rgw06001 wrote:One day, his enthusiasm just dropped off. He would run at the dummy, sniff it, look at me, then timidly walk a few steps away, then run back to me as if he had the thing in his mouth. I had been using a pretty regimented approach--making him wait on leash until I gave him the command to retrieve, making him drop it at my feet on command, etc.
When you ran marks before
with your dog how many were you doing everyday?
Did I push him too fast with the formal training?
If you incorporated heavily structured Obedience lessons with retrieving instead of doing it separately from the git go, then you can suck the drive/enthusiasm right out of the dog. Lay the foundation first and bring 'em together later.
The book I'm using emphasizing not pushing the dog beyond his stress limits and keeping things "playful" at first. Or, on the other hand, is he willfully rejecting my commands?
It's possible- particularly if you're running a TON of meaningless marks everyday. The dog can get bored out of his mind.
If so, does that mean it's time for FF?
No not neccessarily.
FF' just doesn't re-program "retrieving desires" in a dog.
mean you need to re-enforce commands, and don't give a command if you can't re-enforce it.
I'm leaning towards the too-much-stress answer.
Only you would know if you've put too much stress on your dog...
I've been simplifying our training sessions (1-2x a day, 10 min at a time) and trying to keep things playful, and he's responding pretty well.
That's what you're doing now.
However, if you were doing a TON of marks before
with all of this huge amount of structure with premature retrieving expectations you could've zapped your dogs' confidence.
I searched several forums before asking--sorry if this a super common question and I've missed some obvious answers. Like I said, I'm new to this. I know that waiting so long to follow a consistent training pattern has surely set us back, but I'm looking for advice on how to move forward.
You mentioned "one day" suddenly it was all gone. So how long ago was that "one day", and what have you been doing since that "one day".(?) And what is it that you can think of that would've caused your dog "that one day" to dink 'ya.
Don't want this to come across to be a "fix", but it sure sounds like perhaps your dog could use a heavy dose of some live birds.
rgw06001 wrote: My friends are like, "Oh, 9 months, he's ready to hunt," but I'm just not sure we're there yet.
I'd keep that mindset! Those same "friends" are going to be awfully upset when/if you have to spend a half an hour trying to encourage your dog to pick up a bird while other ducks are wanting to decoy with all that commotion going on.
Swampbilly1980- I got a feeva',..and the only cure is more Mergansers and face paint.