Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

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Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:51 pm

Well, I'm hesitant to ask about this, but here goes. My 22 month old Cesky Fousek seems to be anxious and unsure about retrieving in deep water to the point of absolute failure. When sent on a deep water retrieve, he hesitates, and only goes in with great encouragement. How bad is it? Well, he whines, and generally has a fit; one time he jumped up on me and knocked me into the pond, while my hunting partner was laughing so hard, he almost peed himself. He was NAT Prize I, 4 in affinity for water. He always was a "funny" swimmer, one of those dogs swims at an upward angle, until he gets the dummy or duck in his mouth, and then "lines-out" properly. Some of my hunting/training partners have told me, "the water is cold, that's way he is hesitating". Well, while I was wading in chest-high cold water, planting wild rice seed for next year, he was swimming around me, checking out what I was doing. In his other, non-NAVDHA natural ability test, a judge noted he was sensitive and unsure at times. I didn't believe at the time, but now I do. I think it is the doggy equivalent of agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces? The problem is getting worse, not better. So, here is what I am considering: I was going to chain him out, while his older, German Shorthair stable mate, makes retrieve after retrieve (probably no more than 4 or 5) before I send him on a retrieve for a Doken-duck dummy. I though I would really work-up the jealousy factor. He has to get over this, as I'm not giving up duck hunting.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:59 am

Given your post says it is getting worse vs better and hunting seasons are winding down, I would wait until you have warm water at this point. You have all summer to build your dog's confidence in water before the next hunting season. I would use wing clipped pigeons and then ducks to engage the dog's full prey drive. Nothing gets a dog in the water and swimming better than a live bird tossed in the open water a short distance from shore while the dog is watching.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Dmog » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:11 am

I would be curious to hear if he has ever done a duck chase and how he did? Render the duck flightless and toss it out and see if the dog goes after and starts chasing. Like AG said, I would get the prey drive involved in it if I could. My PP was doing that upright swimming thing just as you described until she did a duck chase and she learned to swim more efficiently chasing that duck. That fixed it for her.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:22 pm

Well, I knocked down plenty of ducks but the only ones he retrieved were stone dead! I am working on getting a live duck, pulling some primary feathers (ala track of the duck, Intermediate Test, CF club of North America, NAVDHA (UPT, UT) and release the duck where he CAN SEE it, let him chase, prey drive et al)
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:59 pm

Well, I bought 4 Rouen ducks, let him do the duck chase , as well as watching his stable mate do the duck do the duck chase and it did help! He was swimming better, lining out properly and generally doing better though he still hesitated on a deep water retrieve of the expired ducks. I little rest and then some more!
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:00 pm

I like what AG said , the only thing I would add is gun fire , shoot on the water close to the duck but don't kill it, gun fire really turns my dogs on. Forrest
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:42 pm

Well, I added the gunfire too. All the ducks were expired by the time the exercise was over. He was still hesitating a bit on the dead floating duck retrieve, but swimming much better.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:32 pm

Wait a little while and let the water warm up, get some good mallard ducks, take scissors and cut flight feathers on 1 wing ,throw in shallow water make the dog stay throw rocks at the duck and just before the duck gets to deep water fire your gun and release your dog, don't kill the duck until the dog has chased for a while, about 1 or 2 times a week is enough. Forrest
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby ryanr » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:10 pm

Just pull some of the flight feathers from one wing. I wouldn't cut them, if the duck escapes, the pulled feathers begin growing back and allow it to fly. Cut feathers have to wait until molting. And though you may be tempted, avoid throwing rocks, it's just one more artificial thing for the dog to become reliant on that you will have to then train it off of. A live "crippled" duck should be all the incentive it will need. I'd recommend putting out at least 3 ducks at a time all around the pond, 4 or 5 (or MORE) is even better. And keep one in a bag at the ready and a kayak in case you have to paddle out and slip the dog a duck (without it really seeing you do it.) The dog is ALWAYS successful in finding a duck, ALWAYS. Actually they always find 2 because there is always a resend.

If the dog is just unsure about deep water, when the water warms jump in a kayak and just get the dog swimming along as you paddle all over the pond. As it gains confidence, encourage the dog to be out in front, rather than following behind ("pushing" the dog versus pulling it along behind you.) Heck you can even seed the pond with ducks right before and as you paddle along the dog will find the ducks.

When I'm building duck search and independence, I let my dogs run out to the send point. The ducks are already out there and if they go on their own before I get there I'm very happy. And even if I have them on lead I don't heel them, I want 'em excited and pulling me to get to the send point. At least that's how I was taught to build a great duck search.
Last edited by ryanr on Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby J D Patrick » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:24 pm

all good info as Earl and I work this into training,,,,
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:51 pm

You are probably correct about throwing the rocks, I wanted the duck to move away from me and the dog, I don't think the dog actually pays that much attention to the rock, they are honed in on the duck, could be wrong, read your dog. Forrest
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby ryanr » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:19 pm

Drahthaar1108 wrote:You are probably correct about throwing the rocks, I wanted the duck to move away from me and the dog, I don't think the dog actually pays that much attention to the rock, they are honed in on the duck, could be wrong, read your dog. Forrest


I was mainly thinking about a young dog or a dog that still lacks the confidence that ducks are out there so just go find them. The splash of the rock can help encourage them but they can easily become dependent on it (often at the wrong time) so I was told it's beat to just not do it from the very start.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby Just-a-bird-hunter » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:35 am

All good information guys! I'm curious where you find that many ducks for sale for a 1 to 2 ducks a week drill? I was doing good to get those Rouens; they swim well, dove well and generally acted ALMOST wild. The CFNA (Cesky Fousek North America Intermediate test is in 3 weeks, I was hoping for 1 more drill before then, and there will also be a duck chase drill before the test as well.
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Re: Cesky Fousek anxious about retrieving in deep water

Postby ryanr » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:53 am

Just-a-bird-hunter wrote:All good information guys! I'm curious where you find that many ducks for sale for a 1 to 2 ducks a week drill? I was doing good to get those Rouens; they swim well, dove well and generally acted ALMOST wild. The CFNA (Cesky Fousek North America Intermediate test is in 3 weeks, I was hoping for 1 more drill before then, and there will also be a duck chase drill before the test as well.


Craigslist is one place. Plus, if you Network with other dog handlers/trainers, like in a local NAVHDA chapter, you can usually find out where people are getting birds and ducks from. Here in PA there is one large breeder of ducks that we sometimes use (especially for tests.) It's like a 5-6hour round trip so if somebody makes the drive they're buying a bunch of ducks. There are smaller breeders scattered around. You're far better off buying a bunch of ducks at once than trying to buy only 2 or 3 at a time.

Last summer I found a lady on Craigslist who raises mallards, chukars, pheasants and even pigeons. She had young adult ducks for $9, which is a fantastic price so I jumped on it. She's a licensed game bird breeder but does my have a website, etc. As soon as I talked to her I realized I knew of her thru other training friends. I ordered 20 ducks from her just for my purposes and then ended up getting another 20 for other training friends. I burned a vacation day and made a 3 hour round trip drive and picked up 40 ducks. I housed my 20 ducks in a 10×10 dog kennel for 2 months- fed them scratch grain. Worth every penny.
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