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Thread: Guard dog retriever

  1. #1

    Default Guard dog retriever

    Val retrieve 1-1.jpgval mouth retrieve 2-1-1.jpg

    Cold water doesn't bother her, marks good, chases down cripples, won't jump until sent, just can't get her to bring the birds to hand. She keeps dropping them on shore.

  2. #2
    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Have you worked at all with the "hold" command. You put a bumper in her mouth and say hold while actually holding her mouth closed. It may help. Or if you do drills, don't reward her unless she brings the bumper to you and lets you take it out of her hand. In the scheme of things, although Walters says a live bird will be able to get away when dropped by a dog, I find this to be a very rare occurrence. If she's finding the hidden birds for you and behaving well, you're ahead of most in the game. -Gr
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  3. #3

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    I have not worked on any hunting related commands because this was all a weird fluke. I got her as a rebound dog when my lab of 11 years got killed. I just couldn't imagine hunting without him, so I decided not to get another hunting dog until I was ready. My wife had always wanted a German Shepherd, so I figured maybe I could get her to flush a grouse some day. I never put any formal training into her other than obedience and sticking a grouse wing in her kong toy. I haven't hunted ducks much in the last few years, simply because retrieving my own birds sucked.
    I happened to find a frozen training duck in the bottom of the freezer two weeks ago and figured it might be worth a try to see if she would retrieve it, and she did. Then I drove down to the lake with a buddy, had him throw it from behind a tree into the water when I shot, sent her, and she brought it back. Took her out for the opening weekend and dropped a woodie that fell around a point in the lake. She didn't see it go down, so I tossed some rocks out. She swam out, looked at it, then swam back. Did the rock thing a few more times, then she grabbed it. Next two birds she saw fall, sent her, and she got them both!
    Next trip got a goose, but she wasn't sure about it, and wouldn't bring it back, so I had to pull out the kayak. Knocked two more ducks down and she retrieved both of those like a champ, minus the whole not bringing them off the bank thing. Got home and let her smell and mouth the goose a little, and got her excited by it.
    Went the next morning and shot two geese, she got both of them without any hesitation.
    So, this whole thing was just kind of a cool fluke, and apparently I now have a new duck hunting dog. If I would have known she would have picked it up like this, I would have started seriously training her to hunt right away. She already learned to watch the birds flying, and to watch where I'm pointing the gun after only three trips, so I think I just have an unusual natural on my hands! Lot's of little kinks to work on, but she holds on the shot until I send her, and the heart is there for sure. Looks like I'm going to have to try and remember who I lent my copy of "Water Dog" to.

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    Default Ok Forum members, what's up, are you blind?

    Ok, maybe I'm gullible, or naive, but I'm looking at that photo, after spending a weekend out w/ 2 pretty darn good retrievers, and I think this is way beyond cool on so many levels. Nobody even try to convince me it ain't real.
    But not a single comment other than a suggestion on how to get the dog to hold. If I did not know better, I'd say you were all a bunch of stuck up snobs.
    This guy takes in a dog, a rebound, a Shepard no less, and that in and of itself is cool. Giving mature dogs a second chance is awesome. Then this guy, who obviously lost a good buddy, starts hunting birds again. That should bring a tear or two. Then he finds out his new partner has a knack for birds. This is better than any Hallmark movie.
    Holy mackeral, a pile of you real retriever afficianados have way more issues w/ your floppy eared mutts with lineage way past Chesapeake Bay than this guy does w/ a dog that was not bred for this kind of work.
    Keith, I'd take you and your dog out to duck camp in a blink. I am hoping you do post more, and take more photos of your new pal.
    I'll sign this as an old gun dog kind of guy, guess I don't really care the breed, and now I'm including shepards,
    ARR

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    I force fetch my labs when they're pups and that enforces the delivery to hand if they're still playing around with delivery.

    I'm not sure I'd tell a German Shepard owner to force fetch one if he didn't already know what it was. Keith doesn't seem to know about force fetch.

  6. #6
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    The cops can teach them to hold and fetch when they have somebodies arm or leg in their mouth, they may be a little hard mouthed, think their victims usually come back pretty bloody and chewed up. Duck should be a piece of cake compared to a arm or leg I would think. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    This is one of the coolest post I have seen on the forum! I think it is amazing that you have what most people consider a guard/companion dog and it is now your new best friend for hunting trips. Keep up the good work and I hope she continues to improve.

