How to introduce pup to birds
I have been working on basic obediance with my 3 1/2 month old black lab. Hes gotten sit down pretty good and is improving every day with heel. I would llike to introduce him to birds this week. Where and how should i start. Thanks in advance.
I'd make sure he knows "here" or "come", but start with dead birds first. I use pigeons since they are less expensive. Put the dog on a long lead and throw the dead bird (not very far) in short grass. Don't be too particular on any other commands, you want this to be a pleasurable experience. If he picks it up and brings it back great. Maybe do a couple more and be done. Leave with him wanting more. Freeze the bird and you can use it again next time.
If he runs out but doesn't bring it back, don't fret. Use a cue such as "fetch it up" and move closer to the bird. He may be curious and just smell it. Sooner or later he'll pick it up and that's when you praise praise praise. Use the lead if he wants to run away with it. Gently pull him back to you, with praise, and don't take the bird from him right away when he gets to you (unless he's mouthing it). Have him hold it while you kneel down, have him sit for a brief moment, then take the bird. With repetition, he'll catch on quickly. After enough dead birds you can introduce a live clipped wing or locked wing pigeon. Then you can move along with a dead duck/pheasant then a live bird. Take your time. Have fun.
Thanks for the information.
Get your pup crazy about retrieving, As in your pup loves to go for bumpers and loves to retrieve.
Get a live pigeon
Put the live pigeon in crate
Let the pup see and smell the pigeon
Attach 30+' Check Cord to pup
Take pigeon out and lock it's wings.
Tease pup and get him all fired up then Toss it like you have been tossing bumpers for him.
Pup will not likely run to it, scoop it up and bring it straight back to heel ok lol
All you want him to do is GO for it, smell it and try and get at least a piece of the bird in his mouth. Maybe by the wing, the neck, the foot. Doesn't matter, he's not going to learn bad mouthing habits here b/c he's not going to get much time with it anyway.
Try and get him to pick it up though. He's likely to bite it hard some, might even try to pull some feathers. He's FIRED up, that's a good sign just don't let him continue to do that.
Take it from him, don't let him kill it.
Toss it twice maybe three times. Each time try and get him to pick it up and reel him in gently with the check cord you should have attached.
Let the bird session be his only training that day and make a HUGE deal if/when he picks it up. Poor on the love.
Don't try to go back to bumpers immediately afterwards. He won't want ANYTHING to do with bumpers after having a bird in his mouth.
The only thing not seen in this video below is where Bill let the puppy smell the birds in the box before taking one out and just taping the wings. He didn't lock them, just taped them.
I suggest locking the wings so that the bird doesn't beat the puppy in the face at first.
As pup gets older/bigger you can go to taping or pulling flight feathers b/c wing flapping won't bother him.
Also like I said, if pup Bites hard on the bird and drops it trying to pull feathers, THAT'S OK! Don't freak he's just pumped up. Get him to pick it up and reel him in before he crushes/kills it and praise him for the interest shown.
If he does both the above, end Bird training for now.
He's obviously not scared of birds so it's time to move on.
Good mouth habits and/or hard biting etc will be dealt with via Force Fetch.
Last edited by Dustin D; 10-09-2012 at 11:36 PM.