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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read from numerous sources that you want to have a pup crazy about retrieving before moving on to FF. My pup is now 5 mo old. Bumpers are fun for her most of the time, needs a check cord dragging behind her for her to bring it back, but if she starts to wander off to chew, a firm "come" command brings her back. Most of the time she likes the game, but if there are distractions, mostly scents, all bets are off. All this has been done on dry land. Obedience is coming pretty well. Sit, stay, and heel are solid on check cord, sit and stay solid off check cord, heel OK barring distractions. Come is still hit or miss, but improving. Again, its the distractions that kill her.

Then there are the real birds. I have some frozen ducks, she turns inside out when they get taken out of the freezer. On dry land, without a check cord she is gone with the bird hoping to be left alone so she chew on the bird. On check cord, she throws it in the air, shakes the hell out it, and plays with it while getting reeled in. In the water, she will retrieve as many as I want to throw and does it with style. She has to hold it solid in the water while swimming, there are no distractions, and she delivers to hand up the bank even if she has to cross dry land. I haven't tried a bumper in the water yet since I don't want to go get it if she doesn't. With her desire for birds, I don't worry about it and she goes - in deep water, shallow water, cover, doesn't matter - she just wants to get to that bird.

So here is my question - Should I keep using real birds to build the desire and just hope it eventually transfers over to bumpers? Or should I put the real birds away for a while and keep trying to build desire with the bumpers? All adult teeth are in now. I'm just worried if she keeps going on the real birds, eventually she will lose all interest in the bumpers. I would think having no interest in the bumpers would make it tough for the FF process once we get there.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Brad
 

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The only thing I'm going to respond to is the last comment about her having no desire for bumpers and that making FF difficult. The point of FF is force. You don't need pup to be jumping up and down, can't wait to get to that bumper, attitude for FF to be complete and successful. Pup should fight you when you start FF. That's how it goes, it's them learning to accept your direction. Them learning that when you give a command the only option to avoid consequences is to comply. So basically what I am saying is her desire to retrieve bumpers is in no way connected to how FF will, or should, go.

Good luck,
Kourtney
 
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RemsBPJasper said:
The only thing I'm going to respond to is the last comment about her having no desire for bumpers and that making FF difficult. The point of FF is force. You don't need pup to be jumping up and down, can't wait to get to that bumper, attitude for FF to be complete and successful. Pup should fight you when you start FF. That's how it goes, it's them learning to accept your direction. Them learning that when you give a command the only option to avoid consequences is to comply. So basically what I am saying is her desire to retrieve bumpers is in no way connected to how FF will, or should, go.

Good luck,
Kourtney
Actually, it's really really tied in with how smoothly force fetch will go. Part of the reason we want lots of retrieving and super attitude prior to force fetch is specifically so we have something with which to BALANCE force fetch.

If you have a dog that has questionable desire prior to FF and you go ahead and FF anyway, then you have very little with which to balance the force and pressure of FF and you can end up with a dog that really hates ANY type of training -- yardwork OR marks.

Some dogs do have marginal desire, but there are things you can do to pump them up.

for btbrown... I wouldn't FF yet. It sounds like you have more of poor mechanics issues and bad bird manners. Not sure how you raised her as far as if you ever allowed her, as a pup, to run off with wings and chew them. Either way, once manners are bad with birds, i will always back off to either bumpers or something like a dokken/armadillo foam/avery atb bird. This is one case where I really like the fake birds in training and where they are a GREAT alternative to real birds.

Also, if you think your dog has marginal desire, then back off all obedience (short of really basic manners that allow her to be a good "citizen" so to speak). Do just marks. Use real birds ONLY if she behaves with them. Otherwise, use fake birds, preferably, or bumpers.

Make sure you have someone throwing for you. Have them holler, jump around, blow a duck call, whatever... To generate excitement prior to the throw.

If you've done ANY steadying... STOP. Do NOT steady yet. Just gently restrain her and let her go BEFORE the bird falls...

