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RiverRunner

Question For You Guys

27 posts in this topic

I have a 14 month old lab who has hunted in South Dakota and did very well on pheasents for being 7 Months. Now I have been working with a trainer with her. Things are going pertty well and she is retrieving and quartering better. But the last two weeks she has retrieved the first two birds fine,the third one she goes out grabs it brings it about 20 feet back and drops it and goes about her business. When you try to correct her she kind of does her own thing,lays down and pants or continues hunting. Do you think this is do to the heat, young dog stuff, or is this a rebellion to complying to the command. I think it will work its way out in time, just wondering what you guys think.

Thanks,

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First thing, I usually give a dog a bit of a break when it comes to hot weather and a full retrieve. They just don't like picking up birds when it is hot out. That being said, if a bad habit develops, I can fix it. Why? I have a force fetched trained retriever.

Is your dog force fetched? If not, do it. If so, then you have what you need to correct this issue. Overall, since she is retrieving the first two, my guess is she is tired and hot. My other suggestion is that you quit after two birds. Put her away on a positive note. Good luck.

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Thanks JDM

Shes my first hunting dog so I'm trying to figure out things. I will have to look into force fetching.

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Something is bugging her. If she will retrieve only TWO then stop at TWO, give her some lovin' and put her away or stop the training session. You want her to be wound up and EAGER for training and hunting. You can do the FF if you want to, but I'm betting she'll come around. grin.gif

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I agree with JDM. If you do decide to go with FF then make sure you follow through with it to the end. Have the trainer show you how to get started. You will be amazed how the "hold it" command will bring a lot of things together. My dogs started to rebel around 16-18mos when they started to push their limits FF kept them in line but remember to leave them wanting more. If it's hot do a couple in the morning and in evening time. May want to use some bumpers too. Good Luck.

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Though I am no expert by any means, I would say it is a combination of all three. The heat, Rebelling and being a young dog. You really want to limit their retrieves in the heat. Like others people have said, they do not want to pick up birds with it so hot. If you know that he/she will retrieve 2 birds then stop after the second bird. Don't give them the oppertunity to disobey you. After the 2nd bird take them back to the truck and love them up and put them away. Do this for a little while and then try a 3rd bird. If the dog fails the 3rd retrieve then go back to the 2 bird routine again. As the weather cools he/she will make more retrieves.

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Well, since you have a 14 month old dog and not a 4 month old I would say you have got some issues to resolve.

First of all, if you do have a forced fetched trained retriever as an earlier post mentioned I don't care if it is 150 degrees out if you as a handler sent the dog he better be bringing it back. Now it is up to you as the handler to determine whether or not you should push the dog any more in suspect heat conditions.

2nd, you mentioned she brings it back to about 20 yards then drops it and goes about her business. What this tells me is that NO she is not to hot and the heat has nothing to do with her dropping the bird. It has everything to do with her spitting in your face. Some respect needs to be given to her handler, YOU!!!

If you haven't done the force fetch yet I would say get it done by you or a pro. I would also move onto the collar conditioning if that hasn't been done yet. I have to assume you have done some OB work with her so I would go back to that as well.

It's time to put a bit more pressure on your friend to gain that respect, that you are in charge. She needs to be aware of the fact that she is retrieving for you not just herself.

Like I stated earlier, these are things that you can excuse at 4 months BUT not at 14 months.

GOOD LUCK!!!

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river, I have a 2 year old lab that has a similar issue, and I atribute it 99% to heat/exhaustion. I disagree with Duckbuster that it's a spit in your face and that the dog is disobeying fully. My dog will retrieve for 10-15 minutes (about 30 retrieves)on these summer afternoons after work, and then she'll bring the alst retrieve about half way back to me and then just drop it. I'll command her to finish the retrive, and she'll get all excited and go over to the bumper and start to pick it up and drop it. Then I'll correct her with the collar after the disobeyed command and she'll start to pick it up again bring it a couple more feet and drop it, then she'll plop on the ground panting. I by no means feel she needs to be corrected of this. She is incredibly trained and very well behaved. She is simply saying, "I know what you want, but if I bring it to you, you are going to through the bumper again, and I can't go any further." She is telling me she is done. And to be honest I have NO PROBLEM with that. She is my little buddy just as much, if not more, than just a hunting tool. She know her limits better than I do. I'm not one of those people that says my dog better do what I say when I say all the time or else!!! To me that's just a need to control something. She's been out to SoDak and performed great. She does great on Grouse up here in the northwoods. She's never quit on me while on a hunt. She's only quit on me after extensive training on hot days, and to me that's acceptable. All animals have limits.

That being said, is your dogs limit being reached? Was your dog running around playing with the kids, or playing with some toys in the yard prior to your training? If so, then she may very well be tired. If not, then I'd lean towards the rebelling a little more. I'm sure some may disagree with me that a dog must obey no matter what the circumstances, but that depends on what you NEED out of your dog. To each is own! Good luck!

