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Thread: Need some bird advice please!

  1. #1
    Senior Member J_Brown's Avatar
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    Default Need some bird advice please!

    I have what I think could be or may be a potential problem. Today I introduced my 11 week old female pointing lab to live birds for the first time, with the help of a friend. We had two pigeons in a small cage placed in the yard and just kind of let my pup do her thing. For a few minutes she sniffed around the cage, dug at it, climbed on top… pretty normal first encounter I think.

    We then (regrettably) let my friend’s 3 year old pointing lab come check out the pigeons in the cage. The 3 year old rushed over to the cage, then almost immediately attacked the pup! It was only a matter of seconds, but by the time I pulled the older dog off she had drawn blood from the top of the pup’s nose and the pup was squealing like a stuck hog. The older dog was immediately put away and I got the pup cleaned up and calmed down after a few minutes. She went back to wagging her tail and she appeared to be just fine. We then took the caged pigeons to the back yard to see how the pup would react. She didn’t want anything to do with that cage… of course. I took a pigeon out of the cage and walked away from it, coaxing the pup to follow me. I kneeled on the ground with the bird and the pup acted very uninterested in the bird. I took her home and she’s pretty much been acting normal all night.

    My question is this… What do I do now? My first thought (and my buddy’s thought too) was to give her a few days or a week without any contact with birds, then try again with a shackled or dead bird… no cage. But now I’m wondering if I should get her back on a bird as soon as possible… to try to get her to realize birds are a good thing right away. I’m a new trainer so I could really use some advice here. Do I wait, or do I put her on birds right away???

  2. #2
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    There is no reason to rush anything with a pup. Give it a couple days, in the meantime you have to disscuss the issue your friend has with his agressive dog which IMO is a much bigger deal.
    Bert Rodgers

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    I would get the pup back on birds, but I would use dead birds. Try and keep things very positive!!

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    Senior Member Jen Marenich's Avatar
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    I would introduce birds in a place where pup feels VERY comfortable and secure. Like at your own home (just to make a point of how comfortable...maybe even in the kitchen if you have to, for example) The idea would be to have her in a place where she is so relaxed that she can focus on fun and not worry about anything else. Let her have FUN. Use a dead one to start, if she's having a riot maybe a wing clipped one. This may be overkill, but you can't be too careful with this sort of situation. I've done a lot of work with "problem dogs" and this type of situation is how the problems usually start as pups are pretty impressionable at this young age. Also, you probably want to get her around some SAFE dogs so she knows dogs are ok too.
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    Senior Member J_Brown's Avatar
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    A couple of my other friends are meeting tomorrow morning with their pups, which are both brothers to my pup. They are going to have a few quail to show the pups. I was thinking of taking my Betty along to visit with her brothers, as I know they'd play like crazy and this may help her remember that other dogs are fun. Also I thought a dead or clipped quail, being so small, might be a good bird to put back in front of her. Any thoughts on this?

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    Senior Member Dale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbr View Post
    There is no reason to rush anything with a pup. Give it a couple days, in the meantime you have to disscuss the issue your friend has with his agressive dog which IMO is a much bigger deal.
    Before we jump on the wrong horse here let's not assume the older dog is agressive. Yes we have an issue, but it may not be agression or it may be. My first thought would be a territorial issue second would be dominance. OK now that I feel better let's look at the OP. At 11 weeks I doubt there is any long term harm, short term yea. Work off of your pups retrieve desire, small canvas bumper, a ball, or what ever the pup enjoys retrieving. Let him make a few retrieves then add a wing to the toy. Build his confidents without a bird for a while. Then when you see he is confident with that put a dead bird out and throw the toy to the bird. Make a bet, after a few times the pups going to pick up the bird. Remember he is 11 weeks, sessions should be very short. Three or four minutes. You can do a bunch off sesions in a day but keep'em short.

    You want help with the older dog PM me.

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    Senior Member Tom. P.'s Avatar
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    All great advice.If i may add a thought here and is it possible to get a different cage also the next time you introduce your pup to birds.
    Try to take away any remembrance of the bad experience.

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    Senior Member J_Brown's Avatar
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    THANK YOU everyone for the great advice.

    I took my Betty down to some local dog training grounds yesterday to meet my two buddies who own Betty's two brothers. Another friend also brought his 3 yr old pudelpointer. We let the pups play for about 15 minutes or so, then tied them up by the trucks while we set 3 quail for the pudelpointer. The closest quail was about 100 yards from the pups. The pudel pointed all 3 birds and we shot all three... The pups never flinched to the gunfire, so I worked a little closer while firing intermittently. The closest shot was maybe 45 or 50 yards away, and the pups again never flinched. This made me happy.

    We then introduced the pups, individually, to a couple quail inside a small perforated plastic container. Betty went first, and she showed no signs of being afraid of the birds! I then showed a dead quail to her and she got very excited by it. She pounced around it, barking at it, and eventually picked it up. A little later I showed her a live quail on a string and again she showed no fear... it was all positive stuff. I am very relieved. Luckily the attack from a couple days ago must have been quickly forgotten.

    Again, thanks for the advice!!!

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