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Thread: Bird Eating and Hard Mouth

  1. #1
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    Default Bird Eating and Hard Mouth

    I have a 17 month old male lab that I had trained just like my 6 dogs before him. FF, CC, Obedience ect. I ran him in AKC Junior Hunt Tests this summer without a glitch. No hard mouth, nothing. Not during training and not at hunt tests. This fall I started pheasant hunting him and for the first 6 hunts and 20 retrieves, no problem. He has been FF on ducks, geese, pheasants, chukars, pigeons and doves. No problem. Then, on one hunt a bird went down and I didn't see my pup for some time. Then he came back with feathers in his mouth without a bird. Then things went well for a couple of hunts and probably 10-15 retrieves. Then a bird went down and I didn't see him for a bit so I went looking for him and found him dismantling a pheasant. I took the bird away from him and didn't let him hunt the rest of the day. I then had another person throw pheasants for me where I could see him and absolutely no problem. 20 or more pheasant retrieves without a problem. Then I found him eating another bird. I then went to just throwing pheasants in my yard for him. No eating but he is now crunching the bird.

    Do I need to go back to square one with FF? I have never had a dog eat birds before. I've had puppies pluck birds before they were FF but once they were FF I have never had a problem.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DropinBack's Avatar
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    Were the ones he destroyed fully dead when found or could it been the excitement of a wounder/alive bird?

  3. #3
    Junior Member axegothic3's Avatar
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    Roosters can be nasty, it is possible that he got spurred.

    "start in loving a dog, and understanding it, bye and bye you'll know how to love all the world!"

  4. #4
    Senior Member BJGatley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axegothic3 View Post
    Roosters can be nasty, it is possible that he got spurred.
    I agree as well.
    To the OP....IMO your dog was making sure that he didn't get spurred again. FWIW...I had a very season female who hunted with me a lot on those Chinese chickens. She would and I saw this first hand by running with her to the bird, in that she would hold the bird in her mouth and squeeze the bird(I can hear the air coming out of the bird still alive) and keep that hold until bird stops flapping the wings and became limp. She would then come to me and release the hold by my command.
    So in my opinion, all is not lost, your dog just needs more experience in what to do.
    Again take it for what it is worth.

  5. #5
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    I'll just offer this. May not be related. But I've had a dog that was absolutely crushing (not eating, but mashing) birds after he'd been retrieving great for over a year. A pro I was training with noticed that this was happening at about the same time he was noticeably slower on his return. His (the pro's) feeling was not that we had a mouth problem but a "here" problem. The dog was, in essence, saying "this is mine and I don't want to give it to you." We did not work on mouth issues or re-FF the dog. We just worked on "here" with the e-collar... until he was happy to get back, deliver and move on to the next retrieve.

    The reason I offered this was because you mentioned that it started when the dog was out of sight and not coming back with the bird promptly.

    Just something to consider.

  6. #6
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    Nick here on all retrieves until all he wants to do is get back as fast as he can.
    deb

  7. #7
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    I would start with going back to FF and Hold. Return on the retrieve also needs work. In my opinion, a live bird is not an excuse for destroying it. Kill it, yes, destroy it NO. Don

  8. #8
    Senior Member Pals's Avatar
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    Just remember-it can always be worse.
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  9. #9
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    Have it pick up that ball of barb wire Darrin was talking about ....He will not crunch it ......Steve S
    "Your dog learns as much by doing his work right,by your praise and encouragement, as he does by your displeasure and correction." DLWalters

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