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Picking up shot/ cold game


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Afternoon All. 

I'm having a real nightmare at the moment with this with my 18 month ESS bitch. 

She is great with dummies, tennis balls, the post, slippers, flip flops, anything inanimate but she will not confidently pick up shot game whether its in fur or feather, stone cold or still warm. She'll mouth it and tentatively pick it up but then tends to either stand still and mouth it, walk around with it or immediately drop it again. If she does retrieve then she will drop short. 

I don't think she views it as a prize or more valuable than the praise or treat she would get for a successful retrieve, I just think she's unsure or possibly scared of it.  

What I will try doing this afternoon is placing a dummy in with a shot magpie and squirrel I have so I can ease her into the scent of the game on a material she is familiar with.  

So, could any of you experienced gun dog owners point me in the right direction to get her confidently picking up and retrieving shot game? 

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did she go straight from dummy to cold game? try putting a pigeon in a sock and she how she reacts, start with putting a dummy in the sock first then try the pigeon, don't let her pick the pigeon without it being in the sock.

could be the scent or the feel of fur or feather in her mouth or a combination of both, she might not be ready for game, some dogs take longer than others.

Edited by old'un
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Few of the things you can try.

put the game in a bag with your dummies so they pick up the scent and use those first

put some dried wings on an ordinary dummy either stitched or with strong rubber bands/elastic

then use cold game but wrap it in a ladies stocking or tights

As soon as she picks walk away and keep walking as she will most likely follow but above all don’t make a fuss or get wound up about as it will be conveyed to her making her more anxious.

 

good luck.

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I was a little worried with mine doing the same thing , so I bought some mallard wings cable tied them to a dummy ,and then as she just loves to chase and retrieve I let her go a bit mental with 3 quick dummy retrieves and then quickly substituted the one with wings on ,it was back with me before she realised it was different.

I did the same thing with a road kill pigeon and it worked well ,admittedly I will have to steady her down a bit when it is all second nature .

let us know how you get on .

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Thanks for everyone that has taken the time to reply.

So, we've had some success this evening using the squirrel inside of an old sock and then eventually without the sock. Picked it up and retrieved it without issue a few times.

Not so much success with the magpie which she would only pick up within the sock.

Like all things dog training I'll take it slowly and try again tomorrow.

I'll try and get some crows tomorrow and take a few wings off.

Many thanks all.

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1 hour ago, Poor Shot said:

Thanks for everyone that has taken the time to reply.

So, we've had some success this evening using the squirrel inside of an old sock and then eventually without the sock. Picked it up and retrieved it without issue a few times.

Not so much success with the magpie which she would only pick up within the sock.

Like all things dog training I'll take it slowly and try again tomorrow.

I'll try and get some crows tomorrow and take a few wings off.

Many thanks all.

I would try to avoid any of the corvids for now, for some reason even older dogs are sometimes reluctant to retrieve them, could possibly be the scent or even taste?

can you get hold/shoot a couple of pigeons? if you can they are ideal but only in a sock at this stage, when you are confidant the dog is 100% happy retrieving the bird in a sock then try without and here a tip if you are using a pigeon, freeze it for a couple of days then thaw it, this will tighten the feathers and stop the dog getting a mouth full.

as you have said take it slowly and dont over do the retrieving, one or maybe two retrievs in any one training session is plenty for now, keep the dog keen.

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12 minutes ago, old'un said:

I would try to avoid any of the corvids for now, for some reason even older dogs are sometimes reluctant to retrieve them, could possibly be the scent or even taste?

can you get hold/shoot a couple of pigeons? if you can they are ideal but only in a sock at this stage, when you are confidant the dog is 100% happy retrieving the bird in a sock then try without and here a tip if you are using a pigeon, freeze it for a couple of days then thaw it, this will tighten the feathers and stop the dog getting a mouth full.

as you have said take it slowly and dont over do the retrieving, one or maybe two retrievs in any one training session is plenty for now, keep the dog keen.

Thanks. No pigeons unfortunately, well plenty but no justifiable reason to shoot them anywhere I have permission to shoot. So its only corvids or squirrels until October when the game season starts again. 

I was only planning to take the wings off and attach them to a dummy. I know corvids do sometimes smell really unpleasant so If she's hesitant then i'll take the wings off and go begging for some shot pigeons.

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38 minutes ago, Poor Shot said:

If she's hesitant then i'll take the wings off and go begging for some shot pigeons.

You could try “giving up the game” on fb it’s a platform for giving away/trading/ small cost game meat to people that want it when others have an excess

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Ask on here for local pigeon shooters or at a local pub if they have a guy for pigeons. Buy a bunch in the feather, prep them for food and keep all the wings you pull off. Put them in a Ziploc and freeze them. That way you have a ready supply of meat and wings for training.

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45 minutes ago, London Best said:

As old’ Union has said, definitely avoid the Corvus. I have a 5 year old lab, now very experienced on game, who often will not pic crows/magpies and sometimes not even jackdaws.

yep, something I have noticed over the years with different dogs, some don't bat an eyelid, but for some reason a fair few dogs are reluctant to pick corvids, as you say even experienced dogs sometimes blank on them.

also I would never send a young dog to pick a pricked corvid especially a crow, having said that, its not a good idea to send a young dog for anything that is still kicking.

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I completely agree about not using the magpie out of my three springers only one will happily pick crows etc, one will reluctantly but not often to hand and the third won't touch them. I always keep some game in my spare freezer in feather and fur so I have a ready supply once defrosted. I then refreeze when not needed. These are kept very separate from any we are going to eat. 🤢

 

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Certainly by 18 months, but just as a general rule. People say to me “Oh Fido doesn’t like picking woodcock/magpies/pigeons etc”....

The dogs don’t get a choice, it’s not preference it is a lack of training. You should be able to send a good dog for a tin can, a hat, a car key etc and they should understand to bring it back. Their aim should be to please you, rather than get the bird they want. 

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