Puppy Tips - by Terry Holzinger

* When picking out a quality pup, get help from a reputable breeder and/or a professional trainer.

* Fax information on pedigrees, titles, etc. to a professional for their opinion and advice. Good bloodlines generally tend to produce dogs with well established natural instincts that are easier to work with.

* When choosing a puppy from the litter, try to pick a pup that is well balanced. Do not pick the shy puppy or the pup that is overly aggressive.

* Spend as much time as possible socializing with your puppy, especially in the first 3 months.

* Seek out an experienced person for guidance as well as obtaining a set of DVD's on training and retreiving. This will enhance your chances of having a good gun dog

* Take the puppy to lots of different places, both on foot and in your vehicle.

* Get the puppy used to climbing over obstacles, like your legs, logs, stairs, creek beds, etc.

* Spend time walking with and playing with your puppy in shallow water before attempting to encourage swimming.

* Make sure your puppy is swimming confidently before letting him on the dock or boat, then gradually get him used to riding in the boat.

* Start teaching your puppy to use his eyes and nose by throwing pieces of dog food on the floor a short distance for a few throws. Repeat the throw when the pup is not looking. When the pup looks, point the direction of the throw as if you just threw the food. This works well for starting some simple casting. Let them chase the food off the sidewalk into the grass. This will encourage them to use their nose to hunt for it.

* Start some VERY LIGHT obedience training, consisting of sit, heel, kennel, and recall with using the "here" command. You can use a little dog food as treats to encourage a good attitude. Keep these early sessions short so that your puppy associates training as a fun activity.

* DO NOT teach your puppy to lie down until most of the training is finished. This will help prevent your pup from lying down and quitting when learning new commands.

* Limit your pup's exposure to other dogs until at least 5 months of age. This will help prevent him from bonding with other dogs instead of people. That could cause him to look for a way out when basic obedience training starts, and make him want to play with other dogs instead of focusing on pleasing you.

* After 5 months of age and basic obedience training has been started, let the puppy play with other dogs occasionally so that he learns to socialize with other dogs as well.