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Thread: wont retrieve real ducks???

  1. #1
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    Default wont retrieve real ducks???

    I have a 3 year old lab mix, she is a small dog, only about 50 pounds, she will retrieve grouse and ptarmigan, and the full size mallard training decoy bumper, with and without the duck smell injected. Any ideas on why she wont pick up ducks, she goes right to them and sniffs, but wont pick them up. Thanks, Sean.

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    Default Hmmmm

    First off, what does 50lbs, female, and a mix breed have to do with anything? She hunts, she retrieves, and she likes some birds. COOL! Frankly I could care less if she was pink.
    So, she doesn't like ducks? Probably because they smell bad, taste bad, have a weird texture, and are heavier than what she is used to. A bird is not a bird. At least equally. When is the last time you put a duck in your mouth? Just joking.
    Get a duck and go play. Tease the ever loving crap out of her. Let her grab it in your hand, and love her for it. Drag it around. Let her chase it. Put it on a cord, throw it, and drag it around so she chases it.
    You keep making a game out of it, and she will learn to love it. So what do you do if she picks it up and shakes the crap out of it? Yell? NOPE! I am going to assume she is not force broke, so keep everything cool, fun, and lively. She'll get it ok.
    I've never ever played with dead duck looking bumpers and scents. Personally I think it is goofy. If you want them to pick up a bird, either go buy one for them to chase around, or go hunting and bring one back to her.
    She is a dog. Picking up a duck is not normal for her. Bumpers are. Upland birds are. Maybe included on the list is tennis balls, sticks, and your underwear. So go make it normal.

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    Is it possible she got nailed on the nose from a wounded duck? I've seen that happen and the dog just does not luck to retrieve them anymore. River rat makes some good suggetions although I'd use a dead duck so she won't get hit on the nose and snoat again, if that is what indeed happened. Go duck hunting, shoot a duck and then use it for training.

  4. #4

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    If you haven't exposed her to the real thing.....then it is simply a matter of getting her used to it. If you don't have the resources to get her on birds before season you can use the previous advise given. Just get her fired up about them. On land and in the water. " Be patient " with her she will have to learn during your hunting if you haven't done any preseason training.

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    Default clarification

    Yes, be sure the duck you start to play with is dead. She does not need, at least for now, the added stress of dealing with a wiggling, flapping bird.
    Do it on land, not water. Again, keep it simple, don't add stress. Your front fenced in yard is the best place to do it, without any other distractions.
    Keep it fun, build success, keep the sessions short. Do NOT keep trying, only to have her quit after you had success. Bad deal there friend. And a teal is probaly better than a mallard. You don't want her to feel like she can't get ahold of it.

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    thanks for the tips guys, I guess I will just have to keep playing with her with the real thing untill she gets a hold of it. The whole weight thing was because she is small and has a little mouth. I didnt know if she was just too small for the bigger birds. I will try with a teal next time and see how that works, Thanks again.

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    I know why you described her, I was mainy poking you. I've had labs pick up greater Canadas Geese at 10 or 12 lbs. A mallard for her is not a problem really.
    Let us know how it goes.

  8. #8

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    Here at my place I like to take young dogs right into the bird pen. It is large enough that I can use a long line on the dog. I just let them check out the birds on there own with little or no encouragement. For most their prey drive kicks in and they try to grab at one. I'll use the long line to prevent them from actually catching one. That's great for that lesson. Then I start pulling out birds with the wings clipped for the next several lessons in the training yard.
    Some of the more reserved dogs may take several trips into the pen, but eventually they too will start going after the birds.

    A prerequisite for me.....in order to introduce birds....is to have a strong desire to retrieve. This hopefully can be done while they were pups so it can be developed initially. Some though may need some conditioning to let them know that retrieving is fun.

    So if you can't get her to pick up your birds by the previous mentioned methods. I have this option available if you wish.

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    I was thinking about getting some birds to help with training in my yard. My question is, how do you keep them through the winter. Do you have a heated pen for them, or do you keep them inside some kind of heated shed, or do they deal with the cold really well?
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

  10. #10

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    Ducks and pigeons fair well during the winter. Like all animals they need access to fresh water daily. An electric bowl heater works well or if you don't want the added electric expense. I simply just carry out a pail and dump the water into a plastic sled. The water of course will eventually freeze. The birds are on it as soon as you leave the pen. When I take the next pail of water down I just pick up the sled and the previous water (ice now) slides right out.

    If it gets really cold. Like 20 below or more I turn on a 60 watt light bulb I have mounted inside a dog house. Yes the birds use it frequently. 60 watts puts out plenty of heat. You do have to shroud the bulb or the stupid birds will peck at it until it shatters.

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    Thanks for the advice Baron, I have one more question for you though. Where do you usually get your birds from?
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

  12. #12

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    PM sent. .........

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