Upland Hunt Test

February 28, 2010

We are off to photograph our club’s Upland Hunt Test. Wil post photos and review afterwards!

Blu’s Blueberries

February 8, 2010

Blu loves blueberries. He started eating them as a pup. At 5 months, he went to a trainer and had not had blueberries since he left.

In this photo we were having homemade pancakes with fresh blueberries. He had just come home from the trainer a few days prior. Blu never gets on the table. He smelled the berries and wanted them. I was so shocked that he got onto the table. I had to grab my iphone camera to take a photo of it!!!

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store
Total Retriever & Supply Store

Dinner Time!

February 8, 2010

Dinner time!! These two are always under feet when supper is on the stove or in the oven!

Training Your Retriever

February 5, 2010

SHR Shadowhill's The Hunters Blu Shadow

If you have a Retriever puppy and are considering sending your puppy to a trainer away from your home, there are many things you need to consider before you choose a trainer.  First of all, do you know how to choose a trainer?

Before you choose a trainer, please consider the following.  This is from PERSONAL experience.

You should visit hunt tests and field trials.  Watch the dog that the trainer is handling.  Ask yourself questions while watching the dog or dogs.  “Is that dog happy?  Is that dog fed well?  Does that dog look healthy?  Does that dog look at the trainer/handler with adoration or fear?  Is the dog having fun?  Does the dog look unhappy?  When you look in the dogs eyes, is there a soul ready, willing and able to work or is the soul depleted?  Are the eyes sad?

If you are considering a certain trainer, visit their facility numerous times and ask to watch them interact with the dogs they are training.  Spend time with the trainer for a few months before choosing him/her.  Ask for references and call people.  Go to club training days to watch, learn and to talk and ask questions.  Speak to anyone and everyone and leave no stone unturned when asking questions about someone who you are considering sending your dog to.  Ask the potential trainer who his/her vet is and go visit that vet or call that vet.  Ask the vet if the trainer’s dogs are healthy and are well taken care of.

Would you just sit your child on someone’s door step and leave him/her there to be watched without finding out all you could about that person before hand?  I didn’t think so.  Your Retriever loves you unconditionally.  That Retriever trusts you with its life and would give it’s life for yours.  Love your Retriever enough to give him/her the same consideration because your Retriever deserves nothing less.

Do you currently have a Retriever in training?  If so, how far does your trainer live from you?  Does your trainer live on site where your dog is housed?  Do you see your dog consistently?  If not, just how often do you see your Retriever if it is at a trainer’s facility?  If you aren’t seeing your dog once a week, it’s not enough.  You need to witness your dog’s progress to ensure it’s being trained and your money isn’t being wasted.  You need to observe your dog with the trainer and you need to set up blinds and marks yourself to make sure your dog can do the job it is being trained to do.  But most of all, you need to visit weekly to make sure your dog is healthy, happy and safe.  If you can’t be there weekly then every other week will may work but I would advise not to wait any longer than 2 weeks.

There are wonderful, trustworthy trainers out there who would love your dog like their own and not waste your money.  However, there are cheap salesmen out there who would cut off their mother’s tongue for a dime who call themselves a trainer.  These people give the good trainers a very bad reputation.

You will find an excellent trainer for your dog, there is no doubt about it.  Just do your dog and yourself a huge favor.  Do your homework, cross all of your T’s and dot all of your I’s before you send your dog anywhere.  If you truly love your dog, you will do your homework first.

One other thing, if you have chosen a trainer but your gut is even slightly against leaving your dog with that person, pick up your dog, turn around and leave immediately.

One other topic that is very important, and probably the most important is your dog’s physical safety.  Retrievers, or any other dog for that matter need to have respect given to them.  If anyone thinks that hitting and yelling at a dog is going to make positive progress, they are grossly wrong.  A dog, especially a Retriever wants to work.  They are bred to work.  They want to please.  They are bred to please.  They don’t need to be beaten, degraded and abused in order to work. Nine times out of ten if the dog is doing the same thing wrong over and over again, it’s because of trainer/human error.  The trainer needs to step back and assess what he/she is doing wrong and rethink the situation and what he/she can do differently so that the dog learns the right way.

When a human gets angry, a dog knows it.  It can smell and sense this.  The dog automatically gets nervous.  It will not work well under these conditions.  The dog may do the task due to fear but for how long and who wants that?  Praise will get your dog to where you want it to go quicker and in a much better fashion.  Don’t ever get angry.  If you find yourself getting steamed, walk away.  It’s time to stop whatever it is that you are doing or the trainer is doing.  Any work from that point on in that session is useless and will eventually backfire.  It will give you a scared dog who is afraid of its own shadow in the long run.  A scared gun dog?  That dog won’t hunt, literally!

So, be careful.  Do your homework.  Love your dog and do right by your dog.

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store