Jim"I'd actually meant Jim's personal dog he gained experience from about poor line manners. I thought a good explanation of how he though his personal dog became so bad would possibly help your situation."
The problem might be in coming up with a "good explanation". I whelped the litter
that Daisy was from. She ended up with me because I couldn't really in good conscience "palm her off" on a buyer. Daisy was a demanding "me, me....me first puppy". My first mistake was in allowing that spoiled pup develop her demanding ways.
After forcing her, Daisy was sent off to a Pro for evaluation. I took her back home after a month. She was extremely "mousy" when the e-collar came out and yet a driven pup in training. Her marking was mediocre....mostly because she was so animated and nervous at the line. However, she eventually(severtal months) came back to her old self.......some of which I should have avoided. She trained well and was not entered in a test until she was 18 months old.
Evidently, I did not want to acknowledge her anxiety and animation at the line as an issue. I keep coming back to my pro friend's comment....."It's not the dog." which pretty much sums up how difficult it is to assume the responsibility for the dog's behavior.
Fast forward through many trying months at the line....she gets her AKC Senior Title.
However, there was no way her line manners would allow the next step. The week of realization and discovery came at four years old. I setup a very difficult triple with two blinds (AKC Master level at the Stoughton Field trial grounds). She smacked it. The next day I was training with friends and the setup was a simple double with a cold blind off to one side. She picked up the "go bird" and then on the memory when I said "Daisy" she looked up at me, cocked her head and said "What?" She had no idea where it was or if one had even been thrown, I finally got her kicked off the line with the "go as sent routine" and she rather wandered off cluelessly with a sloppy handling. The blind was a very "hacky".
The worst part of the morning was that I had bragged to my friends about how sensational she had looked the day before.
That evening I went home and examined the past four years of her journal entries. Throwing out September through February (hunting season and nasty weather winters) she had never come in heat during those times. Training (when done and not often was always sharp). From April through August and a full month before any signs of coming in heat training consistently "went south". For a full month after going out of heat the training was NEVER very good either. Frustration was evident in the journal entries.
Her issues were mostly driven by anxiety. If there were a Bell shaped curve for how a bitch handled her heat cycles in terms of mental stability, Daisy had to be in the extreme. And of course, I was putting pressure on a bitch whose hormones out of whack. No wonder she demonstrated anxiety.......and I just never saw it.
I struggled with having her spayed for about two weeks. Then decided to do what was best for her. Since then training has been more consistent. The problem is that during those first four years
"baggage" was created that was impossible to erase...even thought I tried. Why is it that many new trainers become "experts" at trying fix things and all the experts spend so much energy trying to fix a dog and trainer they know nothing about? Anyway that is another thread. I am happy to say Daisy is more content and I'm more relaxed. She is my “go to” waterfowl dog.
I am just one of many, many owners that started late with their retriever training. Taffey (see signature) was my first retriever training venture 13 years ago when I was 60. Three more have been trained and I don't wash anyone out. I'm 73 now and feel the axiom of "avoiding mistakes" makes more sense now that I actually know what a mistake looks like. The next pup might find his road a tad smoother (or not).
The Website was written to keep track of my progress (good, bad and everything in between). Forgetting inhibits learning so the journals and pages help to remind me of the ever present task of doing what the dog needs “in the moment” and remembering that there are tools in place to restore balance more quickly. That's what is most important for a dog
In retrospect, I find this "story" may not help the OP unless he finds out what his dog needs. Often is usually more that one incident or issue that creates a problems.
Sorry of the looong story, but you asked. My wife just asked me when I was going to watch Lylah tonight.
Thank you for sharing your time with us this evening and giving some insight in to your experience with Daisy. I need to do a self examination as I mentioned in an earlier post. I also believe it may be worth letting a pro evaluate him. One of my considerations that must come in to play is my long term goal with this dog. Do I want to continue to play the dog games with him beyond a JH, or just make a field goose dog out of him which was my original intent when I bought him? I need to decide that and commit to one or the other.
Thank you again.