breeds. This is also one of the requirements for a working certificate for a show dog. One important thing should not be overlooked and that is allowing persons to throw just anything for a dog and not requiring the dog to bring it back and give it to them. Let toys be toys, but certain definite other things should be reserved for training.
If a dog has a tendency to go off with the object you are training with outdoors, it is a good idea to reduce the available working space so that evading you is minimized. In such circumstances, moving away from the dog may induce following and the training object may be retrieved as the dog passes. His game of keep-away is thus converted to delivering the object for reward of the praise bestowed upon surrender of the object.
For outside work, training involves getting your Labrador Retriever to go far out, which is not possible in the house. Introducing him to gunfire must also be done outdoors. You can find a training aid called a dummy thrower that is very useful, but test it without your dog the first time as the dummy goes a long way.
For Labrador Retriever owners wishing to use a whistle for signals, one of the product that you can get is the Acme Thunderer. With this type of whistle, one can almost talk as it is possible to make various other sounds. One blast is commonly used for a dog to sit wherever he is, and three blasts to summon the dog to come towards or all the way back to you. The single blast is used also to signal for the Labrador Retriever to pay attention when you plan to use hand signals.
You can begin some elementary retrieving exercises at eight weeks or so, and your Labrador Retriever will most likely love the game and look forward to it each day. To teach the basic mechanics of the fetch (run out, pick up the object, return the object to the master, and release), begin by placing the puppy on a 10-foot lead.
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Take a favorite toy or a ball large enough not to be swallowed, dangle it in front and above the dog’s head to gain its attention, and toss it 5 to 6 feet in front of you. Precede your command with your dog’s name. For example, say, “Jake, fetch!” As he races for the toy, follow behind your Labrador Retriever.
Make sure the lead stays loose and does not snap shut and frighten or hurt him (and perhaps permanently sour him on retrieving).
If he picks up the toy, praise him encouragingly. Should he merely eye or paw the toy, make him pick it up by shaking it in front of him, repeating “Jake, fetch!” Once he has grasped the toy, walk backwards to your beginning spot. Coax him to follow you by motioning him toward you using your hands and fingers.
When he arrives back, get the toy from his mouth by commanding “Out!” and gently pulling it loose. Now is the time to give him a lot of praise and affection – not during the exercise, although encouragement can be helpful.
At such a young age, the emphasis in this and all types of exercise is on fun, not on performance. Improvement in response should naturally come with familiarity. As the puppy masters the game, vary it. Keep your Labrador Retriever guessing.
Try to remain in position and not move out toward the toy. Later, you can attach a longer lead and extend the distance of your throw, or throw the toy sideways. Any Labrador retriever worth its name will take easily and eagerly to this game.
It is recommended that you play with the Labrador Retriever puppy often and consciously make an effort to get down to its level. Standing upright, humans can be quite an imposing sight for a puppy. Sitting or lying on the floor, they are no longer towers but friendly companions. Giving a puppy some eye-to-eye attention will go a long way in cementing the human-dog bond.
Because a Labrador retriever make good swimmers as adults, some misinformed people think this gives them the liberty to dunk young puppies into any available pool of water. A Labrador Retriever is a natural swimmer, but the dog needs to learn the fundamentals before being expected to feel at ease in the water.
When a Labrador Retriever puppy’s first exposure to the water is being thrown or forced in, the shock may make it dislike and fear the water throughout life. Many potential field dogs have been ruined by improper or overzealous training.
The first introduction to the water can begin while a puppy is quite young (three months is a good age). A puppy should be able to master the mechanics very quickly, especially if “shown
the ropes” by some older dogs. The owner should always be nearby, should trouble arise. It often helps the dog feel at ease if the owner wades into the water with it on the first dip.
Ponds or lakes, with their easy entries, are best for training water dogs. The slick tiles and steep sides of a pool are often unmanageable for the dog, and many drownings have occurred when an exhausted dog was unable to climb out of the water. Similarly, a young Labrador Retriever puppy is not strong enough to manage a rough ocean surf, but should be encouraged to play along the shoreline in a sheltered area of shallow water.