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Postby dukslayer888 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:42 pm

I have a 9 month old Golden and every time I give him a bird, he has it torn apart or half way down his throat in 30 sec.

What do you suggest??

Also he continually jumps on people...any quick remedies?
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Postby AHGSP » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:57 pm

Force Fetch! See Snips article.
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Postby ezzy333 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:08 pm

Not at 9 months

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Postby Wagonmaster » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:22 pm

i don't think i am qualified to help on the bird problem. you are training a retriever, and i suppose retrieving is the most important thing to you, so maybe you can't just let it be. i do have one suggestion. equipment supply houses (i.e. Gun Dog Supply) carry bird harnesses that slip over the torso of the bird and buckle on. they come in a style that has spikes. i would try that, just to see if it helps. i have a couple, but frankly have had them 30 years and never used them. would be sure to pick a big bird though, like a pheasant or a chukar, for starters. if you have a real gulper, i would not want to see that harness go down the hatch before the dog or you realize what is going on.

agree with ezzy that 9 mos is too early for force fetch. wait at least another 6 mos, and make sure the dog has had some birds killed over it first.

as for the jumping up, there are two low intensity cures, requiring you and family members to do the training. the easiest for me is to lift a knee into the dog's chest and say "Down." Notice, I said lift a knee, the idea is not to hurt the dog or knee it across the room, but just disrupt it and make it fall away from you. easy does it. and repetition. the other remedy friends have told me about is to step on the dogs hind paw when it jumps up. obviously, you would have to be careful about the paw, you do not want to injure the dog, so again, easy does it.
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Postby AHGSP » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:30 pm

ezzy333 wrote:Not at 9 months


DOHHHHH, My very bad! Thanx for pointing that out ezzy! 9 mo.s is way to young for FF unless this pup is showing an extraordinary amount of maturity.

Don't know that I like the idea or would recommend it and have never tried it, but I have heard of wrapping wire around the bird. Might be better off trying a studded buck before moving to birds or using a frozen bird. Also, the bird harnass that John mentions above. Personally, I would lay off retrieve for now until pup is showing the maturity to handle FF and just keep any retrieving strictly fun with no expectations for now. Just .02
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Postby tailcrackin » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:25 pm

Well you know its retrieving, and you know it will do birds, since you feel 9 mo is to young, for force fetch, take away the birds and use bumpers. Try birds later, or tighten up the ob on the way in, don't give it time to fart around with the retieve.
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Postby snips » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:29 pm

I would definetly not give him any more birds. As I do not advocate FF for most pointing breeds at that age, I don`t have any problem with doing the flushing breeds or retrievers at that age. I always use a frozen bird when the FF gets to the bird part on hard mouth dogs.
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Postby dukslayer888 » Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:32 am

What exatly is force fetch?

Im trying to train him to retrieve ducks and have only worked with him for 3 months...Really the only thing he knows is sit, come, fetch, starting to get down, and starting to get "with me/heel". And he stays really well.

He runs a really straight line when we play fetch but hes not so good with directional signals. I tried baseball but he seems bored with it really quickly.

Is there anything else I should be focusing on because I feel like im behind on the training and he's getting too old.
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Postby OldSchoolSpringer » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:28 am
Here is some information,Alot of times this can be avoided by using softer techniqs by expierenced trainers.
Id consult a retriever pro in your area.
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Postby mountaindogs » Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:26 pm

I would highly reccomend a book called "Training Retrievers for Marshes and Meadows" by James B. Spencer.
This is the book that really broke down the conditioned retrieve to a level that I as a novice could grasp. You do not have to train the conditioned retrieve all at once. Many retriever trainers teach the "hold" commmand to young puppies starting with a finger in the mouth. If you want more info on this let me know... then finish the return and add the "force" part later. I would consider training hold now with dummies or a "buck" and really working on a good hold. This will fix hard mouth and soft mouth rolling dropping and teach you dog that holding gently but securely is what you want and nothing else. This part of the training need not contain any "force" methods and is a good hurdle for a novice retriever trainer.

Using Spencer's method, I also definately do NOT think 9 months is too young for a retriever IF your desire is high for retrieving. Trained mine at 8 months and she did very well. I agree with Snips, Stay off birds until you fix this. I do not personally like the spiked harness, I have had a MAJOR problem created by using that as a fix for very hard mouth. Probably could be used early in the hard mouth stage, but once the dog really bites HARD he's going to really hurt himself (herself in my case) on those spikes!!!
To start your retriever out well... I would take this plan of action. Probably you are through much of this already but make sure he has it down pat...

1.First refine the sit command. He should sit immediately and with NO hesitation. He should sit in a nice line at you left side (or right if you shoot left handed) in line with your leg. This may seem not important but it is, for later! He should also stop and sit anywhere upon command for dierctionals. Don't bother with directional until he will stop and sit all the time away from you or with you. Stay is part of sit for a retriever and is a must!!!

