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Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Deroid226 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:32 am

I have an 8 month old Vizsla and he points very well. I have only put him on live birds 4 times but each time he is getting better. I am throwing dead quail for him and he loves chasing it down. He then rubs his head on it. He will pick it up and carry it for a few steps but then drops it. I am guessing he does not like the consistency of the feathers. The birds are thawed and dry.
I play retrieve with him with canvas bumper and he retrieves that perfect, brings it back every time. How do I fix this??? I am trying to avoid the force retrieve if possible.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Featherfinder » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:54 pm

Deroid, your dog might retrieve or it might not. I'm not sure why you are trying to avoid the force retrieve but if you want consistency, it does work. I think the Forced Retrieve process is what you are trying to avoid and I completely get that but it doesn't have to be about inflicting pain and abuse on a dog. Good trained retrieve trainers can get the job done very nicely and with little to no aversion pressure.
Google will supply you with a number of options re clicker retrieve training, etc.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Trekmoor » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:51 am

I think your dog will retrieve dead birds but maybe not yet. He may not be liking the still very cold dead bird or he may not like the feathers. I don't F.F. dogs but they all carry birds without any problems possibly due to how I start them on feathers. Try attaching the end segments of game bird wings to your bumper and see if he will retrieve that. You will probably need to use wing segments from other birds than quail though .....quail would be a bit small.

If he does that O.k. then put a well defrosted quail or other gamebird inside a ladies stocking, cut to size then tie off the end. This will make a nice, tidy bundle that has feather and bird scent but no feathers to put the pup off. Encourage the pup to run in and retrieve that. Then cut small slits in the stocking and pull through a few feathers. If the dog retrieves that O.K. , cut more slits and pull through more feathers and perhaps pull the birds head through.

Continue doing this until the pup is retrieving more and more feather and less stocking.

I strongly suspect your pup would retrieve fresher game anyway eventually and I wouldn't be worrying too much at 8 months old. The last vizzie I trained went to shoots at about 10 months old and she was too inclined to fiddle about with the fresh shot birds instead of doing good ,"clean" retrieves. So I sent her for runners and she very quickly taught herself not to drop birds ! :lol:

Your pup will retrieve game, just give him time. Don't worry too much about F.F.-ing either. I live in Britain and probably about 99% of our gundogs are never trained the F.F. ...... but those thousands of dogs do retrieve game.....if they didn't we wouldn't keep them !

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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:21 am

Have you tried freshly killed birds? At 8 months, there's no reason you couldn't already be shooting birds over the dog; unless it hasn't been properly exposed to gunfire...
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Featherfinder » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:02 am

Trekmoor, that's a great suggestion re the stocking, etc. I learn something almost every day!
I've no doubt that you have more dogs there in Britain/Europe that retrieve naturally. You stated one very salient contributor. To quote you, "...if they didn't we wouldn't keep them." As such, I'm guessing the odds of getting a dog with a natural retrieve in Britain improves appreciably.
The issue as I see it is that the F.F. process of old is crass, to say the least. The modern trained retrieve is no more unpalatable than teaching your dog any other basic obedience segment and yet it instills the importance of bringing the bird to hand.
I've no doubt most British working dogs do retrieve "out-of-the-box" (especially retriever breeds) and kudos to them however I would need to study the logistics in order to compare apples-to-apples. In-other-words, how many working dogs of each breed are whelped compared to North America? What is the typical field application of said breeds? What is the frequency/volume in which these dogs are worked? What is the expectation of owner/hunt club/association (as I understand it there are many of these exclusive hunt clubs in Britain and "picker uppers" are part and parcel of said hunts where literally hundreds of birds can be collected on any given shooting event)? Add to this that in most field trials, the pointing breeds in North America are rarely if ever expected to do a retrieve! How can that nurture a natural retrieve in the future evolution of those dogs/breeds?
The OP has options available to him however let's keep in mind that some dogs love to retrieve while others need help. Even when dogs are born with a retrieve instinct it can be stifled/muted even abused by unsuspecting owners. Some dogs will retrieve most of the way back or part of the way back or on occasion if they so choose, etc. Some dogs, with help, can learn to retrieve with reasonable consistency, right to hand. I like that in my dogs.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Carolina Gundogs » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:01 am

If you do decide to go through formal retriever training, Evan Graham has a great series of DVDs available that shows how to accomplish great results without applying harsh levels of pressure.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Trekmoor » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:21 am

Featherfinder, a dog having a natural retrieve is one thing, developing it to get a reliable retriever is another. I have never had a gundog of any breed (I've had a lot of different breeds) that did not have some "natural retrieve" in it ......enough for me to work on and improve on anyway. If any of those many dogs had shown no "natural retrieve" instincts at all then I'd very quickly have found them a pet home ! I call a pup with some natural retrieve in it a pup that will run out to a thrown article and pick it up and maybe run about with it without necessarily returning to me with it. The "returning to me" is usually the bit I have to train for.

