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Thread: Force-fetching an older dog w/issues

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    Default Force-fetching an older dog w/issues

    I have 6 yr old yellow lab that was kind of a rescue dog. He's got a problem with freezing up (refusing to release birds). He actually ate a bird last season, and I put him up after that. He spent a few weeks in residence at Wetland Retrievers, and made good progress, but we need to do a full-on force fetch. With Baron's apparent departure from the scene, I'm looking for resources.

    I've been reading "The 10-minute Retriever" and its companion book "Retriever Troubleshooting," which doesn't provide a very bright outlook, but we're committed to keeping the dog, as he is a really good dog otherwise; he'll either hunt or he won't.

    Currently, I'm doing some basic remedial work with him indoors before I set out on force-fetch.

    Who or what is available locally as a training resource?

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    I've had success with NAVHD's so-called "Little Green Bible". My wires are by no means perfect but one is close...
    http://navhdastore.org/thetrainingan...untingdog.aspx
    Their DVD may help you as well ~ though a little dated the information's there.
    Bodo is Scandinavian and really informative/entertaining.
    Just remember much of this information is the foundation for pointers but I've see it work for retrievers.
    Good luck and most of all don't give up...like the motto says "spend 15 minutes a day and you get the dog you deserve ~ don't and you get the dog you deserve."

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    FL2AK,

    As I mentioned to Alaska Gray, Baron with Wetland Retrievers is planning on being back June 1st. When was your dog w/ Wetland? I think I remember him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PCnAK View Post
    FL2AK,

    As I mentioned to Alaska Gray, Baron with Wetland Retrievers is planning on being back June 1st. When was your dog w/ Wetland? I think I remember him.
    He spent about 2 weeks immediately prior to Christmas where Baron did a great job working on his food possessive issues and some early force fetch work. Prior to that, we spend an evening or so per week out there working on obedience issues.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to keep all of that training momentum, and we've had a couple relapses. I believe Baron's assessment was that the food possessive issue was probably not curable but was manageable, and we've been able to manage that rather well.

    Do you work out there with Baron? How do you come by this information, of his return? June 1st was the date Baron told us he would return, but, somehow, it became common knowledge on the forum here that he was making a permanent move.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    You may have tried this already, but if not, as far as him releasing the bird......did you try the ol' pinch the lip against the canine trick? Or is he just too stubborn for it to even bother him...???

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    You may have tried this already, but if not, as far as him releasing the bird......did you try the ol' pinch the lip against the canine trick? Or is he just too stubborn for it to even bother him...???
    Well, it's only happened once, and I never gave him another opportunity to fail (or succeed), but, after reading 10 Min Retriever, I now know that I failed him more than he failed me that day. I did everything wrong. I let myself get into a literal tug of war with him over the bird, and then I resorted to just beating the crap out of him, neither of which were successful (duh). Months later he got some bbq ribs out of a neighbor's trash can, and I tried using severe pressure with the e-collar (which he just happened to be wearing at the time), and that failed also. I've since learned that all of those techniques are discouraged practices. Two nights ago, I did successfully get a banana peel from him by pinching the flab under his jaw. (Something I had read in one of the books.)

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Well, it's only happened once, and I never gave him another opportunity to fail (or succeed), but, after reading 10 Min Retriever, I now know that I failed him more than he failed me that day. I did everything wrong. I let myself get into a literal tug of war with him over the bird, and then I resorted to just beating the crap out of him, neither of which were successful (duh). Months later he got some bbq ribs out of a neighbor's trash can, and I tried using severe pressure with the e-collar (which he just happened to be wearing at the time), and that failed also. I've since learned that all of those techniques are discouraged practices. Two nights ago, I did successfully get a banana peel from him by pinching the flab under his jaw. (Something I had read in one of the books.)
    Never heard about the flab under the jaw. My old chessie never did the non release thing, but if I happened to notice her being a bit rough with the bird as she was coming in, I would put my hand under her jaw to keep her holding it, then I would put a slight pinch against her canine and say "easy". The word "easy" was something she learned as a pup.

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    FL2AK,
    I don't work out there with Baron, We are duck huntin' buddies and I have a lab that I worked with him to get her and myself (as a handler/trainer) up to speed . I am also very active in the working group. My "source" of info is Baron. On Friday he told me June 1 was his ETA, and then he confirmed June 1 yesterday.

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    Awesome. Thanks for that.

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    I've worked with a lot of rescues and it is very different than working with new pups. Sometimes the gentle way is the best way to start. What you want to do is create a chain of events. Hold, fetch, carry, sit, hold and drop. In the same order every time. I do a lot in doors first and add treats. I know the dog should "want to do it" but what if they don't. Forcing is not the best first move. I go through all the steps individually. When I get a good hold even for couple of seconds, drop "good boy" and treat. Then add "fetch-hold", treat. Then add the next thing doing it calmly. If the dog is clamping down, tempt with a tiny treat "drop" good, give it to him. If you keep it in that order you train yourself and the dog at the same time. The advantage over pinching their lips , I do it sometimes, is that if your in a test you can't do it. You CAN raise your empty treat hand and fool the dog getting them to drop. My first rescue dog to work this with was afraid to retrieve having been ruined in a 20 foot radius of the handler. After trial and lots of errors she was retrieving after several months of rehab work and helped me come up with new ways to manage fears and refusals.

    Chaining as above saved me more than once. Dixie, a tiny 45lb lab, was on a water triple, the last bird of the last series on the last day and she knew it. She had been flawless with the exception of having to handle around a large rolling log that all the dogs could jump over so I was a little nervous having to handle and lost my mind a bit. She returned so slowly with the bird looking side to side like, "where can I go with my last bird". She heeled, sat, "Drop" NO. " Drop!" NO! I heeled her a step forward, to " sit", "drop" and she dropped albeit reluctantly. The judges saw it all, said the handle was fine in that case but the clamping could have lost the entire weekend. Fortunately, the chaining of events was so engrained in ME, even in a panic I could pull it off.

    I don't over use treats and not at all after the dog knows the rules and we move into controlled retrieves but its a good way to get over a hump without having to use force on a rescued dog that may not respond well. Create the "WANT TO DO IT " before you enforce the "HAVE TO DO IT "

    Linda Henning
    Jack Barkley - Knik Wire-haired Retriever

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