  8. #8

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    2012 09 26_Val geese 912_0153.jpgval retrieve-1.jpg

    Thanks for the encouragement guys! I did force fetch with my lab based off of the method by James Spencer in Training Retrievers for Marshes and Meadows. After a few weeks he was good. I have a more complicated issue this time around, as she is now two and a half years old and I'm reprogramming a lot of stuff. Before the first hunting trip, I had no real hunting training on her. We worked sit, stay, come, and heel, along with tracking dog work. I got her swimming right away, and at first just played ball with her for retrieving. No staying until the ball landed then sending her, just fling it and let her go get it. It all started when I put some grouse wings in her Kong toy. She associated the smell with the toy, and when I took her for runs on the logging roads as I was driving the truck, she ended up dipping off the trail once and flushed a grouse. So, I figured I would just try her out for grouse hunting and that would be it. (there is no traffic on the logging roads, and she stays 20 yards ahead of the truck and has learned not to get close to it, if I didn't feel it was safe, I would stop in a heartbeat)

    Since the last hunting trip, the only things I have been able to successfully accomplish is her heeling and staying until I send her on the dummy, sit whistle, and staying for the start of the baseball diamond drills. She would wait to be sent on ducks, but not dummies in the water or yard, not sure why. Right now I am kind of working on re-programming her. I work in a prison, and I have been talking with the K9 guys for some advice, because to be honest, high drive shepherds are a totally different animal than any retriever; not saying better or worse, just a completely different dog. The one K9 guy at work took nationals with his dog two years in a row, so he knows what he is talking about as far as shepherd questions. He said my road is going to be a very difficult one if I want to do any advanced work. He told me the biggest problem I am going to have is the intensity level, and he was right. I'm going to keep working on it.

    When she holds, she bites, and she bites hard on the dummy. She has thus far had a soft mouth with birds, but when I take her in the yard, it's a crushing bite on the dummy. I have used frozen birds in the yard, and she drops them a few feet in front of me so she can smell it, lick it, etc. We are now working on a lead, and Iím pulling her back in when she drops it, but that still brings me back to the force breaking issues.

    When we have tried force fetch, but it has been an utter train-wreck thus far because of the intensity issue, as she will hold the buck or dummy and bite hard. When I try and get her to out, or drop it to hand, sometimes she won't. The intensity of the drive is so high, that she does not register pain. She picks it up and holds it a so so, but them sometimes will not let it go. When she doesn't want to let it go, it's almost a no win situation. I tried the ear pinch, ear pinch with bottle cap, and lip against the tooth. She whines, but will not open up her mouth for anything. I have stopped with the pain method because the next step would be drawing blood and inflicting actual injury, and there is no way I will do that, it's not worth that much to me. So, we are at a standstill with force fetch. Iím just going to go slow, and focusing on getting her to hold. Not exactly sure where to go on this.

    I introduced the whistle for sit, and she will sit whistle but won't stop on a whistle. We are working on this, and I think we will be able to get this down with some more work. Shock collar won't work because her neck fur is so thick that the prongs won't make contact unless the collar was literally choking her. I tried it on the back of the neck, but it is either choking tight, or it slips around, so E collar is not going to happen.

    Baseball diamond drill is slow in going right now. I have gotten her to where she will sit and I will throw to the left, right, and behind, and she will wait, so that is one step we have been able to get. She only goes after the last dummy thrown. When the last one hits, she waits, but shakes, vibrates, and whines until I let her go. I can't break her focus off of that last dummy no matter what I try. She then ignores hand signals and only goes to the last one. What I am trying now is just throwing to one side, and giving a right or left command instead of overs depending on which side I throw. My plan is to keep doing singles with left right commands and hope that it gets ingrained into her head.

    I have been working a dead bird command with her on frozen ducks for something thatís down and she is doing great on that. I dropped a mallard that was flying over into the trees behind me, and she found it quickly.

    Iím going to try and remember who I lent my copies of Water dog and Game Dog to, otherwise I will just get new ones. Itís going to be an interesting deal with all of this. Iím going to keep working off the book and see where things go. Too early in the game to see what she is or is not going to do, as I need to put some more time on her first. Some things she has just picked up like a natural, and some are going to be tough going. I know I am bouncing around with the training, but I am trying to feel her out to see what is and isn't possible.

    I really canít complain with where we are at now. She sits still while waiting for birds, watches the birds, can mark pretty well, and goes in the water to get them. If that is all I end up getting, I will still be happy with that. I rigged up a decoy retrieving pole with a big treble hook on the end for now, have to wait and see what happens with the first cripple that she actually gets. I knocked down a zombie duck that sailed and crashed about 75 yards out, and we were on a steep bank, so she saw it go down and amazingly enough, swam all the way out to it. She chased it for about 15 feet, and it got up and flew away. I am guessing that when she does get a cripple, it's going to be ugly for the duck.

    I only took the camera out once, but will post another two pics from that trip. Only got two geese that day. I will post some more pics if I can shoot straight on my next trip.

    Will keep you posted on how things go.

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    That is one intense dog. No way am I trying to take her goose from her. Nope. But I am having a blast looking at the photos and reading of your exploits. Good luck,
    ARR

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    Keep the updates and pictures coming Keith, they are great and informative.