As you rightly said a pup with a perfectly good natural retrieve in it can have the progressions from that good beginning, stifled or even wrecked by poor training.
This often happens in this country.....our gundog training forums get a lot of folk asking how they can put "wrongly treated" pups back onto the straight and narrow after a good start had gone a bit wrong. I see folk posting in to say that their once keen pup that did retrieve ,either now does not or retrieves only very slowly. Then I read that this very young pup already does sit/stays and walks to heel for it's very proud owner and that it is only the retrieve that is giving any problem.

These people often fail to realise that it was the far too early insistence on steadiness and walking to heel plus an insistence on a perfect "present" that caused the retrieving problem ! I always put a pups enthusiasm for a job before it's perfection at that job and don't get any insurmountable problems......my pups are pretty wild but the adult dogs win tests and trials or did when I was still fit enough to compete.

Anyway, most folk in Britain never follow a "programme" .....we don't have such things really but the breeders help to compensate for that by breeding for the things we want in a dog.....like a so called "natural retrieve." We manage to muddle by in this manner while producing some pretty good dogs in the process. :D

" Breed for the best - train for the rest" is a pretty good motto I.M.O.

Sorry if I have dragged a red herring across this thread but I felt it was related to the O.P.s post of not really wanting to use F.F.

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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby crackerd » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:32 am

Bill, no red herrings (or fresh kippers for that matter), but be sure and let Feathers know that you're also the atypical British (OK, Scots, too) trainer who introduces your pups to birds for retrieving at earliest opportunity if not sooner (8-10 weeks) instead of say the pro forma method of, what?, two years old or thereabouts before they put something that was once alive and on the wing in their mouths.

MG
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby polmaise » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:29 pm

pup with rabbit.jpg
pup with rabbit.jpg (195.17 KiB) Viewed 1376 times

Let them have it when they are 8 weeks old . :wink:
It's the UK 'FF' program , also gets a reliable hold . Some call it 'Backchaining' . :mrgreen:
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Trekmoor » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:00 pm

That's true enough MG, I am a bit non-typical when it comes to "working" pups on cold game and on fresh shot game. This began when I was a teenager and had places where I could shoot but did not have a gundog. I bought a pup and took him shooting as soon as he was over his inoculations. I knew no better , I had no tutors of any kind or any shooting companions so I just did what I thought would work....and it did work.

When I eventually did "know better" due to well meaning advice from several of Scotland's field trailers I did not take their advice and continued to take pups shooting at some very tender ages. I got severely warned by many very good gundog men that my pups would be very unruly and would probably be hardmouthed too.....but I still went my own way. Why wouldn't I ? It worked for me.

The "experts" were right about my pups being unruly but I can train to eliminate that. The experts were very wrong about the pups becoming hard mouthed, it just didn't happen. Eventually the old time gundog trainers decided that whatever it was I was doing with pups was working very well for me as I was winning tests and trials.

I can no longer shoot or even walk any distance but I still have little trouble with getting pups to retrieve birds. I turn the pups into retrieve mad freaks using dummies (bumpers) and then take them picking up at as early as 6 months old and sometimes earlier . If they retrieve birds with no problems ....fine I just get on with training for the icing on the cake ....things like steadiness and stop to whistle . :lol: If the pup shows reluctance to retrieve fresh shot birds then I take the long way round and do as I advised the O.P. to do. I.E. Put wings on the dummy, put a dead bird in a stocking etc., etc, before I try the pup on a fresh shot bird again. That works fine too and is a fairly common thing to do in this country.

Most retrieve problems are caused by dog owners ....not by dogs.

