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Let me get some opinions

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 Posted 8/8/2012 9:12:01 AM
 

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I'm working with a young black lab, and I've run into a bit of a wall.  She doesn't want to retrieve a bumper at all.  I'll have her lined up at heel, toss the bumper, give her the release command (her name), and then she just ducks behind me and puts her head between my legs.  She acts like she's afraid.  A couple weeks ago this dog was nailing everything.  She was hitting long marks with no problems at all, and now I can't get her to pick up a bumper ten feet from me. 

I've tried taking the structure away, and just tossing a fun bumper for her, to get her excited.  She'll bounce around a little bit, and she'll run out to it when I throw it, but once she gets there she'll just turn around and come back, no bumper.

I've tried different training tools such as an Avery ATB or even a dead mallard.  She won't pick up the ATB and she acts afraid of the mallard. 

To see what she'd do, I brought her to heel, tossed my hat a couple yards out, and sent her just like you would with a bumper.  She did exactly what she was supposed to do...run out, pick it up, return to heel.  It was a perfect retrieve, but just not with a proper target.

I've been trying to think of a time where I may have gone wrong with her, but for the life of me I can't think of it.  There has been very minimal punishment involved with this dog, if any, and there certainly hasn't been any when it comes to retrieving.

Anyway, I'm a bit stumped and would appreciate some input.  Thanks in advance.



Alex  
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 Posted 8/8/2012 10:30:16 AM
 

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Take some time off. You might be over doing the retrieves and the dog has become bored with it. My lab was doing great for a few months and then one out of the blue he wouldn't retrieve. I could have started force fetching but I took a week or two off before giving him more retrieves and he was right back running as hard as he could to bring those dummies back to me. 

You might try taking a break or start force fetching if you haven't already started it.
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 Posted 8/8/2012 10:40:37 AM
 

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Honker-Konker (8/8/2012)
Take some time off. You might be over doing the retrieves and the dog has become bored with it. My lab was doing great for a few months and then one out of the blue he wouldn't retrieve. I could have started force fetching but I took a week or two off before giving him more retrieves and he was right back running as hard as he could to bring those dummies back to me. 

You might try taking a break or start force fetching if you haven't already started it.


Agreed^^ Also, you didn't mention the exact age of your pup, is there a chance your pup is teething? Teething can certainly put a halt on a pup's desire to retrieve (especially hard, plastic bumpers which may be why your hat was no problem).

"When you hear my third shot.....that's your signal to take 'em."
-Phil Robertson
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 Posted 8/8/2012 1:35:46 PM
 

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As some have indicated, we need more info.

Exactly how old is the dog? What training program are you following and in what exact stage of training or you at with the dog? Define "long marks".

Could be the teeething thing if the age is right. Could be the dog ran out to grab a mark and got stung by a bee and has a negative association with picking up stuff. Those are the 2 most logical guesses at this time as those situations cause dogs to shut off retrieving. There are solutions to both of those so relax, give us more info and we'll see what we can do.
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 Posted 8/8/2012 5:47:57 PM
 

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She's 5 months old.  I was under the impression she was 6, going on 7, but was told wrong.  Teething could be an issue, she was taken to the vet a couple of days ago and get K-9's have come in completely already, but he does have a couple of baby teeth still in her mouth.  

The program I'm using is the old water dog program, with a few modifications from Chris Akins duck dog basics.  I've had a lot of success in the past with previous dogs with it, so I thought I'd continue on.

I can't really say what stage I'm at, because as soon as I think she's ready for the next piece, she regresses and I start over.  IMO shes a bit young for any structured training, but I can't ask for more when it comes to obedience.  Heeling, sit, stay, here, whistles...she's got that down real well.

When I say long, I just mean as long as I can throw them.  I've not used any other method to extend her marking yet, but for her age I feel she has exceptional marking abilities.

I picked up a couple of softer bumpers today, and she seems a bit more interested in them.  We'll see.

Thanks.


Alex  
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 Posted 8/8/2012 10:45:13 PM
 

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With her only being 5 months old I wouldn't worry to much. She will probably be having some teething issues and every pup is gonna test your dominance every now and again. My 7 1/2 month old lab will just flat out ignore sometimes even though he knows exactly what to do. Pups are just like kids, they know what to do but try to get away with anything they can if you let them. Her obedience sounds good as well. I think you are on the right track. 
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 Posted 8/9/2012 4:32:16 PM
 

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Sage is 7 -3/4 months and ignoring me is not an option.

hmmmm.   must be those swamp collies are a more intelligent breed...  :)


"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)
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 Posted 8/9/2012 8:07:24 PM
 

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Swamper (8/9/2012)
Sage is 7 -3/4 months and ignoring me is not an option.

hmmmm.   must be those swamp collies are a more intelligent breed...  :)


Right! If commands are not reinforced, don't bother with them in the first place; good call.

"When you hear my third shot.....that's your signal to take 'em."
-Phil Robertson
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 Posted 8/9/2012 10:33:22 PM
 

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Swamper (8/9/2012)
Sage is 7 -3/4 months and ignoring me is not an option.

hmmmm.   must be those swamp collies are a more intelligent breed...  :)


I'm not saying let them ignore you. But as we all know we will give a command to our dogs and they will just act like they didn't hear you, even though in fact they heard you. Of course don't let them get by with it. 
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 Posted 8/9/2012 10:42:38 PM
 

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Swamp, she doesn't ignore me, when I tell her to do something, she does it, and of she doesn't, I don't let her get away with it.

This dog belongs to my dad, and neither he nor I let her get away with anything.  

It's just when I throw a bumper and try to release her with her name, she'll turn and duck her head between my legs.  Anything else she'll retrieve perfectly.


Alex  
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