Initial training for a family gundog

One of the ArdMoor team has a new Labrador puppy that she and her husband are hoping will become a top class working gundog! We will follow their progress as the gundog training develops…

Alfie, is a 16 week old black male Labrador who arrived in the late summer to join our working lab gundog, Midge, who is a pretty 3½ yr old bitch. In time, Alfie will also be trained to be a working family gundog.

Alfie has started well and is a bright, obedient, hungry male dog who wants to please. Just like a baby, his brain is still developing and his ability to follow instructions will take time. Our aim is to have a disciplined, happy, gun dog who, like our other dogs, is also a loyal and obedient family pet that is a pleasure to have in our lives.

Initially, we have just started with giving him the best routines and consistency possible within his life – that includes regular feed times, his own bed and space (we have a large, roomy crate that is his), recognisable vocabulary and words to aid him (No, Good boy, Pee, Sit etc). Now that he has these basics working well and is responding to gentle commands, we can start to build on the training side, though it is still early days as 6 months onwards is the ideal time to ramp up his training.

The main thing is not to expect too much too soon. Alfie is a clever, happy little dog who is looking healthy, has bonded well with us and Midge and wants to give his best.

Lead training

Alfie was less sure about his collar at first but is now happy to have it put on for walks and is not too bothered about the lead. The main thing is not to have the lead on too often and when it comes out, he knows it is for a treat walk. The world is opening up to him so we let him sniff, stand and stare if needs be without tugging on the lead. If he is pulling hard then we just rein him in gently and make him wait just to get him used to the feeling of being held back. Alfie is responding well to this and now walks on the lead happily without pulling (too much!).

Although he is still young we thought we would attempt some simple retrieves in the kitchen. Alfie sat well and waited but was slightly distracted at the crucial moment much to Angus’s confusion!

We will be working on that (without heaping any pressure on him) over the next few months whilst keeping on with ensuring the basics are enforced and become second nature so hopefully a better result next blog!

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