That's a start as far as making sure her drive ("desire") is as good as you're going to get it. Desire USUALLY a "fixed" amount in the dog, but there are things you can do to bring it out. Just like with any given dog with good desire, when they see a live bird, there's EVEN MORE drive. So use the type of things that generate excitement when you're doing marks...

-K

ps -- work on the return very gently to start. have her on her checkcord and if you have to ease out into the field and take the end, that's ok. Don't fuss TOO much with the recall. The GOING OUT is the most important part IF you think she has marginal desire... Don't CORRECT her for not returning properly... HELP her come back by using the checkcord and easing her back to the line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not sure how you raised her as far as if you ever allowed her, as a pup, to run off with wings and chewthem.
Well, she is just 5 months old and only been exposed to real birds for about 3 weeks on and off. For the most part, I only do dry land work with the check cord and work on getting her back before she starts shaking and tossing the bird. A lot depends on her energy lever, if I haven't let her get her ya ya's out, she is really wound up. I don't let her take off with the bird.

if you think your dog has marginal desire
Its building pretty steady in the past few weeks, even with the bumpers. But there are days when she just wants to do something else and days where she gets excited about retrieving. She is also getting to the point where she will carry her bumper with her on walks during the good days.

If you've done ANY steadying... STOP. Do NOT steady yet. Just gently restrain her and let her go BEFORE the bird falls...
I haven't tried any steadying yet for fear of taking the fun out of it.

work on the return very gently to start. have her on her checkcord and if you have to ease out into the field and take the end, that's ok. Don't fuss TOO much with the recall. The GOING OUT is the most important part IF you think she has marginal desire...
She has always had the chase component, its what to do once she gets there that troubles me. The water retrieves really seem to build her skills because there isn't much to go wrong. We also just took a long walk in the woods this morning and I had some frozen pigeons. She did great on those, even out of cover. Came right back carrying the bird with style and pride. But she had her ya ya's worked out with a 20 minute climb up the side of a mountain before we started playing with the birds.

I think she will be OK, its just that I had a non-descript Lab years ago that had one CDX title in her background with no indications of hunting ability. That dog lost all drive for a bumper once we started using wings and birds, I just don't want to get into that mode again.

This pup's parents both show a ton of drive for retrieving, so I'm hopeful. Thanks for the advice.
 

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I'm considered a little "goofy" on this board (sometimes I'm called a DA :lol: )
so takes this advice for what its worth. 8)

First I agree with Kristie (sorry Kristie, kiss a death)I would not have her retrieveing birds if she is acting like you say! Dokens work well for the shaking thing---- Just watch!!--

Pups only 5 months!! Thats a BABY !! and for us Amatures, (hope I spelt that right and dind spelt the electric motor part) I think its easy to make our training BORING and TO DEMANDING!

How FUN do you make training?? Lots of ENCORAGEMENT if the dog does well?? Is a BUMPER a very SPECIAL entity for her??

Many of us first timers throw WAY to many bumpers, and run the pup to death, just cause its fun, and we want to see the little devil do what they're bred for.

I think its Important to keep training session SHORT and FUN especially when doing marks, for a PUP!! The pressure and DEMAND can come later AFTER FORCE is taught to her and she knows how to accept it!

Make training GREAT fun for her now, and a BUMPER a really special gift!!

Gooser (AKA DA, Doofus, Goofy, sometimes Goober)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm considered a little "goofy" on this board
I know you - you're the one who told me to eat goose s#@t :p I still think its funny, you'll be glad to know pup is getting much better with goose poop.

She doesn't shake them up in the water, so that is what I've been doing a lot of. And like I said before, she doesn't always shake them on land. When she does it right, like today, I keep throwing a few more. As far as keeping it fun and not throwing too many, I quit with her wanting more, or at least at the point where I can rev her up for another throw and then don't throw. Sometimes thats three throws, other times its 10 or 12. Any time she brings back to hand, she gets all loved up. If its a bumper, I let her keep it for a few seconds before tossing it again. She definitely has fun and I'm trying to keep it that way.
 

