If a dog is shopping he's not coming. When he's sent to the pile it's his job to fetch and recall quickly and cleanly. That's what you spent those initial training days teaching him to do. Now you need to begin insisting on it. I prefer the results I've gotten from insisting on "Here". If he drops a bumper, or tries to come back without one, I take him immediately to the pile and force him on one. Then we begin again until the entire dynamic of FTP is running smoothly. Then we begin again to back away from the pile in small increments.
just like way back when the dog was shown how to hold. and then the buck/bumper was tapped to see if it would fall out. and when it did a couple, hold firmed up. pulling him off of the pile quick is just like tapping the bumper in hold. gets the dog thinking "I am gonna grab one quick and beat that jughead on the tug"! not that your dog would ever call you jughead;-)
Who cares? The dog went where sent, picks up a bumper, brings it back and delivers properly. What else do you want?
I have had a few shoppers and I never let it bother me. When it comes to test time or hunting, it won't be an issue.
It is a minor avoidance/ confusion issue that goes away in time when the dog becomes more familiar and comfortable with the drill.
Continue on with your progression in whatever program you are using.
I agree with Evan - its's a recall issue - and I also agree with Mike Perry!....
I'd live with the swap if I was achieving my objective of dog powering out (or whatever you are doing this drill/exercise for), but I would note it for later, and work on it separately. ie. set up an exercise that specifically deals with 'swapping' (or shopping). For me, I do this with short marks that are just thrown right next to each other.
A "pile of bumpers" is not a pile. ;)
Here's a "mini"-ipile and Gunny ready to "work" a regular pile.
No shopping afterwards regards, Jim
Does it have long term effects? Sometimes yes/sometimes no. I tend to err on the side of "I can control being smart better than I can control being lucky", and simply train the dog. It's easy and much more fun to live with.
I just like to see my pups pick up the first bumper they encounter and return. Anything else conveys a sloppy or indecisive attitude. By teaching my pups how to work a pile, I don't have to deal with it later on and/or wait for it "to go away". Everyone has choices.