Im new obviously by the limited posts so a little background first. I don't have the time nor money (unfortunately) at this point to be doing any trials or tests so my primary desire is to have a good upland meat dog. Im not into duck/goose hunting simply for lack of opportunity not desire to try it out.
I have purchased and watched/read Graham's books and dvds. We got to and through hold. I could get Gunner to sit and hold as long as I want, walking hold, have him sit in one spot and walk like 20-30yds away have him hold then come without any problems. Tried to continue FF and got stuck, as most newbies doing by themselves do I assume. He is absolutely crazy about bumpers and birds so I never had a problem with him reaching for a bumper. I would hold the bumper in front of his face and say fetch and apply pressure but as soon as I said fetch he was already going for the bumper the second I said fetch. Thus I got stuck and didn't know where to go from there. I don't know anyone training dogs close to me so its hard for me to get help.
Now to my question. Gunner has an extremely hard mouth when it comes to birds. I am able to occasionally shoot some pigeons in my backyard with the ole trusty pellet gun and use those for training but not on a consistent basis. I have also taken him quail hunting a couple times. If I am not right next to him when he retrieves the bird he pretty much destroys it bringing it back to me. I can get him to sit and hold the bird without any problems. However if I get him to try and move with or fetch the bird its pretty much dinner time for him. I have tried slapping him under the mouth, saying no etc without any avail.
What can I do to stop this? Is it a simple matter of him getting so excited to see birds? I have heard wrapping wire or barbed wire around the bird can help but I wasn't sure if thats the best remedy to teach him not to eat the birds.
Its really frustrating to me when he does it but I know its something that I am not doing right and not really his fault. Hopefully that is enough information to give an idea of my problem. Sorry for it being so long and I appreciate all the help.