Layton Retrievers Estacada, Oregon

Gun dog training your puppy

gun dog training

The one question I get asked the most frequently is when to start gun dog training? Popular advice on this will always differ, and for many people it seems logical to set their dogs up with gun dog or obedience training as early as possible.

My advice, however, is to wait.

Whether you are training your dog for basic obedience or giving it gun dog training; waiting for your puppy to mature will always be more advantageous for you as a trainer.

I believe it’s important to allow your puppy to have some time to actually be a puppy. Instead of inundating them at an early age, allow them to become a little more mature and less rambunctious.

Usually I say begin your training, after their adult teeth come in. This can be anywhere from 4-6 months.

With my personal gun dogs, I wait a bit longer and begin training a puppy around eight months old.

Around this point, they are more attentive and willing to learn the techniques you want to train. They are also quicker to pick up the basics like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’
and ‘heal,’ as they are a little bit older, mature and ultimately ready to begin forming a good training ethic.

Obviously not all dogs are the same, and not all puppies will be ready to train at the same time. However, when a dog is mature enough to be trained the learning will come easier, and with fewer issue for the trainer.

Gun Dog Training – Scarlett

Gun Dog Training Scarlett

Scarlett came to us at 5 months old in May for gun dog training. With a good foundation of basic obedience, we knew we could pick it up quickly from there.

After finishing up basic, she went through our soft collar fetch training. She learned quickly and went on to ladder work, back to pile, and three handed casting. We are now doing transitional work – shore breaking, swim by, and multiple marks.

She has been a great student, a quick learner and she will make a great gun dog.

She will be going home the first of September and we will miss her.


A Bit of a Tribute


Saying goodbye is never easy. Whether it’s to someone we love, or a pet, saying goodbye hurts.

We at Layton Retrievers, said goodbye to LR’s Precious Jewell.

That was her registered name, but we called her Jewell. There was nothing special about Jewell. She never ran a hunt test, she barely went hunting, and she could at times be the biggest pain there ever was.

Jewell came to us as pup. 8 days early to be exact. Her mother Scout, had problems with the pregnancy. Due to the complications, all pups were lost, except Jewell and her sister.

We kept Jewell, hoping to use for breeding (she had a tremendous bloodline) but the Vet told us later that due to her being born that early some parts of her never formed and she was unable to have pups. We kept her anyway, because amid all the frustration, and pain that she had a tendency to cause,

She loved everyone and everything. 

One of her favorites was cats. I caught her once with one of our cats in her mouth. She wasn’t going to hurt it, just carry it around awhile. I had to do the Granny thing from Sylvester and Tweetie, “Drop it, Drop it” to finally get her to put the cat down. The poor cat never trusted that dog again after that. She was just that way, she loved cats, especially  in her mouth. Problem was she never wanted to let them go.

When Jewell was 2 we sold her to a gentleman up North, who was looking for Labrador Retrievers, to train as bomb and drug dogs.

Thinking this would be a great calling for her, we all said our goodbyes, shed a few tears, and watch and listened as they drove off. As was her custom, she hated to be in a crate and started barking, and barked, and barked, and barked.

A few days later, we received a phone call asking if we wanted her back.

She couldn’t settle down long enough to  pay attention and working off a lead was impossible. Not to mention the whole crate/kennel thing. The gentleman did say that she had one of the best noses he every saw, and that it was a shame it wouldn’t work out, because she would be a great one!

At the end of Jewell’s life we moved out to our current location, and Jewell was finally in her element.

I remember when she first got out of our Expedition bringing her here. She hit the ground running and made a beeline for the pond. Old age, bad shoulder and arthritis didn’t stop her from running the whole way and straight into that pond for a couple of laps. The one thing she really loved above all else was swimming. It didn’t matter if it was a pond or a puddle, she got in it. She got to walk a lot, which was hard for her due to her age and some old injuries, but she had a daily routine of visiting our neighbors, exploring what was new, and of course going down to the pond.

In her last days, swimming became impossible, but it didn’t stop her of going down there every morning, and sitting by the pond and daydream about the days she could.

Jewell came into the world and left us on a Friday. As usual, she did it on her terms. No trip to the Vet, no long goodbyes – she did it her way. I miss her. Oh, she could be aggravating and annoying, but I miss going out to the garage and seeing her on her bed. I miss the walks with her, and mostly I miss her wanting to be everywhere I was.

We buried her, of course, down by the pond; I’ll go by her favorite spot and think I still see her sitting there.

She’s with her mother now at the Rainbow Bridge. And whatever water that Bridge crosses, I know Jewell will be in it, swimming to her hearts content. Goodbye my friend. Me, Mom, Blake, Alyssa & Jace, and not to mention Jet, Shug and of course your brother Max, will all miss you very much.

Swim hard and fast my Precious Jewell, you will live in our memories forever!

We Passed – AKC Senior Hunt Test

AKC Senior hunt testAt the beginning of the year, like so many people, we sat down and discussed our goals, and what we would like to see ourselves accomplish in the new year. We had the usual goals, lose weight, work harder, read more, live right, those kind of things, but we also set out to get  Layton Retrievers up and running.

One goal we had this year, was to get Jet as far as we could in her AKC senior hunt tests.

As many of you know, phase 1 of getting Jet to her AKC  was a big success. With one pass from the end of last year, Jet went 3 for 3 and got her Junior title in April.The next step was to see if we could get her Senior title.

Things look a lot different going from Junior to Senior.

No more little things to help along a young started dog. This was business. Things like honoring another working dog, multiple marks, and long blind retrieves are the order. 

With the Memorial Day double header, Jet successfully achieved 2 legs of the 4 she’d need to pass her AKC senior hunt test.

Then life happened. We had a trip to Oklahoma to see our youngest son graduate from boot camp, things just got busy, and training took a bit of a back seat to everything else. When it came time for the next test, Jet looked and trained kinda rusty. To be honest it didn’t look good. Jet seemed like she came to a place where her drive and interest level dropped.

We worked through it. It wasn’t pretty, but at the test she found a bit of that old drive and was able to accomplish the task at hand. 3 for 3.

This last weekend Jet and I went for number 4. The final leg, the one we needed to make this title a reality. The old Jet was back.

After a week of hard training anAKC Senior hunt testd lots of marks, she made it look easy. No problems!

To get this title was an accomplishment that we’re all very proud of, but it won’t stop there! Our next goal will be her Master Hunter title. As a matter of fact we’re back at it already.

We’ll be running our first Master this weekend, July 21-22 at St. Louis ponds. It’s hard to know what to expect, but the one thing I do know, Jet and I will be ready to make this happen, just like all the other tests.

With her pass, over the weekend, Jet has gone 7 straight without a fail.

It’s been a great spring and summer season, and we look forward to what’s in store with the time we have left in the hunt test season. I’ll keep you posted.

On a side note, believe it or not, hunting season is just around the corner. Layton Retrievers is offering our late summer/fall gun dog tune up. If you’re the proud owner of a retriever or hunting dog that needs a little leg up to get ready, give us a call or shoot us an e-mail. We’ll work with your hunting partner to make sure they are tuned up and successful for a great year ahead.