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Biting after the dummy

Hello I have a 6 month old chocolate lab that I am trying to train myself and I think I am doing a pretty fine job she retrieves just beautifully but my problem is when she brings back the dummy she bites at my hands I thought she might grow out of it but she don't show no sign of that happening so could you please give me some advice on what to do? thank you, Scott.

hi scott,
I am guessing from what you describe that your dog is leaping and biting after the dummy and not just biting your hands. Retrieveing is based on prey drive. Prey is the prize a dog gets from hunting. I teach my dogs that this game does not consist of them and the bumper but instead is YOU, the dog and the bumper. Without you there is no prey. You have a good start as you are building on your dogs natural prey drive. He knows that you will throw the bumper and he will get the prize so he gets anxious.

When your dog brings the bumper back he is still in prey drive. Do not attmept to take it from him but instead put one arm under his neck and stroke his head to calm him down. You will begin to feel him relax. This is his prey drive winding down. You are showing him that it is his and he doesn't have to fight you for it. When he has eased up on his grip and is almost ready to drop it anyway whisper "out or give " or whatever command you use. He will open his mouth and let it go. As soon as you get it you instantly go into the tease which turns his prey drive up again. Repeat this process until he has learned there are definate parts to a retrieve. There is the prey which is go get it. There is a calming part when he can say it is his. There is the out when he gives it to you.

This method will prevent problems such as chewing the bird or fighting you for it. He will soon figure out that without you there is no game. I will generally throw a bumper 6-8 times or when the dog is at his peak and then I will stop abruptly and go sit down. I let him keep it if that's what he wants but the game is over. He may want to lay down and mouth it but will very shortly lose interest becasue it is no longer prey. You will usually see him begin to bring objects to you in an effort to get you to play. You control this game.

Bear in mind that he is very young and do not rush to get a finished dog. You did not learn overnight and neither will he. He will make mistakes and so will you but a foundation is being laid. Make it strong and you can build a powerful structure. Take short cuts and the walls will come tumbling down.

Terry Germany
JC&T Shooting Sports

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