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Thread: The ultimate sin: eating a bird

  1. #1
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    Default The ultimate sin: eating a bird

    Up to this point I've had no issues with bird eating. I have used ducks and pigeons and she's never done anything that resembled trying to eat one.

    this morning I shot one dove. Granted, it was the smallest dove I've ever seen in 25 years of dove hunting.

    She he acted like she was trying to eat it. Chomping hard, holding it deep in her mouth, etc. I grabbed it out of her mouth pretty quickly.

    Whats the the best way to attempt to fix this? Go back to hold with a bumper and keep correcting for any chomping? Use a pigeon and go back to hold and correct for chomping? Using a pigeon in a 'spiked' harness? Any other ideas?

    i know this can be a very difficult problem to fix. But I'm all ears.

    Parker

  2. #2
    Senior Member Billie's Avatar
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    If theyre going to eat anything-the'll eat a dove! I woudlnt stress on it at this point-other than, no more doves for this dog. If youve not had a problem thus far, its likely that there wont be a problem with the ducks. Pigeons-? possible- You could throw her some frozen ones and insist on perfection.
    I worked for a trainer once prior to starting my own kennel. she said she wouldnt own a labrador that didnt want to eat a bird! Kind of harsh sounding-but its sort of true( not saying LET THEM!)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Sounds as though this may be her first hunt. Is it?

    In my experience, retrieving ducks, especially well-feathered wild shot ducks, helps dogs learn good bird handling. Retrieving doves tends to teach bad bird handling. I encourage people to give their dogs a season of duck hunting before taking them dove hunting. There are lots of other reasons why dove hunting is challenging to an inexperienced dog.

    After a season of duck hunting, as dove season approaches, I would shoot some pigeons for her, then when they are legally available get some doves and review holding and delivering in a controlled situation.

    Amy Dahl
    at my computer today courtesy of the men-only dove club John belongs to….

  4. #4
    Senior Member 480/277's Avatar
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    It's so funny you posted this today.
    I gave Ben his first quail and he tried to swallow it too...
    Better try a bigger bird!

  5. #5
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    Yes. This was her first 'hunt'.

    Very discouraged. Everything else went so well. She heeled well, didn't bolt, she marked the bird properly, etc.

    I can see how a season of duck hunting might improve things, but then again I could see ending up right back where I am now in 1 year.

    Any other thoughts?

    Parker
    Last edited by Pbenda; 09-01-2014 at 01:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Hi Pbenda,
    I appreciated your time on the phone today.

    I would not, in any way, consider the fact that your retriever put this dove in the back of her molars and began to chomp on this bird as a commitment of the "ultimate sin".


    It sounds like your dog:


    • Was steady on the shot
    • Marked the fall
    • Was not spooked by the gunshot
    • Waited until sent.
    • Went directly to the fallen bird.


    ..... and a whole lot of other really good attributes.

    The question we should all be asking is how many "shot fliers" your dog has had each week in the several weeks preceding dove season. As we discussed, that answer is not many.

    Our young hunting retriever charges deserve the chance to learn how to handle freshly shot birds in a more controlled situation.

    What your dog did is nothing unusual. What your dog did is nothing bad. What your dog did is so much better than many of the alternatives....

    Be happy. Remember to advance training in millimeters with her, not in yards.

    Good luck and have fun! It sounds to me like you have a nice dog...

    Chris
    "Determining and applying the criteria for when and when not to use correction is the essence of the art of dog training. I make a distinction between a mistake and a lack of effort." - Mike Lardy - Volume I "After Collar Conditioning"

  7. #7
    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    This thread brought a smile to my face. Many years ago I had a hard headed CBR female that had no real training but got the job done, including coon hunting and blood trailing deer. I still have her daughter who is 14+. But every year, on her first couple days of dove hunting, she'd eat one or two and then deliver the rest unmarred. It used to infuriate my ex husband, being as those early season dove hunts are big social affairs and he was a pretty good shot. But, he didn't even like dove and wouldn't eat them. When I pointed out that he shot plenty and should be happy to share with J-Bell, he went off in a towering rage (it still makes me laugh thinking about it). We never really could cure her of that habit. Later in the season she never tried to eat them and would bring them all back, just had to eat a few at first.
    Julie R., Hope Springs Farm
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1981

  8. #8
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    It's amazing.

    Peoples responses are sure all-over-the-board on this. From one person saying it's the #1 sin to others saying their dog eats a couple every year:P

    If in the course of a hunt or a training session the dog DOES manage to eat one, can I assume that it will probably eventually pass okay? Or do they sometimes get 'hung up' and cause major health emergencies?

    thanks
    Parker

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kelly Greenwood's Avatar
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    Generally what seems to work well is not saying hold but instead saying "No hear" with nick and if at side or area "sit" with nick level can go up to appropriate level. The distraction and urgent command gets the dog in a hurry to get back or sit. Going to basic well known commands and reinforcing them works well. Helped cure several dogs that liked to chomp or eat birds. But must have both strong obedience and force fetch

    Dogs are carnivores they are just fine eating birds unless the owner kills them haha
    Last edited by Kelly Greenwood; 09-01-2014 at 06:52 PM.
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    Senior Member JDogger's Avatar
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    If eating a bird were a Cardinal Sin, I guess I'll wake up in Hell....
    One cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into. - Jonathan Swift

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