Dog afraid of ducks?

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Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:51 am

Well, yesterday was first water-based duck hunt for my 15 month old yellow lab male. He's been a great marker in training, has retrieved triple marks on land and water with regularity and ease. Retrieves dead ducks in training as well. Yesterday I was out only handling the dog, we had 3 shooters so no need for me to wield the gun. The first duck was shot right at LST and I watched the dog mark it. I didn't send the dog out of respect for the hunters trying to work more ducks. About 5 mins later, I lined the pup up for the retrieve. I sent him and he went about 5 yards and turned around and came back. I sent him again same result. I found a rock to throw and landed it right next to the duck. Sent the dog, hard charged all the way out, put his nose on be duck, turned around and came back w/o duck. Sent him again, same result. So I kept him at heel to put an end to the shenanigans. Next duck came in, was a big greenhead that hit the water dead but flapping. I noticed the dog marked it well, so I lined up and sent him. Once again, hard charge straight at the duck, but when he got about 10 feet from duck he freaked out like he saw a ghost and hauled ass back to shore looking over his shoulder the whole time. I tried to resend but he wouldn't go. Pulled put a bumper, threw a short 10 yard mark, he retrieved it. Threw the bumper out to the vicinity of the duck, sent the dog, he went halfway and returned without the bumper. At this point, I'm livid. I'm ready to shoot the dog and tie concrete blocks to my waders and take a swim. So we picked up the ducks ourselves and when I brought them in I teased the dog with them to get him fired up. I threw the duck about 10 yards into the water and what do you know? I got a decent retrieve to hand! Did this a couple times and a little bit of hold work with the ducks and called it a day. My question is how concerned should I be and how do I fix this???
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:03 pm

First off , it's not the dogs fault that he blinked that bird , it's you . You didn't expose that pup to enough live birds . I've seen many title HRC dogs with Hunting Retriever Champion titles do the same thing . Big different with a duck that's been dead for awhile than a fresh one to the dog . Not all is lost , hope you didn't burn him out there when you sent him back over and over . If so , it will be harder . You just need to get some live birds my friend , the first one strapped his wings down and tie his legs and pump him up to pick it up by playing with him . When he's doing it over and over , untie the legs , the dog will use his prey drive and run it down . When he picks it up start telling with a awesome dog he his , really pump him up . After a few more times with success , unstrapped the wings , pulled the flight feather so he cannot fly . Throw it up in the air and let the dog have chase , while still pumping him up-He'll get it . Do this for a couple of days then move to shot flyers , have a buddy go in the field and shoot a couple and let the dog retrieve them over a couple of days . This should fix it . I have a pup of 7 months this Saturday retrieving live ducks in a matter of 30 min's . Training him for a friend of my . Get some birds now :thumbsup:
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby GarDuck » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:03 pm

Agree the anger is understandable but a bit misdirected. This is a very common situation just follow dogyaks advice you will be fine.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby crackerd » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:55 am

xxDuckWildxx wrote:The first duck was shot right at LST and I watched the dog mark it. I didn't send the dog out of respect for the hunters trying to work more ducks. About 5 mins later, I lined the pup up for the retrieve. I sent him and he went about 5 yards and turned around and came back. I sent him again same result. ... My question is how concerned should I be and how do I fix this???


Unless the dog could still see the duck after first light, by holding off on sending it, you essentially turned a mark into a blind retrieve. That's not a gimme on water like other "memory retrieves" on land. No matter how many ducks you've "exposed" the dog to, you might want to think about advanced training for retrievers which includes water blinds instead of getting livid at the dog. Only problem is, fall - and ducking season - ain't the time to start in on it.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby Boatman » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:09 am

you and the dogs go out to the duck take the duck up and throw it then send a dog for it. your scent is not on the duck. if he picks them up after that you're good. if not do it again with a glove on.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:15 am

Well, it was his first duck hunt. He did well on doves this year without ever being exposed to them. I knew he would not be a "pro" on his first time out for ducks. My concerns really arose when I expected his prey drive to kick in and instead he hightailed it the other direction. As for training, I have limited resources (access to birds, areas to shoot live birds in training, training ponds, helpers, etc). I've been using Dokken's hunting retriever as a basis for my training and I've held off on the blind retrieve work based on the book. Dokken's say wait until after their first hunting season to start that training. I'm starting to feel like that was a mistake
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby Boatman » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:10 am

he will come around. you now have some dead birds so train with them. my pup always went nuts over a dead bird in the yard. patient is your friend.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby crackerd » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:26 am

xxDuckWildxx wrote:Well, it was his first duck hunt. He did well on doves this year without ever being exposed to them. I knew he would not be a "pro" on his first time out for ducks. My concerns really arose when I expected his prey drive to kick in and instead he hightailed it the other direction. As for training, I have limited resources (access to birds, areas to shoot live birds in training, training ponds, helpers, etc). I've been using Dokken's hunting retriever as a basis for my training and I've held off on the blind retrieve work based on the book. Dokken's say wait until after their first hunting season to start that training. I'm starting to feel like that was a mistake


