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Training with frozen birds

I have 7 month old lab name Gage, I have been training him sense he was 8 weeks old for about 15 to 30 min every day some days not as long because of the heat . He has all the hand, whistle, and voice commands down. He retrieves large dummies fine and small birds such as Dove and Quail alive or dead. But large birds such as a duck he will run out there and just turn and look at me like what is this thing. He has retrieved a duck maybe four times during one of our sessions but that was the only time. I freeze the dead duck and then try let it thaw out before training however this is not always possible and the time he did retrieve the duck it was completely thaw out do you think the Coldness is causing the problem??
Thanks For the Help

It sounds like you are doing a good job of training your young dog. As a retriever trainer I feel all retrievers should have a force fetch or force hold program in them.The force fetch program teaches a dog to retreive and hold anything it is sent for. With a force hold program the dog is taught not to drop anything that is retrieved until the handler takes it from them. Has your training program included either method?

When working birds with any dog it is best to have fresh birds. Even some fully trained retriever at hunt test do not like to pick up and hold birds that have been used over and over again, and have a nasty smell and taste to them.

Each time you use a bird and refreeze it the bird deteroiates, which I am sure is one of the reasons your does not want to hold this unpleasant and smelly bird. Add in a bird that is still partly frozen and this just makes matters worst. The best thing when training young dogs is to use lots of fresh killed birds, in cold weather you should be able to thaw and refreeze the birds a few times before throwing them away. But in hot weather you are lucky to be able to use it once refreeze it and use it again. Find a source for pigeons, which sell for $1.50 to $2.00 a piece and use duck, pheasant or grouse scent on them..Good luck.

Kim Moses
Hunters Marsh Kennels

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