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Thread: Dog suddenly destroying birds

  1. #1
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    Question Dog suddenly destroying birds

    I have an 11 month old female black lab with great hunting lines. I have put some training into her (Hillman) but if I have to be honest not as much as I could/should have. She did have the basics down before her first trip for pheasant in October however. Sit/stay, heel, here, retrieving, etc. I did not get the chance to introduce her to live birds before hunting, but did throw/hide pheasant wings quite a bit.

    So on her first trip she got the chance to find and retrieve a few quail and pheasant for me. She did good. A little bewildered when one of them moved, but she grabbed them and brought them to me just like she does with wings/bumpers. She had some handling issues, but the retrieving part I thought went well. This trip lasted 4 days.

    Second trip two weeks later lasted 3 days and was more of the same with better handling. She got out in front better and was doing more "hunting." Flushed several birds and did some retrieves.

    Third trip two weeks later (I just got home from) handled even better but....has decided to absolutely DESTROY bids and DOES NOT want to bring them to me. When I say destroy I mean shaking them, growling, yipping, tossing them in the air, etc. She acts as if it's the enemy and she is trying to kill it. I was stunned to see this and frankly I didn't know exactly what to do. My instinct said to yell NO, but then I was afraid that would make the fact that she found it a bad thing. So I ran over got grabbed it away from her the first time she did it. Then it went on for the next three days. Every bird she found she did this to. One of them was down in a nasty briar covered ditch that I couldn't get into and I could hear her down there destroying the bird. I was yelling here but she wouldn't come (she normally is great with this). She finally did bring that bird up out of the ditch to me but it was completely destroyed.

    I have no idea why she all of the sudden starting doing this when she was great at first. Nothing happened or changed between the trips. I'm at a loss and frankly don't want her retrieving game until I get this sorted and worked out.

    I'd love to hear some thoughts and advice on where to start.

    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member labsforme's Avatar
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    First thing that comes to mind is she getting ready to come in heat.I have a BLF that never thought a day in her life that I have had her chew birds but just before she came in heat she decided to have lunch with the long punch bird on the way back in training.Also FF will cure a lot of this as it makes retrieving a command not a request and help with mouth issues.
    Jeff Gruber
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  3. #3
    Senior Member mitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverWild View Post
    I have an 11 month old female black lab with great hunting lines. I have put some training into her (Hillman) but if I have to be honest not as much as I could/should have. She did have the basics down before her first trip for pheasant in October however. Sit/stay, heel, here, retrieving, etc. I did not get the chance to introduce her to live birds before hunting, but did throw/hide pheasant wings quite a bit.

    So on her first trip she got the chance to find and retrieve a few quail and pheasant for me. She did good. A little bewildered when one of them moved, but she grabbed them and brought them to me just like she does with wings/bumpers. She had some handling issues, but the retrieving part I thought went well. This trip lasted 4 days.

    Second trip two weeks later lasted 3 days and was more of the same with better handling. She got out in front better and was doing more "hunting." Flushed several birds and did some retrieves.

    Third trip two weeks later (I just got home from) handled even better but....has decided to absolutely DESTROY bids and DOES NOT want to bring them to me. When I say destroy I mean shaking them, growling, yipping, tossing them in the air, etc. She acts as if it's the enemy and she is trying to kill it. I was stunned to see this and frankly I didn't know exactly what to do. My instinct said to yell NO, but then I was afraid that would make the fact that she found it a bad thing. So I ran over got grabbed it away from her the first time she did it. Then it went on for the next three days. Every bird she found she did this to. One of them was down in a nasty briar covered ditch that I couldn't get into and I could hear her down there destroying the bird. I was yelling here but she wouldn't come (she normally is great with this). She finally did bring that bird up out of the ditch to me but it was completely destroyed.

    I have no idea why she all of the sudden starting doing this when she was great at first. Nothing happened or changed between the trips. I'm at a loss and frankly don't want her retrieving game until I get this sorted and worked out.

    I'd love to hear some thoughts and advice on where to start.

    Chris
    The place to start is with the "here/come" command.

    She does not have the basics down after all.
    Renee P

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bartona500's Avatar
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    Return to basic obedience including recall and don't hunt until she has them down. Then Force Fetch using a good program progression.
    -Barton Ramsey

  5. #5
    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    It might be hard but the first time she did it I would have stopped hunting her until I could fix the problem. Second thing that comes to mind is that she is 11 mos. which I think is still young and you may be seeing the result of puppy play going wild. Third thing that comes to mind is that maybe she was injured by a cripple and has now decided to take things into her own hands. It sounds like a better introduction to birds might have helped. Also the comment by mitty on "here" is valid. Bottom line is I would stop hunting her until I could fix the problem.
    "I love the rod and gun and where they take me."

    "Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins."

  6. #6
    Senior Member davewolfe's Avatar
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    A live pheasants can be very hard on a young dog. If the dog got spured by a wounded bird they will learn to hate pheasents. I have a bird dog that will crunch a pheasent if its still alive.


    Good Luck
    David Wolfe

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    I appreciate the comments, definitely food for thought. Regarding the HERE command - she can be at a dead run away from me in the field and I can say HERE and she will put on the brakes so hard she kicks up dust, spins around, and comes at a dead run back. She will do the same even when running with other dogs or distractions around. Of course in training it's also 100%. How do I get it more solid than that? Obviously it isn't 100% or she would have come back when she was destroying the bird. Just not sure how to make it more solid when she looks awesome in training and in the field.

    I am committed to not hunting her until this is worked out. Wasting game is not ok and really bothered me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SCOTT C.'s Avatar
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    Is she collar conditioned to the basic obedience commands? If she is I would have upheld the here command with the collar. Here is the most basic command that I hate for the dogs to ignore. Getting her straight back to you will help you control what she is doing with the birds. Force fetch will also be a good thing if you are going that route.
    Scott Cormier
    HRCH Southern Breezes Black Cloud MH "Thunder"
    HRCH War Eagles Midnight Storm MH "Boomer"
    HRCH Southern Breezes Southern Bell MH "Bella"
    HR Southern Points Cut To The Chase SH "Chase" RIP

  9. #9
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    I'm in the no more hunting untill there's some resolve camp, but also believe that there's not a very good balance of birds in your pups' training diet as well. Just don't think pups' seen enough birds generally speaking to know what not to do with 'em.

    If it were me,..MORE live/dead, intact birds and work with the dog in training to strike a good balance between bumpers and birds, and HERE. Sometimes wings alone and wings attatched to a bumper just doesn't cut the mustard.

    Careful with any collar corrections while pup has a bird..the timing of it is very, very, critical
    Last edited by Swampbilly; 11-07-2012 at 06:51 AM.
    Dawgs are like Savings Accounts-
    You only get out of 'em what you put into 'em.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swampbilly View Post
    Careful with any collar corrections while pup has a bird..the timing of it is very, very, critical
    This X 10!!!! The crux of the issue is disobedience to the "here" command. But you can easily sour the dog on birds if collar pressure is poorly timed.
    Mark Land

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