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June 24, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

By David DiBenedetto

By now readers of this blog know the challenges I face: I’m an amateur trainer based in suburbia with a full-time job. It’s probably not unlike the difficulties many of you confront. But lately I’ve noticed another hurdle Pritch and I need to clear on our way to reliable gun dog status—my wife. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a wife rant. My finest catch to this day is my wonderful bride, Jenny, but I’m starting to think Pritchard feels the same way.

Jenny (pictured above with Pritch) works from home. So she and Pritch spend most of the day together. Jenny is wonderful around animals (hell, she puts up with me), and she spends time during the day working on the basic commands with Pritch. And the truth is, Pritch heels better with Jenny than me. And Jenny has a much better read of the pup’s attitude. But it’s especially noticeable during training sessions when my wife comes to watch, and Pritch, on occasion, brings the dummies back to her instead of me. On the other hand, I cringe when I see Jenny playing an “unsanctioned” game of fetch with the pup.

Makes me think of a quote from James Lamb Free’s book: “If you’re going to train the youngster quickly and easily, you want to deliberately make a one-man dog of him…You want to be his one and only hero.”

So, here’s the question: Do you impair a gun dog’s potential if you’re not the only master? I could see some truth there, but the way I look at it I’ve got one option—get Jenny to join us in the dove fields and on duck hunts.

And in that case, it’s a win-win situation.

Comments (18)

Top Rated
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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

That’s a good question?
My German Shorthair goes nuts playing fetch with me or anyone else.
Think of the good side, with a cat it would be bringing back dead birds and rodents to show its appreciation!

GOOD LUCK SON!

PS

The next 3 years is going to be hell, keep anything you don’t want chewed up, put up !

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Devil_Dog wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I don't have much experience with gun dogs spefifically, but ultimately dogs are dogs. Because your dog will view the family as its pack it should view all other family members as senior to it in the pecking order. If this is the case then the dog will respond to orders from all family members for basic commands but be ultimately loyal to the leader, which should be you.

It's possible your wife could be the pack leader in your dog's eyes, and this would make it harder for you. But as with my father's boykin I suspect your dog is smart enough to distinguish between playtime with your wife and going to work in the field with you.

My father's boykin loved to play games that would put any serious trainer into catatonic shock, but come hunting time he switched gears into a no-games bird dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I know nothing of dog training but have never been without a dog in my life. I know that "Daddy" will be the one who puts the food in the bowl. "Daddy" will be the one who lets them in the truck for rides. "Daddy" will give them a fresh bowl of water every morning. "Daddy" will take them for walks on the leash. I think much of the time Jenny spends with Pritch she would be ignoring Pritch while she is working. You can play the part of "favorite uncle" and just be around during the fun and games.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlotte Cole wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Great question-it all depends on the dog's talent and desire. If the dog has got the drive, there are few things that are going to get in the way of the retrieve. In our lifetimes, we are lucky to come across one maybe two of those dogs. That leaves us with making the average dog great. I believe the one dog one master rule when making the average gun dog. Although the intentions of spouses, children and friend are meant well, they disrupt the routine and focus that an average dog needs to light that retrieving fire. If his play time is retrieving, then he learns to love it. If play time is with kids throwing sticks which he may not return then the dog loses focus. It is unlikely that a spouse or kid is going through the steps that make a great retrieve.

The perfect example of this is the dog that goes off to be professionally trained for three months. The dog spends 97% of his time in the kennel and is let out for 3% to be trained. He has one trainer and one mission. Usually, you are very impressed with your dog when the trainer puts him through his paces. One dog, one master, and one mission is what works on the average dog.

If you you end up with a true dud and really want a gun dog, get another one and make the first the family pet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I went through this exact problem with my spaniel. Once I started taking her into the field for hunting though it worked itself out.
Around the house, my wife gets the dog's complete attention. Once in the field with a gun or a rod, I have the dog's full attention and she won't pay any mind to anyone else.
A few trips with you alone where she gets to put birds in the air and make a couple of retrieves and the world will balance out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

My experience would make me agree with Devil Dog and GregMC. My dog will obey basic commands from pretty much anyone including kids, but when it comes to really listening and hunting she listens to me. I'm not crazy about unsanctioned games of fetch, but it doesn't seem to have ruined her yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I don't see any problem with this, with my pup we as in my step dad and I both spend the most time with her training and playing. Although there is sometimes a difference I can see when we are both playing or training with her is that when by me she tends to be more playful and puppy like and when around my step dad she'll be more serious and give more submissive gestures such as crouching, keeping her tail low and licking him. In the long run though I notice that dogs overcome this and don't seem to affect the personality as I'm sure the same will be for you, pritch and your wife.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MaxPower wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I say it depends on the dog. Pritch seems smart enough to work well with either or both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I always thought that it could impair a dogs potential.

