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Thread: Retrieving problem

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mukwonago, WI
    Posts
    557

    Default Retrieving problem

    I’ve got a strange retrieving issue that I’m struggling to figure out. Two year old female Golden with strong bloodlines and strong hunt drive. Will play fetch for hours with a decoy. Retrieved some birds last year, but this year doesn’t seem to want to retrieve dead birds. She will run up to a dead bird sniff it and occasionally pick it up then drop it, and want to go back hunting. I use the same words as when we practice in the yard. To my knowledge she’s never been spurred.

    Here are the weird wrinkles. When I go and pick the bird up, she is all over it when I’m holding it. She wants the bird BAD when I’m putting it ito my vest. Then when we get home, I can toss a dead bird around the yard or garage and she will then retrieve it - every time.

    The only thing I can figure is that when in field she is far more interested in trying to find another bird than to want to deal with the one that’s already dead.

    Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

    Thanks
    Last edited by 519vx; 01-01-2019 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    South Dakota / Arizona
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    6,121

    Default

    She probably needs to be "force fetched" to learn that she must do it all the time. If you are not capable of doing it yourself (few of us are) then get her a professional trainer. It will be well worth the money spent.
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  3. #3

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    Playing fetch for hours is not a good thing, especially with young dogs who have not been force fetched. Only give them a few retrieves, then end the session with them hungry for more. I always start my puppies off with a clipped wing pigeon. This is the best way to develop prey drive. You could try starting over with a clipped wing pigeon, but you need to stop the "Practicing" as I feel you have probably developed bad habits. But your best option would be force fetch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mukwonago, WI
    Posts
    557

    Default

    That’s the issue....she’s got a super prey drive. She’ll retriieve dead birds to hand, but at home, not in the field. I can toss a dead bird on the yard and she will get it. Also see my previous note about her going crazy wanting the dead bird when in the field but only after I walk over and pick it up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    831

    Default

    Force fetch may be necessary, but I had a very similar issue w/ my 1st springer that I was able to solve easily.

    Walt’s 1st season began when he was 5 months old. He picked it up immediately & about way through the season, he started retrieving.

    On the 1st bird of his 2nd season, I stoned a rooster that dropped in picked corn, dead. He went over, sniffed it, probably licked its beak a little, & then ran back towards me, into the cover, to resume hunting. I walked out to the bird & called him over. I forced the bird into his mouth & walked him around with it for a while; one hand on his collar; the other clamping his mouth shut. Occasional commands of “fetch” followed by “good boy”. (This whole thing wasn’t the easiest to do, as Walt definitely copped an attitude sometimes.)

    After a few minutes of this, I took my hands off him & commanded “fetch”, wanting him to carry the bird next to me, back to where I wanted to resume hunting. (for my dogs, “fetch” includes “hold”; not 2 separate commands) Instead, he dropped it & followed me back to that point. I commanded “sit” & let the bird lay out there a while. Eventually I commanded “fetch” & he ran off & retrieved it. Never in his life (maybe) did he get as much praise as he got right then. For the rest of his life, really dead birds never received the same aggression that lively ones got, but they didn’t require it I guess. But never once after that episode did he not retrieve a bird.

    Maybe I just lucked out, but you might try this if you haven’t already. One thing though, if the dog doesn’t fully understand your “fetch” command (or whatever you use), it’s bound not to work. And if you have to pick up a bird…..don’t praise her just for finding it. Just reinforces behavior you don’t want. As a non-pro trainer, I’ve been down that road too before the lightbulb came on in MY head.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    South Dakota / Arizona
    Posts
    6,121

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by westksbowhunter View Post
    Playing fetch for hours is not a good thing, especially with young dogs who have not been force fetched. Only give them a few retrieves, then end the session with them hungry for more. I always start my puppies off with a clipped wing pigeon. This is the best way to develop prey drive. You could try starting over with a clipped wing pigeon, but you need to stop the "Practicing" as I feel you have probably developed bad habits. But your best option would be force fetch.
    I had a very similar issue with a Brittany several years ago. She was a retrieving nut in the yard and other controlled situations. Would fetch anything to hand. But in the field she would go to a downed bird pick it up, bring it part way and then drop it short of me. Take that same bird home and throw it in the yard and she would retrieve, bring it back and sit by my side until I told her to "Give". Three weeks with a trainer corrected the problem. He did an abbreviated force fetch with her and then overlaid that with the e-collar. If she would drop it short he would command her to "Fetch" and if she didn't immediately pick it up she would get a little jolt from the e-collar. That way I had a way to enforce it in the field if needed.

    Since your dog does retrieve a trainer shouldn't need to put her through a lengthy force fetch program.

    FYI, I have a very good friend in Mukwonago.
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree
    7/6/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016
    http://gundogcentral.com/view_pedigr...&generations=5

  7. #7

    Default

    My eight year old Brittany will not retrieve a ball, dummy or anything else in our yard or at the training pond. She retrieves birds readily in the field including ducks on the water. She is sometimes hesitant to retrieve birds during early season (early season grouse and some October pheasants) when the temps are warm and she is panting while hunting. I can live with that. I do not believe I have lost a bird with her in several years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 519vx View Post
    I’ve got a strange retrieving issue that I’m struggling to figure out. Two year old female Golden with strong bloodlines and strong hunt drive. Will play fetch for hours with a decoy. Retrieved some birds last year, but this year doesn’t seem to want to retrieve dead birds. She will run up to a dead bird sniff it and occasionally pick it up then drop it, and want to go back hunting. I use the same words as when we practice in the yard. To my knowledge she’s never been spurred

    Here are the weird wrinkles. When I go and pick the bird up, she is all over it when I’m holding it. She wants the bird BAD when I’m putting it ito my vest. Then when we get home, I can toss a dead bird around the yard or garage and she will then retrieve it - every time.

    The only thing I can figure is that when in field she is far more interested in trying to find another bird than to want to deal with the one that’s already dead.

    Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

    Thanks
    Have you ever tried walking away from the bird and acting like you are gonna just leave it? That encouraged my young Brittany with grouse this fall. She’d run down a cripple but didn’t want to bring stone dead birds to hand. She’d just stand over them and wait for me to pick them up. But if I walked away she’d want to bring them to me.... I’m currently working her through a trained retrieve program.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Mukwonago, WI
    Posts
    557

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ab5528 View Post
    Have you ever tried walking away from the bird and acting like you are gonna just leave it? That encouraged my young Brittany with grouse this fall. Shed run down a cripple but didnt want to bring stone dead birds to hand. Shed just stand over them and wait for me to pick them up. But if I walked away shed want to bring them to me.... Im currently working her through a trained retrieve program.
    Thanks all for the suggestions. Will give these ideas a try!

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