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What is the difference between "hardmouth" & "roughness with game"

I am looking for a clear definition between the two. Hardmouth being a serious fault and roughness with game being a minor fault.
 
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My old dog that passed away last year was hard mouthed you could hear all the bones break when he retrieved a bird. He was also very rough he would roll them, munch up and down on them.

I once judged a NAHRA test we called a handler on the fact his dog was hardmouthed the dog had chewed the bird up pretty bad told him its supposed to be fit to eat, he said he would eat it right now if we would pass him, we didn't
 

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I am looking for a clear definition between the two. Hardmouth being a serious fault and roughness with game being a minor fault. Some judges opinions would be great.
(4) Delivery of the bird in each level of Hunting Tests must be made to the handler directly, upon return from the retrieve; in any Test it should be given up willingly. A dog shall not drop the bird before delivering it, freeze, or be unwilling to give it up. It shall not jump after the bird once the handler has taken it. A faulty delivery may, depending on the Test, range from a slight lowering of the Trainability score for an isolated offense, to the withholding of a Qualifying score for a severe freeze or “hardmouth.”

“Hardmouth” is one of the most undesirable traits in a Retriever. Once a dog has been charged with this trait, it carries that stigma for life. Hardmouth shall only become the Judges’ verdict when there is incontrovertible proof of it. Torn skin or flesh, alone, is not sufficient evidence, in almost all cases, to constitute proof of hardmouth. Damage of that type may be caused in a variety of ways, such as by sharp sticks and stones, etc., in the cover. Dogs can unintentionally damage birds when making retrieves from heavy cover, as well as by their fast, positive pick-up. Furthermore, at certain times of the year, birds are particularly susceptible to such damage. Crushed bone structure usually can be accepted as trustworthy and sufficient evidence of hardmouth. This is the only evidence offering such proof in the absence of a particularly obvious, flagrant, and unjustified tearing of flesh.

Other undesirable traits are frequently confused with hardmouth although in reality entirely separate and distinct from it, even though the dog may actually be hardmouthed. Freezing, in particular, falls into this category. A hardmouthed dog may have a gentle delivery and, certainly, a reluctant or sticky delivery does not imply hardmouth. Rolling a bird or mouthing it while making the retrieve may be erroneously associated
with hardmouth even though the bird may not be damaged. Such mouthing may not necessarily call for lowering a Trainability score.

Serious Dog Faults:
4. Freezing – refusal to release a bird on delivery for an unreasonable period of time or until compelled to do so by severe methods.
5. Hard Mouth – badly damaging a bird, or making it unfit for human consumption, which in the opinion of the judges was caused solely by the dog without justification.

Moderate Dog Faults:
11. Roughness with game

I don't see roughness with game defined. I'd say that it would be anything the judge doesn't like that is short of Hardmouth.
 

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I once judged a NAHRA test we called a handler on the fact his dog was hardmouthed the dog had chewed the bird up pretty bad told him its supposed to be fit to eat, he said he would eat it right now if we would pass him, we didn't
I will have to remember that one ;)
 

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Hardmouth leaves holes.

Roughness is when Goldens drop a bird and roll on it... :)
 

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Let's just say your in trouble when the judges hear the breast plate fragment and guts come out the grocery hole. Shaking the bird like a rag doll just before giving it up might also cause you some penciling.
 

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I was somewhat surprised when my 14 month old male lab shook the bird vigorously back and forth like a rag doll last weekend in AKC Jr coming back from his first land mark....we were 3rd dog to the line so he was pretty high. I yelled "NO, NO!" when he did it. A pro I take lessons from told me later, that my response could have been interpreted as intimidating the dog or training and a better response would have been to give a command such as "here" or "heel". His 2nd land mark and both water retrieves were uneventful and we got a pass.
 

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"Hardmouth leaves holes."

Are those holes from another dog, shot, or just roughness with game?
Depends on if it's a live shot flier....from the other thread of course..... lol..
 

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Train your dog to have a soft mouth.

I am rather new to training, but you can do it even if the dog doesn't want you to. That's why it's called training. Teaching the dog how to act in certain situations.

-Dustin
 

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I prefer to call it tenderizing.
 

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Depends on if it's a live shot flier....from the other thread of course..... lol..
I have seen (shot) some flyers that were pretty schmanged up.
In fact, I have seen ducks in pieces.
Does it matter which piece is retrieved?

Don't always blame the dog!!:cool:
 

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Train your dog to have a soft mouth.

I am rather new to training, but you can do it even if the dog doesn't want you to. That's why it's called training. Teaching the dog how to act in certain situations.

-Dustin
Dustin, Just exactly how do you go about training a dog to have a soft mouth?

It is a widely held belief that you can never really fix a hard mouth dog. Patch it maybe but not fix it. If its just a matter of training, please lay out how one trains a dog to have a soft mouth. Do you have to do it from a puppy, or can you train a hard mouth dog to be soft mouthed.

