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Since I've had my 6.5month old Golden I have not had one successful water retrieve. I'm planning for mainly upland and some waterfowl. He takes to the water naturally and loves to swim but when it comes to going out and bringing back a bumper he won't do it. He mouths it a bit but drops it and swims after the live ducks or after the swallows flying overhead. He went after someone else's tennis ball ONCE but he let it go a few seconds after getting it in his mouth. I've been working a lot on building his desire for bumpers on land and it's going well but the water is too much of a distraction along with all the birds and just the feathers are enough to excite him. I used a pigeon once and he abandoned it and I lost that one. I try throwing bumpers and wings across the bank but he ignores it or runs after it and passes it then takes off. Have any of you had this issue? How did you get them to retrieve when in the water? Or even the bank?
 

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First thing I would do is try to eliminate as many factors as possible with trying to teach a new concept as to make it as clear as possible what you are wanting the dog to do. Once, the dog understands what you want, then you can add in distractions. That is just a general statement for all stages of training. My first question is, is this dog force fetched? I suspect not if he is not retrieving the bumper on command. Also, Are you trying to follow any training programs such as Mike Lardy's Total retriever training or Evan Graham's Smartworks?
 

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Since I've had my 6.5month old Golden I have not had one successful water retrieve. I'm planning for mainly upland and some waterfowl. He takes to the water naturally and loves to swim but when it comes to going out and bringing back a bumper he won't do it. He mouths it a bit but drops it and swims after the live ducks or after the swallows flying overhead. He went after someone else's tennis ball ONCE but he let it go a few seconds after getting it in his mouth. I've been working a lot on building his desire for bumpers on land and it's going well but the water is too much of a distraction along with all the birds and just the feathers are enough to excite him. I used a pigeon once and he abandoned it and I lost that one. I try throwing bumpers and wings across the bank but he ignores it or runs after it and passes it then takes off. Have any of you had this issue? How did you get them to retrieve when in the water? Or even the bank?
Your dog is young but should be handling water retrieves with ease. I know your following a good retriever training program but you did not mention which one.
Sound to me like you would do well to back to page one of your retriever training program and follow to the letter. Obedience is the place I start. I bet you have missed a few basic steps.
Good Luck
Don
 

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Does the Dokkens training material explain force fetch? I know Wolters doesnt. How about collar conditioning to "here"?
Sounds like to me this is where you need to be going as the dog is ignoring you and you don't have the tools to deal with it.
In the mean time I would just work on retrieving on land.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Your dog is young but should be handling water retrieves with ease. I know your following a good retriever training program but you did not mention which one.
Sound to me like you would do well to back to page one of your retriever training program and follow to the letter. Obedience is the place I start. I bet you have missed a few basic steps.
Good Luck
Don
I've been using Wolter's Game Dog and Water dog. I've also bought Hillmanns puppy DVD. He was given to me when he was 3.5months old. The previous owners were throwing balls and sticks and treats in the water trying to get him to fetch and swim. The pup didn't start enjoying the water until 4 months old and he'd only go in when treats were thrown in the water. I've been told by a few people to just get another dog with working lines since this pup is show bred but he has such a high prey drive that I thought I'd give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes he explains FF with the ear pinch. I've been working with the CC for 'come' and he's responding pretty well. What is the best resource to learn to FF a dog? Or should I look for a professional to FF?
 

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Is there anyone close that can mentor you through ff? It is not all that hard but some experience would be of great benefit given the history.
 

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Is there anyone close that can mentor you through ff? It is not all that hard but some experience would be of great benefit given the history.
The only way would be to send him to a professional for boarding which runs $2500 for 3 months. The current trainer follows Wolter's philosophy of not FF and just naturally building the desire.
 

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I don't know what to tell you. That's a lot of money given the dogs history. Of course that's for more than just ff. There are some videos available on you tube on how to do this. You could read and watch as much as you can find. Get a video cam and post some videos of your efforts and I will try to help.

If you decide on this approach I will try to get you started.
 

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Wolters works for some dogs, but there are many newer programs that work much better. Lardy and Evan Graham come to mind. I used Wolters Water Dog with my first Golden in 1979 and it worked perfectly, I tried the same approach using Game Dog with my next Golden in 1992 and failed miserably. I even called Richard Wolters at home and he told me I was taking his book way to literally. I ended up going with a pro and good amateur group using a Carr based program and never looked back at Wolters.
 

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I've been using Wolter's Game Dog and Water dog. I've also bought Hillmanns puppy DVD. He was given to me when he was 3.5months old. The previous owners were throwing balls and sticks and treats in the water trying to get him to fetch and swim. The pup didn't start enjoying the water until 4 months old and he'd only go in when treats were thrown in the water. I've been told by a few people to just get another dog with working lines since this pup is show bred but he has such a high prey drive that I thought I'd give it a shot.
If you have the time, then by all means give it a shot, but please understand that you need to know the basics in dog training. Lardy and Graham have a flow chart which shows the basics on their website. And...I would seriously find a club and let the dog folks there help you out.:)
Good luck.
 

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lobita first where do you live try to hook up with a local training group to help you there are several good training videos that will be very helpful gun dog 1--2---3 the 10 minute retriever etc
 

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I am using water dog more the video than the book. When he shows the intro to water he gets in the water and teases a young dog to enter the water. I would try to get in the water and get the pup to retrieve from in the water. if that does not work throw form in the water to the bank, if pup will get out and bring it back then try from bank to into water.
Also try very short retrieves in the water.Just a step or two from the bank.
 

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I would look at Evan Grahams program or the total retriever by Mike lardy. There is also some good videos on YouTube by Freddy King. Remember, he is still young and he needs to have fun. Be patient and take baby steps. If, he is doing good land work just work on that for now and the water will come.
 

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What JR said is what I was thinking. I would try another program. Your dog might not be the greatest and then he may be the best. I would not give up but I would get some additional DVD's and try other methods.
Good Luck
Don
 

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I would try a long line and when he doesn't retrieve you bring him back into you. I would then heel around with him for a bit and then try the retrieve again. Of course start this on land and then on water. The idea is if he doesn't pick up the bird/ bumper etc. then he doesn't get any freedom. You may also consider the fact that if he is show lines they sometimes don't have the natural instincts to retrieve.
deb
 

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Some dogs just never take to water. We had an otherwise nice yellow lab who had not been introduced to water when he came to us at 9 mos - and 80 lbs. So, I had to wade out in the water with him in my arms to teach him to swim. He did it, but never liked it. He'd do a single retrieve of any difficulty, but would not get back in the water for a dbl. Sounds like you're ahead of that curve as pup likes the water. Just needs to understand that expectations on land extend to water. If you are not going to force fetch the pup you lose a valuable tool. The other method is slow but might work. Have him retrieve bumpers on land close to the water's edge. Then just barley in the water. Then a foot or so out, and so on. You have to teach him what is expected. This could take weeks. Keep all on a low-key even level. If pup balks at any point, just stop and come back another day. In the meantime, no fun play in the water until he has completed the tasks for the day.
Good luck.

Added: I should have stated that 61/2 mos is still very much puppy. Would not be concerned but now is the time to start showing him what your expectations are.
 
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