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My lab from the start was very energetic and very eager to play fetch. Loved playing fetch down the hall and eventually moved up to a paint roller in the backyard. Always limited our sessions to a max of 10 retrieves at the most 20 yards, and always left him wanting more. At four months he quickly lost interest and no longer wanted to retrieve. Took a week break before trying again and kind of showed more interest. Still slow over then next two months, but recently his interest has peaked again and wants nothing more than to play fetch. That being said he is so excited when playing he has started to bark before the throw. As soon as I throw he stops and goes to retrieve with no further barking. Ideally I'd like him not bark for obviously reasons, but don't know how to go about correcting this behavior with out discouraging him and losing progress. Do I ignore this behavior until he is older or are their methods to do so with out being discouraging.
 

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At four months he quickly lost interest and no longer wanted to retrieve.
He was probably teething.

Do I ignore this behavior until he is older
Defiantly not, it will only get worse. Noise can be a huge problem and difficult to correct.
I would try to find some experienced people to train with.

When training alone, don't throw from the line. Sit the dog on a mat and walk out and throw. If he barks, don't throw.
I doubt if this alone will fix the problem but it is worth trying.
 
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You might want to consider this.
 

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Fix it now or fix it never. IMO right now this is the only thing you should be concentrating on, nothing else matters.

By ignoring any unwanted behaviour but still giving a reward you are in effect training the dog to do it. In his mind right now the mental link link is "Bark = retrieve". He has no reason to stop and every incentive to bark louder and longer. That link has to be broken.

A real dose of RSM's barrack square discipline would be my starting point; heel, sit, stay, recall all to be performed with rigid exactitude, then start on the problem itself.

In remediation, the basic strategy is to reward only good (in his case silent} behaviour. There are a few dodges and wheezes you can try; the first and most obvious is to deny the retrieve, put the bumper back in the bag and wait him out. After 20 seconds of silence, throw the bumper, wait a bit and get it yourself. At no time make eye contact or speak. Chuck another and after 20 seconds of silence send him. You've got two objectives here, the first is to show him that every retrieve isn't his, the second to teach that only silence will be rewarded and thus break the bark = retrieve link.

Again, with no eye contact or voice, sit him down, walk out however far you think appropriate and scatter six or seven dummies about. Go back, have him at heel, and walk through them. If he barks, pick them up, and toddle back to the line. Rinse and repeat. If he's quiet, pick up but leave just one out and send him for it after a wait.

I he's a persistent sinner, put a bucket of water by the line. With no voice or eye contact, when he barks dump the lot on him. He'll certainly stop yapping.:cool: You can work the rest out .....
 
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