Just to be safe,whenever I gave the dog a reward,it's favorite treat,I would be the one that gave it to the dog,not my wife or kids.

To get the dog acclimated to the treat,(every time we went to the vet and groomer,which it detested), I named the treat after the vet,Cookie.

I would give the treat to the dog and ask,Pup,if he wanted a cookie. Tail wagging, dog drooling indicated,yes.

I always had the dogs attention, since I'm the only one that had the cookies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

David-
I forgot to mention how attractive Jenny is!

By the way,you want your dog to be like your wife,a one man ______! insert, woman or dog.
LOL

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

2Poppa- Regarding that last comment...truer words have never been written. And thanks for the kind words about Jenny. Great wife and great dog...so far so lucky. - D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from psedlar wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Wow, Dave, You are in the same place I am. My wife works from home and she has a bond with Chalie 6mounth old boykin. She has him doing tricks and he follows her around the house all the time. However I am the one who plays with the pheasant wing duck wing with him and he listen pretty good. I am the one who takes him to the pond and in the boat so I can only hope he associates this with me being his hunting buddy. I probaly don't train and work with him as much as you do but he is turning out to be a great dog. He has 2 acers of invisible fence at home and he hunts all day in the yard. He is super birdie and when I grab the wings he is amped! Cap gun shot don't phase him and he is all about the fetching.I love your blog and am so excited to follow Pritch's progress.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MyDogRem wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Thinking back on when I was training my lab,now 6 years old. I do wish that my wife would have been around for more of the training. He minds her while in the yard and in the house, but in open areas were he can roam more he doesn't seem to listen to her very well. I will be the first to admit, that I wish he did listen a little better to her. Because a happy wife is an eaiser life.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I would say that you deter the dog somewhat with another master... the dog then chooses one or the other person and pleasing the other person instead of actually learning the commands and obeying orders. Dogs should have one owner, and it would increase comfortability and also concentration.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

My beagle will only listen to me, she walks all over my wife. It is pretty funny watching them go at it my wife will be yelling at her she just sits there and barks at her and as soon as i call she comes running. It really ticks my wife off.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

With one hunter and one therapy dog, we have conflict of training between the dogs themselves, much less the humans.

The disclaimer here is that our "hunter" weighs 14 pounds.

The biggest thing is the level of training/reward from both people, and the difference. I mean...

You run him all over the woods, pat his head, and say; "Good boy!"

She says; "Sit!" and gives him a whole chicken. Who is he going to want to train him?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

Dave, Congrats. If you got yourself a great wife & a great dog, you don't need a whole lot more.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

seadog--Couldn't agree more. Throw a couple of good fishing days in the mix and I'm living the life. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

That’s a good question?
My German Shorthair goes nuts playing fetch with me or anyone else.
Think of the good side, with a cat it would be bringing back dead birds and rodents to show its appreciation!

GOOD LUCK SON!

PS

The next 3 years is going to be hell, keep anything you don’t want chewed up, put up !

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Devil_Dog wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I don't have much experience with gun dogs spefifically, but ultimately dogs are dogs. Because your dog will view the family as its pack it should view all other family members as senior to it in the pecking order. If this is the case then the dog will respond to orders from all family members for basic commands but be ultimately loyal to the leader, which should be you.

It's possible your wife could be the pack leader in your dog's eyes, and this would make it harder for you. But as with my father's boykin I suspect your dog is smart enough to distinguish between playtime with your wife and going to work in the field with you.

My father's boykin loved to play games that would put any serious trainer into catatonic shock, but come hunting time he switched gears into a no-games bird dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I know nothing of dog training but have never been without a dog in my life. I know that "Daddy" will be the one who puts the food in the bowl. "Daddy" will be the one who lets them in the truck for rides. "Daddy" will give them a fresh bowl of water every morning. "Daddy" will take them for walks on the leash. I think much of the time Jenny spends with Pritch she would be ignoring Pritch while she is working. You can play the part of "favorite uncle" and just be around during the fun and games.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlotte Cole wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Great question-it all depends on the dog's talent and desire. If the dog has got the drive, there are few things that are going to get in the way of the retrieve. In our lifetimes, we are lucky to come across one maybe two of those dogs. That leaves us with making the average dog great. I believe the one dog one master rule when making the average gun dog. Although the intentions of spouses, children and friend are meant well, they disrupt the routine and focus that an average dog needs to light that retrieving fire. If his play time is retrieving, then he learns to love it. If play time is with kids throwing sticks which he may not return then the dog loses focus. It is unlikely that a spouse or kid is going through the steps that make a great retrieve.

