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  • 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
    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.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    • #3
      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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      • #4
        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?

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        • #5
          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

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          • #6
            Here's mud in your nose!

            The screw-in stake was my SECOND idea.
            "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
            Merle Haggard

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            • #7
              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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              • #8
                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?

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                • #9
                  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.
                  "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                  Merle Haggard

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                  • #10
                    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.
                    Baron Rea
                    www.wetlandretrievers.net

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                    • #11
                      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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                      • #12
                        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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                        • #13
                          Check it out guys, this post is 7 years old. Bud
                          Wasilla

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                          • #14
                            Check it out guys, this post is 7 years old. Bud
                            Wasilla

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                            • #15
                              It's Wetland Retrievers fault........lol
                              Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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