It's only a mistake if you ask or command the dog to do something it hasn't the skillset for taking on. "Prey drive" isn't a consideration in this, it's all about what the dog's been trained (or not trained) to do. And training water blind retrieves is a serious undertaking, a hell*va lot more investment in training than "wear gloves" or "keep your scent off the duck." The good news is, training for blinds, all the resources you need are a little piece of water and commitment of your time.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:48 am

The OP wrote in his post that the dog put his nose on the duck and turned without the duck . Has nothing to do with blinds at all . I've seen over so many times with dogs that run HRC hunt test who have picked up over a 100 dead ducks that blinked fresh killed ducks . The bottom line is this pup hasn't been exposed to live birds and shot flyers . @ the OP , find a retriever club that's close to you , they can help you get some birds , but you need to join the club . We are funny about people who want our resource's without becoming members . If you do what I've said , you'll be fine . Please don't start forcing to the pile drills without first getting your dog on live birds . If your after a meat dog , then this is all you need . Your dog marked the birds , not a blind problem
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby crackerd » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:02 am

dogyak wrote:The OP wrote in his post that the dog put his nose on the duck and turned without the duck . Has nothing to do with blinds at all . I've seen over so many times with dogs that run HRC hunt test who have picked up over a 100 dead ducks that blinked fresh killed ducks


HRC's got those kind of problems, even without shooting flyers? Or could it be that blinking is the dogs' way of telling you that they gassing ducks "distasteful?"

Reckon you didn't read the first part of the OP's narrative:

xxDuckWildxx wrote: The first duck was shot right at LST and I watched the dog mark it. I didn't send the dog out of respect for the hunters trying to work more ducks. About 5 mins later, I lined the pup up for the retrieve. I sent him and he went about 5 yards and turned around and came back. I sent him again same result.


Then again, if it was the dog's "first water-based duck hunt" and it wouldn't retrieve from water, after having dead ducks on land, maybe the dog's got other problems - like incomplete force fetch.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:25 am

crackerd wrote:
dogyak wrote:The OP wrote in his post that the dog put his nose on the duck and turned without the duck . Has nothing to do with blinds at all . I've seen over so many times with dogs that run HRC hunt test who have picked up over a 100 dead ducks that blinked fresh killed ducks


HRC's got those kind of problems, even without shooting flyers? Or could it be that blinking is the dogs' way of telling you that they gassing ducks "distasteful?"

Reckon you didn't read the first part of the OP's narrative:

xxDuckWildxx wrote: The first duck was shot right at LST and I watched the dog mark it. I didn't send the dog out of respect for the hunters trying to work more ducks. About 5 mins later, I lined the pup up for the retrieve. I sent him and he went about 5 yards and turned around and came back. I sent him again same result.


Then again, if it was the dog's "first water-based duck hunt" and it wouldn't retrieve from water, after having dead ducks on land, maybe the dog's got other problems - like incomplete force fetch.

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Could be a lot of holes in this dogs training . I just know I've seen dogs with their titles blink live birds . Last year we were asked to work a pheasant shoot . One yellow Lab with his HRCH title would blind ever bird . He has been fixed now . The friends I've made thru the club , most were never hunters . I take them on their first real hunt with their dog along , and most of the time they would do the same . These dogs were running awesome finished blinds too . We get some live birds and get em fixed . It's like the first time in the boat , if the dog has never been exposed , it will not be easy the first go round :beer:
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby Labs » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:04 pm

With the amount of information provided, it would be hard for any of us to diagnose the issue. Could be incomplete FF, could be the dog was never exposed to picking up ducks in a decoy spread...could be the handler....you state that you know the dog marked the fall, but you are lining him up? WTH...send him...he should already be lined up...at 15 months old, you should have let your crew know you were working with a young dog and get him kicked off as soon as the shooting stopped. All is not lost, though...your hound will be ok....
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:49 pm

