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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
Just a question regarding my puppy’s ability to mark bumpers. First, let me tell you that I have a 5 month old lab and am following Hillmann’s program. His retrieval desire fluctuates so at this point my primary focus is still just developing that. What’s interesting though is that my pup (on occasion) seems to not see bumpers or other objects thrown if he is by my side. This is especially true if objects are thrown straight out in front, and even more common in the morning or evening.
He seems to see all things thrown if he is out in front of me and I throw the object to either side of him regardless of light. As in angled back, squared to the side, or angled in. When I am able to get him really excited he sees all bumpers. So I am not sure if it this is either (a.) nothing at all, (b.) a vision related issue, or (c.) and excitement related issue.

I know he is a puppy and I shouldn’t be concerned with a timetable for progress. I know instead that I should just focus on where he is right now. My concern however is that I just do not want to put him in situations where he may fail to see a mark. Obviously that will not help him develop.

Thank you for your insight,
Murdock
 

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When you say straight out in front do you mean perfectly straight? Or just anytime he is at your side and you are throwing bumpers off of the hip he has a hard time picking them out in the air?
 

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Sometimes, the color of the bumper vs. the background can make it harder for a young one to see it as it travels through the air, e.g. if it is a dingy white bumper on a hazy day or a dark/orange bumper against a background of trees. If you have any of the bumpers with the canvas streamers attached, try those, or you can make streamers by tying pieces of white/colored survey tape on the ends. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the insight. I use bumpers that are 1/2 white and 1/2 black. I also have a Kong Ball with a rope attached to it. Lately I have been using a paint roller as he is still teething. I think it may have to do with the background, as I throw them towards the treeline. When we play inside he never misses one!

Sometimes, the color of the bumper vs. the background can make it harder for a young one to see it as it travels through the air, e.g. if it is a dingy white bumper on a hazy day or a dark/orange bumper against a background of trees. If you have any of the bumpers with the canvas streamers attached, try those, or you can make streamers by tying pieces of white/colored survey tape on the ends. Just a thought.
 

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If you want him to mark, I would get a gunner to throw out in the field and not just throw from your side
 

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Might be a good idea to look for an ophthalmologist making a swing by the area and have him checked for peace of mind
 

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So, when he excited and paying attention to what is happening he marks fine, but when he is being lazy and bored he is probably not focusing on what is happening. if he can see them when he is excited he should see them when he is bored. i agree you need to get someone out there and throw for you then you will get him looking out for the bumper. do you have some ducks to throw? has he gotten a live one? get him jazzed up to bring his attitude up.... and see what happens...

Brandon
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Unfortunately I haven't gotten him a live bird yet. Duck season opens Saturday around here. Hoping to soon. Thanks for the tip
 

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Up until Stormy was 6 months old, she was distracted easily by other things such as dragon flies.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Up until Stormy was 6 months old, she was distracted easily by other things such as dragon flies.
Sounds familiar. When your pup turned six months did his focus drastically improve or slowly? I'm just curious because I can definitely see incremental improvement with my dog's focus and retriever desire etc. I have heard others say that the change came suddenly. Thanks!
 
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