Thanks
 

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Question really makes me think of my first dog. A big, bold BLM who loved to retrieve and happily delivered to hand, readily releasing the bird as soon as I had a hold of it. I always thought that he had a nice soft mouth, but it did seem that I had a high percentage of birds that had been centered in the pattern (usually dead when presented, and plenty of "shot" holes) (I should also say that I primarily hunt dove). Well, my second dog had a demonstrably soft mouth (lots of live deliveries, and many fewer "shot" holes) and come to think of it, I did sometimes hear air squeaking out of those dead birds my first dog handed daintily to me, so perhaps ease of delivery and soft mouth are not always the same thing.
At a hunt test I photographed this spring I did see one dog basically tenderize a bird from one end to the other as the handler attempted to retrieve it from the dog's mouth (releasing and re-gripping beginning at the neck and finally finishing when the feet slipped from its mouth) (pretty amusing).
 

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As long as the dog brought back one duck,, instead of one duck in TWO parts,,,, then thats dogs mouth is fine!!!

As fer as crunched bones,,,,,,, fit fer the table,,,,,, and bare breasts,,,, I'll take the fifth!!


I dont blame a dog one bit fer shakin the [email protected]@ out of a live rooster pheasant thats just got a broke wing!!!
Cause its Murphys law that damn devil bird is gonna Rake me when I take it outa Fidos mouth fer sure!!

When that dog a mine is a commin back with a cripple Pheasant,, I is a screamin "KILL IT!!! KILL IT"" at the top a my lungs to get her to shake the Pi$$ outa the damn thing!!

JMHDAO>

Gooser
 

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I've even had them devil birds ,,after their first round a dead,, come alive agin in my game vest!!!

Itsan embarrasing site to se Gooser go into panic mode, and start jumping off the ground, and deliberatly land on the flat of my back several times to get that Lucifer parrot dead agin!!!

I was once told not to carry em in a vest,, but rather clip em n yer belt by the neck usin a common shower rings!!
A rooster Pheasant that comes back to life agin,, and is a hangin near yer twig and berries,, is a sitiation that is NOT a very pleasnat encounter...

Plus its embarrasin when Ya go into town fer lunch with yer tousers all torn and razzled near your zipper!!!

My Pheasants usually get run through a meat grinder with a Number 3 wheel when when I get home,, just as an extra measure theydont come alive agin between two slices a bread!!! I make Pheasant salad out a em!!! With sweet pickel relish added,, and a touch a Japalanoe....

Dog tooth marks in em is never noticed!!

Gooser
 

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captainjack,

Again I will state that I am relatively new to the training game. And I would absolutely love to hear from some of the seasoned pros and amateures on this matter too.

I have been lucky with my dog because I have spent as much time as I can in training since he I got him home at 5.5 weeks. Furthermore, he is an extremely tractable dog and very trainable. He has learned nearly all concepts that have been given to him without alot of fuss. I have also tried my best to be a good student to the retriever training world. I have tried to learn as much as possible on the matter thru the tutilage of a local pro and retriever club, this forum, and programs such as SmartWorks and Total Retriever Training.

With my dog, he didn't seem to have a hard mouth, but I think I started to try to instill this in him as a pup. He naturally seemed to have a soft-ish mouth. On his first live bird I noticed he did chomp a litte bit, so then I made a point to address this. I should point out that by this point he was already reliably retrieving to heel and knew fairly well to hold. We were just formalizing hold and beginning FF. After that first incidnet of chomping on a live bird, which was never exhibited during any informal puppy stuff, I corrected for it by enforcing hold. I kept enforcing hold if i ever saw an indication of rolling or chomping on the bumper during FF. I think this may have lead to a rather weak hold in my dog, but again, I corrected for this by teaching him that it was not ok. If I smacked the bumper and he dropped it, I corrected for it. I also made him hold "off-weight" objects like hammers, while doing basice obedience, to ensure that he knew that it was his job to hold what I wanted him to. Fast forward a little bit...and we were not having any problems with ducks. Then dove season was getting ready to start, and I knew that alot of dogs tend to chomp these little birds. My dog was about 10 or 11 mo old at this point. I thought I had better train a little bit more for this to ensure that he didn't chomp any of my doves, as I wanted to hunt over him for his first dove season. Well, I got my hands on some old frozen doves from a friend of mine and proceeded to train. Sure enough, the first mark he got with a dove he picked it up and put a few good chomps on it. I immediately corrected for this. Made a good impression on him and proceeded to the next mark. He did not chomp on it, but I was ready should he do it again. We revisited this a few more times during that week. I also revisited formal obedience with him holding "pokey" objects in his mouth over the next few weeks. Objects included a slicker brush and bristle hair brushes. That is all that it has taken for my dog. I do realize that not every dog is a simple as mine (at least to this point).

If my dog was not as simple as this, I have a few ideas that I think I would have tried to get a soft mouth. First, if he didn't respond to my initial correction on a real dead bird, I would STRICTLY revist basic obedience with "pokey" objects. If the dog would do ok with "pokey" object but still be hard on birds, I would then try to figure out a way to make the birds uncomforable to hold...that is "pokey"...and train with those for a while. First just with basic obedience, if that didn't work, then with marks too, and correct sharply (if it wasn't sharp enough) for any hard mouth. Now as to how exactly this would work, I cannot say as I have never had the opportunity to follow such a course of action, but this is how I would think the training should be approached.

I may be completely wrong in this thinking....agian, I am rather new to it, but having thought on this matter for a little bit, this is what I have come up with.

I would love to hear some other opinions/experiences on the matter.

Cheers,

Dustin
 

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I'll stick my neck out and say that hard mouth can be fixed. I've done several and haven't had a failure so far. (but never say never! ;) ) And I'm just demented enough to like the challenge.
 
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