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#6399065 - 08/08/16 02:09 PM 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!!
ETHunter39 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 14
Loc: East Texas
I have a 2yr old chocolate lab that I have been training for her fist hunt since I got her when she was 7 weeks old. I have read both Richard Wolters & Tom Dokken's books, and used a mix of both to train her. Last summer, I was running short on training time (I have two young boys), so I sent her to a trainer for a few months and she missed out on the 2015 season. When I got her back she was unbelievable. The last few weeks I have been prepping her for the 2016 dove season and everything was going fine. Friday evening, I took her out with my dad and a buddy to do some skeet shooting. I've been shooting rifles, pistols & shotguns around her since she was a pup and never had any issues. However, Friday she seemed pretty nervous sitting at heel while the others were shooting, as I threw the skeet. I praised her after every shot, and after reassuring her, she seemed to become a lot more comfortable. After we got done shooting, I was going to work on some retrieves with her, which I do almost every day. I never over work her and if I can tell she is getting tired, will tease her with the bumper and then put it up before I wear her out. On Friday, she wouldn't retrieve the bumper at all. No big deal, I thought the heat had gotten to her and I put it up after 3 unsuccessful attempts. After letting her rest on Saturday, I got her out late yesterday evening for some work. She completely balked at getting the bumper from the first attempt on. She has been trained with force fetch and she had her collar on, so I tossed the bumper out and nicked her for encouragement with the collar. After a few times of this, she got the idea and would get the bumper, but only if I kept it really close (10 yards and in). I put her up because I am at a loss for what to do. Rather than seem excited about retrieving like she always has been, she seems very nervous and scared.

Where did I go wrong? What can I do? I have poured lots of time and $$ into her including the countless hours I dreamed of owning her over the last 20 years. We're so close to go time and now I feel like she isn't anywhere close to ready.

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#6399099 - 08/08/16 02:32 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
BradyBuck Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 5128
Loc: Abilene, TX
You may get some better advise from some experienced trainers but my first thought is get some live pigeons and see if that gets her going.

It's hard to know what caused it but I would just work on trying to make it fun and lay off the collar.

I would also check her mouth and make sure nothing is going on with a tooth or something?

How is her demeanor when not training? Is she acting normal? Any chance it could be a medical issue? Might want to have her checked out by a vet.

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#6399109 - 08/08/16 02:39 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: BradyBuck]
ETHunter39 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 14
Loc: East Texas
Thanks BradyBuck. She was just at the vet on Friday and had a check up, as well as getting her rattlesnake vaccination. Thought that might have a little to do with it, so I didn't think much about it until she acted the same yesterday.

She is a very energetic dog, over energetic at times, and she seems herself as long as I'm not trying to get her to retrieve. I've always tried to keep it light and have always been heavy on the praise. I'll do a visual exam with her this evening and see if I can't find anything physical that may be going on with her.

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#6399115 - 08/08/16 02:41 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
MS1454 Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2703
Loc: Houston/Sealy
I have always read not to take pups, younger dogs to the skeet range. It seems she has associated retrieving with something negative. Maybe the gun shots?Who knows. I wonder why the need to work her everyday?
_________________________
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#6399473 - 08/08/16 06:16 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
Sweese Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 07/03/15
Posts: 197
Loc: North Texas
How was her retrieving before force fetch? When you got her back, did the trainer recommend a collar bump to get her to retrieve? Did the trainer shoot over her with live birds?

You can certainly drop the training for a while and let her get a bit stir crazy. That might help.

We do expect a lot from our dogs but remember that they have bad days and weeks too. Sometimes, the only way they can tell you is by not doing what you want them to do.

Though you have some good detail in your post, it is hard for me to help much without seeing her attitude. Can you post a video (but wait a few days)?
_________________________
Regards,

Jay



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#6400124 - 08/09/16 08:28 AM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
wal1809 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 10860
Loc: Texas
I would do a thorough physical inspection of your dog, including the mouth. Feel and push on the the neck, legs ect and see if you get a reaction. Divide physical complications and mental. Rule one out and then attack the other. You never know, the dog could have an injury that you can't see, such as a disc problem or a joint problem. I say start there and ease your way through to a solution.

I have heard the vaccine can have some side effects, lethargy being one of them. The lethargy could be from Nausea. Couple that with the heat and I can see the dog not wanting to go run after a bumper.
_________________________
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Ruffling Feathers Guide Service

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#6400194 - 08/09/16 08:58 AM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
ETHunter39 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 14
Loc: East Texas
I appreciate the responses.

