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Thread: Head shaking

  1. #1
    Senior Member Splash_em's Avatar
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    Default Head shaking

    History:

    14 week old YLM puppy. I have had him for 4 weeks. Was introduced to frozen ducks @ 11 weeks. Regularly use a Dokken Teal for land and a Dokken Mallard for water. Delivers to hand 95% of the time with little encouragement.

    No pressure has been introduced for anything yet. Mouth habits for all "dead" things has thus far been great.

    Started with live mallards this weekend. Charges to the bird then mouths all over it before trying to pick her up. Will set out in the field for a couple of minutes chewing/mouthing on the bird. He gets the bird by either the wing, butt, or neck and starts coming back. Still not the problem since he isn't putting any teeth in the bird and has been doing this to the same bird now for two days.

    Problem is: This evening, Hammer decided that he needed to get the bird half way back and start shaking it. He tried that with the Dokken originally and it corrected it's self when the head caught him under his ear. This is the first time in 4 weeks that he has done this.

    Question is: Is this something I should be concerned with now or blow it off since it has only happened with live birds that he can't get all of the way in his mouth?

    Thanks in advance for any answers and help.
    Last edited by Splash_em; 08-02-2009 at 05:49 PM. Reason: poster can't spell nor type
    Richard Gravely

  2. #2
    Senior Member mlp's Avatar
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    He's still really young, sounds like he wants to play with the bird. Personally I have never used live birds at this young of an age. You might try a tennis ball and see if he still shakes it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Splash_em's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlp View Post
    He's still really young, sounds like he wants to play with the bird. Personally I have never used live birds at this young of an age. You might try a tennis ball and see if he still shakes it.
    He doesn't shake a tennis ball. I let my kids play with the tennis balls because they can throw them easier.

    Doesn't shake bumpers either----just live ducks.
    Richard Gravely

  4. #4
    Senior Member JS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splash_em View Post
    .....


    Question is: Is this something I should be concerned with now or blow it off since it has only happened with live birds that he can't get all of the way in his mouth?

    Thanks in advance for any answers and help.
    It is not necessarily unusual behavior for a puppy that age but, YES, you should be concerned enough to not let it continue.

    Rather than try to correct it, most trainers would discontinue using birds until the pup is old enough to FF and then you can correct for bad mouth habits. Use bumpers until then.

    JS
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Trevor Williams's Avatar
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    I went to a Retriever club training this morning. I have been using live pidgeons for the past week with great results. One of the senior members advised that its great that the pup is birdie but it is possible to get a dog too birdie.

    He advised putting the birds away for a while and working with the bumpers. He suggested that the bumpers were good for teaching the dog to visually mark where the object went down and that it was important to teach visual marking before involving the other senses (mainly smell).

    All dogs have the ability to hunt up a bird in a small area but getting the dog to the area of the downed object before it starts hunting (and holding a line on a blind) is dependent upon a good visual mark.

  6. #6
    Senior Member HuntinDawg's Avatar
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    I am no expert, but here is my two cents:

    You are asking this dog to retrieve something the he cannot possibly handle well in terms of the way he carries/grips it. He surely isn't big enough to hold a mallard properly in his mouth, so he doesn't know what to do and starts messing around. I suggest you move to a smaller dead bird. You could tease him with a live pigeon or quail and let him get fired up about the live bird. Then you could kill it and let him retrieve it (I'm not suggesting you shoot it over him as he probably isn't ready for that). With the bird being dead he might not feel the need to shake it (just a guess, I don't know). Also, with it being smaller he would at least have the opportunity to handle it properly. You could also use a frozen pigeon so he can't chew it. If he continues to exhibit rough mouth habits with real birds, even frozen ones, then I would do as another poster suggested and quit using birds until done with FF.

    Good luck to you and your dog.
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