Refusing to pick up bumpers

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MidwestHunter77
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Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by MidwestHunter77 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:28 pm

Hey guys I just ran into this issue in the last couple days. I have a 4 1/2 month old female Boykin Spaniel that has been fantastic as far as training goes and as a companion around the house, but recently she seems turned off about picking up a bumper (both rubber and soft). I try and work with her on retrieving three times a week minimum and five times max by throwing a max of four retrieves per session. She might retrieve the first just fine but then the second and third she runs after it hard then sniffs it and looks at me like "I'm not picking that up", and then if she's does try it's by getting the smallest piece in her mouth that she can. This is my first hunting dog and I am trying to train her myself, so I don't totally know what to expect or how to solve and issue like this. Has any one else seen this or had this problem?


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Meskousing
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by Meskousing » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:19 am

You're playing fetch too much. Stop playing fetch. Wait a few weeks. Work on obedience in the interim. Then, play fetch infrequently.

More if you want to know. Think about what you're trying to teach the dog by throwing bumpers.
1. Are you trying to teach the dog to run away from you in a given direction? If so, you can work on 'place.'
2. Are you trying to teach the dog to pick up the bumper? If so, then later you'll be teaching him to do that more reliably in force fetch. Also, he's likely grown bored with picking up the bumper.
3. Are you trying to teach him to come back to you? If so, then you can teach that by doing recall drills, exercises, etc.
4. Are you trying to teach the dog how to hunt for a bird/bumper? If so, then you're getting ahead of yourself. Build his confidence, first.
5. Are you trying to teach all of the above? If so, then you're trying to teach your dog too much at once. Separate the skills and chain them later.

Those are just the opinions of a novice trainer, but I felt bad that no one else had replied to your question.

Trekmoor
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by Trekmoor » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:25 am

Here's my take on the problem.. First, she is probably teething and that can put pups off retrieving for a while ....or ,she may just be bored with "same old- same old" week after week.

I'd try with an old ,smelly sock tied into knots or maybe stuffed with other old,smelly socks. It is astonishing how pups often like the smell of human feet and want to pick up old socks ! I'd also consider changing the location of where you are doing the retrieves .
If you are insisting on steadiness prior to sending her for retrieves , stop doing that.....enthusiasm comes before steadiness.

Personally, I do not think that the number of retrieves or the frequency of them is too much ..... I do more than you mention with labs, cockers, springers, G.S.P.'s and Brittanies. Something else is the problem but if you always do the same thing then you tend to always get the same result .....so change the retrieve article, change the location and maybe change your own mannerisms and expectations of what a pup should do.

Sometimes making a retrieve more difficult also makes a retrieve more interesting for a pup or an adult dog so maybe try tossing a dummy a short distance into very light cover.

I think I'd give retrieving a miss for about 2-3 weeks and then begin again just in case her teeth are bothering her.....and I'd use an old sock ,not a "proper" dummy/bumper.

Bill T.
The older I get, the better I was !

Timewise65
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by Timewise65 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:01 am

I agree with most all of the above comments.....your dog is young concentrate a pure obedience, having fun, and build that relationship with the pup!

Force fetching, when the time comes, will make the dog absolutely crazy about bumpers and fetching....provided it is done properly!

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DonF
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by DonF » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:16 am

If she does one, do one and quit. Youmight get a frozen bird. thaw it maybe half an hour and give her one with it.
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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MidwestHunter77
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Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by MidwestHunter77 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:37 am

Thanks Meskousing. She sits by my side until I release her to fetch it and recalls really well. Obviously I am still working on those everyday as a part of obedience. As far as "hunting" for a bird or bumper she is very good at picking up scents of whatever she wants to find and finds it, I have not pushed her to do this and will wait a little before trying to hone it, it's just something I've watched her do in the yard or running around in the fields.

Bill, I think your right on the teething. I didn't think about it so decided to take a peek and her top K9's are coming in. Something else I realized I've been doing is taking the bumper from her right when she comes back instead of letting her hold her prize and waiting until release. The old sock sounds like a pretty good idea.


I appreciate both of the replies, I'm going to hold off on the retrieves for a couple weeks. I'll find something else to work on in the mean time that keeps things fun and mentally stimulating. She is for sure a dog that needs a lot of mental stimulation or else she gets bored really fast. And my sessions are tops 10min long


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JJWISE
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by JJWISE » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:15 pm

I have a Boykin pup who is 3 1/2 months now. Often times if he won't pick up a bumper, I'll take him inside and wait till the next day, he'll usually go back to doing fine. I don't use this time for training anything serious yet, but I don't want him to be bored with it and get the idea he can refuse to pick it up. If he starts to act like he doesn't care at all (refusing to chase it, chasing slowly, won't get excited when I swing it around etc) I wait a few days at least before I'll try to throw it for him again and this also has been working well for me. This is my first time training, these are just the things I'm seeing. Hope everything works out!

Meskousing
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Re: Refusing to pick up bumpers

Post by Meskousing » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:00 am

As with all advice, be careful of who you accept advice from. In light of that, I'm very honest in the fact that I'm working on my first "well-trained hunting dog." I'm a little over two years down the road, so I've made a lot of mistakes and done a few things right. I may be a beginner, but have been called obsessed over everything Aldo, my AWS. I've done a lot of book reading and a lot of forum trolling. I've also worked with two separate obedience trainers, including an e-collar trainer; a pro retriever trainer, and an amateur spaniel field trialer. I've read this and other forums enough that as I write posts to troubleshoot issues I see a lot of common threads to what my issue is to other posts and can visualize what specific users will respond with. Then, in the interest of my fragile confidence :), I delete the post and get to training.

One further thing I would suggest you consider is the restraining of your dog on the fetching. Let her go without restraint. Let her be crazy about getting the bumper or bird. It will come in handy later when she needs to do water-land-water, longer retrieves, more technical retrieves, etc. If the purpose of restraining her is to teach steadiness, then consider working on 'sit' separately. At the age of your rocket ship, work on the separate components of retrieving. Later in her development, you can put it all together.

This is stolen from someone else (I've stolen so much I forget where I got things) but retrieving consists of three separate components.
1. Leaving your side in the desired direction
2. PIcking up the bird
3. Returning with the bird
WIthin these components there are a bunch of behaviors to be worked on independently, too. Hold, heel, etc.

Working on things like 'heel' now will help later when you're trying to line the dog up for a blind. The better a dog gets in the proper heel position, the easier it is to line her up for a blind. So, focus on that ONE command now. Focusing on 'here' will help later when she has the pure adrenaline dump of a gunshot and a wild bird.

AGain, just a few thoughts from a very novice trainer in the cheap seats.

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