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7 month old lab bitch - cold game retrieving

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    Hi I have a 7 month old lab bitch, she's doing great so far. Sitting on voice, and whistle commands. Recall on voice and whistle command, and stopping on the whistle. 

    She is a keen retriever on the dummy and dokken teal dummy.When should I progress onto cold game?

    thanks

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    Personally I would wait until she is at least 12 months old. I do not work my labs until two years old so take my time. The danger with introducing cold game too soon is that she gets over excited and starts mouthing. I am sure there are plenty of people who start earlier but it’s not a race and I have seen too many dogs ruined by over enthusiastic trainers. Continue with the basics on a variety of dummies, move on to rabbit fur and dummies with wings attached and cold game last of all.

    goog luck 

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    Only you will know for sure how forward the dog is in its training, there's no reason why you can't start with some pigeon wing's tied to the dummy. My springer was in the rabbit pen at 8 month old because he was ready to do so. After that he moved almost seemless onto cold game. Don't rush into it but at the same time don't hold the dog back. 

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    Must admit i'm 100% with dave above.

    Personally i wouldn't even considering working that dog this year (only be 12 month come Feb) so i can't see any benefit of starting it on cold game yet.

    If i'm honest i can't really remember ever doing much with cold game with any of my dogs, yes always have some dried wings stored for attaching to dummies but not really cold game.

    Or have threw the odd road kill or shot birds for dogs if i have 1 about but don't go out the way to freeze them, and up till now never had any bother just going from winged dummies onto a dogging in/shoot day.

    I dare say if i had a relectant retriever i might make a point of cold game

     

    If ur dog is ready for more advanced stuff i'd be getting it on directions (straight lines and off at 90 turns) then 2 dummies (left/right) and then ur 3 card tricks getting the dog used to following directions for blinds and increasing marking distances on seen retrieves etc.

    Being a lab i probably loves water, but i'd do some basic water work now while water still warmish and then stop till warmer weather next spring, no point in sending a young dog into freezing water if u don't have too.

    Loads u can do to improve ur dog without it getting bored withou borthering about cold birds

    (Ps i'm never a fan of pigeons/wings as the feather come of too easily, so i;d get a fair few wings of various game birds dried over the season for using next year)

    Edited by scotslad

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    Whenever its ready.

    I have a 6 month old springer who is already on the whistle, sitting, staying, basic directions and is retrieving cold and warm game.

    It depends on the dog and how its trained

    However, I wouldn’t be working it until it is much older.

    Edited by ilovemyheckler

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    On 30/09/2018 at 21:15, scotslad said:

    Must admit i'm 100% with dave above.

    Personally i wouldn't even considering working that dog this year (only be 12 month come Feb) so i can't see any benefit of starting it on cold game yet.

    If i'm honest i can't really remember ever doing much with cold game with any of my dogs, yes always have some dried wings stored for attaching to dummies but not really cold game.

    Or have threw the odd road kill or shot birds for dogs if i have 1 about but don't go out the way to freeze them, and up till now never had any bother just going from winged dummies onto a dogging in/shoot day.

    I dare say if i had a relectant retriever i might make a point of cold game

     

    If ur dog is ready for more advanced stuff i'd be getting it on directions (straight lines and off at 90 turns) then 2 dummies (left/right) and then ur 3 card tricks getting the dog used to following directions for blinds and increasing marking distances on seen retrieves etc.

    Being a lab i probably loves water, but i'd do some basic water work now while water still warmish and then stop till warmer weather next spring, no point in sending a young dog into freezing water if u don't have too.

    Loads u can do to improve ur dog without it getting bored withou borthering about cold birds

    (Ps i'm never a fan of pigeons/wings as the feather come of too easily, so i;d get a fair few wings of various game birds dried over the season for using next year)

    All good advice here. You can air dry game and duck wings. They can be stitched or cable tied to dummies. Rabbit furs can similarly be bought and stitched to a dummy.