Full disclosure, I know there are holes in the training like due to lack of resources and I am a 1st-time dog trainer. The dog has not been force-fetched. He has been taught and reinforced the hold command. He will not drop a bumper until I command "give". I elected not to force-fetch the dog myself because I was afraid to screw it up and cause way more problems than benefits. I am not against FF however and I almost sent him to a trainer for FF and collar conditioning. A buddy who is an amateur trainer strongly urged me not to send the dog away for FF because he said trainers have a high wash-out rate so forth and so on...so here I am regretting not having him FF'ed. I have trained the dog in a slow deep stream with bumpers, a big lake near my house and a shallow rocky stream. Bumpers only, have never taken ducks or guns to these places because of possible legal/safety issues. By the way, the closest retriever club to me trains on average of 45-60 minutes from my house. Dues are $30/yr and they only train once/month. Does this sound like a good deal or idea?
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby GarDuck » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:07 pm

I would say in your case a very good idea my impression with limited retriever clubs is that a the club and its members have many various unofficial meet ups throughout the month. Just go with the intention of helping/ working your butt off and make some new friends they will set you straight.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby greenster » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:21 pm

bunch of over thinker's around here. Just Keep taking the dog and exposing to live birds/ fresh. I've seen it before with a old hunting partners dog. Took a couple trips until his dog figured out he was suppose to retrieve the duck, Dog was looking for the dummy.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby ScaupHunter » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:53 pm

I have to agree with the overthinking thing here. Hunting season is the perfect time to take a bit and work the dog in the field. Bella wouldn't force fetch. The first few hunts last season were frustrating until I stopped and thought it out. I simply told the guys who were hunting with me a lot they were going to see a lot of walk outs on ducks with the dog. They were going to get a bit less shooting because I was going to be working the dog, and if they didn't want to deal with it they could hunt with someone else or alone. I never heard a squawk all season. The guys were totally supportive since only one of them owns a dog.

I ended up with a decent bird dog at the end of last season. She made amazing progress. I never let her fail. By the time she was marking well, and doing blinds occasionally, she would occasionally decide she had searched long enough and would be to give up, I would walk out to her, then she and I would work it out together. By the end of season she was making 4 and 5 retrieves in one shooting set. She would do mixed marks and blinds, etc..... She refused to give up on a bird by the end of last season. The first set of ducks I shot this season, we had one drake that was a short flyer and the swimming sprinter of the world. She chased that duck for 30 minutes around and around a small swamp. I just sat back and watched her work. She kept loosing sight of the bird and would move to where she though it landed and then work it all out by scent. She got close and the duck would swim and fly just far enough to get into some more tall brush. She came back totally exhausted, and more excited than I have ever seen her. She was very proud of that duck. She came to me with her head high, panting like crazy, and ended up getting a nice beef jerky treat for her hard work. Lets just say this season is going to be a lot better because I used last season as a series of training session in place of expecting first season miracles with a dog that wouldn't FF.

This season is not about killing ducks, it is about training your pup as you noted. Talk to your hunting partners and I bet most if not all of them will be fully supportive. The end result is that in two or three years of hunting you will have an excellent bird dog to hunt over.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby James Seibel » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:10 pm

xxDuckWildxx wrote:Well, it was his first duck hunt. He did well on doves this year without ever being exposed to them. I knew he would not be a "pro" on his first time out for ducks. My concerns really arose when I expected his prey drive to kick in and instead he hightailed it the other direction. As for training, I have limited resources (access to birds, areas to shoot live birds in training, training ponds, helpers, etc). I've been using Dokken's hunting retriever as a basis for my training and I've held off on the blind retrieve work based on the book. Dokken's say wait until after their first hunting season to start that training. I'm starting to feel like that was a mistake


One thing you will learn over time is that if you ask 10 people a question on dog training you may in fact get 10 different answers
And this does not mean the any or all the answers are wrong.

I have viewed many different systems of training dogs and have tired many different programs and ideas presented by different people.Even blended some from this or that person to make my own. I guess your problem would be to sort through all that information for the right answer or program for you and your dog.

No# 1 when was that book copyright ? Did this man recommend force breaking to retrieve ?I disagree with Dokken on teaching blind retrieves after a season of hunting . You see there are some that advocate one system or another. And some of these systems are very outdated IMHO not to say that even in Dokken's book I could find something I could use and even never thought of !But I recommend information by Lardy / Hillmann /Voight /Farmer or any information written by the best pros of today. You do not have to train your own dog to some of these higher levels just to be a duck dog . But the programs and systems will point you in the right direction to have a dog to hunt ducks and run a water / land blind ect..ect..

