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Your puppy first retrieves in the field.
           Written by Michelle Linnane

 So you bought a retriever puppy and you have hopes of great retrieves in the field and the duck blind. This article will focus on starting the puppy  retrieving and obedience and making sure your first retrieve in the field is a success.  We are trying to build good habits, from the pups first retrieve.

 I use gold fish, the crackers that come in the bag for an obedience treat. They can be chewed up quick and I have never had a puppy who did not like them. After I bring a new puppy home, and they have settled in after a few days I start obedience training.
  I keep a bowl of gold fish on the puppy crate and some in the kitchen as all my puppies are raised in the house. Every time I call the puppy they get a gold fish. Every time the puppy goes in the cage they get a treat and I say the command kennel. Once the puppy is coming well in the house, only call the puppy in the house for the next three weeks so they never learn not to disobey. Do not test the puppy only call them at first when they are very close and have no place else to go. Once the puppy is coming good at short distances, increase the distance slowly. Do this for another couple of weeks. Then I get another person to help me. At this point the two people are 10 feet apart. We take turns calling the puppy  and each time using the same command ( puppy here) and giving a treat so they learn that every time someone calls they get a treat if them come.

Beginning retrieving
 Most houses have a hall way that is long and narrow.  Well that is the place to start,  shut all doors. The hall way only needs to be 10 feet long and it will work fine. I use a sock or a toy, or even an obedience dumb bell as it is easy for the puppy to pick up. I get down at their level and call them. One mistake many people make is they rush to pull it out of the puppy mouth. I hold the puppy around the chest and praise them for coming to me with the object in their mouth, if they can not enjoy their retrieve why should they come back to you so you can rip it out of their mouth. I believe that this helps with hold on down the road. I do this 3 retrieves 3 times a day. Once we have that down for 3 weeks or so, then I go to the field.
 I then move out of the house and do it around the yard and places that are not new to the puppy. I thrown the object just like I did in the house not that far at first and then as we have success I slowly increase the distance. Once we are doing that well then I move to have some else throw in the field

First Retrieve in the field using a thrower.
For my puppy first retrieve I  like to use a thrower. I have one strong arm and 2 max 5000. For my last puppy I used the max in a soccer  the grass is cut almost as short as golf course. I set up the max to almost throw a little in at me. I trip the max and the puppy runs out and runs right back. The max or the strong arm do not seem to draw a puppy attention so once they have the bumper they return to you like did during hall way retrieving I like to do this till I know the puppy understands you run out pick up this object and run right back no matter were we are. Once they come without me even calling the I have someone throw in the field.

First retrieve without using a thrower.
 Go to a school yard most school yards have a chain link fence and cut grass again the grass should be cut very short. Have the thrower on the opposite  side of the fence. You and the puppy are on one side of the fence and your bird boy is on the other side of the fence. Again throw the bumper flat or a little in at you. The puppy can not reach the gun and you are the only one on this side of the fence they can not get to other person. Most times when a puppy does not come back it goes to the gunner. The other reason is they want to play with the bumper and do not want to give it up. This is why I donít rip it from their mouth right away.  Also make sure you throw the bumper as far from the gun as you can. Also by throwing the bumper in it is short to go back to you then it is to the gun.

Michelle Linnane
2616 State Rt 162
Esperance NY 12066
518-488-8489 Day 

518-868-4566 Night



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