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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Deroid226 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:56 pm

My dog does great with a pheasant wing... I would say almost perfect...... brings it to me doesnt chew it up and wow it is like throwing a switch when i pull it out. Hope I can get him do bring the whole bird!!!!!
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Deroid226 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:58 pm

I would live to shoot a bird over him but i live in nj and that out of season is a no good. I may take the drive to pa 30 mins... they can shoot chuckar year round...
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby polmaise » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:29 pm

Trekmoor wrote:Most retrieve problems are caused by dog owners ....not by dogs.

Most retrieve problems are caused by dog owners 'Taking' , rather than 'Giving' ....the dogs just want.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby polmaise » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:21 am

Featherfinder wrote:I've no doubt most British working dogs do retrieve "out-of-the-box" (especially retriever breeds) and kudos to them however I would need to study the logistics in order to compare apples-to-apples. In-other-words, how many working dogs of each breed are whelped compared to North America? What is the typical field application of said breeds? What is the frequency/volume in which these dogs are worked? What is the expectation of owner/hunt club/association (as I understand it there are many of these exclusive hunt clubs in Britain and "picker uppers" are part and parcel of said hunts where literally hundreds of birds can be collected on any given shooting event)? Add to this that in most field trials, the pointing breeds in North America are rarely if ever expected to do a retrieve! How can that nurture a natural retrieve in the future evolution of those dogs/breeds?

Contrary to popular belief most Brit working dogs Don't retrieve out of the box :)
I suppose we could wait 6 months to see how Bill (Hilmann) not Trekmoor' will show us all ? :wink:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bhtpwW ... VLNsViEP-6
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Featherfinder » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:00 am

Polmaise, you have to understand the context of "out-of-the-box." Sorry if I was unclear however I stand by my intent. That's what selective breeding for centuries brings to us today. Nurturing a retrieve for centuries has genetic implications. Otherwise we would see more beagles, German shepherds, boxers, Afghans, etc. at retriever trials.
I am not a breeder by any stretch. I have in the past orchestrated a grand total of 4 litters in my 40 years with dogs. I knew nothing at the time but thought I did. 3 of the 4 litters produced dogs I was proud of - just lucky.
That said, I did things back then that served my dogs and I. Call me crazy but back when my lovely wife was pregnant with our first son, the Doc said, "Try to keep stress levels low. Be careful so as not to introduce negative stress to Mum as it can be a conduit to baby." Hmm...so there must be positive stress?
So, when my beatches were near whelping, I took them for a very abbreviated run and shot birds over them, which they retrieved for me (didn't even know the F.F. back then). In-other-words, I had the carrying beatch experience pointing AND retrieving in advance of her delivering. Subsequently, at 5-6 weeks (not months), I would drop a dead quail into the whelping box where all the pups were milling. All it took was 1 pup to try to grab that quail and suddenly it was a free for all! It was great to watch little pups carrying - or trying to carry - a bird almost their same size! *I didn't keep the quail in there for more than a minute. It was enough to instill what I was looking for at the early age. I would do this on occasion, not daily. The results were encouraging.
I don't breed at all now. I now deal more with what owners have taken from or done to pups or expect from a pup. The right tool for the job applies today just like it did in the past and since I can't turn back the hands of time it is a tremendous asset to have MANY tools, including the trained retrieve.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Timewise65 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:05 am

Today's Force Fetch FF (Force Retrieve) that most pro's are doing is nothing like the old days of using lots of pressure via an ear pinch or toe pinch to force the dog to 'fetch'. My trainer actually does it on a bench and works on rewarding the dog with praise. He does this daily routine for short periods maybe 2-3 times a day. He will use an ear pinch only if the dog is very resistant, but this is now the exception, not the rule. My current dog is a very hard driving SH titled girl. She was trained FF without pressure, just repetition and praise. The last phase of the FF was to Collar Train her, where she learned when ever she did not take a 'learned' command, she felt a bit of pressure on her neck. This was the 'foundation' to her future training.

I have hunted over too many dogs that have not been FF that have two basic problems, they will drop the bird before delivery to hand and/or are hard mouthed, destroying the bird as they bring it in....

I do know many trainers of pointers and flusher's do not use FF in their training. But most of them are very deeply experienced trainers who read the dogs very well and know all the in's and out's of developing great gun dogs.....

Others in my mind would be best served by having a pro FF you dog for you....look around and you will find some that do not use lot's of pressure on the dog.....that's the one you want!

