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Thread: canvas duck dummy "refusal"

  1. #1
    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Question canvas duck dummy "refusal"

    hi all,

    i need some training advice.

    i have a 2+ year old yellow lab who, up until a few weeks ago, loved to retrieve the canvas duck dummy i throw for him. it seems now he does not like the fact the canvas duck dummy gets cold, wet, and snowy after a couple throws. as of today he will not even go after the dummy. today i threw the dummy and my dog would not even "go" to get it. instead i had to walk him to it, place it in his mouth (with a 'hold' command), then he will hold it, heel to me, walk back with me to where i was standing when i threw it, and drop it on command.

    after refusing to retrieve the dummy, he will happily retrieve a tennis ball.

    any tips for what i need to do to get him to again retrieve the canvas duck dummy in spite of it being cold, wet, and snowy?

  2. #2
    Member Matt S's Avatar
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    I would put it away for a couple of weeks. Then bring it out a few times around the house and tease the hell out of him with it, get him all worked up and wanting. Perhaps a couple of short throws and then put it away again.

    I stop all training sessions the moment my dog starts to become disinterested (it's rare but it happens). They go inside and "fun" time is over. This usually only happens when I work them hard with too much repetition. Calling it a day or even taking a a few days off corrects it and often for a long period of time.

    It seems backwards but it works, they get really excited once they are allowed to go get it again.

    The other trick is to train with another dog and make yours watch while the other one retrieves your dummy and has a blast. Your dog will be chomping at the bit again.

    Good luck.

    Oh yeah as to the tennis ball, for my dogs the tennis ball is all play time (I just toss it, no formal training), and they know dummies and ducks are work time. So if it's similar for you, I could see your dog just being done with training time. Just a guess.
    Thanks, Matt


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  3. #3

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    Don't have him retrieve for awhile.
    Could be that he has become bored with it. In the past how many times did you toss for him? I don't ever keep throwing until the dog gets tired or bored. I do it about 4 or 5 then I call it for that session. I always leave the dog wanting more.

    Another thing to check: Does your dog have any fractured or broken teeth. That would make his mouth much more sensitive to the cold.
    I once had a client bring me a young dog. According to him the dog was retrieving like a mad man, but then suddenly quit all together. He brought me the dog to fix. I looked in the dogs mouth and found a fractured molar that had become abscessed.

    If all the above is covered, just give him some time. Maybe put some excitement back into it once you start training again.
    My training dummies are seperate from what the dogs plays with in the house and kennel yard. I do no formal training with what the dogs play with in the house and yard. When my toys come out for training then the dogs have to follow by my rules. It's a treat when my toys come out .....and they get real excited.

  4. #4
    Member Berto's Avatar
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    those are good tips.

    i also do not throw for him until he gets bored. if he even hints at being bored with it i stop.

    i will check his teeth, that is an excellent idea.

    i also keep the canvas dummy in a "safe place" and use it only for retrieving practice. any toys in the house stay in the house at all times. based on the other recommendation i received, yesterday i started letting him have the dummy in the house, but only for restricted use (teasing him and getting him worked up) while i am in the room.

    i'll let you know how this goes after a few weeks.

    thanks for the tips!

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    I always look for a way for the dog to succeed at what I want him to do. There is nothing natural about a dummy that is cold wet and snowy. Had this problem w/my rubber dummies in spring snow that stuck and balled up making the dummie much larger. Try a clean driveway or even in a garage to get the excitement back. Then move back to the snow if you want. Even then I would start with very short retrieves. Then maybe dog can be successful because he only wants to please you anyway. Ah success!

  6. #6

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    all of these are good points... and i agree with them want to add watch your dog.... your dog will talk to you.. you just got to know his language watch his body when hes happy hes got that tail goin and he stands tall and those ears are perked. watch if he changes those or hes looking off at other things, is he slowing down running, does he just walk to the dummy, over working can be bad and disapointing to the dog. he may have forgotten what fun it is for you both... how are you greeting him???
    go back to puppy school and get down on your butt and have your arms open.... my point is you have to keep it fun... when im duck hunting the very first duck my dog brings i get out of the blind and rough her up for a minute or two and shes fired up for days after that... you got to know your dogs personality.
    God Created Man Samuel Colt Made Them Equal

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    I think the concept of the dog wanting to please you is misunderstood. The dog wants what you give him. Either a treat, attention, another retrieve. Look at what the dog is receiving when he retrieves to you. What really turns him on? The best way to stop a dog from doing something is to ignore it.

  8. #8
    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Exclamation update

    all, again i thank you for the input/suggestions. here is a list of things i did to remedy the problem i was having with my dog refusing a canvas duck dummy:

    1.) for a few days i put away all dog toys but the duck dummy. i did not allow my dog to destroy the dummy (he is a chewer), but i did allow him to carry it around the house and "act proud of it". i responded to his "whole body tail-wag" by telling him i was very proud of him with his dummy. i did not attempt to have him retrieve anything during this time.
    2.) i checked my dog's teeth for anything that might indicate he had a tooth problem that might be causing him to prefer not to hold the dummy in his mouth.
    3.) after about one week, i invited my dog outside with the duck dummy to practice retrieval. when throwing the dummy, i avoided snow/ice build up on it...a wet and cold dummy was okay, but no snow/ice.
    4.) my dog flawlessly performed the first retrieve, and i made a HUGE deal about it by "super" praising him.

    since then i have been more mindful of giving my dog praise with each retrieve than i previously was, which i am certain has also made a big difference in my dog's overall retrieving performance.

    the canvas duck dummy refusal problem is now solved, thanks again folks!

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