If all you want your dog for is hunting then you do not need to train at some higher levels. But I also recommend joining a club or training group as some here pointed out .

What you did the first hunt might be find with one dog but not such a good idea with about 10 others. In your case you NEED to introduce your dog to flyer ducks shot on Land first . Or shoot flyer Ducks on a pond of sorts in broad day light. Not while hunting . My one dog this year was afraid of shot cripples at first . Good thing I did that on LAND first. Now after a few cripples he is Aok and I would not be afraid to hunt him. Of course he has had lots of birds shot for him now on land and water.

You should NOT have listened to your friend about sending dog to a pro. I can not think of any dog I have washed out in last 41 years as a gun dog.Maybe your friend has field trial washed outs mixed up with gun dogs? Every dog I have worked so far could be force broke to retrieve and that should take place at 6 months of age or close to that age, IMHO.There are LOTS of good pros just find one that you can trust . By the time your dog was 8 -10 months old it should have been through basics. I have 8 month old pup here that was ff / ftp/ cc/ mini T / long T / Double T / Swim-by / and is now running pattern blinds. She is very fast and very fast learner, we are doing 100-200 yard marks with her . The goal is FC/AFC . We are NOW introducing ducks and pheasants and will start to shoot birds for her soon . Lots of birds , land and water before ever being hunted or sent to a field trail. My own dog was running 300 yard land blinds at 10 months old and long before being hunted. Never hurt her ! Don't fret though I force fetched a 6 year old dog this year and put him through basics and he is running blinds now. Never say to late or to early !

Side note : I force fetched a CBR for a man and the job was not complete due to not shooting live birds over the dog on land and water . He insisted on taking the dog and hunting him. Guess what ? Dog swam out to duck , bumped it with nose and went back to owner without duck.
Cure ? He brought him back , I gave the dog a ear pinch before even throwing the duck.Dog Went out and fetched it then we threw lots of birds and fired the gun and he retrieved every one. Next he took him hunting and had NO further issue of retrieving a duck again.
As some one here pointed out to you it is NOT the same with a fresh shot duck on water as throwing a thawed out frozen duck or gassed duck as in HRC. Wow that is sad! I can say one thing for sure I would never run HRC trials if they do not shoot flyers. Guess I will stay with AKC test/ trials.

Before going hunting try and get some birds to shoot for your dog . No reason why you could not start FF / then hand signal drills during this hunting season.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:29 pm

James , we are on the same page . Sounds like you are a pro , I'm not , but my granddad was and taught me in the 60's . Before e-collier days , lol . I run both HRC and AKC hunt test , they both have their pros and cons . AKC is a plus for shot flyers , but I like being able to talk to my dog on the line and shooting a gun like a real hunt . At the master nationals in Kansas , really don't understand how a dog can put on such a big hunt for over 30 min's and not be out though . That would never happen in HRC . Like I said , they both have their pros and cons . This OP needs live birds and that's not overthinking it . Pretty easy to fix :thumbsup:
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:13 am

Very good advice here fellas, I really value and respect all the info. I can now see light at the end of the tunnel again!

James, I think the point my friend was trying to make was that pro trainers are more prone to fast and forceful training because time and results are money. The faster they can push a dog through FF or any other training the sooner they can get on to the next dog and if they take too long they fear a bad reputation of "'milking the clock" if you will. So I could kind of see his point. My dog has bloodlines, I had him shipped in as a pup from the Midwest to here in PA. He's got talent and my buddy recognized that. I think he just feared the possibility of having a trainer ruin this dog. To say I've been completely confused for the past 15 months would be a huge understatement!

If I were to start FF at this time, it is my understanding that I will have to quit hunting and training until
FF is complete. Is this correct? Do you all agree it's best to have someone else put the dog through that training or is it best for me to do it?
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby GarDuck » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:14 am

You can "overthink" and try different approaches until something clicks and the problem is resolved or spend your season walking out to ducks and urging your dog to pick it up the choice is yours.
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby crackerd » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:10 pm

xxDuckWildxx wrote:...the point my friend was trying to make was that pro trainers are more prone to fast and forceful training because time and results are money. The faster they can push a dog through FF or any other training the sooner they can get on to the next dog and if they take too long they fear a bad reputation of "'milking the clock" if you will.


