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Goose poop - why is it so tasty to a dog?

3694 Views 33 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  btbrown
I posted this over on another board a couple of weeks ago and got one response (good advice, but always open for more) so I'm hoping for some more input.

Just a little background - This is my third Lab pup, now 19 weeks old. My first was not a hunting dog, had little retrieving desire, and was a great pet for 15 years. I did get her to be a good upland dog, she would handle some, and retrieve anything that had feathers. Otherwise, fetch was not in her. My second was a great little FT pup that was only with us for a few weeks last summer from the age of 12 to 18 weeks. Amazing little dog with incredible desire, had her running doubles, playing baseball, simple blinds, and 100 yd singles under control at that young age. Show her once and she got it. Unfortunately, she had a cancer tumor and went back to the breeder. And then there is this one out of FT and HT background. At 19 weeks she has "forgotten" everything from obedience training I've given her since 9 weeks and it coincides with the spring time emergence of animal droppings. So here goes:

One problem with living in the perfect spot to raise a retriever is having up to 100 geese on your front lawn from April to November. They're out on the ice right now and will be on the lawn as soon as the snow melts. Any suggestions on how to prevent pup from eating the tootsie rolls they leave behind? Is this something an e-collar would help? I plan to get a collar later and get some help in the proper use, but wonder if this might be a case for getting it now. Pup is only 4 months old right now, so probably too early? She certainly knows "No!", but also knows the value of putting distance between us to get away with non-compliance. The same yard full of goose poop is also the yard and beach where we train, so getting this through her head is a big deal for me. I'm not a vet, but I can't imagine eating goose droppings is good for a dog and it sure doesn't make you want a kiss!

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Did you just tell that guy to "Eat $#!T"???
I believe he did! :wink:
That's no way to treat a newbie!
No sweat, I've got thick skin.

My main question was - any suggestions to get pup to stop or at least put it down in her priority list of things to grab. Right now there is no training going on because of all the distractions. Doesn't matter if its fox, deer, rabbit, duck, or goose, we've got it all and I'm at the end of my rope trying to figure a way around it.
Sounds like I'll just have to live with it for now. All her obedience has gone right down the drain in the past two weeks. I can't do any training whatsoever without her on a leash or check cord, and starting two days ago, can't do any retrieving outside because of all the animal droppings. I think it may be a Perfect Storm of her hitting a stubborn teenage phase at the same time the snow has melted and all the droppings becoming distractions. 4 weeks ago (at 15 weeks old), I had a dog that could be trained off leash, would sit on command at any range better than 90% of the time, would stay, and if an incentive such as a sliver of hotdog was offered, come from any distance. Retrieving was getting better each day as well. She doesn't have a lot of drive yet.

I wouldn't dare try a collar without some help, planning on joining a club to get to some training sessions. Also get her around some working dogs so she can see what the game is.

I am so frustated with this dog right now that I am ready to give up on her, at least for a while. Even her house manners have taken a huge step backwards. I think a short break will do us both some good until she comes around. I started some fairly harsh discipline with a crack on the butt with a thin rope (I don't have a heeling stick) for the NO! commands on the poop, and sharp snaps on the collar or leash and rough handling for sit, stay, come. But quickly realized that was also taking us backwards, so we just go on pleasure walks on leash for a week or so.

We've tried the lines, fences, etc. Only works during the molt. At least they are good training aids for getting her steady. As far as getting rid of the geese, popping a few is not an option. I work for the environmental regulating agency in my state, so any removal would be more than just a fine, it would probably be my job!! Within two or three weeks, we will have between 50 and 100 on the front yard at any given time.

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Well, welcome to RTF and thanks for having a thick skin
Thanks! Not so much thick skin as having a sense of humor.
ps- how close to Vermont are you?
I'm about 2 hours west of VT. Checking on local clubs, I am about the same distance to Hudson Highlands, Leatherstocking, and Champlain RC, all about 2 1/2 hours.


Just re-read the post and saw pup is JUST 5 months old. Still a pup; don't expect too much too soon...
And there you go...I think I have been expecting too much.

I read somewhere (Wolters I think) that pups often go into a short phase where they turn into typical teenagers, but fortunately grow out of it. I saw it clear as a bell with the pup I had last summer at 16 weeks. About 10 days later, it was like you threw a switch, all the obedience came back and retrieving desire was tripled.

Anyway, thanks for the detailed response. All training is now on the leash, using a lot more praise again rather than pressure and getting her back on track. The backward trend I thought was happening coincided with longer sessions and increased pressure, with me pushing to try to get to a successful command to end the session. I still let her run free on our walks when everything isn't all mud, she stays close and just gets to be a pup, but don't give any commands. When I stop, she comes back to me to see what is going on and that is when I play a little and then get her back on the line.

My bigger concerns are developing the retrieving desire. I keep it separate and fun, fun, fun. Some days only a couple of throws, other days 10 or 12 as far as I can throw them. I just try to judge when she is starting to get distracted and quit while she is still wanting more.

Thanks - Brad
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I dint realise You was a newbe!!

But I dint tell yas to go eat sh!#
I know you didn't. And I wouldn't have tried it without some hot sauce anyway! All fun!

I figure with a name like Gooser you should be an authority on goose poop.
Gun Dog 2002 - where in the Mohawk valley are you?
Be very careful with that line of thought. I too believed at 5 months we had just hit a "phase" and let my pup buffalo me almost to the point of no return.
That's why I posted it, to see if anyone had different experiences I should be aware of.

We are back to sit, stay, come, heel on a short leash without the pressure and back to praise, and she is doing much better on all the commands. She's not getting away with anything, I think I might have pushed too hard too soon. Main focus I'm concerned with is retrieving desire, I'm trying to stick to the "less is more" theory and making what we do as fun as possible. Also have teeth falling out and coming in right now, so who knows?

Thanks for the advice.

About a mile up from where the Mohawk dumps into the Mckenzie river...
Huh, I didn't even know there was another Mohawk Valley in the US, but I see your Mohawk is way out there in Oregon. I've been as far west as Idaho, would love to get all the way out the Pacific NW some day. Looks like beautiful country.
Be very careful with that line of thought. I too believed at 5 months we had just hit a "phase" and let my pup buffalo me almost to the point of no return. I am a first timer with anything other than a pet lab.
Just a quick update on my rough patch of training a couple of weeks ago. I backed off for a few days and now we are back at it with everything on the leash unless within the confines of the garage where I can keep control. Much better behavior, getting better compliance with each day. I suspect it was as much due to my change in attitude (maybe mostly due) as it was her going through a phase of sorts. Gotta run to work!

Thanks to all for the advice, I'm feeling better about the training.

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