Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from me.

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Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from me.

Postby bgivans » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:36 pm

Yes, a newbie to the forum here. Sorry if this question has been asked before, I tried the search function and scrolled through pages of threads, but no luck finding information regarding my problem. My 95# chocolate “Brick” just turned three and is just going into his third season of duck hunting the MN marsh. From the fist hunt as a pup up to today, he has retrieved every duck I shot in the most extreme conditions and and picture perfect retrieves. He is probably one of the best hunting, friend, family dog I have had. My wife actually sleeps with him when I leave for work in the morning, that’s a first. lol

But, we have one little problem. He will not bring the duck back to my feet. He will ALWAYS drop it aprox 3 to 5 feet from me and then sit down and look at me. Never drops it at my feet or in my hand. I don’t blame him, more myself not knowing what to do. When I try to get him to bring it to my hand he will just sit there and looks back over the water or in the air, pumped and ready for the next one. Kind of like “I did my job what’s next”. When training with a winged dummy he will place it in my hand every time, including play time with a ball.

Is this something I can change, or should I except. It’s almost like he is so pumped up for the next retrieve, and the one he just brought back is old news.

Thanks for any help on this, I really appreciate it!!!!
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby bgivans » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:51 pm

Sorry i submitted before adding a pic. This is his look after i miss a duck. Happens more times then I really care to mention.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby krazybronco2 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:55 pm

not a professional trainer but do understand that you do not have a pup but, I would find some birds to train with first and see what happens. if the same thing happens like it does when you hunt then start to walk away like you would do a puppy get him following you until he is next to you then casually take the bird away. and praise a lot you want the change the dogs mind that bringing a bird (not a bumper or dokken) to you and delivering to hand is the best thing ever. if the dog drops the bird keep walking if the dog comes with out the bird make it fun and make sure he delivers to hand except no other options but make it fun and don't get frustrated.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby Griffdom » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:22 pm

Force fetch your dog. You will enjoy its benefits.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby RNT_MAN » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:00 pm

Griffdom wrote:Force fetch your dog. You will enjoy its benefits.

X2. There is a great sticky at the top of the forum concerning force fetch. Read, read, and read again. Also look to your local retriever club or a trainer. It is always great to have a resource to go to if you have never force fetched a dog on your own, especially an adult dog.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby buckmeister » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:46 pm

You can get delivery to hand without going through a force fetch program. You need to work "hold training" where your dog will learn to not drop the bumper or duck until you say so. when my lab drops a bumper short, I kick it back at her and wont pick it up to toss it again until she delivers to hand. But a simple hold program will probably do the trick. You could get the Wild Rose training DVD and it could show you a good simple hold program.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby wanapasaki » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:56 pm

You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby LaRedneck » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:14 am

wanapasaki wrote:You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting


I do, one of the points of having a dog. Walk out to where he drops it, renforce hold (stick it in his mouth while commanding hold) walk back to your blind and command here.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:37 am

LaRedneck wrote:
wanapasaki wrote:You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting


I do, one of the points of having a dog. Walk out to where he drops it, renforce hold (stick it in his mouth while commanding hold) walk back to your blind and command here.

X2 and then give pat and praise.
over and over again till dog realises its easier to do it your way and it makes "the boss" happy.
the walking away before he gets to you thing works too.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:16 am

bgivans wrote:When training with a winged dummy he will place it in my hand every time, including play time with a ball.

Going to do something I normally try to avoid-
I'd assume that you're getting that hand delivery on LAND when the dog is nice and dry. (?)

Hind sights' 20/20, - the reason you're having some trouble now is a result of a lack of re-enforcement way back when.

Would agree that FF' has quite a few attributes, and would not want to discourage it, but will say that to go through the process with only one goal in mind- (a hand delivery) would be moot, when you consider the fact that a dog doesn't have to be FF'd in order to get one.
Think too, if your dog has been successfully, eagerly, retrieving in some cold-er Minnesota H2o for 3 seasons, I'd believe it's safe to say that he has a good attitude in general towards retrieving.

He probably returns to shore, comes out of the water, drops the bird where ever he wants to, and shakes.

If it were me, and if I'm getting consistent hand delivery on land, I'd start training and re-enforcing HERE at the shore if it means getting some rope on the dog to do it. There's a "new" expectation, but the dog doesn't know it yet.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby bgivans » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:05 am

krazybronco2 wrote: I would find some birds to train with first and see what happens. if the same thing happens like it does when you hunt then start to walk away like you would do a puppy get him following you until he is next to you then casually take the bird away. and praise a lot you want the change the dogs mind that bringing a bird (not a bumper or dokken) to you and delivering to hand is the best thing ever. if the dog drops the bird keep walking if the dog comes with out the bird make it fun and make sure he delivers to hand except no other options but make it fun and don't get frustrated.


