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My wife and I are keen on buying a trained dog (black lab bitch), the idea being that neither of us have the time to train a puppy and it would accompany me at work during the week so must be well behaved from the offset.

 

This is a new concept to us, as we have always had puppies or rescue dogs, and never a dog trained to the gun, so we are keen to research this to avoid making mistakes. If anyone has done this or can make a recommendation of a reputable trainer/breeder that is able to train me/do a full hand over I would be pleased to learn of your experience.

 

Many thanks

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What sort of shooting do you do. As i would think labs are mainly trained to retrieve, not flush etc, My first dog (Lab Bitch) was brought fully trainrd and was just an out and out retriever,that needed to be directed to the fall, near as you like field trial work, but not ideal for a chap using the gun as well. Make sure you know what you require could be a costly error, but all the best with your search.

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Don't worry about it being either a campanion or working dog, most gundogs and esp labs can do both jobs very well, plenty of very good gundogs live in the house as pets for 99% of there lifes.

 

I take it ur a gardener?

Could u not leave it in a crate in ur van and take it out at tea breaks/lunch etc? I would say it may be optimistic even with a trained dog to expect it to just sit for hours in the same place while u cut the grass round about it. Yes they will do it, but usually easier to stick it in a crate dog will be happier to as t will just sleep/relax which it might not do if in a garden all day with loads of distractions

 

If u can leave it in a crate nothing to stop u getting a 6 month old pup and doing the training urself as even with a fullly trained dog u will still have to keep the training up.

If ur shown the easy way it really doesn't take that long few 5-10min sesions to train a gundog to an average standard and most can be fitted in along side ur normal walk/excercise anyway.

 

Ur best to really think wot u need, even saying a peg dog there is a world of difference expections/standards, do u want a dog just to be 100% steady off the lead and run around collecting a few dead birds after a drive, or do u want something a bit better trained that u can handle back onto birds (i've seen very few 'peg' dogs do that, or possibly guns not got the time between drives), plenty of 'peg' dogs needs to be tethered to the ground al drive too.

 

U can sometimes get FT reject dogs that have not made the grade which should be failry well trained and sometimes not a lot of money (althou mibee different down south)

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I've looked at a few trained and pre owned sites and wonder if they are " not good workers" or " gun shy" which would be a very bad mistake. What I would say is go on recommendations from known people. It would appear that you get a large amount of puppies are all " excellent workers" or is this just puppy farming?

I have met a number of pre trained dogs during walks with my rescued dogs previously owned and found them to be not as behaved as my own.

 

Sorry to be negative but I think it a case of " buyer beware"

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I've looked at a few trained and pre owned sites and wonder if they are " not good workers" or " gun shy" which would be a very bad mistake. What I would say is go on recommendations from known people. It would appear that you get a large amount of puppies are all " excellent workers" or is this just puppy farming?

I have met a number of pre trained dogs during walks with my rescued dogs previously owned and found them to be not as behaved as my own.

Sorry to be negative but I think it a case of " buyer beware"

This is exactly my feeling and the reason I have brought the subject to the wonderful people of pigeon watch. I'm a naturally pessimistic person and always do my homework before jumping in to a situation.

We have been dog owners for nearly 20 years and are no strangers to dog training and behaviour, however gundog training is something that is new to us and I want to start on the best possible footing.

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U might not believe it when u see the shocking state of many working dogs, but really training a gundog to a basic working level is really not that hard.

 

Buying a fully trained gundog wil probably cost u a fair bit, esp down south, u may get offered FT failures which will probably lack a bit of flair or something else not really needed fr a normal working gundog. But any problems should not be major

I have often been offerd 18ish month old dogs for puppy money, which will be trained to a decent standard as the boys just want to mmove it on to free up kennel space and be able to buy their next pup. If i had more kennel space i should of taken them

 

Do u not know any decent dog trainers locally who could reccommend a decent trainer to buy 1 off. With a reputable trainer the dog should be ok.

Do u need a dog for this season?

If not u'd be as well getting in touch with a local gundog club/pro trainer and watch some training seshions or even ask to sit in on a lesson or even watch some dvds before u get a dog. With a bit of common sense and understanding its rteally not that hard (usually)

 

But i will add i know of a few well trained dogs trained by a few different pro/amatuer trainers that come back every year to be retrained as the owners are useless and don't have a clue wot there doing and the dogs know this, so behave totally different.

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There seems to be a general consensus emerging here.

 

I think that, upon reflection, doing the training ourselves could be the more rewarding route to take, and the bond would surely be stronger in this way. I appreciate everyone's comments and a rethink is clearly needed.

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Have a word with Andrew Farley of Warrenby Gundogs, he's in Sussex (near Heathfield) and very helpful, where are you? If he's not got a fully trained Lab, he may well know of one or more and you can trust him implicitly.

 

Warrenbygundogs@gmail.com

 

Tel 07770 851762

 

SC

Just had a look at his website, he looks like the perfect chap to talk to and even if we take the puppy option we can get involved with his training.

 

Thank you for bringing him to my attention

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My springer was FT trained but the owner said he wasn't quite stylish enough to make it to the top so decided to sell him, the only thing he wasn't good at was picking up feather, Bigbird off here gave me a few tips and now he's spot on for what i need. He lives in the house not a kennel , except when visitors with very small kids come round, i spend @ 1/2 an hour a day keeping his training topped up and walk him 4 to 5 miles daily. He is a great rough working and retrieving dog but will also sit in a hide all day when i'm on the pigeons. For the money i paid i don't think i could have got a better dog anywhere, so sometimes trained workers can be a good bet.

