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:cry: I have a female black lab that is about a year old and I am having a lot of trouble training her. I want her to be a retriever for upland birds and waterfowl, the problem is, almost every time I call her to me she runs away; even if I have a treat in my hand. She is very shy but very friendly and seems rather intelligent as is the norm with labs, right? I want to be able to at least train her in basic dog behavior like "come" and "sit", but how can I if she won't even come to me? My wife wanted to get her as a pet, which will be fine if she never becomes a hunting dog, but she seems to have a great retrieving instinct and I would love to take her hunting with me. I thought about maybe getting another lab puppy that is not so shy and hopefully some of the attributes will rub off on her. I believe that once I can get her to come to me on comand, I can handle the rest. My mother sent me a book on dog training that said for shy dogs like mine, I would probable need professional help. I am not made of money for something like that and would prefer to do it myself. Any suggestions?
 

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In my professional opinion...

I think you need Doctor Phil!

I had two litters and only one out of all of them was shy. The people that I sold her to weren't going to hunt him so....

First I would ask, did you get the dog as a puppy or from the SPCA?
If the SPCA, it is quite possible that she had a previous owner that has given her emotional scars. It will take a lot of work and trust to rid that.

Does she come to your wife? Try having the wife by your side and training her together. See if she will respond to the wife. Some dogs are just one person dogs and if they don't like you, or trust you.....

Have you ever hit the dog? Dogs have amazing memories. More so than we give credit. It will take time, more so with a timid dog to fix this. My lab when hunting spruce hens memorized every sopt that we shot a hen at and would go there and wait for me to shoot another!

Try these first.
 

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Obedience training

Mike: has this lab been to basic obeience training with you??? If not, this is the first recommendation I would make. If you can find a trainer in your area who teaches basic obedience and who uses smaller classes, like no more than 8 dogs to a class, then you should go with that. My preference is for a trainer who trains to both hand and voice commands.

Unless, as Dave points out, your Lab has been abused, or is just not trained and shy, the basic obedience class will solve many of those problems. You will attend with her and then practice each weeks lessons at home for about 15 minutes a day. This teaches your pet that you are the master and she is the pet and also teaches her how to react to your commands. This is a real 'bonding' process with your pet and both you and she will benefit from it.

Labs are hunters and good field dogs. They make wonderful pets and hunting companions if they have had the benefit of at least, basic obedience training. Any dog will require additional training to get accustomed to 'the gun', for field work. I asked earlier about 'gun' training for my Standard Poodles and one of the other responders gave me a good tip - it's lower down in the forum. it may help. And by the way, it won't matter how old your pet is when you take her for training - with the proper type of training that give praise and reinforcement for proper behavior she will be a joy, and a lap lug, and a good hunting companion, and a muddy lap-lug and, if she ever finds a field full of cowstuff, she will be a real smelly, joyful laplug.

As Dave said, I would also recommend your wife attend and participate in the training of the dog. Animals respond to consistency and this will help. Wives also respond the same way. Just my two cents worth.

Mikey.
 

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Consistancy!

Good key issue mentioned above.

Betsy: Please sit
Dog: sit
"Sit"

EVERYONE in the family should use the same command. SIT.

Come here Betsy
Come here
Come here right now.
"Come"

Remember that the dog has an IQ of about a 6 year old. Key words, one syllable are best. COME

Voice inflection is also helpful. If you are angry and use an angry tone that she is used too, hey I wouldn't come either. Even if unhappy with her, keep the tone or inflection the same. Save the angry tone for the real harsh punishments like NO!

Make training fun if you can. I trained my lab four days a week and the other three we would play train. Not a real strict training but more like playing. Get on the ground and play with her. Everone has bad days, if the training isn't going well and she has a playfull mood that day then turn it into a play day.

Hand commands: everytime you give a voice command, use a hand signal. The dog will eventually learn that a flat hand or a pointed finger means something. They will respond well to this. I have never intentionally trained hand signaling t the dog, they learned by themselves.

Hope were helping here!
 

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:idea3: The obedience class is the place to start. In our area the local AKC kennel club has classes several times a year. The class teaches you as well as the dog.
Try training your dog on a long leash or check cord. When you say "come" gently pull your dog to you with the leash. When she is up close praise her. Do this 3 to 6 times a day. Every day for a week or two and she should learn what come means. Be gentle and praise.
It's a good idea to sqwat down when you call your dog ,they are less intimidated when you do this.
 

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I think Daveinthebush just gave you the BEST advice. No matter how many obedience courses you go to...EVERYBODY in the family must handle the dog in the same manner. If you want the dog to sit...EVERYBODY must say "SIT"...not sit down, sit boy, get down, etc. It is really easy to confuse a young dog if you give it mixed signals. I think you will be surprised how fast your dog will come along if your commands/signals are consistant.

I'm training my Vizsla pup right now...and if I can get my family and friends trained to all use the same commands...the dog will turn out just fine.

Good Luck! ...Chris :)

"....don't spoil your bird dog!" :)
 
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