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Smart lab, too smart....

1327 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  JJ McGuire
I've concluded that there are several knowledgeable hunters in this forum giving what I think is pretty darn good advice. Definitely some points I will be sure to remember when I get my next pup.

Here is my delima:
I have a four year old lab that's probably smarter than I am. She has a magnificent drive to hunt unlike I've seen in any other dog. The problem is I think she does it for herself and not so much me. She fails to come when called. I have to get my angry voice before she acts like she's paying attention. When working with her I CAN get her to stay, sit, come heel, lie down or "hide" as I call it. When we get to the field she forgets or rather chooses to ignore her training and me, and do as she pleases.

I'm certain that part of the problem was that when she was a pup she lived with my then fiance at college several hundred miles away who spoiled her to profound measures. I only had limited time with her and when I did get a chance to work with her I'm sure I failed miserably in many ways.

She has such a strong desire to hunt and retrieve that I thought skill and talent would work in my favor. It did, but obedience was what she was and still is lacking. As she is getting older she is starting to get a little better but she is so hard headed and so smart/stubborn.

One of the things I would like to correct other than the come issue, is that she sometimes breaks before we shoot and the ducks are just outside our "shootem" range. Especially when she is really excited. She knows that when we "work" she can't go get the dummy until I give her the command to "Go". But when we hunt she sits on a dog ladder outside the boat.

I'm considering a shock collar for those times she chooses not co "come" and ignore me but how can I keep her from breaking early while on the boat. I guess I could tie her up, but then I would be affraid that she would drown trying to get back on the ladder. But maybe that's what she needs is to get scared a bit. I love hunting with her and she has a maddening desire to hunt. I just would like to tie up a few loose ends. I don't expect her to be perfect. I just want her to get the ducks she sees fall and hunt for the ones she doesn't.

Sorry for the lengthy note, thanks for your replies.

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Good advice so far. I would say start with a check cord. You can fix both problems with a check cord. Every time you go out put the cord on her, don't give her any more opportunities to do what she wants. Give her a here command give the cord a sharp jerk and real her in. Do not repeat the here command. When she gets to you give her some big praise.

On the braking issue one thing I would add is don't let her pick up every mark. You should pick some marks up, start with one out of every three. The lesson is not every mark is hers and you decide which ones she gets.

When you have achieved a good level of consistency using a check cord you can consider transitioning to an e-collar.
Just hit wally world and pick up a 50ft length of poly rope and a snap. Tie the snap on the end of the rope and connect it to her collar. I would use it on her flat collar, the choke collar could get cinched down and not release. If you think 50 is to short then pick up something longer. Just leave the tag end trail behind you. Oh, keep gloves on - the rope can burn or slice you up pretty good, and watch the free end getting tied around your ankles. It is a little awkward at first but you will get comfortable quickly.
Keep the training sessions positive and short, 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Let us know how you are making out.
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