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Jimmy from Cottage Grove

Dog won't bring back birds.

17 posts in this topic

I am training my fourteen week old springer.I duck hunt quite a bit. So I have been bringing home some ducks that I have shot. When I get home I bring her to a local field and toss out a few of the ducks to retrieve before I fillet them up. The problem is when I use birds she won't bring them back to me. She almost runs from me. And I don't chase her, because I don't want to make it a game. I even run the other way from her. She will run and follow me, but won't finish that last 15 feet from me. She will sit down and just start shredding the bird apart. What should I do? Stop using birds until she is older?

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First thing is that she is only 14 weeks old. She is still very young.

I would stop using full birds and start using a retrieving dummy with the wings taped to it. I would put her on a lite check cord and make her retrieve the dummy to you. This limits her escape options and puts you back in control. Put the check cord on her and let her run around with it on for awhile. Then have her make a retrieve. If she starts running away from you simple step on the cord to stop her. When she gets her bareings again call her to you. Eventually she will figure out that coming to you is a lot better then running away.

This is what I would try first.

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Thanks Springerspeed. I bought a check cord for her, but I think it is a little big for her right now. I will try to buy a plain light rope to use. Should I yank her back to me if she won't come back with the check cord? Also I was wondering what age I should start using a blank pistol around her? Sorry this is my first dog. I have a million questions that the books I have read just don't seem to answer.

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Some form of check cord is a must at that age. She doesn't know the difference from toys and birds yet so you need to teach her. Don't yank exactly, just guide her in. I know my springer thought it was always a game. Pretty soon he found out he got more retrieves if he brought it back rather than ran from me.

Keep it light and slow amybe 2-4 throws and then take a break.

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No yanking. You just want to step on it enough to stop her from running the other way at the same time giving her the NO! command. Then call her to you again. Don't even let her see you with it in your hand short of putting it on her if you can help it. When you do it this way she will associate the check cord to playing a retrieving game and the cord has nothing to do with it (kind of). Now if she just sits there with it, pick up the check cord and start reeling her into you. When you get her to you give her some praise and try again. If after a few she does not retrieve it to you, stop for the night and try again the next day.

When they are 14 weeks old the best thing you can do is lay on the praise thick when they do something you want them to do(any age really). When she completes a retrieve all the way to you, lay on the praise heavy. I am talking 3-5 minutes worth. Also at the end of the session, don't just throw her in her kennel, sit there with her and pet her down at her level (This helps in the retrieving as well). Meaning sit on the ground and pet and or play with her. You want to end the session on a good note of some kind spending time with her. Helps the bonding thing ya know.

These just some ideas from a novice trainer(me). I hope it help you out.

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I'd go back to obedience training. The dogs old enough to where it should come when called no matter what. When he doesn't, like this case, bad habits start. Start out with the dog wanting to come. Remember back when he'd brake that stay command to get back to you then? Use that desire to your advantage. Make him stay, master that first before you get to the stage of calling him to you. Why because if he doesn't master stay then you'll be teaching him bad habits. When I say master I mean master. For no reason the dog should disobey a command and that means under challenging situations too.

So make him stay then walk away. He'll want to come to you sure as heck. Give the command come. Encourage him to where hes at a dead run. Remember Repetition.

After hes done well there you put him in a situation where he might not obey.

You'll have a long check cord on him. Let him goof off for a while then command him to come. If theres any hesitation at all give the lead a snap, not hard just a quick snap and reel him in firmly while repeating the command. If he drags his heals you'll pull harder all the way to your side. Now praise him.

Even if he comes instantly, reel him in with slight pressure. Then praise him.

A couple of those sessions everyday for a week and he'll come when called.

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At 14 weeks, I wouldn't expect anyting even remotely close to perfection. A kid has got to crawl before he can walk. You're working on simple bird intro here... So, keep it simple! A check cord works well in many instances, and I'd certainly have plans to use one in the not so distant future, but for now I'd haul off and run away... make sure he sees you taking off and is coming after you on his high heels and then drop to the ground, all the way... usually he'll finish the retrieve off because he wants to be by you and doesn't want to be away from you. That's an advantage you have on a young pup. Let him hold the bird as he jumps on you. Pet him while he is holding the bird and then take the the bird (begin working in the 'drop' or 'give' command here) and lavish on the praise... throw it again 5-10' (it is as good as 10 yards...) and call him excitedly to you... if he doesn't come run off again or coax him in with the check cord... All my puppy retrieves are VERY short. You aren't teaching marking, you are laying ground work for retrieves. Distance and distractions breed problems in the beginning. Repetition and suceess will get him bringing them back because he knows it's what you want. Corrections will follow in the not so distant future. A key point is to let him have the bird while he is around you. That way he won't be afraid to come back immediatley to you because of fear that he will loose the bird. If he feels he can have the bird and still be by you, it will work in your favor. You can also do 'hall work', where you throw bumpers or birds in a hall so he has to go by you at some point, or just go into a quiet room and let him have the bird and be on the floor with you. Make it positive where he can hold the bird and be by you. Don't let him man-handle it though. Try to keep it somewhat controlled..... it'll come. And as ST said, work on LOTS of obedience! That is the achielles tendon of most hunting dogs!

