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Thread: Breaking issues...

  1. #1
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    Default Breaking issues...

    My yellow lab is a duck hunting machine but he has one flaw, he breaks under the gun. I trained him since he was a puppy and was a member of the Retriever club. He has been in many hunt tests and never broke. Get him in a blind and look out! I start shooting and he is off like a prom dress..To be clear he is going after a downed bird and I realize there is worse problems to have. How do I cure him of breaking but not take away his desire?

  2. #2

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    I grabbed a "screw in" stake from the barn, one of the same ones we use to tether horses for grazing in an open field. Twist that sucker into the ground in the bottom of the blind, then tether him on about a 6' lead- just long enough for him to get up a real head of steam before he hits the end of it. Shorten it a foot or so after each incident. You don't have to say a word, but pretty quick he's going to learn that it hurts to get turned inside out and upside down when he breaks. In only two hunts my lab learned to wait for me to touch it's collar before breaking, even though the lead was long gone.

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    Member Michael Insko's Avatar
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    It might kill you to be out of the action for a few hunts, but you can concentrate on holding/coaching the dog while the shooting happens on some volleys. Just a thought, it worked well with my dog. I'm no expert trainer by any means though, just enough to get the job done.

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    Moderator JDM's Avatar
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    I like the "screw in stake idea" as I am experiencing the same reaction with a 10 month old Chocolate Lab...

    When lived in Juneau and was training another Chocolate dog, I thought it would be good enough to keep him on leash and put the looped end of the leash around my foot...one shot later and I was on my back being dragged through the duck flats by an 80 pound, very determined and enthusiastic lab.

    I guess you have to be smarter than the dog?

  5. #5
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    JDM

    I watched my dad do that once only he tied the dog off to his own belt.
    that was one of the funniest things I have ever seen

  6. #6

    Red face Here's mud in your nose!

    The screw-in stake was my SECOND idea.

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    I second the screw stake. I am a hardcore fowler after big game season and my lab HAD issues out of no where last year. We went to the SAC. Valley in California, Duck/Rice Capitol of Cali, to shoot ducks and he thought it would be ok to break the rules and beat the other dogs to the retrieve. Well one day of that and I went to a local hardware store and purchased a screw stake and next day out it only took 2 trips to the end of a 8 foot rope to cure him!

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    Default Thanks!

    Do you guys put a pinch collar on the dog or will a regular collar do? Once the dog breaks and gets "popped" by the collar do you get on him..or do you just call him back to heel? Do you let him have the bird or walk out/send another dog?

  9. #9

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    I quietly called him back to heel, didn't say another thing till he did it. Then let him wait a few minutes, unclipped him and sent him. Probably seemed like a century to him, but I think he figured out that he would get the bird a lot quicker if he played by the rules in the first place. I don't know if it would hurt or help to make him wait behind while I walked out. I know it would make him nuts. Might do pretty good sending another dog, but that's pure guesswork.

    I did it with his regular nylon strap collar. I don't think it would be too good for them with a choke collar or anything else, the way they hit the end of that rope. "Popped" is a pretty tame word for the gymnastics involved.

  10. #10

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    I would go back and revisit what sit means. Redefine it from the beginning. From a long line and ending with collar conditioning. Then start introducing distractions trying to get him to break the sit. Over time I would start reintroducing shot flyers around the dog. Simulating a hunt as best as possible in training setups.
    In my opinion... fixing it in the field tactics are a lot more brutal on the dog. There is plenty of time to fix this before the opener.

  11. #11
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    My first dog jumped over the blind to fetch a bird while she was tied up on a leash. That has to be the worst thing you can do to a dog. Enjoy your friend and train him/her to do as you ask, the dog knows one thing, be glad they are excited.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I don't know if I would go a full 8' rope, and I wouldn't do it during a hunt. You can simulate a hunt just as well. Personally I would just hold a leash and only let him get out there about 4-5 feet before I yanked on it right AFTER I yelled out....STAY...!!! Get it?....Shoot the gun, dog breaks, I say stay, then immediately yank him on his ass in mid stride. Stay means stay and he knows what it means. Personally I like the fact that the leash has me on the end of it and the dog knows this....(I'M the boss) rather than something stopping him that he doesn't see or understand.

    BTW, if after you work with him first, and he still ends up breaking during a hunt, I would NEVER let the dog eventually go get the bird. I would let him see me go out and get it, or send another dog. His punishment for breaking is NOT being able to get the bird....PERIOD. NEVER reward a dog for doing something wrong. IMO, you don't let him go get the bird until he gets it right. If the dog was just learning it would be different. But the dog is already trained and he knows the right way. He is just trying to see what he can get away with by being sloppy.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Check it out guys, this post is 7 years old. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Check it out guys, this post is 7 years old. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    It's Wetland Retrievers fault........lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  16. #16

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    Shut the front door.
    How the hell did I manage that. Good grief I should stay away from computers. Way away. Sorry guys for beating a 7yr old dead horse.

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    Member akdodger's Avatar
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    Heck, I learned some stuff for when I finally find my new lab. Thanks for the bump wetland... It gets me more stoked for the coming season can't wait.
    “The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.” Walter Cronkite

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Good information never gets old.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Supporting Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    I'm a proponent for off-season drills. Cap gun or real gun used in retrieving drills can help the dog understand that the loud noise is part of the process, but not the command to go retrieve the bird. .... This coming from a guy whose dog is gun shy, hehe. That's really funny how you resurrected a crazy old thread without realizing, but yeah, computers do weird things from time to time. In any case, seen plenty of friends with dogs that chase birds at the sound of a gun... or a bird... or really anything else. So sharing discipline training tactics is always a worthwhile pursuit in my opinion.
    My signature is awesome.

  20. #20
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    I'm a proponent for off-season drills. Cap gun or real gun used in retrieving drills can help the dog understand that the loud noise is part of the process, but not the command to go retrieve the bird. .... This coming from a guy whose dog is gun shy, hehe. That's really funny how you resurrected a crazy old thread without realizing, but yeah, computers do weird things from time to time. In any case, seen plenty of friends with dogs that chase birds at the sound of a gun... or a bird... or really anything else. So sharing discipline training tactics is always a worthwhile pursuit in my opinion.
    Well it's been a huge topic of conversation for as long as I can remember......meaning, if a dog should bolt after a bird at the sound of the gun, or weather they can mark it better when they stay on shot. Some feel that a dog has a better chance at quickly getting to the bird, and recovering a possible cripple (say a pheasant) if they take off at the shot. They feel their dogs can still mark the fall even while running. But others, like myself still feel that the only way a dog can really mark the bird well, is to be sitting and watching it hit the ground.

    Personally I have seen many dogs that break at shot not be able to see where the bird lands because by the time they take off they are in tall brush by the time the bird hits the ground. Even though they will try and bound like a deer to get up high enough to see, they still don't actually see where it falls. Then it's just a matter of how long it will take for the dog to retrieve the downed bird.

    I believe that if a dog is trained to take a good line, and I mean a straight line for as long as you tell them, then, even in tall brush, if they even get a glimpse of where the bird is going down, they will be on it soon after being sent. So training a dog to take a good line and be steady to shot, go hand in hand. Not to mention, that if a dog stays on shot he will have a far better ability to mark several birds at once in the case of multiple shooters. A dog may be able to mark a second bird while running after the first, but it's darn near impossible for them to mark 3 or more if they are already running after the first one.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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