Thanks krazydonco2, We have trained with dead ducks once the hunt was over (land and water) and he will bring them back to me. I will give the “walk away” a try the next time we are out.

Griffdom wrote:Force fetch your dog. You will enjoy its benefits.


Thanks Griffdom and RNT_Man, I read through the sticky and, yes there is some good points to the force fetch. Might not apply so much to my issue.

buckmeister wrote:You can get delivery to hand without going through a force fetch program. You need to work "hold training" where your dog will learn to not drop the bumper or duck until you say so. when my lab drops a bumper short, I kick it back at her and wont pick it up to toss it again until she delivers to hand. But a simple hold program will probably do the trick. You could get the Wild Rose training DVD and it could show you a good simple hold program.


Thanks Buckmeister, I think this may be related to the root cause of our problem, the HOLD command. I have not enforced the hold command, due to he never drops the dummy when training. From the start I trained him to place the dummy in my hand, which he does consistently time after time, without dropping it. Somehow I need to figure out how to train him to HOLD when he is already holding (the dummy). Maybe the HOLD training should be done with a real duck. I will work on the HOLD command with both dummy and duck. Thanks for the advice.

Elvis Kiwi wrote:
LaRedneck wrote:
wanapasaki wrote:You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting


I do, one of the points of having a dog. Walk out to where he drops it, renforce hold (stick it in his mouth while commanding hold) walk back to your blind and command here.

X2 and then give pat and praise.
over and over again till dog realises its easier to do it your way and it makes "the boss" happy.
the walking away before he gets to you thing works too.



Thanks LaRedneck and Elvis Kiwi, +1, This will be the main focus.

swampbilly 1980 wrote:
bgivans wrote:When training with a winged dummy he will place it in my hand every time, including play time with a ball.

Going to do something I normally try to avoid-
I'd assume that you're getting that hand delivery on LAND when the dog is nice and dry. (?)

Hind sights' 20/20, - the reason you're having some trouble now is a result of a lack of re-enforcement way back when.

Would agree that FF' has quite a few attributes, and would not want to discourage it, but will say that to go through the process with only one goal in mind- (a hand delivery) would be moot, when you consider the fact that a dog doesn't have to be FF'd in order to get one.
Think too, if your dog has been successfully, eagerly, retrieving in some cold-er Minnesota H2o for 3 seasons, I'd believe it's safe to say that he has a good attitude in general towards retrieving.

He probably returns to shore, comes out of the water, drops the bird where ever he wants to, and shakes.

If it were me, and if I'm getting consistent hand delivery on land, I'd start training and re-enforcing HERE at the shore if it means getting some rope on the dog to do it. There's a "new" expectation, but the dog doesn't know it yet.


Thanks swampbilly,

When training with a dummy (Land, Water, or Muck) he has been trained to place it in my hand, which he does consistently, and before he shakes off. He know if he drops it I will not pick it up. But, then again he knows I will throw it again. During this time it is hard to teach him a HOLD command because he is always holding it. I think what I need to do is have a training session on the HOLD command that doesn’t involve any type of retrieve, maybe in the house. But whenever I pick anything up his main focus is a “retrieve”, whether I throw it or not. So, I am stuck on how to train him the HOLD command with a dummy. Like I stated before, maybe the HOLD command needs to be taught with a real duck in the field.

I understand the “lack of re-enforcement way back when”. This is my fourth hunting dog I trained, and the first I trained with 100% positive re-enforcement, from puppy to now. He is well trained all around, and listens very good on command. He is trained for hand signals in directional retrieving, sit, stay, down, and come. So, if I failed in the area of early stages of re-enforcement it would have been in his first year when he dropped the duck 3 to 5 feet from me.

As far as his attitude, It’s great! He is 100% focused when it comes to the hunt, on me and the hunt. Heck, in the house the wife has made a rule that the “H” word (hunt) and the “D” word (duck) are off limits, let alone pulling out a gun, because he get pretty excited when he hears it.

As far as dropping the bird where he wants when he get to shore, he does not do this. No matter where I am standing he will bring the duck back to that 3 to 5 feet.

