Lab having trouble with big birds
I guess it's a little late, but this last season my 3 year old black lab was out on his first hunt and he did great! He had no trouble with teal and mallards, but cranes and geese kind of stumped him. Both times he came up on live downed birds and he wouldn't go after them.
Any ideas? He is 110lbs, so he's not a little guy! I wanted to train him a bit in the field with one that I shot, but the action was so hot we didn't get a chance.
Did you have the opportunity to do some pre-season training? Learning while on a hunt is a big curve ball. It could go well or it may not. Was it any live bird? or just the bigger birds? A live goose or crane can be intimidating to a first season retriever. Preseason training on some domestic fowl will boost his confidence.
No preseason training with real birds. He has hunted as a flusher for pheasant in Colorado when he was 2 and did real well and listened and paid attention to me the whole time.
He was great on his retrieves with smaller ducks, he even dove in an estuary over his head for one and brought it out alive and well and dropped it at my feet. So, it's just with the bigger sized live birds. I feel he has great potential as a retriever... he picked most of this up on his own and with our fetching games. When I shoot skeet in the yard there is occasionally an unbroken clay and he will fetch it and bring it back to me!
I'm not a professional dog trainer or anything, just a hunter that got a great puppy 4 years ago.
I'll take him out for some Ptarmigan or spruce hens in the next week and maybe I'll get him more familiar.