RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 month old black lab that I have been training (obedience and retrieving)since he was 10 weeks old. He has a very mellow and softhearted personality. This is my first time really trying to train a dog from pup to adult. So far I think that the obedience training is coming along great. He is now responding to the SIT/STAY, HERE, and DOWN commands the first time the command is given. I really could not ask for more then what I am currently getting with the obedience training.



The problem or maybe not a problem is with the retrieving. If I am in my back yard playing retrieve with him he does a pretty good job and has a fair amount of energy retrieving. When I take him to the neighborhood park he shows little to no sign of wanting to retrieve. I have got to really get him excited before he will retrieve for me and it gets worst when I take him to the field. It is next to impossible to get him to retrieve when out in the field or by the lake. He shows no sign of wanting to retrieve, and no sign of getting excited to retrieve. He just does not have any ambition to retrieve when out in the field.



So my question(s) are should I be concerned about his lack of desire to retrieve when out in the field or is this something that he will eventually grow out of? Second, is there something that I can do to help him get a stronger drive to retrieve in all environments?

400bull
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
593 Posts
My dog showed almost no interest at all with retrieving until he was about 7 months old! he would make 2 or 3 retrieves and that was about it he would rather go off and sniff something. Very similar to your dog, it took a lot to get him going. I had started to lose hope at turning him into a hunting dog, but somewhere along the line he developed an insane interest in tennis balls. I recall one day it was like a light came on, on a walk in the local dog park he was suddenly more interested in the ball then everything else. after that it got a lot better.

Even now, he dosent have much interest in bumpers. and it takes some work to get him enthusastic. But birds are a whole different story. If you can get real birds it'll make a world of difference.

Dont give up!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dustin,

The pup was given to my daughter for Christmas, so first a far most he has got to be a good family dog that the kids can love and play with. Second, I want to be able to take him water fowl hunting with me and be proud in his capabilities. I have no intention of taken him or even training him for field trials. As long as he will be steady under hunting situations and retrieve a bird on command I would be happy with that.

400bull
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,110 Posts
what does he do when you are in the park or in the field when you want him to retrieve?? Is he occupied by other things? Does he just run around and sniff new smells?? I'd assume he just doesn't sit there and go 'derrrrrr.' ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,252 Posts
Sounds like the Hillman's puppy would have been good for this dog. May still be good. The basic philosophy is to get the pup wilda out there retrieve before reaching any obedience. I'd back off on the ob and do what I could getting the pup retrieving. Shackled pigeon or whatever. I'm working a very similar dog this way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When in the park or out in the field he is usually active out exploring new sights and smells. Or is sitting at my side watching other people or animals in the area. At times I can get him to go out to the dummy where he sniffs it, looks back at me and then sits his butt down.

As a side note because of the weather I have not had him out in the field that much. Maybe a half dozen to a dozen times. Could it be that I just need to take him out 2-3 times a week for a month or so where we do nothing but walk out in the fields? No training, no retrieving just exploring.

400bull
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,179 Posts
When in the park or out in the field he is usually active out exploring new sights and smells. Or is sitting at my side watching other people or animals in the area. At times I can get him to go out to the dummy where he sniffs it, looks back at me and then sits his butt down.

As a side note because of the weather I have not had him out in the field that much. Maybe a half dozen to a dozen times. Could it be that I just need to take him out 2-3 times a week for a month or so where we do nothing but walk out in the fields? No training, no retrieving just exploring.

400bull
IMO you just answered part of your problem, let him check things out. Stop your retrieves at home. When you get home load him up and take him to the field. Try some retrieves there. Once he understands the only way he gets to retrieve is in the field.
How is he with birds? You could try throwing some wing clipped birds for him to retrieve.
Get him jacked up about what his job is going to be, i agree with the other poster who said to back off OB for awhile till he gets the pray drive going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
I am no pro but if he was my dog, I would back off with the retrieving for a little and just socialize him in as many places as I could. Let him mature a little and then start again. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
When in the park or out in the field he is usually active out exploring new sights and smells. Or is sitting at my side watching other people or animals in the area.
400bull
Personally, this is okay. My 2yo didn't get interested until during his first hunting season, 9-10 months. Not sure why the lightbulb went on but it did and I haven't looked back.

I would lessen the retrieving at home and take him to the field let him get his smells in and get him to retrieve once after getting him really excited and go from there. Great hunting dogs don't all start retrieving right out of the womb.

Remember, your last throw of the dummy should be just before he gets to the height of his excitement even if it's only one throw.

