Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jaspernuts

Dog rough with birds - Any suggestions?

13 posts in this topic

I have a 3 yr old Black Lab that used to be great with releasing birds back to me. Now she is so rough with them I have to hurry to get them out of her mouth so they are not damaged. She knows what she if after now and is getting more aggressive. Any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As funny as it sounds sometimes trying to quickly get a bird from a dog makes them hard mouthed. The dog senses the tension and gives the bird a good chomping before you can get to it. With one of my dogs this was exactly the case. I solved the problem when I allowed the dog to hold onto the bird for extended periods after retrieves. He relaxed and quit chomping on them once I wasn't trying to get it out of his mouth as soon as possible. You've got to be willing to have few toothed up birds to change the behavior though.

I'm sure other guys will chime in with 'force breaking' the dog to retrieve. A guy could write pages on 'force breaking', so I'll just mention that it's another widely used option. Frozen birds and birds with nails stuck through them are also commonly suggested methods of dealing with hard mouth. I haven't had much luck with either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree frozen birds and birds with nails will do nothing to solve the problem. I've heard of making them hold stiff bristle brushes and wrapping barbed wire around a bird too... but i think you are doing little to solve the problem.

Forcing the dog will most likely solve the problem if done correctly, but it is a lengthy process and will be even longer now that the dog has developed bad traits. It would be the route I'd take, but you may not be willing to invest the time to do this.

You can also work with the dog in your garage on a table. Teach him the command 'fetch' (open mouth), 'hold' (bird in mouth - no rolling or biting), and 'drop'. Being on the table will put you on an eye to eye basis and take away the distractions of the hunt and retrieve. Start with dummies and progress to fresh killed and then live birds... pigeons are tough and can handle some abuse in training and may last for several sessions, but chukars would work too. This is a modified version of the beginning steps of 'forcing' a dog and may solve your problem.

Pinch in his lip into his canine and say 'fetch' and lay the dummy (bird) in his mouth, command 'hold' and make sure there is no downward pressure on the dummy (bird) by the dog. Keep your hand around the bird until you feel he has a firm but gentle grasp. If he begins to apply pressure, immediatley pinch in on his lips to his canines and say 'no'. When he eases up, re-inforce with a 'good' and get him to hold the dummy (bird) without rolling it in his mouth or playing with or rough housing it. Increase the duration each and everytime he does it right. Then command 'drop' and take it from him. Make sure he releases it as soon as you give the command. Work with him for a month on this and make sure he understands each command and does them correctly everytime. Use lots of positive re-inforcement and so he understands exactly what you want him to do. Use plenty of birds during this process too. I wouldn't hunt him or train on retrieves until you are sure he is over this. It will only continue to get worse unless you nip it now. He has to understand that these are formal commands and that he is doing it for you and it is your bird. I don't think he is there. Breaking the retrieve act down into 3 commands may get him back. Doing it in a controlled situation puts all the 'control' into you and the teaching of what you expect. Don't expect to stop it by hunting or throwing dummies. You cannot correct the situation fast enough.

Good Luck!

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what my Pro did for mine and I have seen him do it to some of the other dogs he had issues with.

When the dog brings the bird back to you tell her to hold, then sit so she is next to you.

Now grab her by the collar and literally try to shove the bird forcefully down the dogs throat. All the while tell the dog to hold, hold, hold. Do this for an extended period of time to the point where the dog is gagging.

Do this a couple of times and it generally will solve the problem.

Ya, this doesn't sound very nice but she/you have to realize that she is retrieving for you. She is not bringing the bird back for her own enjoyment.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a firm believer to use zero discipline for the hold/fetch and retrieves. If done wrong it'll turn the dog off. Dog has to have mastered the basic commands first. Next get rid of the distractions when starting retrieving.

Some trainers will go right to force breaking regardless if the dog "needs" it or not. I won't do that unless theres a problem, that more times then not is a dog that retrieves dummies with gusto but is reluctant to pick up dead birds.

We fast forward to your dog being hard mouthed. I'd not use any discipline here either.

What you want is the dog to take from you gently. In this lesson you want the dog to fail by repeating its rough behavior, then come around to doing as you want him to. For that reason dissociate this session with retrieving or fetch.

I don't use treats as a reward but this time I will. Get him excited with a treat, wave it around and taunt him with it, thats right get him worked up over like he would during a retrieve. Then offer it to him, the second he lunges for it pull it from him and give the command "nice" with a slow, firm, but in a settling way. Give no other discipline. Now offer the treat to him again with the command "nice". If he lunges for it again pull it away and repeat the command.

Do this till he doesn't lunge and to the point where you can deliver it to his mouth. When you finally do give it to him let his teeth come in contact with your fingers.

Now get him worked up again and repeat as above till he takes it nice. This teaches him to restrain himself when taking from you. Do it every day a few times a day.

When he masters that you move on to the training dummy. Get him worked up and then give your command to hold/fetch, you want him to lunge for the dummy. When he does pull it away and give the command "nice". The association with the earlier lesson should click in. Since that lesson was positive you won't take any drive away from the dog.

Next move onto a dead bird. Do exactly what you did in previous lessons with zero discipline other then the slow, firm but soothing command "nice".

