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Springer Problem #2


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This message is really for NTTF but I'm posting it up in case any others can shed light on it.

 

I've now got my dogs back and a couple of weeks ago I went out rabbiting with my springer, I've put into place NTTF's advice and she seems to be a lot calmer coming back from the kennels as well, more responsive and she stays and hunts closer. Well anyway this is a huge step for me, I thought i was never going to be able to control her but now its brilliant.

 

I shot a rabbit which she saw fall, I made her sit then sent her back and she ran straight to where it was, brilliant thought I, I'd been also doing some dummy work and she absolutely loves retrieving, I even tried getting her to retrieve some fluffy toys which she did perfect, but out here in the field, she went straight to the rabbit and sniffed at it, she showed no inclination to pick it up. I called her back and picked the rabbit myself, I tried it again later this time sending her the instant the rabbit fell in the hope she would retrieve it in her excitement but it was the same problem so I put her on the lead and then went out to use my airifle to thin the rabbit population, I was only using the s/g to try and give her some retrieves.

 

Is there a way to fix this problem?? Two days later I tried her on some shot pigeons and she rejected then as well. She used to have a fur covered dummy which she had no problems retrieving but when I put a pheasant wing on a dummy she would never put her mouth round it - I don't know why because she has managed to retrieve two of my old neighbours chickens.................

 

Thanks,

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William

 

I have 2 solutions for this, and I'll post them on Tues. after I get back from the island. would post them now but I have to get the kids to bed and get ready to leave. Dont dispare they are both fairly easy exercises, with good results. Just a little lengthy in the typing department.

 

NTTF

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Forgot to ask does she have a hard mouth...meaning when she retrieved your neighbors chickens did she kill them ...or did she deliver them alive, meaning soft mouthed. Also what took place while she was after the chickens, and after she caught them.

Bit of both, one of them (a huge ******) i heard here catch it and i called her and she came straight to me with it in her mouth, they'd (chickens) just been running about in a garden pretty much :lol: this one was dead when she brought it to me.

 

Another time when she was close at hand she chased a (much smaller and less bulky) chicken and grabbed it she brought it to hand and just released it but this time when she let go it was just able to run off none the worse for wear. I think maybe because the first one was so big and I mean almost turkey size perhaps she could only get her teeth round it in a tight fit.

 

To be honest I got cross with her both times which with hindsight is probably whats put her off retrieving feathered game now.

 

Any help much appreciated :lol:

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Over to NttF for this one william, he helped me a while back and it worked, mine is coming on brilliantly now I wish you luck, stay with it. I nearly lost patience with mine but she just "clicked" about a week ago and theres no stopping her now.

Cheers mate, glad to here you're doing good with your dog, I will keep you posted when I can start NTTF's new plan which he has given a brief outline of. I was thinking perhaps taking her out, and sending her after a runner, perhaps that way it will kick start her? But I'm not sure so await advice :lol:

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William, obviously nttf is the expert here, but I have had springers (both were professionally trained) and I wouldn,t encourage unsteadiness, by working your springer too much on rabbits.

The reluctance to retrieve feathered game can be overcome.

Unsteadiness is a pain in the butt to correct. :lol:

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William:

 

Sorry I'm a day late, but we are still having rolling blackouts on the hydro over here. And to be quite honest after spending three days tramping around in the pheasant feilds, working dogs I was pretty much nackered yesterday.

William you have two problems here to fix, however I think they both stem from the same insidence, chickens. Your dog still loves to retrieve which proves that she has lots of drive and instinct, the problem is that when you lost your temper over the chickens you shut down her desire to retrieve anything other than bumpers and toys. I think that it is best if we break this into two exercises one to deal with feathers and one to deal with fur.

 

BIRDS

 

You need to reawaken your dogs predatory instincts towards birds, in a controlled area. To accomplish this use clipped wing birds, first feral pigeons, then chuckers, then pheasants. To make a clipped wing, pull the flight feathers from one wing, only one wing as you want the bird to be able to fly very short distances. Thus impaired the bird can run, flop, and even become airborne for short distances at a time, but cannot fly well enough to leave the training area. With your dog watching throw a clipped wing pigeon into a large confined area with little cover, like a fenced in back yard or garden. Turn your dog loose. As she gets close to the bird it will run, try to fly, and flop around. This will get your dog interested enough to go over and catch it. When she does, call her to you and make a huge fuss over her, praise her the whole way in and when she gets to you. At this point the more the better, she needs to realize its okay to catch and bring those, chickens, back for you. Repeat this exercise ten to twelve times with pigeons.

