Sounds like your pup is coming along well Jeff! How old is the pup now?
She's 7 months already!
I think you should really get the OB issues down now before FF. Are you following any training books?
With what I am doing now, I am following The Ten Minute Retriever
If the pup is over 4 months old, I would collar condition to the command "Here" or "Come" whatever you use. This will solve your problem with the dog not coming right to you. Before I did this, I always had the dog on a checkcord that way I could make sure 100% that the dog would come right back to me. Also if you are reeling her in, she has less opportunity to drop the bumpers.
No problems when I tell her to come to me once she settles down. But she does drop the bumper when she gets to my side.
How is her sit? I think sit is the most important command before FF. you need to make sure she can sit with distractions around, tugging on her lease trying to get her to stand up, etc. The dog should not move when it is told to sit.
We work this every time we work. "Sit." "Stay." And I walk off leaving her there for a few minutes and 20 yards or so before I tell her to heel. Not gonna say she's 100% perfect or ready to move on....but I am pleased with where she is at for the time being. When she is 100%, we'll move on.
Oh and the pigeon trap, I have one you can use. Its really nice but I just never tried it. You can use it if you give me a few pigeons every once in a while! I never found a good spot to use it.
Sounds good. I am just about done with mine though....but if anything else goes wrong with it I will take you up on your offer.....I am kind of winging it here with minimal tools since they are all at my dad's house.
Thanks for the offer Ryan, we'll have to get together some time.