Sweese, before she was trained with ff last summer her retrieving was ok. Since I got her back last October it's been excellent, and never once did I think she was going to balk at bringing back whatever I tossed. I have several different types of bumpers, frozen birds, wings I tie on bumpers, etc. The trainer never shot with her while he had her because I had told him it wasn't necessary (His land is within the city limits anyways.) She's a very energetic dog and very good with people. Her demeanor has seemed fine except when I tried to get her to retrieve Friday and Sunday. The trainer did tell me to use a bump with a collar if needed, that being said, I've never abused the collar in any way and when she has it on, she always follows commands. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've bumped her in the last year.

I did a thorough physical check on her yesterday afternoon and didn't come across anything unusual. I'm going to give her a couple more days before I get her back out with the bumpers and tease her with it to see how she reacts. If she acts like she can't wait to get it from me, I'll toss a few out and see how that goes. If she doesn't seem interested, I'll have to come up with a different game plan.

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#6400207 - 08/09/16 09:01 AM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
scalebuster Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 11/25/10
Posts: 1912
What did your trainer say when you called him?

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#6400553 - 08/09/16 12:53 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
TX_Diver Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 07/15/14
Posts: 200
Before the range when was the last time she'd been around any sort of shooting?

You mentioned shooting around her as a puppy but if it's been a year and a half since she was last around gunfire that may make a difference?

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#6400862 - 08/09/16 04:28 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
ETHunter39 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 14
Loc: East Texas
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get a hold of the trainer yet. He's an old school guy that doesn't even carry his phone with him.

This spring was the last time I had shot around her, and that was probably one of my mistakes. I shouldn't have assumed she would be OK around it without easing her back into it.

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#6400993 - 08/09/16 06:09 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
Sweese Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 07/03/15
Posts: 197
Loc: North Texas
ET,

Thanks for the info. Sorry, you have this situation. I am sure it is frustrating. Normally, after FF/conditioned retrieve, a non-retrieve is unacceptable and some force should be applied. However, since the trainer did not shoot over your dog, and things seemed to have gone south after a day at the range, let's try the following:

As I said before, I would suggest no retrieving games for a bit. Once you do bring her out, toss an exciting bumper and see how it goes. If nothing happens, then just put her away, repeat in a couple of days. That means no collar, no bump, just forget it for the day. Try not be frustrated - stay upbeat.

If she starts retrieving, do not overdue it. Only toss a few for now. It is possible there is a problem with the gun. Let us know how it goes.
_________________________
Regards,

Jay



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#6405496 - 08/12/16 02:18 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
ETHunter39 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 14
Loc: East Texas
Sweese,

That's exactly what I did Wednesday just to see how she would react. She seemed ready to play so I tossed it out and she went and got it like nothing was wrong. Threw it one more time with the same result and put it away. Got it out yesterday and played with her and threw it a few times and she was back to her old self. I appreciate the help.

She's hanging out at the office with me this afternoon.

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#6409576 - 08/15/16 06:03 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
Sweese Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 07/03/15
Posts: 197
Loc: North Texas
Great news - looks like a happy dog! If you have not already, it is time to bring in the gun. I suggest a .22 or .209 primer only for now. Pick a time of day when she is the nuttiest.

Have a helper shoot it one time from a distance, wait a few seconds and then throw the bumper. Gauge the response. If she freezes, put everything away and repeat in a few days at a farther distance. If good, shorten the distance and/or the the timing. Do not overdue it.
_________________________
Regards,

Jay



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#6417969 - 08/21/16 08:52 AM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
maximumintensityretriever Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/16/13
Posts: 512
Loc: Longview, Texas
ETHunter- you have gotten some good advise. I don't know where you are located but my kennel is north of Longview. Sometimes more eyes helps. You're welcome any time.
_________________________
Tony Marshall
Maximum Intensity Retrievers
https://m.facebook.com/maximumintensity.retrievers
(903) 720-6842

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#6418599 - 08/21/16 06:12 PM Re: 2yr Old Lab Stopped Retrieving....HELP!! [Re: ETHunter39]
kman2017 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 43
Loc: Jersey Village
Are you tossing out retrieves in your backyard or in a pond? I've had the occasional problem with my dog not fetching in my backyard when on dry land after a few throws. I figure he just gets bored of the easy retrieves. I also live on a private lake, and he has yet to not fetch anything thrown in the water. He goes crazy for the water and anything in it.

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