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Postby duckmann » Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:43 pm


I am currently trying to transition my 9 month old lab from bumpers (injected with duck scent) to bumpers with feathers attached with duct tape. The pup will retrieve the old bumpers very well but as soon as she encounters one with a duck wing attached her brain shuts down and she sits down and wants to pull the feathers out one by one.

Currently, I have taken away the NEW bumpers until I can work out a solution. . . so, my question is how do I get her NOT to chew and still keep her interested in bringing back the new bumpers?

Any help would be great appreciated.


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Postby SteveInTN » Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:21 pm

This sounds simplistic, but have you given the dog a scolding with a NO command?

Try this, take three OLD bumpers and one NEW one. Toss out an OLD bumper 5 yards in front of you with the dog steady at your side. Let the dog sit for a few seconds, staring at the bumper, then send it for the retrieve. As soon as the dog gets the OLD bumper in its' mouth, command HERE. Praise upon delivery. Repeat this three times in rapid succession with the OLD bumpers. Hopefully the dog performs the first three well, and in quick succession. For the fourth, throw out the NEW bumper. As soon as the dog gets its' mouth ON the bumer with wings, command HERE. It the dog doesn't comply, take it away and give a stern NO, then repeat HERE. Start over with the three OLD ones.

At some point in the process the dog should realize that the NEW bumper isn't a toy and that you expect them to retrieve it just like they would any other. It might take time, and the 'newness' of the NEW bumper & wings might have to wear off, but it eventually will.

You might also throw in a long lead on the dog during the retrieves so that you can tug it back in when it wants to lay down and chew.

That is the nice approach...

I'm assuming the dog isn't Force Fetched otherwise this wouldn't be a problem. This is a big reason why trainers use the Force Fetch on retrievers. It turns the retrieve from something THEY want to do into something YOU want them to do. I won't go into a big tirade or hard sell on the Force Fetch, instead I'll tell you how I would correct it on my dog. If this was my dog, who has been Force Fetched, it would go like this.

I throw out the NEW bumper

He lays down with it and starts chewing on it

I give the stern NO, followed immediately by what I want him to do, which would be FETCH

At that point he says to himself "Oh, your serious", and brings it to me
"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"
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Postby Greg Wile » Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:58 pm

This sounds like it should work. :thumbsup:
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Postby shrpshtr » Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:08 pm

SteveInTN wrote:...

You might also throw in a long lead on the dog during the retrieves so that you can tug it back in when it wants to lay down and chew.


great advice, steve. especially the lead! :thumbsup:
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Thanks for the comments!

Postby duckmann » Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:57 am


Your idea of starting with the old bumper and switching to a new with wings worked great. Sorry it took me so long to thank you for the great post.

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Postby ACEBLDRS » Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:47 pm

keep buying and using new bumpers alot. If you just keep on using the new bumper with the wing atached the next time you throw out a new bumper it won't be the one they are used to.

what i guess i'm trying to spit out is to throw lots of bumpers i.e. dif color, dif size, dif material, fake ducks and real birds. turn your dog into " a scooper" . a scooper is a dog that will retrieve anything. ball, duck or a 10 foot long 2x4.

and dogs can't see orange bumpers, so when we throw them to young pups, we teach them to hunt with their noses and not their eyes. when they are young they should use their eyes.

my 2 cents. i'm no pro, i just read a lot.'ve got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?

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