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Thread: Intro to live Birds

  1. #1

    Default Intro to live Birds

    Hello everyone, I'm looking for some advice on how to introduce live birds to a lab. Considering the pup has retrieved a dead bird and is consistent, at what age do you introduce live birds?

    Do you use a vest for the pigeon?

    Do you pull some feathers to prevent flight?

    Do you use a sting/pole/Bird method?

    Do you pin their wings?

    I've watched a fair amount of dvds but I'm always trying to learn from multiple sources and I know a lot of folks on here have learned a lot from the previous discussions we've had. So I ask what worked, what didn't work and how would you introduce live birds to a pup.

    thanks in advance for any information shared,


  2. #2


    Clipped wing pigeons. I use two to throw out for the pup to retrieve and the other to entice them to bring it back. For pups I use quick repetition. Doing so doesn't give them the chance to play with it in a bad way which creates bad mouth habits.
    Age doesn't matter. It depends on desire, personality and willingness to work with the handler. 8 week old pups to adults.
    Retrievers that show signs of prey possessiveness with bumpers or wings are not put on live birds until that has been addressed.

  3. #3


    WR, thanks for the advice!

    ok here comes the "what if" I'm out playing with banks and I have two birds like you were saying. I toss one out and send banks. He picks up the bird and I use the second one to entice him to come back....what if he spits out the first one to come back to the second one? I could be out to lunch on this one but I ask only because I have no idea.

    thanks a lot!


  4. #4


    Not a big deal. If he picked it up and started to you with it that is a great start. If he dropped it I would continue teasing him with the one I have and then toss it out once he has come to me. While he is going after that one I will go pick up the one he dropped. The more he handles them the better he will get about bringing them back. With pups...they learn that the sooner they come back to me with one that another is waiting. Remember to use a long line.

  5. #5


    WR, once I get some birds I'll give it a try and let you know how everything pans out. Thanks for the advice

  6. #6
    Member Burke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK


    Many possibilities, but......Not much could be better than what WR shared.


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