Thanks for the advice, I will start the training during the hunt like you described.

wanapasaki wrote:You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting


Wanapaski, Thought I would save you for last. I was going to start out by saying “wt# man”, but that wouldn’t be too polite for my first thread, so I won’t say it.

But I would like to answer your question. Yes, I “want” and “will” get hand delivery with my dog. Hopefully with the help and direction from the folks on this forum we will get it accomplished. And BTW, I don’t need to get a horse because I already have one, and I don’t hunt fox, but I do shoot them to keep the chickens alive.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby alindsey1237 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:44 pm

I agree with swampbilly. work on the "hold" command. I'm a firm believer in FF myself but at 3 years old and not ever having FF a dog you're going to create more problems then solutions. Stick with reinforcing hold.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby Indaswamp » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:09 pm

wanapasaki wrote:You want a duck to retrieve it completely to hand? Christ, get a horse and take up fox hunting

really? I understand that peoples expectations vary, but there is no reason why it should be that low. a dog that drops birds at your feet or 5 feet from you will loose birds-especially when a crip comes to life after the dog drops it.

to the O.P., teach the command "hold" first. There are plenty of threads on how to do this. you can search my posts with "hold command" and read my responses, I'm not retyping them here.

Your dog will benefit from Force Fetch. force Fetch takes retrieving and moves it from something to dog is asked to do, to something the dog is commanded to do without fail.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:29 am

here is a scenario that MAY give you opportunity to teach hold
give dog dummy tell him to hold and walk out to dummy practice.
when you give it to him tell him hold...not fetch...hold
hopefully he will twig "hold" means keep in my mush till boss wants it in his hand???????
maybe????
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby bgivans » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:54 am

Elvis Kiwi wrote:here is a scenario that MAY give you opportunity to teach hold
give dog dummy tell him to hold and walk out to dummy practice.
when you give it to him tell him hold...not fetch...hold
hopefully he will twig "hold" means keep in my mush till boss wants it in his hand???????
maybe????



Good idea, I will give that a shot. Thx
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:54 am

For what it's worth, I know you said that the dog has no problem delivering a bumper to hand anytime. However, you may want to vary the length of time the dog is expected to keep the bumper or whatever item in its mouth. I would guess that if the dog came back to you and tried to out the bumper in your hand but you refused to take it there would be some point when the dog would just drop it out of frustration with you. At that moment is when you firmly command "NO! HOLD!". Not yelling, just firm so the dog realizes you mean business. I've found that to work well with my dog. You can train this stuff sitting on the couch in your undies even. Just find something for the dog to hold (i.e. a flashlight, feather duster, paper towel roll, whatever the dog can reasonably hold), command "Hold" while rolling it into his mouth and every time he thinks about dropping it sternly, firmly command "NO! HOLD!" lots of praise while he's complying. Make this a routine to do whenever you get a chance and you should notice an improvement. Good luck!
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby Indaswamp » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:59 am

bgivans wrote:
Elvis Kiwi wrote:here is a scenario that MAY give you opportunity to teach hold
give dog dummy tell him to hold and walk out to dummy practice.
when you give it to him tell him hold...not fetch...hold
hopefully he will twig "hold" means keep in my mush till boss wants it in his hand???????
maybe????



Good idea, I will give that a shot. Thx

you can take a rope leash, snap it on the dog's collar, then make a half-hitch around his muzzle with the bumper in his mouth. no way for the dog to spit it out. If he tries to open his mouth, yank up on the leash and command "NO! Hold!" This will help condition the hold command as well.
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Re: Little Problem. My lab will drop the bird 3 feet from m

Postby bgivans » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:06 pm

xxDuckWildxx wrote:For what it's worth, I know you said that the dog has no problem delivering a bumper to hand anytime. However, you may want to vary the length of time the dog is expected to keep the bumper or whatever item in its mouth. I would guess that if the dog came back to you and tried to out the bumper in your hand but you refused to take it there would be some point when the dog would just drop it out of frustration with you. At that moment is when you firmly command "NO! HOLD!". Not yelling, just firm so the dog realizes you mean business. I've found that to work well with my dog. You can train this stuff sitting on the couch in your undies even. Just find something for the dog to hold (i.e. a flashlight, feather duster, paper towel roll, whatever the dog can reasonably hold), command "Hold" while rolling it into his mouth and every time he thinks about dropping it sternly, firmly command "NO! HOLD!" lots of praise while he's complying. Make this a routine to do whenever you get a chance and you should notice an improvement. Good luck!



Ya, you are correct as you stated. I will prolong the retreive and work on the HOLD command. Thx!
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