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Kristie - I will clarify. I didn't mean to imply "retrieving desire" wasn't a factor in the success of FF. What I meant was is she's not crazy about bumpers FF can still go smoothly. I was interpreting it as a difference between actual retrieving desire and pup's desire for bumpers in particular....now that I made that clear as mud lol. I'm fried at work if you don't understand I'll try again later lol.
 

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Its building pretty steady in the past few weeks, even with the bumpers. But there are days when she just wants to do something else and days where she gets excited about retrieving. She is also getting to the point where she will carry her bumper with her on walks during the good days.
I agree with the others, however I would quit doing one thing. As Gooser stated you want the bumper to be the best thing to her. I would not let her carry it around on walks at this point. At this age she only gets the bumper when you throw the few retrieves for her every day and then put it away. To build up that desire, quit throwing why she still wants more! In time when you get the bumper out she will know the fun is going to begin.


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was interpreting it as a difference between actual retrieving desire and pup's desire for bumpers in particular.
Well, that's a big part of my question. Real birds turn her on so much that nothing distracts her and she will retrieve great, other than the intermittent bad bird manners on dry land. That's why I usually have her on a check cord and am working on the return. The bumper on the other hand just doesn't rank as high as other things on the lawn with better smells, such as the rabbit, duck, deer, and goose poop. Doesn't matter what you throw for her, she will chase it down. Its just a matter of how interested she is once she gets to it, which I guess is where the FF will come in.

I would not let her carry it around on walks at this point. At this age she only gets the bumper when you throw the few retrieves for her every day and then put it away.
Never thought of it that way. I figured I was encouraging her to carry things in her mouth and getting attached to and comfortable with a bumper.

We had a great night tonight, just fun out front throwing a frozen mallard in the lake. She could not get enough. Stopped with her wanting more. Definitely has a good nose and is very birdy. This one bird I have has been in the freezer a longggggg time. When she wasn't looking, I "hid" it high and dry on a picnic table and we moved a good 50 to 75 yards away to work on some basic obedience since everything else had been going so well. Not paying attention to wind direction, I noticed her nose go in the air while on "sit and stay". I had done enough for the night, so I released her and she charged right to the table to try for the duck. So we did a couple more retrieves and headed up to the house to get dried off.

Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So here is my question - Should I keep using real birds to build the desire and just hope it eventually transfers over to bumpers? Or should I put the real birds away for a while and keep trying to build desire with the bumpers? All adult teeth are in now. I'm just worried if she keeps going on the real birds, eventually she will lose all interest in the bumpers. I would think having no interest in the bumpers would make it tough for the FF process once we get there.
Well, I think I've answered my own question. I used the frozen ducks for about two weeks with all water retrieves just a few throws a day. The past three nights have been an amazing change just like you threw a switch. Conditions were right to try the bumper in the lake, since the wind was blowing in and it would just wash ashore if she didn't retrieve. Didn't matter, she charged in on the first throw like she was a pro. I have been throwing as far as I can into various water from shallow bays to deep drop-offs, she can't get enough. Also been mixing some land retrieves in through all the distracting goose poop, same results with hard charging energy, quick pick-up, and delivery right to hand (its on a run, but I bend down with an extended hand and she puts right there). In fact, there are usually geese sitting on the water less than 40 yards away during her retrieves, no distraction, picks it up and comes right back. Probably been doing more than I should, 15 to 20 throws, but I have to hide it afterward or she just wants to keep going. Next day when I get the bumper out, all kinds of excitement.

I had a pup for a few weeks last summer that started with more drive, but did the same thing at about 17 weeks old. I remember the day, again just like a switch and turned it on to a much higher level.

Anybody else observed this in pups?

Brad
 
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