how to soften up the mouth
My 9 month shorthair has a soft to an extent, but bites down slightly on the birds when she retrieves the birds and punctures the breast sometimes. What is the way to fix this i've heard of the sock and the nails or tacks in it but was wondering if thats the extreme thing to do or is there something else. I don't play tug with her at all, but she does play tug with our other dog from time to time.
Beginning of Force Fetch:
Teach your dog how to "hold". This word now becomes a formal command that you will teach.
The way I start is put on a leather glove and put my hand in their mouth. With the other hand I will help them to hold by placing it under the chin to hold their mouth closed. They will also try to use their tongue to push your hand out. Stay calm with it and keep your sessions short. Any bit of success is great. Don't get into a big battle with your dog. To hold a few seconds is awesome. Just continue from that each session. If they bite down hard then you say "Ouch" loudly. It really gets their attention and just simply continue with the lesson. It makes them more aware of what their mouth is doing when they know it's your hand.
Of course their is lots more to mention about a thorough Force Fetch program, but this will get you started and is directly related to your problem.