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retrieving problems

3457 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  98ramtough
My lab pup is now 15 wks old. I have been working on retrieving almost every day for about 8 wks but also trying to keep it fun and positive, no scolding or reprimands. The training videos and books I have say not to "burn your pup out" , the problem is I can't seem to get the fire lit. He'll retrieve 4 maybe 5 times and the retrieves are only about 10 feet or so and then lays down. Am I expecting too much too soon or should I try something else? Also he pays almost no attention to his retrieving bumper but works with a ball. :help:
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that sounds about right for a lab, no drive, shoulda got a real dog :thumbsup:
Maybe because he is having more fun with the ball... try eliminated the ball altogether. But let him have a rawhide to chew on, but limit fetching to the bumper.---I am far from an expert when it comes to training dogs though.

Hopefully one of the trainers will pipe in on this thread...
You might try a target that excites the dog. A live bird perhaps. Obviously, he may not neccesarily retrieve it and that's fine however , go ahead and send him after the live bird using your usual send command. This should project a mindset of him being sent to chase something fun and may light his fire . Alot of labs behave very similar to spaniels in that they grow weary real fast when repetion is involved . Change it up with a live bird chase!
If this still doesn't light him up ,you may have to consider the fact that he may just not have "it". I recently got rid of a dog I was training because that certain something was lacking . It happens , even to robot-like chessies. :smile:
ok not joking this time, 15 weeks is pretty young, I would think you should be able to go for at least 10 to 15 minutes though, try hard to get him excited, make him save his energy till it's time to train also, if he's playin with other dogs or other people all day he'll get worn out faster than if he's sleeping all day till it's time to train, let him eat, then train, tie some feathers to a bumper, put some scent on it, get him realy excited about it, and only use it when you train, don't let him have it all day, and make sure you stop before he get's tired. he'll come around.
Also you may want to try not training with him for a few days... so he'll wonder why your not throwing the bumper. Then after a few days go ahead and throw it for him. And when he see's that it's time to retrive he may get excited about it and that may light his fire..... Hope this helps.

15 weeks is pretty early to worry too much about drive. The key is to make it fun. Grab one end of the bumper and rattle it around on the ground in front of him, get him to chase it back and forth in front of you. Make a BIG DEAL about it and jump around and hoop if you have to. Once he is pumped up about it toss it off a few feet and coax him back. Make him understand that it is a game that will continue as long as he keeps bringing it back.

The advice on him being tired is a key as well. During the first year for my current dog the rule was that he stayed kenneled for two hours before I got home. That way he was ready to roll when I arrived. For the first three months he wasn't willing to retrieve the bumper as often as I was willing to throw it everyday. Now (1.5) he is a retrieving machine. The retrieving should be built in, just do enough to keep it fun for him. Concentrate on obedience. The goal is to make them rock-solid obedient WHILE they are retrieving.
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One thing that I think is a major factor a young pups life is spending as much time with him as possible. He is not just a retriever but a friend. The more time you spend with him in the yard or other places where he can run around and be happy with you, the more you will understand him and the more he will understand you. I have two labs and they go alot of places with me just to let them get out of the kennel for a while to do thing other than retrieving, that way they enjoy making you happy because you make them happy. Now there will be days where one of them just does not want to work, there is no need to loose your cool because tomorrow is another day. There is probably days when you dont want to work. I agree with what one of the others guys said, some of them just do have it. Be your dogs friend and he will be yours. Happy training!
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I agree with the "some don't have 'it'" statement too, but 15 weeks is WAY too young to determine that. If it is a lab from a decent pedigree then it is born with the desire to go get things. The extent of that desire is part of the 'it', it is the trainers job to do everything required bring 'it' out. Some dogs don't require much help from the trainer, others do.

From now until 28-32 weeks it should be primarily fun but also instructional. After that, force fetch the dog. At that point it becomes primarily instructional but should also be fun when appropriate. Around the same time it should become apparent as to whether the dog has 'it', or more appropriately, how hard the trainer will have to work to develop 'it'.
We have never used balls or anything other than what we wanted our labs to retrieve. Every dog we have ever had always wanted to retri3ve non stop from the time we introduced them. Keep the training sessions to a short 5 - 10 minutes twice per day. Make it fun for the dog but also never let them forget who is in charge.
15 weeks and you are gettng worried already????? He is still just a puppy and wants to play puppy games. If he will retrieve the ball then keep that up at least that works. As far as him being tired try a higher protien food and also canned food to go along with it to give him more energy. If you are really worried about him not retreving the bumper use a smaller bumper or different colored. Dont worry about putting fethers or scent on the bumper for now because he wont be retreving bumpers when you are duck hunting any way. I would wait on fethers and scents until this sceason when you shoot a duck bring it home and try to have him retreve that if he does not at first no big deal put it in the freezer and use it for another day. I do have to agree with the other person who talked about obedience and socializing. I have had dogs that dont retreve until they are a year old. For example my wifes dog. If all else fails and you like the dog and the temperment get him force broke to retreve.
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Wonder if KPatton is still around, I am curious to see how he progressed.
Sorry I haven't been round for a while. My progress came to a sudden stop when my pup died from parvo at 17wks. I thought it would be a long time before I got another dog. But, the Good Lord must have had other ideas because I now have a beautiful 12week chocolate female. She is responding well to the obedience and is retrieving pretty fair. I have high hopes once again. She is fiesty and ornery, but she is a pup. I hope this updates everyone. Thanks for having a great site.
Dag gum KPatton. I'm sorry to hear that. I love dogs and cannot stand to lose one.

Don't worry about the retrieving part with your new pup. Just have fun with her, bond with her, and teach her some commands along the way. The retriever is built into the dog, it will come out when you need it to.

Kpatton- So sorry to hear about your loss. Was the dog completely up to date on shots and booster shots?

Best of luck with the new dog!

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