The perfect example of this is the dog that goes off to be professionally trained for three months. The dog spends 97% of his time in the kennel and is let out for 3% to be trained. He has one trainer and one mission. Usually, you are very impressed with your dog when the trainer puts him through his paces. One dog, one master, and one mission is what works on the average dog.

If you you end up with a true dud and really want a gun dog, get another one and make the first the family pet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I went through this exact problem with my spaniel. Once I started taking her into the field for hunting though it worked itself out.
Around the house, my wife gets the dog's complete attention. Once in the field with a gun or a rod, I have the dog's full attention and she won't pay any mind to anyone else.
A few trips with you alone where she gets to put birds in the air and make a couple of retrieves and the world will balance out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

My experience would make me agree with Devil Dog and GregMC. My dog will obey basic commands from pretty much anyone including kids, but when it comes to really listening and hunting she listens to me. I'm not crazy about unsanctioned games of fetch, but it doesn't seem to have ruined her yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I don't see any problem with this, with my pup we as in my step dad and I both spend the most time with her training and playing. Although there is sometimes a difference I can see when we are both playing or training with her is that when by me she tends to be more playful and puppy like and when around my step dad she'll be more serious and give more submissive gestures such as crouching, keeping her tail low and licking him. In the long run though I notice that dogs overcome this and don't seem to affect the personality as I'm sure the same will be for you, pritch and your wife.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MaxPower wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I say it depends on the dog. Pritch seems smart enough to work well with either or both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I always thought that it could impair a dogs potential.

Just to be safe,whenever I gave the dog a reward,it's favorite treat,I would be the one that gave it to the dog,not my wife or kids.

To get the dog acclimated to the treat,(every time we went to the vet and groomer,which it detested), I named the treat after the vet,Cookie.

I would give the treat to the dog and ask,Pup,if he wanted a cookie. Tail wagging, dog drooling indicated,yes.

I always had the dogs attention, since I'm the only one that had the cookies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

David-
I forgot to mention how attractive Jenny is!

By the way,you want your dog to be like your wife,a one man ______! insert, woman or dog.
LOL

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

2Poppa- Regarding that last comment...truer words have never been written. And thanks for the kind words about Jenny. Great wife and great dog...so far so lucky. - D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from psedlar wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Wow, Dave, You are in the same place I am. My wife works from home and she has a bond with Chalie 6mounth old boykin. She has him doing tricks and he follows her around the house all the time. However I am the one who plays with the pheasant wing duck wing with him and he listen pretty good. I am the one who takes him to the pond and in the boat so I can only hope he associates this with me being his hunting buddy. I probaly don't train and work with him as much as you do but he is turning out to be a great dog. He has 2 acers of invisible fence at home and he hunts all day in the yard. He is super birdie and when I grab the wings he is amped! Cap gun shot don't phase him and he is all about the fetching.I love your blog and am so excited to follow Pritch's progress.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MyDogRem wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

Thinking back on when I was training my lab,now 6 years old. I do wish that my wife would have been around for more of the training. He minds her while in the yard and in the house, but in open areas were he can roam more he doesn't seem to listen to her very well. I will be the first to admit, that I wish he did listen a little better to her. Because a happy wife is an eaiser life.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I would say that you deter the dog somewhat with another master... the dog then chooses one or the other person and pleasing the other person instead of actually learning the commands and obeying orders. Dogs should have one owner, and it would increase comfortability and also concentration.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

My beagle will only listen to me, she walks all over my wife. It is pretty funny watching them go at it my wife will be yelling at her she just sits there and barks at her and as soon as i call she comes running. It really ticks my wife off.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

With one hunter and one therapy dog, we have conflict of training between the dogs themselves, much less the humans.

The disclaimer here is that our "hunter" weighs 14 pounds.

The biggest thing is the level of training/reward from both people, and the difference. I mean...

You run him all over the woods, pat his head, and say; "Good boy!"

She says; "Sit!" and gives him a whole chicken. Who is he going to want to train him?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

Dave, Congrats. If you got yourself a great wife & a great dog, you don't need a whole lot more.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

seadog--Couldn't agree more. Throw a couple of good fishing days in the mix and I'm living the life. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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