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I have to agree that if she indeed 'goes about her business' she is not over-heated, I think that statement alone is key. That is a thumb to the nose... she's doing things on her own terms. I find it hard to believe she is overheated after 2 retrieves, unless you are training on 300 yard land marks in chest high grass. I have stated in the past that I am a firm believer in FF. It will give you a dog that completes every retrieve every time, and lays the foundation for all 'finish' work. Many dogs can still achieve a high level of training without it, but it does insure that you will get there.

With that said, proper protocol will not / would not allow you to get your dog to the point of over heating and "It" giving up. If you do let them get to that point, you run the risk of losing your dog. After the dog 'gives up' due to heat stress, their core body temps will continue to rise for a while because of the inefficient cooling system they have. I would / will never run my dog on more than 1 or 2 series of land marks in the heat of the summer, without suffient cool down time in the shade in between. Repetitive land marks accomplish little once they understand them. There is more work to be done on water retrieves than land retrieves, yet the process carries over later to land retrieves, but is easier on your dog in the heat. I do a lot of 'swim work' on the hot summer days and land retrieves on the cool mornings / cool days. We also do a lot of obedience work and steadying drills... an old pro once told me, put a winter coat on when training in the summer... when you can no longer stand to be out training in that, your dog is too far along in regards to the heat.

With all this said, watch your dogs, DO NOT let them get over heated... make a plan on what you are going to work on before you start and stick to that and that only. Look at the forcast for the weather and determine you training schedules accordingly. Do not put a wet dog in a poly crate, especially in a topper of a truck or in the sun. You can literally cook the dog. Allow them to dry substantially before you crate them up. Tie them up so they can lay in the shade of a tree or your truck and after they dry, crate them up.

Have fun and enjoy working with your dogs!

Good Luck!

Ken

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How you can possibly attribute this to heat/exhaustion is way beyond me. We are talking about 2 marks that with out a doubt are hand throwns. If that is what you believe the reason the dog is laying down after 2 hand thrown marks then I would say you have a desire issue.

I don't want to get into a @#$@# argument here but lets call a spade a spade and be honest with the initial poster of this topic.

Johnny, you too might want to reconsider your force fetch and touch it up a bit. If your dogs is in fact doing what you say then the force fetch was not completely finished. Before you crucify me for that remark I would venture to guess that LABS will agree with me on that.

(LABS I don't mean to put you on the spot, Sorry.)

Like LABS stated it is your responsibility as the handler to know when your dog has had enough and to not push her to the point of quitting or collapsing.

Johnny, if your dog is quitting on you during your training sessions you might want to re-evaluate what you are doing before somthing goes way wrong.

Again like LABS mentioned most work in the summer months should be done in the water where that water work carry's over to what is done on land.

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The heat is a big issue right now. Our young one who is training at near master level couldn't even pass a junior this weekend. She was double staked in senior. Wallet took a little hit. Been training terribly the past week or so. Panting excessively at the line and missed a bird that the handler figured she was within a foot of.

Still a big fan of proper FF. My hounds will bring back the bird with their last gasp if given the fetch command. I don't believe the original post was a dog of that training level and good advice was given. Hunted with many good dogs that haven't been through FF.

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Ducks- enough said. But I have no reason to touch up the force fetch a bit. As mentioned she is a great hunting dog. Never quit on me on a hunt, and NEVER not fully returned a bird to me in the field. As they say, "don't fix it if it ain't broke." As I mentioned, she quits on me only after working with her in the yard when it's hot. I'm not pushing her to do this either. She WANTS to keep going as most labs do. I don't run her tell she drops either, I'm the complete opposite of "that guy". All I'm saying is, everytime someone posts on here that a dog didn't complete a return, the Force Fetcher's come out in full force and say the dog isn't trained well and needs to be taught to FF. I'm just saying that that may not be the problem everytime and I'm giving the original poster a second opinion, if you will. Which is what this sight is all about, right? I may have come across as an antagonist by saying that I disagreed the dog wasn't obeying fully, but if you were so sure of your answer , why can't I be of mine? My dog isn't force fetched and yet she's an incredible retriever. Force Fetching isn't the holy grail of dog training by any means, but people have success with it so I'll just leave it at that.

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I'm not a FF person and I really don't care what others do but I think the bigger issue here is how you work your dogs in the heat. YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY REALLY CAREFUL, you can kill them in a hurry, even in the water. And as Bryce alluded to, you can't expect their performance to be anywhere close to normal, even if they've been FF trained, when they're hot and panting.

I ususally throw a few dummies every night for my dogs but last night I waited until 8:30 and then it was only a few, its just not worth it. But I also like to do some hot weather training because invariably the pheasant opener gets to be 75-80 degrees and hot, they need to be used to it. Just be careful and cut your workouts down and incorporate water into your training! The water you're using also makes a difference, small ponds have really warmed up and don't do much cooling right now.