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    Ok, I hold my hand up and now realize I started my dog on pigeons too early and now am possibly paying the price. She will retrieve any dummy, with or without wings, a frozen pigeon, tennis balls, do blind retrieval, but when out decoying she always gets lots of feathers off the freshly shot birds and takes far too long to bring the bird into the hide to me. She puts it in my hand but every time has a mouthful of feathers that I have to help remove. Do I stop her going out to the birds or keep encouraging her to pick them up quicker and more cleanly? She's now about 18 months and been pigeon shooting with me for 6 or 8 of those. Knowledge and hindsight 🤔

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    1 hour ago, getthegat said:

    Ok, I hold my hand up and now realize I started my dog on pigeons too early and now am possibly paying the price. She will retrieve any dummy, with or without wings, a frozen pigeon, tennis balls, do blind retrieval, but when out decoying she always gets lots of feathers off the freshly shot birds and takes far too long to bring the bird into the hide to me. She puts it in my hand but every time has a mouthful of feathers that I have to help remove. Do I stop her going out to the birds or keep encouraging her to pick them up quicker and more cleanly? She's now about 18 months and been pigeon shooting with me for 6 or 8 of those. Knowledge and hindsight 🤔

    I do believe you were given advice to take it slowly with your dog. Still, you live and learn.

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    7 hours ago, getthegat said:

    Ok, I hold my hand up and now realize I started my dog on pigeons too early and now am possibly paying the price. She will retrieve any dummy, with or without wings, a frozen pigeon, tennis balls, do blind retrieval, but when out decoying she always gets lots of feathers off the freshly shot birds and takes far too long to bring the bird into the hide to me. She puts it in my hand but every time has a mouthful of feathers that I have to help remove. Do I stop her going out to the birds or keep encouraging her to pick them up quicker and more cleanly? She's now about 18 months and been pigeon shooting with me for 6 or 8 of those. Knowledge and hindsight 🤔

    Pigeons are a terrible bird to start a dog off on due to the number of loose feathers you get. If you do start with them put it in a stocking. All dogs retrieving pigeon get a mouthful of feathers. With young dogs it can encourage mouthing or spitting out. If you can get them partridge are a great bird to start with.

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    +1

    Or duck esp Teal are also great birds to start  dog of on as just a nice size for the mouth (just like partridge)

     

    Having a dog out at 12 month is very very young and generally unless ur very carful with it u will only cos problems for the future (been there and done that too)

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    She will retrieve a bird (Pigeon) inside a sock or stocking every time, whilst we are training, but putting a fresh shot pige inside something out in the field whilst shooting......she just looks at me as if saying, " you've picked it up now, what's left for me to do, shoot another one and leave out the sock bit"

    We were out this morning on crows and being wise to sharp beeks, she'll mark them and show me where they are, but won't attempt to pick them up. It's the same with magpies, jay, squirrel. I don't have a game license so don't know what she'd do with pheasant or partridge. 

    And this is me taking it slowly. We'll get there. All advice and nuckle wrapping much appreciated 😁

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    Whatever you do dont put your dog on crows, they’re nasty beggars and expert at playing dead before trying to peck your dog’s eyes out 🙈

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    On 06/10/2018 at 23:03, getthegat said:

    She will retrieve a bird (Pigeon) inside a sock or stocking every time, whilst we are training, but putting a fresh shot pige inside something out in the field whilst shooting......she just looks at me as if saying, " you've picked it up now, what's left for me to do, shoot another one and leave out the sock bit"

    We were out this morning on crows and being wise to sharp beeks, she'll mark them and show me where they are, but won't attempt to pick them up. It's the same with magpies, jay, squirrel. I don't have a game license so don't know what she'd do with pheasant or partridge. 

    And this is me taking it slowly. We'll get there. All advice and nuckle wrapping much appreciated 😁

    You have a sensible dog that on that basis will never pick pigeons you have put out for decoys

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    On ‎06‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 23:03, getthegat said:

    She will retrieve a bird (Pigeon) inside a sock or stocking every time, whilst we are training, but putting a fresh shot pige inside something out in the field whilst shooting......she just looks at me as if saying, " you've picked it up now, what's left for me to do, shoot another one and leave out the sock bit"

    We were out this morning on crows and being wise to sharp beeks, she'll mark them and show me where they are, but won't attempt to pick them up. It's the same with magpies, jay, squirrel. I don't have a game license so don't know what she'd do with pheasant or partridge. 

    And this is me taking it slowly. We'll get there. All advice and nuckle wrapping much appreciated 😁 

    Game licences were abolished years ago?

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    Really? So I can legally shoot pheasants, partridge, woodcock etc? All these are on my perms. Obviously only when the season is on, and as long as my land owners give permission I guess. None of my permissions have breading birds on them, just wild or neighboring visitors.

    And I agree, Soph is pretty darn sensible and she loves life. She's made my shooting and daily life so much richer.

    Edited by getthegat
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