Atb Scobydog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello - I can give a bit of guidance on this one having gone down exactly the same route nearly 4 years/3 seasons ago! - my original thread here for some background -> http://forums.pigeonwatch.co.uk/forums/topic/266464-dog-downsides/?hl=downsides

 

So long story short I bought a part trained 2.5 year old lab from a gundog trainer/part time keeper in South Yorks - it's worked out perfectly, he is absolutely my dog, no "ownership bond" issues ever - I was lucky that I brought him from a farm/very rural environment to an urban one therefore he immediately looked to me as his protector/alpha as he didn't understand all the lights/people/cars/noises.

 

Level of training was good - the key thing here being to get a full demo and understand all the commands the trainer has used, can't really do a "try before you buy" as they'll only work for the owner if they're there. Need to get the trainer to prove not gun shy etc.

 

I monitored http://gundogsdirect.co.uk/ / http://www.gundogbreeders.co.uk/sale/ a lot and also spoke to 3 Valley Gun dogs about part trained dogs who were incredibly helpful.... as she put it "one persons part trained is another persons fully trained" so it's worth giving her a shout just to have her ask some challenging questions.

 

My dog had always previously been kennelled outside but took to being in the house with no abnormal issues, he's never had a big job inside and only pee'd a couple of times... I now have a year old son and they get on fine as well.

All in all I would highly recommend going part trained - I chose that path as like you I didn't have time to train a pup with my work life and with the impending season 6 months away, I use him on the pigeons, wildfowling, for walked up and occasional driven days - he's not the steadiest when it's driven chaos but that's my fault and something I can and will fix this season.

 

One thing to really look into though and which I only realised having seen lots of working dogs over the last 3 years is to understand the level of "heat" or working desire in your dog vs. what you need, mine runs "hot" when in the field which is always a challenge but he literally lives to work which makes training easier as he's so eager to please - he's spent all day today asleep next to me whilst I work but I could just have easily had him hunting up all day rough shooting....

 

Price wise - you regularly get fully trained going for £2.5k+ which is quite frankly bonkers, I paid £1200 which compared to some puppies plus the effort someone has put into him, I think good value... although again nuts to some people

 

Best of luck and happy to answer any other questions as I looked at part trained for a long time.... will attach a picture too

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The only trouble with buying part or fully trained dogs is peoples interpretation of "trained" one mans fully trained is another mans part trained . A lot of part trained dogs are dogs that are lacking in something for the field trials and are sold on to make room for the next potential , saying that this doesn't mean they won't make a good gun dog for somone who's prepared to carry on the training . As for a fully trained dog that goes back a good distance , stops on the whistle, goes left and right , hunts on commands , doesn't run it or squeak . Jumps fences , delivers to hand with a soft mouth ,and doesn't shake out of water before delivering is a bargain at 2.5 k and should be worth more like 5k .

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The only trouble with buying part or fully trained dogs is peoples interpretation of "trained" one mans fully trained is another mans part trained . A lot of part trained dogs are dogs that are lacking in something for the field trials and are sold on to make room for the next potential , saying that this doesn't mean they won't make a good gun dog for somone who's prepared to carry on the training . As for a fully trained dog that goes back a good distance , stops on the whistle, goes left and right , hunts on commands , doesn't run it or squeak . Jumps fences , delivers to hand with a soft mouth ,and doesn't shake out of water before delivering is a bargain at 2.5 k and should be worth more like 5k .

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To be fair while most normal folk could/would never pay/afford 2.5k+ for a dog, even at that there will be not that much profit in it when u consider the hours of training etc that have went in to it. Esp if it is a decent standard

 

Say 1k for an expensive pup for ease of sums, only 1.5k left, to pay for 18 months of vets bills, feed, kennelling 1500/18 only gives u 80 quid a month to cover all the expenses plus ur training time. Not a lot really, most boarding kennels would charge u that a week without training ur dog

So while expensive they really should be a lot dearer

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Agreed with all the above - as a benchmark my £1.2k got me:

 

Whistle trained (back, side, forwards, stop, pick up etc)

Heel

Return to hand

obedience (sit etc)

Blind/marked retrieves

Land & water

 

What I didn't get:

 

Full steadiness

Stop to whistle

 

Big question in my mind is does someone who spends £5k on a fully trained dog have time to keep it trained! - if not breeding from it

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Agreed with all the above - as a benchmark my £1.2k got me:

 

Whistle trained (back, side, forwards, stop, pick up etc)

Heel

Return to hand

obedience (sit etc)

Blind/marked retrieves

Land & water

 

What I didn't get:

 

Full steadiness

Stop to whistle

 

Big question in my mind is does someone who spends £5k on a fully trained dog have time to keep it trained! - if not breeding from it

 

Steadiness & Stop, probably the two bits that should have gone into the dog first. 2nd hand dog market is minefield.

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Hi ,just a point ,I have read all of the post and reading between the lines I see no one have come up as far as I can see is ,,,are you trained as well as you know it take two to tango . A well trained dog is wonderfull to handle but get the best out out of your do you must do your bit ,know what you are doing ,how to handle it and keep it up .I know many people with working dogs who have them and dont work them right and just dont have a clue in what they are doing.All I can say is before you buy think, do I want this commitment for the next 6 to 8 years and the cost that go's with it ,will use it or will it be a pet or a shed dog and not used .

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