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    2012 10 09_Val goose hunt Oct 10_0248.jpgVal Goose Hunt Mallard-1.jpg

    Decent day today performance wise. Dropped one goose early, and the momentum of it carried it out of sight around the corner of the point when it hit the water. She didn't see if fall, but she heard it splash down. I just started using fetch as a command to retrieve to keep it simple, so she went in the water sort of slow, which made me a little nervous at first. She went straight towards it, and watched it swim into the rice. I thought it was going to be a cripple chase, but it stopped after going about 5 feet into the thick stuff and started doing the death kick. She went right in and got it without a problem. It was still kind of dark and the camera kept trying to use the flash, so no pics on that one.

    Next part was where the cool stuff started to happen. We are sitting on the bank and all of a sudden her head whips straight up in the air. I look and there are five mallards about a hundred yards up that came from behind us. It was really cool watching her follow them as they went around. Then she does the same thing off to my right, and another mallard in shooting range comes around the corner. I wouldn't have seen the bird in time if it wasn't for her hearing it. I dropped that one and she went out to get it. On the way back, a single whipped in off to her left, then banked straight up and out. The one picture shows her watching the bird as it cam in. I didn't see it until I looked up from the camera and saw where she was looking.

    Same thing on bringing birds in. She brought them both to the bank, and then stood over them. I'm really not even caring about it at this point, but I will still keep working on it. It was just really cool to watch her as she heard the birds and tracked them. She picked up another trait from my old lab of whining as soon as she realized we were going hunting!

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    Wow! Really enjoy the pics and the story. Have you tried turning and running from her before she drops the bird? She may forget she is carrying it and just run you down with the bird in her mouth. When she get to you turn and take it from her and praise her up. Worked on a couple of dogs i had. Good luck and keep it coming. jp

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    What kind of gun are you going to get her when she asks to shoot with you? That is amazing, like a radar dog!

  15. #15

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    Well, the last time out was good, bad, and then good. The bad was my fault because I forgot that I had a German shepherd, and not a lab. I had gone down to South Dakota to pheasant hunt with family down there. I didnít think she was quite ready for that due to the chaos of having so many birds at the farm. Iím blessed to have such a good farm to hunt on that in five days, it took us seven total hours of walking to shoot about sixty roosters. There was a lot of time to sit around and drink beer when it only takes an hour or two for your limit. After a week down there, I came back home and was hammered by the flu, then some horrid bacterial thing. Another week and a half goes by and I was finally feeling human again. The problem was that all this time, I hadnít done any kind of training with her at all. Rifle season opened for deer, so I wanted to see how badly the public land was invaded from the guys in the cities. What is usually a nice tranquil spot across from my house turns into a camper infested war zone, which is why I only bow and muzzleloader hunt. (Muzzleloader is iron sights only, so it cuts down on a lot of hunters) So I get off work at 6am and drive over to take a look at the carnage. I get around the spot I normally duck hunt, and figure I will get out and take a look just for the heck of it. The lake was frozen almost all the way across, except for one section about thirty yards from the bank, which was being kept open by about a hundred Canadian geese. I flew home and grabbed my shotgun, then raced back to the spot. I did a low crouch/crawl for about thirty yards, tripped over a root and took the fall square on my chest and face to avoid the gun barrel getting clogged. I followed that move up with a half barrel roll stumble forward maneuver until I sprung up on the geese. They all sat there and looked at me when I jumped up, and didnít even fly. I am guessing that they thought I was such an idiot, that I wouldnít be able to hit a thing. They were so packed together that when I yelled, they got up and I dropped the first two with one shot, and a third that took the last two shots to knock down. The first two were both cripples, so it took another three shots to finish them off, which spread the birds out quite a bit, and all had broken through the thin ice that was further out.
    So now Iím all happy with my limit of geese and I go home to get Val to retrieve them. She can tell Iím excited, so she is going nuts when she launches into the truck. The next part is where I forgot she wasnít a lab. We get out there and the first goose is about fifty yards out, so I throw a rock and she launches herself about eight feet out and breaks through the ice. She freaked out for a second, but then got control and started breaking ice for another fifteen feet. She looked back at me and I threw another rock, and it landed right next to the dead goose. She kept breaking ice all the way to the bird, and I was happy as could be that she was doing so well in the ice. She swims right up to the bird, looks at it, looks at me like ďwhereís the rock you threw?Ē Iím yelling fetch, get the goose, fetch the goose, the grey thing right next to you, all in hopes that she will suddenly understand English. She looks at me again, and then swims back to shore. We try it again with the same result, except she only went half way out because I made a bad throw and ran out of rocks. I took her over to where one of the other birds was, and thought I would try that one. I threw the rock, and this time she looked at the ice, then looked at me like ďThat kind of sucked last time, so I hope youíre going to do more than throw a rock I canít find.Ē I threw the rock and she looked at me, but didnít move. I finally grabbed a stick and tossed that out, and she was like a rocket off the shore, and plowed through the ice without a second thought. Of course she swam right past the goose to get the stick, but she broke open a channel in the ice, so I figured I would try the rock thing again. No luck on the rock thing again.
    I canít lie; I was pretty bummed out driving home to get the canoe. Itís about ten minutes round trip, so it gave me just enough time to come up with a plan. When we got back to the spot, I locked her in the truck, dragged the canoe through the woods, and paddled out and brought one of the gees in with me. I hid it in the woods and went and got her from the truck. On the walk back to the lake I gave her the dead bird command, and she started looking around and putting her nose to the ground. She found the goose, and stood over it looking at me. I told her good girl and she started to muzzle it and got all excited. I picked it up and teased her with it a little, then put it under the canoe. I tossed a rock to the closest goose that had an open water trail and she swam straight to it and brought it in, but left it on the bank again. The last goose was forty yards out and all ice to get to it. At this point I could tell she was cold, as she had spent a lot of time in the water. I figured I would give it one shot, and if she wanted to go she would, but I wouldnít force her. I tossed a rock, yelled fetch, and she shook, whined, looked at me, then dove in. The picture is her with the last goose, which she actually dragged up off of the bank and set down in front of me. I think it was her way of saying ďIím cold, can we get the hell out of here now?Ē
    icegoose-1.jpg2012 11 03_Val 11.4.12 first ice goose_0505.jpg

