Sitting still, plucking the bird, and vestsI have a 11 month old female lab. She is stuburn as hell, but she is comming along, I could use some help on the following:
1- While duck hunting she does not like to sit still for more than 30 minutes at a time.
2- When retrieving a downed bird she sometimes hesitates to bring all the way in, sometimes she stops to pluck the bird (not eat).
3- she absolutely hates to wear her vest (vest fits), she acts like Im getting ready to make Lab chops out of her.
the answer to your question about your young dogs restless behavior at the duck blind is consistancy and maturity. She's only 11 months old and sometimes hunting can be boring. Like any teenager she doesn't want to sit still too long. I suggest that you keep her busy with a chew bone or quiet toy while you wait for birds. You can also use the slow times as a oppurtunity to do a little training like having your hunting partner throw some marks or hiding a duck in tules to get her to find it or shooting coots for practice. I breast the coots out and BBQ them for the dog to eat.remember to use this season to develop a good hunting companion for the rest of her life.
As for her dropping the bird and mouthing it, I am a believer of force fetch. Force fetch is where you pinch the dog's ear or toe and make her retrieve even though she likes to anyway. The reason we do this is that it makes a retrieve your dog's job or duty. It becomes something that your dog will take seriously. It's too complicated a subject to cover here. You should get the book THE WORKING RETRIEVERS By Tom Quinn. 1-800-836-0510 This will teach you to force fetch your dog yourself. about wearing her vest, when she figures out that the vest means birds
She'll be happy to wear it. good luck
For more information on eating the retrieve and force fetching, try:
What is the "Forced Retrieve"? - BIll Corcoran
Game crunching after bird attack - Bill Corcoran
Eating the retrieve - Jan Burkholder
Occasional bird eating - Joe Riches
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