Now move this exercise forward onto game birds repeat it in the same manner, using a controlled area and clipped wing birds. I would suggest you advance to chuckers,(if you have them over there), pheasants, and ducks. After she is happy picking up clipped wing birds start mixing in dead birds. Start with dead pigeons. Praise her as soon as she picks up a dead bird and continue to praise her the whole way while she brings it to you. Praise her while she sits with you before you take the bird from her. After you take it from her tease her with it a little bit to get her excited, before tossing it for another retrieve. Remember no formal sits on the sending of the retrieve at this time, those can be put back in later after her desire is back. Basically make this as fun as possible, and keep it outside the hunting situation.

 

RABBITS

 

Here's an excuse to go hunting, (without the dog for now). you are going to need a couple of full rabbit skins. Flesh them off as best as possible, and if I was you I would salt dry them. This makes them tougher so that they don't rip as easy.

After you have collected the hides and prepared them attach one to a short peice of rope, approximately four feet long. Lay it on the groung in your controlled area, and then bring the dog in. She will probably go over to it and sniff it, encourage her to stay interested by giving it little shakes on the ground, or little tugs. If she will follow it while you pull it around and try to grab it all the better. If she does grab it and pick it up immediately let go of the rope, ( do not play tug a war ), praise her, and try to get her to carry it a bit. If she drops it play some more by starting the drag again. Remember this is to be fun with no pressure on the dog, just lots of encouragement and praise. Never leave the skin and the dog alone as you do not want her to start to tear it up or tug on it. You want her to believe that rabbits are a special toy that only appear magically when you allow it. Once she is showing a desire to pick up the skin and carry it use your second skin, which you will wrap around a retrieving dummy. Get her excited about it before you throw it by tapping it on the ground and trying to get her to chase it. When she is ready only toss it a short distance and praise her the whole time that she goes out to get it, picks it up, and brings it back. Again let her hold it for a bit before you take it from her and praise her while she has it. As her confidance builds lengthen the retreives out and start to add the control of sits before she goes. However in the beginning remember this is to be FUN.

 

William:

 

I would not run these two excercises one right after the other. I would personally run one in the morning for 20 minutes 1/2 an hour and the other in the evening for the same time period. You should be able to catch some feral pigeons in an area barn, or if you live in town under a bridge or over pass. Easy to do at night with a fishing net and a flash light. It will probably take 4 to 6 weeks but I excpect you will have a happy retrieving springer at the end of it all.

Good luck and please ask if some thing is not going correctly as sometimes all it takes is to change some small detail to make it work. Remember to keep it fun and dont try to train if you are having a bad day, if your not happy and up the dog won't be happy and up.

 

Keep us posted.....NTTF

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Thanks NTTF I'm going to start on the rabbits ASAP, as the hides I will be able to get over this weekend. The pigeons are an ace idea but I'm going to have to wait a bit before it is feasible for me to do this, I don't have access to a rabbit pen for the training at the moment and using live birds in my garden will be sure to get me arrested i think, but I'm sure that will change over time.

 

I'm going over for a short break to where the chickens came from, so perhaps I'll 'borrow' a couple :( Yes we do have chukhars here, they're just called red leg partridge, or frenchies (perhaps for you freedomies :lol: ).

 

Thanks for taking the time to go into great depth in helping me with my problem, I'm sure that once I solve the rabbits, which for me is easier then I can get to work on the birds and she'll soon learn.

 

Incedently one thing she loves doing is chasing squirrels but when they go up a tree she tries to climb after them, and does a somersault usually :lol: .

 

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted!! P.S. the hide after being salted is it rolled into a tube shape or just flat with one side skin and the other fur? (for when you attach it to the rope)

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  • 3 weeks later...

William

How is your springer coming? Is the training working or do we need to modify something? Post me a note.

 

NTTF

 

 

Columbus Polumbus

How is your springer doing? Have we made it through the casting problem? Post me a note and let me know how your getting along.

 

NTTF

 

 

Gary

How is Juba doing? I know her training is done and she is trialing, just curious as to how she is getting on?

 

NTTF

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Hi NTTF I don't have much time at the moment but I will say that the rabbit skin is working!! Its going to be a lot longer before I have some access to the more feathered variety for training but things are looking good on the long ears front at least!

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