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Thread: mouthing dummy

  1. #1
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    Default mouthing dummy

    My 6 month old lab is retrieving to hand great, which I have been working on hold, and she will hold. The problem is she likes to mouth the dummy or roll it around when she is holding. She has retrieved live and dead birds when introducing to birds and she is not hard mouthed or destroying the bird. All of her adult teeth are in so its not a teething issue. Have been following Hillmans program in teaching hold. Is there a way to stop the mouthing before force fetch to enforce the hold without discouraging the pup? Thanks to all.

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    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    If you're using a 2" bumper, a 3" bumper might help.
    Darrin Greene

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    Member Blueline's Avatar
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    I briefly had the same issue with my pup. A couple firm "HOLD!" commands with sharp taps on the bottom of the jaw took care of the problem. I jumped on the problem right away since I didn't want it to develop into a continued bad habit. Deal with it firmly to start with and make sure your pup knows that sloppy holds will not be acceptable. Keep those high standards throughout your training and you'll fix the problem quickly.

    Like Darrin mentioned, I only noticed this behavior when the dog was holding 2" bumpers and sometimes pigeons. Whenever he held ducks, pheasants, or 3" bumpers there was never an issue. If the above advice works for you, then there should not be an issue with small bumbers anymore either.
    Good Luck.
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    Senior Member Mountain Duck's Avatar
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    Might add that 3" CANVAS, made a difference over 2" plastic with my pup I just FF'd (via Hillmann). Also, If you have CC'd to sit (by Hillmann), (and she is doing a good job of holding), you can reinforce "sit" with the collar when she get's mouthy. Use your traffic cop hand gesture while giving a "sit", nick. Puts the attention on sit, and off the mouthing.

    Be firm and persistent, but also be patient and calm.
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    I tried the larger dummies and the problem still persists. She will hold the dummy upon return and walk around with it if I want her to, but she will still mouth the dummy. I wanted to be able to use the Hillman method of force fetch due to it was a gentler way. Will this mouthing correct itself after the Hillman method is used in the force part or do I have to correct this? She retrieves so well I didn't want to put pressure on the form part of the hold yet.

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    Senior Member copterdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacklab12 View Post
    ....She retrieves so well I didn't want to put pressure on the form part of the hold yet.
    That's smart. You are thinking.

    Pick your battles.
    This is frequently a side effect of the pressure of FF, and will usually go away on it's own.

    Not always though.

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    Thanks all for the replies. Copterdoc your reply makes me feel alot better. I'm new at this retriever training and have been trying to learn with the best information that is out there. Things are going real well with this pup and trying to not mess it up.

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    Senior Member copterdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacklab12 View Post
    Thanks all for the replies. Copterdoc your reply makes me feel alot better. I'm new at this retriever training and have been trying to learn with the best information that is out there. Things are going real well with this pup and trying to not mess it up.
    That's cool.

    As long as the mouthing doesn't become a self-rewarding behavior, it should go away on it's own.
    For right now, as long as the dog is making a strong effort to keep the bumper in it's mouth, it's being a good dog.

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    Wait till it picks it up and holds it like a cigar in walking fetch and stick fetch like mine is doing. Soon as I toss a fun bumper after ff he grabs it right in the middle and carries fine and returns to hand from the heel position. As maddening as it is to see the cigar hold in ff he is consistently picking it up off the ground. I just reposition it and command hold but he cigar grabs again right on the next bumper while walking fetch. Thinking it is the pressure of ff.

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    Senior Member Dos Patos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freezeland View Post
    Wait till it picks it up and holds it like a cigar in walking fetch and stick fetch like mine is doing. Soon as I toss a fun bumper after ff he grabs it right in the middle and carries fine and returns to hand from the heel position. As maddening as it is to see the cigar hold in ff he is consistently picking it up off the ground. I just reposition it and command hold but he cigar grabs again right on the next bumper while walking fetch. Thinking it is the pressure of ff.
    Not that I'm a guru but Lardy has a tip on TRT2 and its step on the end of the bumper on the ground to lift it for correct hold.Just my .02.
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