I have a smart 5 year old female black lab. She hunts extremily well for both waterfowl and upland. Marks well, retrieves well, strong swimmer, and just wants to please. However one question I have is how to change her habit of dropping either the bird or the dummy at my feet and not completely to my hand. She doest pretty well bringing it directly to my hand but if my brother or dad is hunting her, she brings to thier feet and drops. I have spent lots ot time training her especially when she was younger. She does great bringing it back, and I dont want to break her spirit. I have tried a couple things, which is why she usually brings it to my hand but not others. Any ideas?
Teaching the humans
Are they using the same commands? I also have a 6 year old that gives my husband the gears because he’s inconsistent and doesn’t care as much. Most of a force fetch or controlled retrieve is re-enforced by repetition and chaining events. Your brother and dad may just have to do some yard work with her using your vocabulary and identical series of events. Fetch, hold, here, sit, drop, good girl or whatever words you use. That’s it, don’t let them babble. Repeat it a few times (5-7) with a bumper and a dead bird then quit. Later go back and do it again. You don’t intervene unless they are just botching it up. Show them exactly what to do then step away and let them call her in. It may be harder to teach the humans than the dog, at least that’s what I’ve found at my house.
If she drops it have them take a step back and say fetch (it up), hold, sit, hold, good girl, drop. Even let her hold it for a few seconds and let her know the hold is good. Then drop.
I dont think at 5, if she is generally good with you that you need to go through any "force".
Look for force fetch techniques on youtube. Five years is very mature to change bad habits but it could work with some determination.
With my puppy I just started by saying hold it repeatedly and stroking him and praising while he holds an object.
Generally he holds an item until I take it from his mouth and he is 10months. I also like to allow my dogs to hold an item longer. I want an oportunity to share the retrieve with my dog and let him know I'm enjoying the fact he's holding my object and praise him just for holding it. A drop at my feet doesn't get any praise and if it happens too much were done with retrieving.
I say object because you dog should be willing to pick up anything he can for you. I'll just randomly pick something and have him hold it.