That's as skewed a perspective as the blathering about "overthinking" when it comes to retriever training. Why would a pro want to rush through force fetch (and "forceful training") when, if he (or she) is a respectable, competent pro, the longer s/he can keep a dog, the better trained it will become, for you the client? Or they might even have a minimum period for taking on a new dog, like six months, to get it through basics, which is what your dog needs.

I think your friend has either been misinterpreted by you or he really doesn't know the first thing, except in an obviously amateurish way, about retriever training as done by a pro.

But in answer to your legit questions below

If I were to start FF at this time, it is my understanding that I will have to quit hunting and training until FF is complete. Is this correct? Do you all agree it's best to have someone else put the dog through that training or is it best for me to do it?


you'll get a number of answers, and any of them could be right or wrong - it's subjective and depends on you and your dog. But I don't think I would go back to the wellspring of wisdom when it comes to having a pro train your retriever for that kind of advice, either.

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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby Ducaholic » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:41 pm

I'm no expert by any means but my young dog did something similar this teal season. First duck down she marked fine. Sent her and when she got there she danced and barked around the downed bird. I brought her back and had her heel and follow me to the bird. Took it and put it in her mouth and had her heel and come back to the blind with the bird in her mouth. Afterwards she retrieved a hand full of birds without a problem.

My next task will be to work with her on a crippled duck. I noticed that she would not readily pick up a teal that was on his last gasp of life and still moving head bobbing etc; I know I'm going to have to retrive a cripple and have here deal with the live bird before she will understand that's her job.

Can't wait for hunting season to begin to see how everything plays out. Live and learn!
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:04 pm

Ducaholic wrote:I'm no expert by any means but my young dog did something similar this teal season. First duck down she marked fine. Sent her and when she got there she danced and barked around the downed bird. I brought her back and had her heel and follow me to the bird. Took it and put it in her mouth and had her heel and come back to the blind with the bird in her mouth. Afterwards she retrieved a hand full of birds without a problem.

My next task will be to work with her on a crippled duck. I noticed that she would not readily pick up a teal that was on his last gasp of life and still moving head bobbing etc; I know I'm going to have to retrive a cripple and have here deal with the live bird before she will understand that's her job.

Can't wait for hunting season to begin to see how everything plays out. Live and learn!

I really don't understand why you guys want to wait for hunting season for the dog to learn how to deal with live cripples or live birds for that matter . Then you guys get ticked off when the dog blinks it in the field . It's called training , go to the area feed stores , you can find pigeons , quails , and even ducks for that matter . You build the confidence of the dog first , but instead you are setting them up for failure .
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby xxDuckWildxx » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:26 pm

Yak, I've had no luck finding pigeons, or ducks to train with other than ones I shot and froze last year. I did find an Amish guy selling muscovies but i figured they would be useless for training. Do you really have a bird connection at your local feed store? Our local feed store is TSC, never seen anything but poultry chicks in the spring.

It was never my intention to "test" the dog during hunting season, but I figured there is no substitute for real world experience. If he retrieves everything I've thrown at him in training why would I suspect he wouldn't retrieve in a hunting situation?
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Re: Dog afraid of ducks?

Postby dogyak » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:49 pm

xxDuckWildxx wrote:Yak, I've had no luck finding pigeons, or ducks to train with other than ones I shot and froze last year. I did find an Amish guy selling muscovies but i figured they would be useless for training. Do you really have a bird connection at your local feed store? Our local feed store is TSC, never seen anything but poultry chicks in the spring.

It was never my intention to "test" the dog during hunting season, but I figured there is no substitute for real world experience. If he retrieves everything I've thrown at him in training why would I suspect he wouldn't retrieve in a hunting situation?

Kind of directed that statement to the guy who said we will see what happens when season opens up . Duckwild , if all you can find is the muscovies , then better than nothing . Don't get the bull ones , try too stick to the smaller ones . The same steps I outline for you , keep it a live . Strapped the wings down where they cannot flap . Tie legs also . Tease the pup with it , when he's getting it with confidence , then untie the legs and let him chase it. It will help his prey drive . Again , when he's grabbing bird over and over without being scare , then untie the wings and pulled the flight feathers . Let him chase and have fun , a lot of praise and pump the hell out of him . He will get it and don't rush it , just build that confidence . When all of this is going without a hitch , find a field and do shot flyers . You will need help for this part . You do this , your dog will not be blinking birds in the field , and will chase the hell out of the cripple :yes:
dogyak
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