won't pick up birds

Discussion in 'Gun Dog Forum' started by dewayne, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. dewayne

    dewayne Senior Refuge Member

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    My lab is just under 2yrs old she will bring me a ball bumper stick but if it has feathers she will not pick it up what can I do to get her to bring me birds :z
     
  2. chessieheaven

    chessieheaven Senior Refuge Member

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    Has you dog had birds before??? For some is natural, for others it is an acquired taste you have to help turn on for them.
     
  3. Molly99

    Molly99 Senior Refuge Member

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    Quite a few dogs are a little cautious of feathers to begin with. Often just repeating the attempt with lots of encouragement as you would a pup, does the trick. If not, this is a good method of teaching a young dog to pick up birds:

    Put a cleanly shot bird inside a ladies stocking and seal/tie up the ends.

    Throw a bumper as usual, and repeat straight away but this time using the 'bird in a stocking'. As his head goes down to pick up whistle him in and encourage him back as you did when he was a pup, you can even run away from him or crouch down low. The idea is that he picks up the stocking fast without thinking about it. It smells and tastes like a bird, but if feels much more like a bumper in his mouth. So reducing the number of new sensations you are exposing the dog to at one time.

    For the next throw you can pull just one or two feathers through the stocking. Over the next couple of days or so, just pull more and more feathers through until your 'bumper' is all bird and no 'stocking'

    Molly
     
  4. Swampcollie

    Swampcollie Elite Refuge Member

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    Dewayne,

    Have you tried her with a live clipped wing pigeon yet?

    You need to fire up her prey drive and desire to chase things, and a live pigeon can help accomplish that. :tu
     
  5. LJM4th

    LJM4th Senior Refuge Member

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    I totally agree that you need to try and bring out their prey drive. Lots of clipped wing pigeons really help. Has this dog been through Force Fetch yet??? I found that this sometimes fixes everything. While some will argue and some believe in other methods, there is no disputing the results when done properly.
     
  6. URBANDUCKMAN

    URBANDUCKMAN Elite Refuge Member

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    Contrary to popular beliefs it is not ALWAYS " Natural " to dogs , ANY DOG regardless of being a " hunting " breed or not to PUT FEATHERS IN THIER MOUTHS! It is also a VERY unnatural thing for a dog to pick up a " meal " ( bird ) and BRING IT BACK AND GIVE IT TO US!

    A LOT of times these attributes have to be TAUGHT! Oh yeah, the same thing goes for Water and Swimming! Having gone near two years without being Introduced to REAL BIRDS it should not be taken that there is necessarily anything wrong with the dog. It just needs some " help " figuring this thing out. But, keep in mind that it also possible that no matter what you do this dog may not EVER " get it ".

    Like most everything in training a working or gun dog things are taught by starting initially " in close ". When introducing a dog to birds this also applies. Instead of being " in close " you simply start with ONE FEATHER and then INCREASE this as the dog successfully finishes each " step ".

    Take the feather or a small bunch of feahters ( duck, pigeon, quail , pheasant , etc. ) and TICKLE the dog's nose. Tickle it till the dog becomes frustrated to the point that it BITES THE FEATHER(s). Do this each day or a couple of times each day for say a week solid. Be sure to TEASE the dog with the feather before allowing it to BITE IT!

    The next step is to then take a whole wing and present it to the dog in such a manner that it will BITE the wing. Do this a couple of times a day for say a week or longer. You should see a definite rise it the dogs " excietablility " factor when it sees the wing come out.

    The next step is to take the wing and add ACTION to it! Do this by simply tying the wing onto the end of a length of fishing line ( 15-20 feet in length ) and tying the other end off on the end of an old fishing pole. Then simply toss the wing out onto the ground and hope that the dog takes some interest in " get'n hold of it ". Only thing is when the dog makes for the wing twitch it out of the dogs reach in a sort of KEEP AWAY GAME with the dog. At some point allow the dog to CATCH the wing and BITE IT but DON'T allow the dog to CHEW THE THING UP. Do this by moving to the dog and taking it away.

    Do this for a few minutes two or three times a day for say a week or so.

    The next step is to take a live bird ( I like using a pigeon as they are easier and cheaper to get than ducks ) and pull out the flight feathers. Make sure you get ALL OF THEM off of BOTH WINGS! Go to an enclosed area and toss the live pigeon out on the ground in front of the dog. By now the dog is used to GOING AFTER the bird , CATCHING IT and BITING ON IT. The idea here is that hopefully the dog will not only BITE the bird but also PICK IT UP AND CARRY IT ABOUT! Once this happens try to get the dog to bring it to you.

    The next step is to SHOOT A FLYER for the dog. That is with a partner go to the field and have your buddy go down range a bit and stop. Have him toss a live bird up into the air and then BLAST HELL OUTTA THE BIRD. The bird drops to the ground and the dog goes out and picks it up for you. WA LA ! The dog is now about as " birdy " as you can get it.

    Keep in mind that the " retrieving " your dog does for you now on the bumpers is NOT REAL RETRIEVING. It is simply PLAYING A GAME that it likes to PLAY WITH YOU. It is nothing more than a FUN THING TO DO and NOT something it HAS TO DO! And that , TEACHING the dog that it HAS to GO and GET THE BIRD EVERYTIME YOU " TELL " IT TO and that it has NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER is a whole nuther story!

    Good Luck and don't waste anymore time as this dog is get'n close to the age that no matter what you do it will more than likely not respond!
     
  7. dewayne

    dewayne Senior Refuge Member

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    Thanks guys I will try these and keep you posted on the progress
     
  8. Point to Point

    Point to Point Elite Refuge Member

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    Which part of the wing do you clip? I just got a few pigeons....
     
  9. Michael Wilson

    Michael Wilson Senior Refuge Member

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    I clip the first 4 or 5 long wing feathers. It took me a little while to to gigure it out. I lost 2 pigeons because I didn't clip enough and they just kept flying.
     
  10. huntswithscissors

    huntswithscissors Senior Refuge Member

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    just pluck off some of the primary feathers. probably better to intro with a fresh-killed pigeon first. last thing you want is a pigeon to scratch and peck at a pup that is reluctant to get the bird in the first place.
     

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