  16. #16

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    These were from the initial failed retrieve.Ice breaker 1-1.jpgicebreaker2-1.jpg

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by naga View Post
    Wow! Really enjoy the pics and the story. Have you tried turning and running from her before she drops the bird? She may forget she is carrying it and just run you down with the bird in her mouth. When she get to you turn and take it from her and praise her up. Worked on a couple of dogs i had. Good luck and keep it coming. jp
    Thanks for the advice. I tried that, but she immediately dropped the bird and rushed over to me like something was wrong and gave me the Lassie-Timmy fell down the well look. The other thing she does when I try to run and entice her to follow is she drops it and runs in front of me thinking I am chasing something. She brought the last bird to my feet, so maybe she is getting it. At this point I think I am just going to shoot for her bringing it off the bank and within a few feet of me. Based on the agility factor, if she does drop a cripple, I don't think it will get far. Only bad thing right now is most of the birds are gone and the lakes have been starting to freeze up. Hoping for one more decent migration.

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    I am so happy I took a few minutes to look for new posts. These adventures of your guard/duck dog are fun to read. You had me laughing hysterically. Only thing better might have been video, but then again, you painted a great picture just using words. What an awesome dog you have. No, what an awesome partner you have. You both make a team that others should look at carefully and try to emulate.
    I am happy these scenario turned out well for you and her. Keep in mind who she is, and what she is. Recognize her (and your) limitations, and go out in the world to have fun. Keep the focus on what is important, and to me, that is the 2 of you spending time together in the field. An occasional bird or two makes it all the better.
    ARR

  19. #19

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    Well, season has been over for a while, looking forward to next year. I'm in the process of training her, and the 8 month old shepherd pup to be ice fishing dogs also. I got her in a harness and have her pulling a small sled with some of my gear in it, and I put bells on my tipup flags, and working on giving them treats to alert me when the flags go up if I don't see them. We did have one sucessfull thwarting of an eagle that tried to snag a fish, but the best part of the whole deal is the privacy factor. The one bad thing about ice fishing in Minnesota is the fact that a lot of guys are just plain lazy. You can have a thousand acre lake that is a bowl, with no structure, to speak of except for the sliding depth breaks, yet someone will walk or take a wheeler across the entire lake to start drilling holes thirty feet away. Sometimes I don't mind, but the best time for walleyes is the last hour before dark, I always make sure to be setup, holes drilled, at least two hours before prime time fishing, but It never fails that some jackass will walk a quarter mile to fish right next to me, chopping holes in the ice with an axe, even though I offer repeatedly to let him borrow my auger, or drill the holes myself. So, now I wait until the people are a hundred yards away, and I whisper to the big one, "get the puppy," which starts a play fight that sounds like a wolverine trying to rape a badger. Inevitably, the people will stop, stare, then yell out, "are your dogs friendly?" I just stare at them for a few seconds, then yell back..."NO." I have enjoyed peace and quiet all season long! JOHNPIKeaa2.jpg
    Here is a pic of her guarding my cousin from his first northern.

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    And again, you have me laughing. I can just see the whole thing. Crazy guy w/ crazy mean man eating shepards. That sounds just about perfect. I can't wait for the next chapter.
    ARR

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