Dropping bird coming out of water

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Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby ChuckC » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:10 pm

I have a very good dog that I run in the UKC and AKC hunt tests. She does excellent work but has been dropped 3 times and almost a fourth time for dropping the bird when she is about to come out of the water or just after she comes out of the water, about 3 feet away from me. She only drops the birds during the water work. When she drops the birds, she shakes off and then wants to heel for the next bird. She really doesn't like the water in her ears either but I'm not sure that's the issue. She only does this in a hunt test.Water work at home is fine. I cannot get her to repeat the behavior when I am training her at home. She is very well forced fetched and I have had other trainers tell me they did not think that was the problem but no one has ever had this problem. I need any theories I can get. I can't correct her at the hunt test.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby Georgia Boy » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:27 pm

I dont know how seasoned the dog is or how many trials it has been run in but it sounds like it may be "trial wise". When the dog drops the bird at a trial do you make a correction? I would do that and let the dog know it is no different than training where you say it is perfect.
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Re: Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby slistoe » Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:31 am

You cannot correct at the hunt test - which is a poor call on the part of test rule makers but a different topic.

You need to set the dog up for a mock test where corrections can be made. Try to simulate as best you can the actual events leading up to and throughout the test day. Get all your friends and their dogs out. Hopefully you will convince the dog that it is a test/trial day and you will be ready to make the corrections necessary when they mess up the program.
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Re: Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby crackerd » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:35 am

Scott, you can "correct" verbally at hunt tests with "Fetch!" if the dog drops the bird, but it gets you scored lower for trainability and at highest level could get you dropped but usually doesn't if it happens only once. But with a triple, if a dog does it with the first bird, it usually drops the next two as well. So you're toast.

Chuck, I'm inferring that you're running the lower levels of these tests, right? The line for water marks is inevitably up right against the water, and that's unfortunate but it is what it is--the judges wanting to ensure dogs go into the water rather than skirt it, which they might if it were a long land entry or an angled entry.

You don't need to replicate this in training, you need to halt it. If you're sending from the water's edge in training, move back about 15 yards from shore. Keep the straight-ahead easy entry. As the dog's coming back with the bird, as soon as it steps foot out of the water, get on your "Here!" whistle. Remember: All retriever training stems from obedience, and the Here command will (must) override any other behavior by the dog. The dog should abide by the command rather than hesitating to shake and/or drop the bird--it should return directly to you.

You can also nix the dropping habit by using the e-collar if you have the dexterity for timing your "Here!"-nick-"Here!" sequence--again, just as the dog's stepping first foot out of water. As soon as the dog's paws appear to hit bottom, blow the come-in whistle (three blasts)--nick on low level--then repeat the come-in ("Here!") whistle.

This is an easy fix if your dog has the obedience--and if you've trained in the "Shake!" command for the dog to offload water only after it's given you the bird from the retrieve.

Good luck,

MG
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Re: Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby ChuckC » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:07 pm

MG,

We are actually running the master level. And you are correct about being dropped for this. We have been dropped 3 times for this and this alone. The work was excellent. She only started this after we ran our first master and passed. She went 5 out of 6 in senior and 4 for 4 in UKC seasoned. She has always been an obedient dog but I have really been reinforcing this lately. I agree with you thinking obedience issue. All I can guess is some sort of rebellion. I've actually tried the collar coming out of the water. I've had her hold a bird for 15 minutes and she did not drop it. I also did a glass bottle, piece of conduit, pringles can, tape measure, and dog biscuit. None of that may help but I'm trying to reinforce the hold command. I had a friend who has trained several dogs ask me about force fetching but we went through a few drills and he agreed it was not a force fetching issue. I can't knock a bird out of her mouth.

That was just to give you give you a litle more background. I plan on taking some people with me today and tomorrow training. Maybe that will help. Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will put it to use the next couple of days. I have a hunt test this weekend. We'll see where we are at. I'll let you know.

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Re: Dropping bird coming out of water

Postby hunchaser » Sat May 12, 2012 8:18 am

This problem occurs quite often and is easy to correct. I know becuase I've fixed this exact problem on several dogs. Here's how ....

First I don't worry about the dog dropping the bird and I don't give commands until needed. Don't stand at the water's edge. Move back 15 to 25 yds. Toss the bird into the water as far as you can then send the dog. Give the dog the opportunity to drop the bird. As soon as he does and before he starts to shake command, softly, "fetch," wait 1 second then apply a low button correction with the e-collar. If the dog picks up the bird have him heel/sit beside you and take the bird. When you take the bird wait until he shakes and at exactly the same time command, "shake" or whatever word you prefer. Turn 180 degrees and toss the bird onto the land. Have him retrieve then repeat the water retrieve. Do this two or three times them stop on a good note. This is easy to correct but usually takes two or three sessions. The purpose of the shake command is that the dog will learn to shake at your side and after the bird is delivered.

Try not to let the problem become chronic becasue you are into a whole new problem and the correction involves moving back into the walking fetch drill.
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