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Thread: 21 month pigeon-eating golden, any hope or advice?

  1. #1
    Senior Member PalouseDogs's Avatar
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    Default 21 month pigeon-eating golden, any hope or advice?

    Ran into another woman with a golden in obedience training. She mentioned that she has a POND and invited me over last weekend to work with my dog. (I tried not to obviously beg or drool.)

    Her golden is 21 months old from field lines, but has no hunt training. High energy, loves water, makes astounding leaps into very cold water for a bumper. I threw a few marks for the dog, who up to then, had only done retrieves with the owner throwing from the side. I went as far out as about 125/150 yards in an open area, tossing orange bumpers. Dog pinned the marks, no gun-shyness at all. In other words, great natural ability as far as I can tell, and owner is interested in learning about hunt training. Has hunted with prior goldens, but not for many decades.

    The problem came when I showed the dog a bird. Dog has never been hunted over or retrieved a bird. I showed the dog a dead pigeion I'd been using as a mark for Maple. I sort of expected cautious sniffing and perhaps reluctance to hold the bird. The dog snatched the pigeon, chomped down, and tried to gulp it down as fast as possible. The owner grabbed the dog's collar and was able to extract the pigeon (what was left of it) after a long period of lip squeezing.

    She asked me what I would suggest (as if I had a clue). I suggested no more birds until the dog has been through a formal force fetch, with an emphasis on no mouthing, and then start with frozen birds under very controlled conditions.

    Was that good advice? Is there any hope for this dog? It grew up on the owner's 26 acres in rural Idaho and has, no doubt, eaten plenty of scaveneged birds.
    Kelly Cassidy (person)

    HR Maple Cassidy CDX JH RE (golden retriever)
    Alder Cassidy CDX RE (standard poodle chipmunk chaser)
    plus whacked-out weird Burka (elderly mix-breed rescue girl)

  2. #2
    Senior Member yellow machine's Avatar
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    Force fetch should clean that up.
    A cold nose feels good on a hot day.....
    Majestic Oaks Liberty Belle JH

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    Senior Member Howard N's Avatar
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    FF will help.

    No more pigeons until it can handle ducks well. Near the end of FF into frozen ducks and then follow with normal bird introduction thawed, warm fresh killed, live bird, (shackled then unshackled) flyer, etc. I do all of them with a duck before I even show the dog a pheasant or pigeon again.
    Last edited by Howard N; 04-08-2013 at 01:14 PM.
    Howard Niemi

    You really gotta be careful about how high a pedestal you put your method, your accomplishments, your dog on. There's usually someone who's done more, somewhere. And they may have used a different method than you did! Chris Atkinson 2013

    get your dog out and TRAIN! caryalsobrook 2013

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    Senior Member windycanyon's Avatar
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    Maybe she just thought it was her Raw diet? Sorry, couldn't resist.

  5. #5
    Senior Member yellow machine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windycanyon View Post
    Maybe she just thought it was her Raw diet? Sorry, couldn't resist.
    After so many serious and challenging discussions I got a good laugh. No raw diet here.
    A cold nose feels good on a hot day.....
    Majestic Oaks Liberty Belle JH

  6. #6
    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    Pigeons get beat up easily. I don't reuse them for that reason. Too tempting---size, smell, blood. And when a training partner enabled my pup to eat part of a pigeon, I flipped. She decided to play tug with my dog, something I will never do. Well, she lost the tug.

    Anyway, it sounds like you have gotten good advice. I do it the way Howard N does.
    Last edited by gdgnyc; 04-09-2013 at 10:17 AM.
    "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."

  7. #7
    Senior Member swampcollielover's Avatar
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    I hada Golden (Field Bred) at six months I took him with me on opening day of doveseason. The first bird I shot at sun up, helicoptered down perfectly at about45 yds. I could tell my young dog had a good mark on the bird, I sent him outand he did a 'picture book' retrieve! I was really proud as he ran back to mewith the bird in mouth. Then he ran past me into the nearest bush and quickly devouredthat dove, feathers, feet, and all.....! That was the end of his day.....

    I called the breeder; she laughed and said his mother had also ate dove rightup until she was FF! I took my boy to a local pro and after further trainingand FF he turned out to be a great duck dog....and also did well on doves,never ate or even hard mouthed another bird

  8. #8
    Senior Member PalouseDogs's Avatar
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    Thanks, all, especially Howard! I will let the owner know that pigeons are verboten until after FF and ducks.
    Kelly Cassidy (person)

    HR Maple Cassidy CDX JH RE (golden retriever)
    Alder Cassidy CDX RE (standard poodle chipmunk chaser)
    plus whacked-out weird Burka (elderly mix-breed rescue girl)

  9. #9
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    I was nervous about my first dog, a Golden, as a pup, hoping he was going to be a good gun dog and would like birds, when I got to attend a flush to shoot hunting game. Kimo was about three months old at the time. After the competition I asked a guy if he could throw a pigeon for my pup. Kimo launched off the line, grabs the bird and returned to me. We did this twice more and the guy said it looked like I had a good job. I bought the pigeon from him for two bucks and started home. I couldn't help myself and I stopped a mile down the road to throw the bird again for Kimo. This time he grabbed it, ran under truck and started to eat it.

    I was freaked out for awhile, didn't give him another bird and ended up training with somebody who knew more than me. Bottom line, after we went through a program Kimo never tried to eat another bird in his life. I wouldn't worry about it, just try to get that talented dog in a good program.

    John

  10. #10
    Senior Member big gunner's Avatar
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    Interesting I had a OTCH golden that ran quite a few field trials a while back. She was fully FF and I hunted her on a regular basis. After an opening morning Pheasant hunt in Michigan I headed for a local Joint for a b&b. I left the dog in the truck with the dead bird under the back seat. When I returned to the truck to resume hunting My dog was awfully quiet. Wrote it off as a little tired. When I arrived to my hunting spot I let her out all seamed normal. when I went to uncase my gun I noticed that the rooster was gone!!!!! I looked at the culprit and she had a guilty look on her face. I couldn't find a feather,foot,or beak. Over the years I shot a lot of birds over her. And yes every once in a while one would disapear. But she never was a hard mouthed or a cruncher. I guess she figured that it was 10 for me and 1 for her. She might have maybe made 3 birds vanish over her life. Funny it was always a pheasant never a duck.
    Force fetch and strict obedience will help.
    PINE RUN'S BIG GUN*** U.D.,W.C.X.
    OTCH SHANNON SHAMROCK WCX
    SHANNONS FLYING REDHEAD CDX, WCX
    MAGICS MARKING RED RICO CDX, WCX

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