Good Luck!

Ken

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I really have to thank you fellas for all the great advice. I too have a 13 week SPringer that all of a sudden isn't too interested in retrieving and is distracted -so I backed off - went to 5 foot sock throws, lavish praise and working on basic obedience.

I'm just so excited about my first really good hunting pup that I think I get in a hurry.

this thread is very helpful. Thanks boys.

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Mango you pretty much summed it up for me. I am so paranoid about making sure that everything is perfect. If you ever want to email me (Contact Us Please)msn.com Maybe we can put our heads together. Since they are almost the same age. I am sure we will be going throught the same problems together.

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So I have tried two methods so far. I have tried running from her, and she comes running to follow but she stops five feet from me. Then she lays down with the wing connected to the dummy. And if I move towards her, she runs.So it seems as thought she is worried I will take it from her. I also tried bringing her to a quiet room, and gave it to her again. She still is not comfortable with me grabbing at. She even groweled at me, as I reached for it. Any advice? I am really getting frustrated with her.

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I would go into that quite room with her on a check cord and have her make the retrieves in there. Get down to her level by sitting on the floor while doing this. Reel her in if she stops but, do not take the dummy from her. Let her hang on to it for a minute. Then repeat the process.

If she is growling at you, you need to put the kybosh to that immediately. When she growls at you, you need to let her know that that type of behavior will not be tollorated. She is acting like the dummy is hers and hers only when it should be yours.

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I'm a little concerned for the opposite reason. I have small canvas dummies, which he used to retrieve - but now at 14 weeks, he doesn't want anything to do wtih them - he will drop them. I tease him -do all the stuff, but nada - so I backed off.

I do throw a rag or a toy and he will bring that back - but I just throw short tosses 5-10 feet and just a few and praise profusely.

He's only 14 weeks - and this is my first big investment in a dog. Any suggestions?

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Mango I have the same concerns as you. I paid over a thousand bucks for her. And I saw yours came from a pretty good kennel too. So I am sure you know the feeling. She will bring back dummies pretty good. She won't bring it right to me she turns off a bit. Yet I am still able to grab her when she runs by. I had put a duck wing on the dummy. Once it has that scent of a bird. There is no way she will give it up. She clamps down on it so hard. That it was almost impossible for me to get it out of her mouth. The only reason I take it from her, is because she tries to eat it. And I don't want her eating the bone in the wing.

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I should say on a positive note. That she does great on blind retrieves. She works through the cover well, and is almost getting the hang of the two toots on the whistle means a direction change.

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Jimmy,

To stop the dog from chewing, put her on heel (on the check cord and choke collar), make her sit and hold the dummy in her mouth. When she starts to chew, smack the dummy as if you are trying to get it out of her mouth, to the front not the side. The first few times she will be shocked and not know what to do, she may drop the dummy, or you may knock it out of her mouth. Not a big deal, give the fetch command, place the dummy back in her mouth. Keep her there and repeat that over and over.

A friend of mine taught me this trick to keep my dog from clamping down on the dummy, and it works really well. Stay consistent in tone, manner, and commands. She will start to get it.

Also on the dog not coming back to you. Check cord, short retreives (10-15ft) give the command, send the dog, as soon as it stops in the retreive, reinforce command, pull cord as hard as you need to. May be just a quick tug, may be almost dragging the dog to you. DO NOT let the dog stop short on retreives. EVERY retreive comes back to you. The dog needs to know this is not play, and you should not treat it that way either. Give command, reinforce command, always firmly, and consistently. The dog will understand.

The other option is to force fetch train her, but I am not a big advocate of that. There are other more knowledgable guys to talk about that subject.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out. grin.gif

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I have to compliment you guys on the good advice!!! The minute I saw the subject I thought 'grab the popcorn, this will become a Gotta force fetch them!' thread.

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The pup doesnt need birds at 14 weeks. You are just creating problems then trying to fix them. Let the dog be a puppy and teach it to be a good house dog. I dont start training serious until 6-8 months of age. All the above informaton is just telling you that she is not ready for what you are trying to do. I take small steps. Pups want to chew, if you give them a wing they will want to chew it at her age so avoid it by using a dummy or tennis ball. Again you are creating problems by giving a baby a knife to play with. If she does come back in with the ball or dummy dont take it from her right away, sratch her belly and praise her. You dont want her thinking you take everything away from her right away. If she drops it then throw it again right away. Dont be to hard on the pup or you will make her hand shy and she will not want to bring it in at all. Dont do this more then 3-4 times and if she wont do it yet just leave it for a few days and try again.

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