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Discussion Starter #1
This is my second attempt at retriever training. I have a 4.5 month old puppy who has been doing great. he is crazy for birds, has been conditioned to gunfire, and is doing fantastic on obedience. He as always been crazy for retrieving, up until about two weeks ago. That's when i had my first refusal to go. I imagined it was because i had been working on steadiness since he started treat training, and he was scared to go when he wasn't supposed to even if i gave him the command to go. Since then, I have had at least one refusal per session. This morning, he refused to go on all retrieves, including fun bumpers. I let my temper get the better of me and tried to force him to fetch on a retrieve. He has since acted like he had no drive whatsoever. did i ruin my pup? Is there anything that I can do to get him to start retrieving again? I don't want to have to, nor can I afford to get another dog.:(
 

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you will ruin your pup if "temper' has any part of dog training. Your pup is likely teething, and his mouth hurts. too soon for steadyness, too soon for force
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thank you for replying. this is the firs time i have lost my temper, and it was done so more out of fear of him not retrieving than anger. i try to make it fun for the pup, and if he isn't having fun, to end on a fun note and try again later. is there anything i can do to bring his drive back out?
 

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He is more than likely teething give him a few weeks and he will be back to normal. If you loved football but you broke your finger even though you loved it you probably wouldn't wanna play catch basically the same concept. Find something soft for him to retrieve like a paint roller
 

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Just let him be a puppy for the next 30 days and leave soft play toys for him to carry around at his discretion. You will be surprised by the results:D
 

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use paint rollers for a bit and make it ALL non steady happy bumpers. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY , If he does not go no big deal. Try rolling a ball, use something different. If he does not retrieve at all , back off and try again in about 4 weeks
 

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You need to figure out, why he is "scared to go." For that, look in the mirror.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you all for your help; i really appreciate it!:razz: i know that all the problems that i am having with him are from me, not him setting out to aggravate me. i just couldn't understand what made him scared to go. the only correction i have used when he went without being sent was to say 'no, sit'. i will stop all attempts at steadying for a while and make all retrieves fun retrieves. would using thawed birds in addition to the paint rollers for a little while help, as he is crazy about retrieving them and they would be easier on his mouth than plastic bumpers.
 

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1. The dog is likely teething.
2. Quit throwing retrieves until dog is done teething.

3. Let the dog lay around, chew a bone of some sort, work on basic obedience, etc.
 

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I do NOT try to steady a pup until they are INSANE about retrieving. I want them to GO GO GO. When I get to that point they are usually old enough to start formal obedience. During this period I CC my pups to HERE. That gets the return from going to GO and Return. During formal obedience the HEEL command is taught. By this time I have now built pup that Loves to retrieve, will return to heel and is set up for FF. The reason for my slow step by step approach is I RUINED a great pup by asking TOO much at a young age. He shut down completely. You could throw him a hamburger and he will not go. I take FULL BLAME for rushing . When you get where you are about to lose your temper PUT YOUR PUP UP.
 

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How many retrieves were you trying to do in a session?
 

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As this is your second attempt at training i would suggest Bill Hillmans Training your retreiver puppy DVD. Banner ad at top of page..All pups mature at different stages,sounds like you pushed him to hard.
 

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I'm am very much an amateur but I found something that worked years ago.
I have had a couple pups that suddenly stopped retrieving. Don't recall the exact ages but they weren't teething. It seemed they were just being like rebellious teenagers. Each time I put the pup in their crate out in the yard and had an older dog retrieve bumpers right in front of them, lots of praise and fun. Then I would try a fun bumper with the pup, if he refused, back in the crate, no punishment just more bumpers for the older dog. Didn't take long to get them crazy to retrieve again. Jealousy is a powerful motivator.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i have retriever training by tom dokken and fowl dawgs vol. 1. i had been letting him set the pace, as in when he knew a command flawlessly, we would move on to another. his obedience is fantastic, and i havent had any refusals as far as obedience. the only thing that he has had any trouble with was the retrieving. i had read that it was best to steady early, so it would be easier to transition to complete steadiness later. i believe that Hotchocolate is right, that i pushed him too hard. i usually did around 5-10 retrieves per session, but his interest and drive never waned. he would go just as hard on the 10th as he did on the 1st.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
this is what i had planned for friday, until i messed up so bad this morning.
I'm am very much an amateur but I found something that worked years ago.
I have had a couple pups that suddenly stopped retrieving. Don't recall the exact ages but they weren't teething. It seemed they were just being like rebellious teenagers. Each time I put the pup in their crate out in the yard and had an older dog retrieve bumpers right in front of them, lots of praise and fun. Then I would try a fun bumper with the pup, if he refused, back in the crate, no punishment just more bumpers for the older dog. Didn't take long to get them crazy to retrieve again. Jealousy is a powerful motivator.
 

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this is what i had planned for friday, until i messed up so bad this morning.
Sometimes that works and sometimes the dog quits trying at all because the more aggressive dog wins all the time.
 

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Sometimes that works and sometimes the dog quits trying at all because the more aggressive dog wins all the time.
Just to clarify: I didn't make the pup compete with the older dog. Just made him watch from his crate at all the fun the older dog was having and all the attention he was getting. I'm sure it helped that the dogs were well acquainted and used to competing for attention.
 

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Keep it fun. Keep it short. Work on building his enthusiasm. Might be time to break out a live bird. Its not uncommon for pups at certain stages to seem to lose interest. Most likely you'll be fine.Are you going on "nature walks" regularly?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
two or three times a week. he has not been introduced to live birds yet. i was planning on starting that next week. i have some quail that a buddy is giving me since i cant find pigeons for sale around here.
Keep it fun. Keep it short. Work on building his enthusiasm. Might be time to break out a live bird. Its not uncommon for pups at certain stages to seem to lose interest. Most likely you'll be fine.Are you going on "nature walks" regularly?
 

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Many many posts that are titled...My 4 month old, 5 month old, 6 month old pup quit retrieving. I also went through a little stage were I was worried about my pup's desire last year. Less is more and don't be afraid to take a few days off. Be patient and progress when the pup is ready not when you think he should be ready.
 
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