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The issue of FF has been discussed at length both here and many other posts. Fair to say that there is differing opinions. I FF train all my dogs, have done so for about 20 years, and have never had the problem described in the original post. Properly trained FF eliminates that problem. The choice is clearly yours as the owner. For those that don't FF, then they need to be willing to accept that there may come a point where there dog doesn't deliver to hand. For me that is an unacceptable risk. While some dogs may deliver to hand consistently without FF, from my experience over the years it is the rare dog that will do that 100% of the time in all conditions and environments without being FF trained.

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Quote:

The issue of FF has been discussed at length both here and many other posts. Fair to say that there is differing opinions. I FF train all my dogs, have done so for about 20 years, and have never had the problem described in the original post. Properly trained FF eliminates that problem. The choice is clearly yours as the owner. For those that don't FF, then they need to be willing to accept that there may come a point where there dog doesn't deliver to hand. For me that is an unacceptable risk. While some dogs may deliver to hand consistently without FF, from my experience over the years it is the rare dog that will do that 100% of the time in all conditions and environments without being FF trained.


I agree....well put!

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Just last night I was reminded of what FF did for my dog. We worked on a few retrieves and I was the one not paying attention during the training. As he sat by my side with the bumper in his mouth, I tried to take it from him without the release command. After a very brief struggle, I realized my mistake. I commanded to release and he released the bumper.

I guess I am the one who needs to do a better job of being focused during training activities.

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Just like Reeltimes have stated their are differing opinions about FF your dog and we don't need to get into them. These problems stated I have never had a problem with and have never FF my dogs. A buddy of mine does and his dogs are good also. It's just something I would never do to a dog. Their are other ways. Plus when it's hot I always carry a bottle of honey for some of those first weeks of the season.

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A bottle of honey?? Please elaborate

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It is to help the dog keep his blood sugar up. That helps the metabolic rate, which helps with the absorbtion (sp?) of liquids. Hydration is of the utmost importance.

I used to use honey or karo syrup, but have since switched to high carbohydrate (= sugar) dog snacks. These are a balanced amount of carbs and protein and some minerals. They are much easier to carry in the field. I just put a handful in my pocket and every half hour or so, or when we stop for water, they get a "scooby snack"! Cabelas carries them as does any gun dog supply company. I hated the empty honey packs (or jelly packs from restaurants also work in a pinch). Plus I had read that the amount of sugars in the honey pack may be too much and can spike the blood sugars upwards, too much, too fast. I've found that a good food after the hunt with high fat contents and a well conditioned and well hydrated dog works the best, with a 'dry' source of balanced carbs to be metered out through the day secondary... but useful.

Good Luck!

Ken

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What Labs said for the explanation of the honey bottle.

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I've had a few Labs and a few Springers in my life & it seems to me there has to be a drive in that dog.

I've always kept training short.

I've changed my ways over the years in how I handle my dogs and I can see how it eefects them.

Adding in playtime after the training time keeps my current Lab happy.

He pounds the ground bringing the dummy's back.A full sprint,which tells me he's having fun!

I almost have to bark at him to stop retrieving.Tounge hanging and all & he's ready when I tell him mark.

I do have 1 issue & that's getting him to charge the water from the bog.

From hard land ,no problem ,but the bog has him squimish about entering the water.

I'm thinking I need more bog time.

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I posed this question a few years ago when the energy bars became the new craze and got a often viewed but no reply post. Will try this again since the topic is hot. My understanding of a dog's metabolism is that it differs from a human's in that it derives energy directly from fat. No need to break it down to an assumable form as we do... ie, workout, get the motor churning, stored fat turns to carbs(energy), lose the love handles. Can dogs also get a boost directly from carbs or have we fallen into a marketing ploy? Either way, being a lab owner, she will continue to get her carbs in the form of pancakes as she has convinced us that they are her favorite... unless we have something else on our plate.

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I meeting my vet tomorrow to discuss other topics we've gone over the last few months... I'll bring this one up too and report back as to his remarks.

I do know we had a dog go down once who sure showed signs of hypo-glycemia... we gave him a couple packs of jelly and a good drink of water and a rest, and he looked no worse for the wear... don't know if it was any one thing or a culmination of some or all...

It may very well be just peace of mind when I give them there energy biscuit... They do have a higher fat content also....

Good Luck!

Ken

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What should I look for when I am buying these treats?

(A specific example would be nice but if the advertising policy does not allow it I understand)

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I'd be curious to hear what your vet says about the high-carb/fat treats also and how it helps during hot weather hunting.

The past couple of years we've started mixing up a small tupper for each dog of good quality dog food and some canned dogfood and then we give that to them when we stop for lunch, they get a break and an energy boost. The canned food added is just to get them to eat it, sometimes they're so hot and tired that they won't eat.

Let us know what you find out.

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