I have a 1.5yr yellow lab that i have been training for waterfowl hunting. I took her last fall at the age of 6 months and she retrieved two ducks and one goose. The goose she retrieved was completely floating in the water so all she had to do was drag it back in the water. During the early goose season this year it was obvious that she did not know how/ or did not want to pick up goose and bring it back. I started working with her everyday on throwing a dead goose around the yard (that i have been keeping in the freezer). I began by tossing this dead goose into a pile of fallen trees so that she would have to 'pick it up' rather than just dragging it through the yard. This has been working - she is bringing it back to me everytime. I took her hunting last week and i was able to bring down two geese for her. I sent her to out to retieve the first, which was in very shallow water (no swiming required for her). She went out and nosed it but still would not pick it up. The other goose landed on land and Brooke also ran out to check out that bird but still would not pick it up. I am trying to figure out why she picks up geese in the yard but is still not picking them up in the field. I dont know if it is the difference between a semi frozen goose and a fresh bloody one....Any thoughts?
Many people have recommended that Brooke needs to be force fetched but Brooke reacts badly to negative reinforcement so i would rather not force fetch her. I know this is the most highly recommended solution but i know my dog and this is not the way to go with this pup. I began by trying to train her with a shock collar (the same as my old lab) but once again, negative reinforcement does not work.. Brooke is the second dog i have trained for waterfowl hunting (so i am by no means a pro). Brooke has everything else i am looking for: a great nose, patience, takes a line, and instictive (and is light years ahead of my old lab for her age). It may be that Brooke just needs more exposure to hunting and birds and that i am getting too impatient but any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks all in advance