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MNpurple

A couple pup questions (frustrated)

6 posts in this topic

I have a black lab female who is just about 4 months old. She loves to retrieve anything and everything, land or water. She comes running back to me and then stops 2 or 3 feet away and circles me, basically taunting me to try and take what she has in her mouth. If I reach for her dummy, she loves that all the more and will take off running harder around me just begging me to chase her, sometimes she even drops the dummy right in front of me and waits for me to try and grab it and when I do, she quick grabs it and takes off. I have tried to combat this by refusing to chase her, I just hold my hand out and tell her to bring it here, and if she doesnt I get up and walk away from her. She's driving me nuts with this. I keep hoping she will realize if she doesnt give it back to me, fetch is over with, but no luck so far, she'd rather have a chase. What should I do?

My other question is she knows all her commands pretty well, But with "sit" and "drop it" (garbage in the mouth) she only obeys these if I am within arms reach of her and she knows I will take something out of her mouth or push her butt down. If I am out of reach, she refuses to listen to me, knowing I cant do anything about it, any suggestions for this? She seems to be a very hard headed dog so far!

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put her on a check cord, when she trys to run away with the dummy all you have to do is pull her to you.

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When she returns on the retrieve, wait until she gets close to the point where she would normally stop and tease you, then run away from her and make her chase you a few feet. Get really excited and cause her to want to follow you. That should help with getting her to close that distance.

If this is a problem that just developed...I would go back to sqaure one and throw some retrieves in a hallway or something where there is no distractions and limited space for any disobeying.

Also with the sit and drop it stuff, make sure you don't give her a command you cannont enforce. Like the post before says, get a check cord and you can correct her if necessary.

I have a 4 month old lab female too... My first hunting dog. I can't believe how much she loves to retrieve! Use that to your advantage in training. I will do some obedience work and then for a reward throw a couple of retrieves for her. She sure works through the sits, stays, and heels well when she knows she gets a retrieve afterwards.

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Quit fetching. Do A LOT more basic obedience. As posted above, this should be taught with a check cord. The next several months are crucial to finishing all obedience work as this is the foundation for everything else to follow in gun dog training. She obviously has the instints to retrieve... the delivering part is taught/learned. There is little to be gained from continually throwing a bumper for a young dog without a firm plan for teaching trained retreives... yet this is the focus of most guys 'training regimen'. The majority of hunting and the majority of a day of hunting with your dog relies on good obedience. It engulfs 75% of your dogs day in the field.

Work on 'sit', 'stay', 'here' and 'heel' while on lead. Solidifiy all these commands over the next couple of months. Each one is important to the role of a retriever. Also begin to teach and reinforce the 'fetch' command by opening her mouth and placing an object in it while stating the command 'fetch'. Then teach 'hold' by making her and re-inforcing the act of keeping the object in her mouth, command 'hold'(short period of time at first and progressively longer), then she may deliver the object on the command 'drop' or 'give', but never before. If she begins to dip her head to drop the object, use light chin taps to keep her head up while re-inforcing 'hold'. This is all done while they are sitting. Use a picinic table or some other elevated bench to get her on your level and to make it harder for her to bolt. Within a month or so, she should opening her mouth on the command 'fetch', holding the dummy on 'hold' and dropping it in your hand on command. You need to get control of her and to instaill that retrieving is not a game, and it is not something done for her, but rather for you and on your terms.

When you are confident that she has all basic obedience down pat and a firm grasp of fetch, hold, drop, then you may begin to work on retrieving again. A small controlled quiet area to begin with. A garage or small fenced in back yard work great. 10' retrieves are plenty. We are not teaching 'marking' here. Only the act of the retrieve. 10'ers are as effective at this point as 100 yarders. Plus she will be able to do more in a shorter amount of time... and that is the essence of retriever training... repitition. On a lead make her sit at heel and stay. You throw the bumper 10' and release her on 'fetch' or her name. She picks up the dummy and you command 'here' and 'hold'. She should return to you and deliver the bumper to you. Eventually work it into her sitting at heel and delivering. Progressively move the distance of the retrieve out further over the next several weeks, but always keep a check cord on her. Eventually let her drag the check cord as the distance gets beyond 50', but you only need to get within 50' to get control back of her. Do all this in open areas with no cover. BIg lawns or quiet parks... again we are not teaching retrieving or hunting skills, but the process needed to do those.

As she shows you that she understands her role, and demonstrtes her desire to obey these commands, begin to add in short retrieves in cover without the check cord. If she starts up in her old ways, bring her back a few steps and re-inforce pre-taught commands. Over the course of the summer, you should have a fairly reliable retriever. Do not rush any aspect of this portion of training. It is imperative that she understands each step before progressing to the next.

You may run into some hiccups as she begins to teeth from 6-8 months. If she is balking at the dummy and you sense her mouth is sore, work on obedience only (no bumper work) for a durration so you don't sour her on retrieving training. As she gets her adult teeth, she will begin to accept the dummy again.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Labs,

Great post!

I've got my young lab back home now post Fetch training and we are basically reinforcing her learnings with me giving the commands instead of the trainer. We had the expected early hiccups but seem to be moving along pretty well.

I only wish I'd been a little more careful with my early efforts around the fetching and maybe it would have gone a little more smoothly for her at the trainers. Your recommendations on this should be taken to heart by all young hunting dog owners!

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MNP- 4 months old, the pups probably going to be starting to lose her puppy teeth soon so I wouldn't do any force fetch with her at this point. Wait until she's done and has her perm teeth in. If your going to continue to throw bumpers for her, as said previously, keep her on a check cord and a long one at that. You need to be in control and have the ability to reel the dog in if necessary. Keep it fun and keep it short in duration. Leave the pup wanting more. For my check cord, I simply bought some rope from Home Depot and a clasp. I made 2, one 30' and one 50'. The other thing you could do is do all retrieves in an enclosed area where the pup has no other means of avoiding you. If you throw that bumper in a wide open back yard, there's a lot of "outs" for the pup to take to avoid you. At this point I'd be big on basic OB as you'll need that down before you move to CC. The pup has to know what sit means and here before you can CC. But FF and CC is in your future (if you choose to go down that route). Right now I'd get a check cord and work on OB. Keep the check cord on the pup everytime that its outside so that it gets used to pulling it around. If it gets tangeled up around trees or bushes PERFECT! The pup then can't go anywhere and starts to whine....so what happens? YOU come to the rescue! This helps enforce in that pups mind that it's dependent on you and your there to help. It's similar to when I let my pup out of the kennel. "I" want to be the one to open the gate...why? Because that pup wants to get out but can't on it's own, so I open it for him. I want that pup to associate me with fun. When I'm around...good things happen. In my opinion it helps with the bond between you and your pup.

Just my 2 cents as well on another command mentioned earlier...people have used the "stay" command for years and will continue to do so and that's perfectly fine. To me it's a redundant command. I like "sit". If the dog knows sit and you command sit, even if you command "sit"...."stay"...and the dog moves, it broke "sit". So it's sit that you'd correct on. No need for stay IMO. wink.gif

Now my disclaimer for all the above is that I haven't been around the game for long. People have forgotten more then I know regarding labs. But what I've learned thus far is that I listen to everyone as everyone has their own means of obtaining their goals with their dogs. What works for me may not work for you..but what works for someone else will help you.

Best of luck with the pup! Sounds like your dog really loves to retrieve! Keep things short and keep things fun!

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