Training a pup is fun, but not easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have had him out a couple of times casing birds (crippled pigeons) he gets excited about that. When I put him out back he will chase the little starlings and morning doves that we get in the back yard. Even this morning while out for a walk I spotted a robin about 50 yards out, sat him down to get him lined up, gave him the command, and he was off for the chase. I think he is OK with the birds.

I will try to take him for our morning walks down by the lake over the next week or two getting him socialized to that environment to see how things work out. I will also try a trick I used when he was a pup to get him to retrieve. That was I would tie a dummy to a small length of rope. I would then drag it on the ground to get him to chase it. Once he was fully focused on the dummy I would then toss it out a couple feet. As time went on I kept increasing the length of the toss. Maybe between the three (birds, socialization, and chasing dummies) I can get him fired up when in the field.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,355 Posts
I was given some advice from a very reliable scorce,, that said

If retrieving is slow,,, back off obedience....

If retrieving is crazy,,, more obedience..


I waited a bit with obedience with my new pup... I took the dog on long walks out in fields,, and would sneak in,, 1 MAYBE 2 fun retrieves...

No obedience ever involved... Jus a HEY,,, HEY,, HEY,, throw the bumper a short distance,,, then get them to come back to you with a TON of encoragement.. ONLY 1 or 2 times during each days walks Max..

Most of the time on the walk was spent letting the pup have fun with me and explore...

It really surprised me,, that in a few days she started to anticipate the fun throw,, and would go crazy when she saw the bumper...

Only After She started showing desire to retrieve on a regular basis,, I started Hillmans suggestions....

I am VERY pleased so far...

Gooser
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Had some of the same issues. The first thing that stood out to me in your op was the distractions that are at the park and in the field. Both places have lots of distractions as compared to your backyard, yet they are presented in very different ways. Keep that in mind as you compare how he retrieves and his desire to retrieve. When mine was a pup he wanted nothing to do with bumpers/balls/etc but birds opened him up. He became very birdy, and still is today.

Its very neat to see that lightbulb turn on. Stay with it and don't get discouraged. I was told many stories about some very good dogs that didn't flip the switch till later. Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I wanted to give a quick update on my pup. As was suggested I have suspended all obedience training. The only training I have been doing with my pup has been working with him getting in the back of my truck, entering his new pet porter and retrieving tennis balls. Other than that we have been hitting the farms fields and or walking the lake shore at least once a day for 30 minutes for the past week.
For our morning walk I decided to pack a dummy with me to see if he would show any interest. After being out in the field for a couple of minutes he started jumping at the dummy as if he wanted to play. So I gave it a couple tosses and he was off to the races. He had more drive and energy then he has ever had in the back yard playing.
The outing only gets better as our morning walk continues. After retrieving several dummies in a moved down field I decide I would try one in the taller grass just to see how he does. Man did he love that. I think that not being able to see the dummy the whole time brought on a new dement ion for him and really got his motor going.
Thanks for everyone’s help so far it has made the world of a differeance.
400bull
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Thats great, Im glad you r seeing some progress, keep it simple and make baby steps, dont try to take leaps just causes he's getting keen. I bet theres a load off your shoulders now that he's starting to come around!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,056 Posts
My current knucklehead went through a period (at about the same age) where he was not really interested in retrieving and it really scared me as he was already a member of the family and was absolutely going to stay with us. I actually went through at least a couple of months with pretty severe angst. He finally popped out of it and now is completely pedal to the metal when it comes to retrieving. In my avatar he is waiting for the shot from the Retriever-R-Trainer, and you can see, he's rearing to go!! I also backed off the obedience during that period, and now wonder if I made the right choice there. He is now two and some of the easy obedience stuff is still a bit of a struggle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,266 Posts
I was given some advice from a very reliable scorce,, that said

If retrieving is slow,,, back off obedience....

If retrieving is crazy,,, more obedience..


I waited a bit with obedience with my new pup... I took the dog on long walks out in fields,, and would sneak in,, 1 MAYBE 2 fun retrieves...

No obedience ever involved... Jus a HEY,,, HEY,, HEY,, throw the bumper a short distance,,, then get them to come back to you with a TON of encoragement.. ONLY 1 or 2 times during each days walks Max..

Most of the time on the walk was spent letting the pup have fun with me and explore...

It really surprised me,, that in a few days she started to anticipate the fun throw,, and would go crazy when she saw the bumper...

Only After She started showing desire to retrieve on a regular basis,, I started Hillmans suggestions....

I am VERY pleased so far...



Spot on, common sense, and articulate. Great advice!!
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top