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Rascal

Lab bitch casting problem

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    I have a 2 year old lab bitch, she has all the basics, great nose, speed, very responsive to the whistle and takes direction. The problem is she has got sticky by my side, when trying to send her for a retrieve she will sometimes look up at me or scan and not lock on to the target. We are talking marks and memories not blinds, so my first thought is confidence. so walk out throw the dummy up again to show her and try and send her again. Sometimes this works sometimes not, the more I have been trying to tackle this certain things have become apparent. I am beginning to think it isn't confidence on knowing where the retrieve is. The reason I think this is that if I stand off of her, by just a couple of yards, and send her back she will go every time with no hesitation and pick. If I stand off of her and send her as an out or away, again she goes without hesitation. But by my side she will stick up and not lock on to my arm (not every time, sometimes she does it perfect and sometimes not). It's the same weather short or long event when the dummy has been thrown to the same area as the previous retrieves. She is a very honest dog and really loves to please, very driven, but soft. I think It's as if she is not sure if she is allowed to go or not. Although I cannot pinpoint it to any one thing or point in time,  I'm beginning to think this may have been as a result of general steadiness training in group training environments, she is unsure if she is allowed the retrieve or not.

    Anyone had a similar experience and found a way to overcome this? She is a great little dog and when she goes her work is fantastic and she really wants the retrieve, but obviously the challenge is getting her to leave my side.

    Edited by Rascal

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    Have you tried a small backwards step and teasing her with the dummy, or something else she finds exciting, and if she runs in, just ignore it and let her pick?

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    You’ve been group training.  It could be the result of a correction while at your side.  An example could be that a dummy has been thrown, all the dogs in the group mark it.  A dog is nominated for the retrieve and goes out, any other dog moving would be corrected to avoid running in.  It is a normal scenario in group training, but every dog in that group has a different nature.  A sensitive dog may not forgive the correction and double check the next time.  The correction may only have been a stern word but can make a sensitive dog sticky.  You describe your bitch as responsive to the whistle, she sounds a real team player who aims to please.  I would concentrate on doing your marked retrieves alone.  Throw the dummy and send straight away, don’t give her the opportunity to look up at you. It may seem that you’re almost playing a game of fetch but your aim is to fire her up and hold the mark.  Don’t worry about it, concentrate on training her strengths and just a few marked retrieves, finishing each training session on a good point.  Best of luck.

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the suggestions,  I have been doing some simple marks, and she does mark the dummies down. If I then turn her round,  stand off of her a yard or two and then send her back she will sprint out to the area and pick, so I am confident she has marked it.  I think Mochastorm you are correct, it is a result of verbal corrections to running it, (so solved one problem and created another). She is a soft dog, as mentioned before really driven so quite a quirky little thing. Very responsive  on the whistle stops and turns on a sixpence, takes direction well and hunts on the whistle. To be honest she is everything I want, with the exception of casting from my side.  She will get a little bit of rest now as she has just come in to season, so I will just do some simple marks in the garden with her for the next few weeks at least!

    Thanks again all for you suggestions, really appreciated. 

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    Try sending her verbally as soon as the dummy hits the ground. Making her wait too long can encourage stickiness, particularly if you’ve been working on steadiness. 

     

    In addition I suspect she’s using visual clues from you to be released. Many handlers don’t realise they are doing this and so are surprised their dog won’t perform their outrun if they can’t see their handlers suggestions. This can even be as slight as your outstretched arm moving as you line the dog up and cast out. Practise simple retrieves and keep your hands in your pockets and send her, it’ll boost her confidence and provided your steadiness work has solid foundations, neither should result in unsteadiness if done correctly. 

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    Thanks wj939 I have been just sending her on her name for obvious marks, I do add in the odd one where I send her on my arm if she has looked up at me. That is one of the issues she does like to make eye contact so if the mark ends up out of sight see will start looking at me or scan. But like you said I'm really stripping it back and doing simple marks for the next few weeks to see if I can get her flowing again.

    Thanks all for your good suggestions.

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    11 hours ago, Rascal said:

    Thanks wj939 I have been just sending her on her name for obvious marks, I do add in the odd one where I send her on my arm if she has looked up at me. That is one of the issues she does like to make eye contact so if the mark ends up out of sight see will start looking at me or scan. 

    this was what I was hinting at earlier regarding whether she was marking the mark before you sent her.

    If you do return to sending her on hand signals then it is important not to send her until she is looking the way you are sending her having lined her up, that is often when they will run out and turn to look at you as they don't actually know where they are supposed to be going.

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    I had a lab that would constantly do this. I overcame it by using a remote dummy launcher and letting the dog release( usually by saying its name for a mark retrieve) and run in just before/as the dummy reaches the floor. Can also do the same if you have a ready and willing dummy thrower. 

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    It sounds like u've puta lot of time and effort into the dog and sounds like she's a cracker.

    Off the many many gundog problems to have ur's is quite a nice 1 to have (althou annoying/furstrating for u), i can think of a few dogs i've owned i wish had the same problem.

     

    Plenty of good advice above.

    The only thing i'd add is i wouldn't be too worried when u get it on live game and with the excitement of a shoot day and birds dropping i imagine any 'stickiness' will be quickly over come.

    To be honest depending how u want to work her it might be no bad thing, esp as a peg dog. Many trainers advise taking the dog of the peg before sending it for retrrieves so it doesn't expect to be sent from the peg.

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