Now I'll back track in the training with introduction of holding dummies and birds that a lot of times eliminates the hard mouthed dog from developing. Dogs like to be petted but not touched all over. Get them used to your touch on every part of their body. Include the mouth, gums, teeth.

Put your hand in the dogs mouth and let him know that hes to be gentle. Use that command "nice" cause it might come in handy down the road. When you offer the dog a dummy for the first time keep a couple fingers in his mouth too. Move on to birds and again let him hold that with your fingers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frank, When you stick your hand in the dogs mouth and he bites you what type of correction do you use?

When the dog becomes unruly, what type of correction do you use?

I don't believe you can properly or completely teach a dog to fetch without some form of pressure. Don't get me wrong there is that rare animal but not for 9 out of 10 of them.

At some point there needs to be a line drawn in the sand and direct or indirect pressure needs to be used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If never been bitten by a dog in the above procedures and you won't if you train them how I posted. The dog is conditioned to control its excitement and take gently no matter what. My post was to cure a hard mouthed dog, not to force break it, thats totally different.

You can properly train most dogs to pickup anything(fetch) with zero pressure and would rather start with that route then force breaking right off the bat. Some do that I don't.

My current Lab has never refused to pick up a bird nor has she dropped it on the ground, always brought to the hand, no force breaking needed.

If I get a persnickety dog that won't fetch a bird then its time to force break him. Another Lab (16 yo thats gone now) retrieved dummies like a champ, when it came to feathers she didn't do so well. After force breaking her she was good to go. Two Labs and Golden Retriever before that, no force breaking and were excellent retrievers.

Unruly dogs, never had one because I start with obedience and go one step at a time. Do I discipline, absolutely yes. I'm the type of guy that gives a command and expects the dog to it and I don't like giving the same command twice. So no I'm not a pushover either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many different techniques for getting a dog to do something. If this has worked for you, then more power to you. I personally would not utilize your methods. After having trained many different retrievers, I can tell you that you do run into a hard mouth case here and there. In my opinion, there has been some good advice given on this topic. Fore fetch is the best way to cure or avoid this issue. Secondary, I also am a believer in shoving the bird down their throat. Like it or not, it works. Many times, hard mouth is a product of the breakdown of the "hold" command. Even if you do not FF your dog, you should teach hold as Labs suggested. I can promise you that the people who get paid to train dogs are not using the hugs and kisses methods, but are fair, firm, yet positive in thier methods and subsequently, get excellent results. Hard mouth is a very fixable problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

I can promise you that the people who get paid to train dogs are not using the hugs and kisses methods


Dang.....I was wondering why my recent training seemed to be progressing fairly slow! LOL shocked.gifwink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JDM, I take offense to your hugs and kisses remark. Believe it or not there are Professional Dog trainers that go way way back that can train a Lab without inflicting pain or ramming ducks down a dogs throat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So be it, Surface. One thing that drives me crazy on this site is when people give advice that could easily lead to problems. Every dog is different - just like people. One dog may require that bird to be rammed down it's throat 100 times before he gets it right. The next one may never need it at all. The best part is that they could be litter mates! When I read some of the stuff that people say on here, I can only conclude that some of them have dogs that have abilities that can go beyond their training (or lack there of), or they are just plain lucky. People also have much different expectations of what is considered acceptable retriever behavior. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to be happy with your dog and enjoy the way you train. As I stated in my previous post, if it works for you, more power to you.

There are certain people on this site who give very sound suggestions, like Labs. I find it very hard to say anything on 99.99% of his posts on this board that can top anything he has already suggested. Why? He is right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So now I'm giving advice that could lead to problems? Or I have dogs that have abilities that can go beyond their training (or lack there of), or they are just plain lucky.

I won't even defend that.

Your a real piece of work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just caught up on this one. In a nutshell... yes. This topic has gone way over the head of the average dog owner. FF with hugs and kisses will work on the certain dog but the masses need persuasion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • Jim Uran
      I have to add that my buddy has had the Eskimo propane auger and loves it, he has a season and half using it and it hasn't given him any problems. 
    • Jim Uran
      I've had an Eskimo Shark for a few years and I love it, I'm not a fan of the aluminum handles on it, they have given me an issue or two but customer service is outstanding. Can't comment on the EVO, other than  I think they are gimmicky, but I love their six sided insulated hub. Works great for my family trips or just going out by myself. Sets up easy and there is a ton of room. 
    • papadarv
      Vexilar makes many "fish finders" what model do you have. Is it a flasher, a graph, WiFi type. Will help in knowing what your looking at when running your finder.
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      brianfisher, Welcome to Fishing Minnesota! Using a flasher in open water is way more difficult then using a regular depth finder! It takes a lot of study time to really learn to recognize what it is showing you! Basically anything marked even slightly off of the bottom is likely a fish unless there is a lot of floating weeds etc. in the water column. I suggest that you get out on the ice with your friend this winter and use his flasher through the ice. You will very quickly learn to adjust the gain settings and learn to recognize fish under a controlled depth condition! If possible have someone that is familiar with his flasher model go with you and show you how to operate it. Once you learn to read a flasher your fish catching rate will go way up! Cliff      
    • RuddyDuck
      Ice forming in the dogs water dish right now! Forcast still looks good starting Tuesday. I predict the first truck thru the ice on Buffalo will be Dec 23!