2. Refine here. Your dog needs to return to a heel position on the here command (unless you plan to obedience trial.. then he wil come to "front"). He should run to you walk around you and sit in the heel position. (or turn himself at your left side, but much harder to explain here - I would have to show you)

3. Work on lining at heel. That is, if you turn while standing, the dog should adjust himself to remain in position. This is where sitting in heel position really matters. This is how he starts when he "takes a line" if he is just alittle off at your side, he will be way off 75 yards out.
As you turn with him sitting in heel position command here when turning right or away from the dog, and have him adjust to be again in the proper heel position. When you turn left you will have to step across and infront of the dog say heel and teach him to adjust. You can drill this by turning back and forth at heel and make sure he knows this. For me this is the "Dizzy Drill"

4. Then you could start on hold with dummy or "buck" .... I have got to go now, but I'll finish this up later sorry I have to cut it short....

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Postby dukslayer888 » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:24 pm

Thanks a bunch for the info!!!

I had a question on the first part about sitting on command....he used to sit on the first command, but now he seems to hesitate longer and longer. He will still sit on the first command but it will take him a few seconds.....and also when we are in the field and I yell sit...he often comes to me and then sits..

Any suggestions?

Thanks again.
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Postby Margaret » Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:30 pm

I wonder that it could be some sort of competition between you and the dog for the game (from the dogs viewpoint) ?

Using a gloved hand teach your dog to take and hold your hand.
When he does this satisfactorily, hold a quail in your hand so your fingers go in the mouth too.
Then advance to the bird itself, but keep the dog from grabbing at it.
Train with a heavy canvas dummy, very heavy. This will slow him down on pick up, and put dummy's on raised surface so he has to stop and carefully pick them up rather than a hurried grab.

Calm the dog, you don't want him snatching from you.

Teach him to take treats from you slowly and gently, I do this by "teasing" a little with a treat, if the dog grabs I snatch it away and then hold it out hidden in my bent fingers and tell the dog

You need to have the dog want to bring you the game because it likes the praise and petting, and I wonder if you have inadvertently
contributed to the dog eating down the bird because of your rush toward him when he mouthed and whatever.....

Just a thought

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Postby markj » Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:13 am

I had a GSp that would eat birds if left alone with them. Never broke her of it, so I keep birds in a cooler now. She wasnt hard mouthed tho, my Dad used to take a sock and fill it with pheasant feathers and nails, 16 pennies, then fetch with it a lot, the dog would pick it up and soon learned not to bite down hard. This was in the 60s, I have not had any problems with hard mouth so have not done it since then. I was fetch master :) when a lad, played fetch all day.

Another thing I do from this is hide the "object" then watch the dog seek it out. This really helps with the game tracking that comes later.
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Postby mountaindogs » Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:46 am

dukslayer888 wrote:I had a question on the first part about sitting on command....he used to sit on the first command, but now he seems to hesitate longer and longer. He will still sit on the first command but it will take him a few seconds....

Well, if you aren't correcting him, then he will think its okay. This is very common and that's why I mentioned it :wink:
First try to determine if he is just slacking (often to have some control over the situation but still obeying) or if he is frightened or lacks confidence in what he's supposed to do. If the first, then just correct him if he doesn't sit immediatly. You can give him the command then say "no" repeat sit with simultaneous snap of the lead or tap on the rear depending on how you have corrected for sit in past. Most likely he will act confused at first and be slower even than before as he hesitates. If he does this, just work through it. Praise and treat as soon as his hind hits the ground. Becareful with repeating sit. The second time is only to avoid confusion because he thinks he know this command. Don't llet him get into the habit of making you repeat it. Once he starts to get the idea and sit quickly say it once only, and if you need to correct don't repeat the command.
The second option, If he is insecure of what you want or frightened, just use postitive rewards when he gets it right and a CALM "no" for correction until he know what to do. Then you can correct as above to speed him up.

dukslayer888 wrote:and also when we are in the field and I yell sit...he often comes to me and then sits..

Start with this in the yard first after you have fixed the problem above. You have to read your dog on this one (on every problem really!). My lab was really snappy on sit but tried to return, as is very common also.
I told her to sit when she was about 6 feet away and as she tried to run back I quickly said "NO" "SIT" and held my flat hand out in a stop like signal. At the same time I slowly took several steps back to keep abou the same distance between us. She hestated then sat. If the dog moves a long distance then say "no" and go move them back to where they were and sit them then move away slowly and correct if they get up. Drill a little bit for a few days to speed up the sit again then ask when they are further and further out. Some dogs need a firmer way to stop them. I worked with one that was stubborn but very soft and wouild run to me at the slightest confusion. If I had said no she would run to me anyway. For her I put a stake in the ground and ran a 25 foot check cord through it to her collar. That way if I held the cord tight she would be pulled toward the stake, not me. She got the idea pretty quickly. (Lots of pointing dog people use this method for whoa training for the same reasons.)

I still drill this with my lab all the time and she's 3. I throw a sit command out at all different times and keep her quick. It's very easy for them to start to hesitate.

I'd refine this stuff before working on the bird issues.
I bought the book on used for around $20. If you are going to try to fix the retrieving stuff yourself I really reccomend it. Otherwise or perhaps even so get together with a local trainer. Many times they will trade a little consultation for some help, cause they always need extra hands... I know I do :D
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