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cob
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Location: Texas panhandle
Joined: 10/28/2002
Posts: 65
Hunting dog troubles

I have a golden retriever that I've been training for a while now and he's awsome. We are currently working on blind retrieves and he's coming along nicely. I have one problem though, I don't have access to birds for him to practice retrieving. Yesterday I found a dead pheasant on the side of the road so I brought it home and tried to get him to retrieve it. First I swung it around him to get him really excited about it then threw it out and he ran over to it but didn't want to pick it up. So I started from the begining with "hold" and went through the whole process again with the bird but he just doesn't want to pick it up off the ground. He has an extremly soft bite and I think that he doesn't want to bite it hard enough to pick it up. I tried to go back to the bumper and let him retrieve it a few times then took the bird back out but he just won't pick it up. I tried to keep him very excited about it but I don't know what to do now, he did retrieve it twice from the ground and he will hold it but I don't know what else to do. Pheasant season is in a couple weeks and I was hoping to take him.
Any advice?

thanks

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Hunting dog troubles

cob,
Training a dog to retrieve is often the hardest aspect of gun dog training. Some dogs will just refuse to retrieve.
1st a few questions and then some advice.
Have you worked your dog with another yet?
If so, did the other dog do all the retrieving? If so did your dog back the other dog? If the answer to any of those was yes, did you reward your dog at anytime for doing nothing? If the retrieve was the object and he/she didn't complete the retrieve then he/she should get a negative and made to start allover again.
You might try using some training scent on your dummy for a time and then try another dead/live bird.
Also might try plucking a few feathers from your dead bird and attaching them to the dummy.
Never ever let your dog disobey a command without a swift and firm negative, whatever you have chosen to "punish" him/her.
I hope I have helped some. I have never worked with a Golden Retriever before, all of my experience has been with Brittany Spaniels but I have seen several very good Golden Retrievers in the field.

cob
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Location: Texas panhandle
Joined: 10/28/2002
Posts: 65
Hunting dog troubles

Thanks for the advice. No I have not worked him with other dogs and yes I did punish him for not retrieving. I've worked with brittanys also and they can't take near as harsh punishment as a golden so what i do with him when he's really in trouble is yell "bang" and he rolls on his back and knows he's in trouble then i grab his mouth and neck and basically yell at him and make him start over. I did that twice the other day and that was the 2 times he actually retrieved the bird, but as you know a dog obeying commands out of fear is not near as reliable as a dog that just wants to obey. I've been using sent for most of his training and i've tried the feathers on the dummy thing. After I made the original post I had the bright idea to try a smaller bird. I haven't had the chance yet but thats the next step for now.
thanks for the advice and if anybody else has any ideas let me know

thanks

[ This Message was edited by: cob on 2003-11-30 11:09 ]

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Location: Denver, Colorado
Joined: 03/07/2004
Posts: 57
Hunting dog troubles

There is a book that I have that is invaluable to retriever training. It is by James Spencer, (he specializes in goldens) the title is "training your retriver for the marshes and meadows". Excellent book and this topic is covered. As for birds, I use pigeons, they are easy to trap and sometimes if there is a pigeon racer in your area they sell them for dirt cheap.

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Hunting dog troubles

There is another book that worked well for me on a German Short Hair and a Springer Spaniel. This was about 20 yrs. ago.
Don't have dogs anymore. No time or interest. This worked. It's harsh, but it worked.

Gun Dog by Richard A. Wolters.

cowgal's picture
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Hunting dog troubles

When training bird dogs you need to be careful. Some breeds can take harshness, some absolutely cannot. German Short Hairs can take it, they seem to be by nature pretty bull headed.

We had Brittany Spaniels for many years and we could hardly raise our voices or look at them cross-eyed or they'd act like they'd been beaten. Wonderful bird dogs, very soft in retrieving, in fact one of our dogs had a habit of being so gentle that the pheasants were still alive sometimes when he dropped them at our feet.

I personally believe if you want a good bird dog, you need to buy from a good breeder with good pedigree lines, and not show dog lineage, go for the good field dog lines, champions if you can afford it. They're easier to train if its in their genes.

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Location: Florida,USA
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Hunting dog troubles

Good book recommendation Fuzzybear. I also had that book and it does have a ton of useful information.

I also agree with cowgal. Get a well bred Dog. A Brittney Spaniel is, in my opinion, the best Bird Dog going and coming. They are intellegent, eager to learn, and gererally good natured but can be somewhat high strung.
Some breeds and even some dogs in general just cant be dealt with harshly. Its also hard to train a dog that is also a pet. They will most times think you are playing when you try and train them. Train them first and be their friend but dont have them become your pet.
Dogs by nature want to please the "Alpha" member, which is you and if you are not then get another dog cause that one will do nothing you want it to.
The dog should dictate how fast they are taught or they will loose interest if things go too fast. Stop active training at the first sign of them loosing concentration or interest. Never let a bad or incomplete retrieve go unpunished with a negative or give them a praise for it. With some dogs a negative can be just a stern look and some will need a good tongue lashing, others just need a sharp blast from your whistle. As with issuing negatives you should never let a good retrieve go unrewarded be it a good petting, treat or their favorite chew toy.

Like fuzzybear I just dont have time anymore but I loved every minute I spent outdoors with my dogs in front of me leading the way to some great shooting.

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Joined: 08/27/2004
Posts: 1964
Hunting dog troubles

atleast you can hunt with your dog mines retarded

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Joined: 01/16/2006
Posts: 10
Hunting dog troubles

A suggestion, take your goldie to a game farm or any place that has LIVE birds. You will be able to tell if your dog will need further encourgement or not. Some dogs are carrion eaters some not. Finding a dead pheasant on the side of road can put a dog off. Even in the field, some dogs will find interest in a dead bird ("pointing dead") and some won't. So, it may not be indicative to your dog's birdiness.

Don Fischer's picture
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Hunting dog troubles

This probally comes way to late. Cobb needs to back WAAAAAAAY off!!!! Punishing your dog as you stated did nothing but build a wall between you and your dog! Yelling at it and having it roll over on its back may well have soothed your frustrations but only scared your dog, YOUR DOG MUST TRUST YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Teaching a dog to fetch is not about picking up a bird, it's about putting something in it's mouth and holding it untill told to release it. Never NEVER teach retrieving with a dead bird. As we've heard here, some really really negative things have happened WITH A DEAD BIRD! That dead bird made Cobb very angry with his buddy to the point where his buddy, Cobb, had the dog in total submission (on his back on the floor) and was forcing this thing into his mouth and yelling at him! PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR TRAINING!!!!!!!!!PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR TRAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cobb may well have got his dog to the point where "force" training will be required and listen up Cobb,,,,YOU CAN'T DO IT! You lack the paitence and the understanding of your dog.

Just a thought, how old was this dog when this stuff started? Young? Nine month old dog's are puppies both physically and MENTALLY! Be very very carefull.

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