Good Luck
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Trekmoor » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:52 am

That description of F.F. sounds more like "positive only" style training than the F.F. procedures I have read about or seen on video. I'd have no hesitation in using it if I had a bench etc. All I can really say is that in Britain we do that "positive" style stuff without really knowing what we are doing and with no benches etc. involved ! :lol: :lol:

It does not, for the great majority of people, lead to dogs dropping game away from their handlers or to hard mouth. These things can have other causes. Many people in Britain think training the more old fashioned style of F.F. would cause hard mouth , I know that is not true but old ideas die hard.

I do agree that dogs dropping bumpers and/or game is quite a common problem over here but most folk manage to sort out this problem using bumpers before a dog gets to retrieve game. It is certainly one of the most common problems asked about on British gundog forums but fortunately there are plenty of folk to explain how the problem can be solved.

Maybe a more formal approach to delivery training would be a good thing in Britain but we sort of muddle along and get there in the end ! :lol:

Along with a few thousand other folk in Britain I take my dogs picking-up to big, "formal" driven shoots. At these shoots a dog may encounter while out of sight of it's handler , anything from a tiny snipe to a big goose .....and we expect our dogs to come back with them . I think it is to the credit of the dog breeders that so many of our dogs will actually do that sort of work. I like a pup's breeder to have done most of the real work for me leaving me to only have to train for the "frills and fripperies" like steadiness, good deliveries and handling.

If I ever got a pup that I had to train a retrieve into I wouldn't keep it for very long and I would certainly never breed from it. I like pups to have a lot of "nature" and to need only a limited amount of "nurture."

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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Timewise65 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:22 pm

Treckmore....good stuff you provide! Thanks for your comments. I worked with a breeder in Memphis, TN that had a line of English Bred Labrador Retrievers. His training routine included some of the techniques that you comment on. Of course those of us that focus on Retrievers, must have a dog that not only retrieves, but must deliver to hand, have a soft mouth, never drop a bird (lest it run off as a cripple), etc. etc. For AKC Retriever testing or competing in Field Trials, these basics must be 100% in place. Failure on any of these is a disqualification on the event!

As you outline, training and hunting techniques vary in England and the USA. But foundationally, we all focus on having a well bred dog, good training techniques that reveal the talent that a dog has vs. forcing a dog to do things it is not inclined to do. I fear many of us have tried to push a dog beyond its abilities or in many cases the dog pushes the trainer beyond their capabilities! Either way it is a journey we all take together. And the learning never stops......

:mrgreen:
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Trekmoor » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:11 pm

[quote="Timewise65"] Of course those of us that focus on Retrievers, must have a dog that not only retrieves, but must deliver to hand, have a soft mouth, never drop a bird (lest it run off as a cripple), etc. etc. For AKC Retriever testing or competing in Field Trials, these basics must be 100% in place. Failure on any of these is a disqualification on the event!

quote]

It's much the same here. Any of the faults you mention will probably get you eliminated in a trial as would the slightest whine or less than very good heelwork done for maybe as much as an hour at a time without the handler being permitted to say anything to the dog or otherwise command the dog to remain at heel. Winning a two day Open Retriever trial is far from easy.

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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby polmaise » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:34 pm

Timewise65 wrote: I fear many of us have tried to push a dog beyond its abilities or in many cases the dog pushes the trainer beyond their capabilities!

Now that's a given . :wink:
As for 'vive la difference' , .. It's not so different if You look at the higher echelon of achievement in Games.
The real difference/variant is the 'Perception' . :wink: ..Oh, and the way we shoot game of course . lol
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Deroid226 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:49 am

Just wanted to update anyone that has a similar issue. My dog has been retrieving everything to my hand on command except for dead "frozen but thawed" quail. Well yesterday like a switch he started to bring back the birds. Each time he did I game him a reward. I hope it continues. I think what made the switch click was observation of another dog. Great suggestion by a fellow member. Thank you.
The issue was definitely with he consistency of the dead bird.
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby polmaise » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:54 pm

IMAG0085.JPG
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Pleased to hear your update D'roid.
I'm sure consistency of doing the right thing was the key !
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Re: Vizsla is not retrieving dead birds???help

Postby Deroid226 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:24 pm

I wish i could say it was me. I think that breeding and instinct. I am glad i didn't put him on the table. He is doing very well find out in about a month when season opens.
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