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Afraid of duck blind box

I have a new black lab pup approx 14 month. He was started by a pro trainer and is generally very obedient. At first he was hesitant to get into the travel crate having to be lifted into the crate forcibly. Now he jumps in quite well and is anxious to go. However the problem is in the duck blind.

We have a small island with concrete "holes", Years ago I installed a dog box which is approx 18"wide and 30" long and 12"deep for the dog to lie in when he is not working. The new pup will not go anywhere near the box. He locks up his legs and has to be very forcibly pulled, pushed, carried, and forced into the box and made to lie down. Once in the box he does lie down and stay there very well. It is getting to the point however that he is now hesitating to bring the birds to hand because he knows he will be put into the box again. He works well above ground, and is learning hand signals very well, and is very steady, but I cannot understand what is making him resist the dog box, especially since he overcame similar behavior regarding the crate. I am holding off doing any hunting with him until I figure out this problem and how to solve it.

Thank You
Santa Cruz, Ca.


Your dog obviously has some phobia regarding this box. It is likely made worse by the fact that you are trying to correct it while hunting. When we are hunting, we tend to be in a hurry and can't waste time fixing dog problems while birds are buzzing the dekes. I usually see this problem with dogs who have never seen a boat before opening day, then are expected to work from this unsteady platform.

Take the dog to the island when you are not hunting. Throw some fun bumpers (no obedience) and get him to relax. Tease him with a bumper and drop it near the hole. Praise him if he gets it, then repeat the process, dropping the bumper closer and closer to the hole until he is comfortable around it. In time he may go into the hole after the bumper. This may take days or even weeks to get over. If you continue to force the issue when you are excited and stressed out about the hunt, you may ruin a nice dog.

Best of Luck,

Bill Corcoran
Highland Retriever Kennel
Highland Retriever Kennel

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