Layton Retrievers Estacada, Oregon

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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.


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.