ESS refusing to release retrieve

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ESS refusing to release retrieve

Postby Emailed Questions » Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:36 pm

My 4 year old English Springer Spaniel has recently started to refuse to release pheasants she has just retrieved. It appears to be the birds she retrieves from within cover. She will return to me, but as I attempt to take them from her, she turns away from me and begins to growl. Trying to release her grip upon the bird is very difficult as her jaw appears to lock. I have taught her to retrieve and hold the game in her mouth until told to release it and until now, two and a half seasons later, it has never been a problem.

To give a brief background, she is kept indoors and is doted on by my wife. this leads me to believe this may be the dog trying to show dominance? but I have also read it may be due to anxiety?
if anyone could offer me any advice on how I may have caused this and how I can set about resolving it, I would be most grateful.
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Postby thunderchicken » Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:38 pm

wrote a reply and lost it GRRRR :x
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Postby thunderchicken » Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:39 pm

Hard to say, the post as written doesn't provide enough info to make a solid determination. I am wondering if you have ever played any "tug-o-war" games with the dog, or if your wife does. I also wonder what the connection is between retrieving from cover and a normal retrieve is. Does your dog have a favorite toy that you send him on a search for? There may be some connection there, and then again maybe as you said a dominance thing. There will be better answers to your question forthwith, hopefully you can glean the needed info to solve the problem. Good luck!
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Postby roundtuitfarms » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:39 am

I've read that the dogs attempt to 'test' their position in the 'pack' at three ages, 6 mo., 1 1/2 yrs, and 2 1/2 yrs. First, I don't know if this is true, but if it is, might the refusal be the result of this kind of testing? Either way, it sounds like it's time to re-aquaint with training.
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Re: ESS refusing to release retrieve

Postby stephen brown » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:05 pm

Emailed Questions wrote:My 4 year old English Springer Spaniel has recently started to refuse to release pheasants she has just retrieved. It appears to be the birds she retrieves from within cover. She will return to me, but as I attempt to take them from her, she turns away from me and begins to growl. Trying to release her grip upon the bird is very difficult as her jaw appears to lock. I have taught her to retrieve and hold the game in her mouth until told to release it and until now, two and a half seasons later, it has never been a problem.

To give a brief background, she is kept indoors and is doted on by my wife. this leads me to believe this may be the dog trying to show dominance? but I have also read it may be due to anxiety?
if anyone could offer me any advice on how I may have caused this and how I can set about resolving it, I would be most grateful.


Could be a dominance problem with you since the dog is not returning to her. The dog is being assertive and telling you that the bird is hers. Problem of this sort can be attributed to a dominance issue or confusion on the part of the dog, and can be cured.

I would stop hunting and retrieving. I would do obedience drills. I would do a lots of work on 'come' to have the dog hup in front. You'll want a quick come and hup so use treats often at first and ween off them as the dog get conditioned. I would train the dog to "hold" and "give". A decent article to read is A New Step When Teaching the "Hold" Command. Start with a training dowl, progress to bumpers, then cold dead birds, freshly killed birds. Continue working on a quick and positive come while doing 'Hold and Give'. When the dog is clean on come and 'hold and give' combine the two by having the dog 'Hold' the dowl, come and hup, and 'give' the dowl. Then with a cold dead bird, fresh killed bird, and finish shot flyer.

Here is a post from 'Ask the Trainer',
Delivery problems
that may help and offers another opinion.[/url]
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