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  • How to get a dog to retrieve birds

     Trent updated 11 months, 1 week ago 2 Members · 5 Posts
  • Trent

    June 12, 2021 at 5:46 am

    So I’ve got an Australian shepherd that will retrieve squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, and even a 20lb feral pot bellied pig. However the few times I’ve tried to get him to retrieve birds, he gets feathers in his nose and mouth (he’s very gentle with the carcass) and keeps dropping them. I don’t want to massacre local birds out of season. Is there any toys or tips for getting him ready for dove season?

  • Credited-Asset

    June 12, 2021 at 5:46 am

    Force fetch will teach him not to drop anything until you command it. Exposure to feathers and making the whole thing a game will show your dog that they are prizes and fun just like the other animals he is retrieving.

  • rgraham888

    June 12, 2021 at 5:46 am

    I use a duck retrieving decoy, and a lot of guys will zip tie dried pheasant wings to those, or to one of the canvass retrieving decoys. Check out the dokken decoys. A lot of guys will just shoot a few birds, then stick them in the freezer for training later.

  • BDsHomesteading

    June 12, 2021 at 5:46 am

    You can get bumpers at your local hunting/sporting goods store(cabelas) you can also get bird scent in stick form in replacement of wings.

  • bluewing

    June 12, 2021 at 5:46 am

    How old is the dog? If all he’s done is fur and he’s a couple years old, it might neigh on impossible to get him to work feathers.

    There are a couple of options you might try.

    First, when I introduce birds to a puppy, I use clipped wing birds like pigeons. I get the pup excited with the flapping of the wings and my voice. I then toss the bird and because it can’t fly, it hops and runs across the ground. the pup is excited and wants to chase and catch it. Let them. They will want to come back to you to show off the catch. With true hunting breeds, this is a pretty quick lesson they learn. once or twice and they got it. You would probably need to spend a fair amount of time and birds to get the idea across.

    Second, you can use wings strapped to the dummy. Scent is optional. This works by sheer repetition. If your dog likes to play fetch, he can eventually enjoy the feathers. I would start by tying only one or two feathers to the dummy at a time. Slowly adding more feathers as he acclimates to them until you have a whole wing or two tied to the dummy.

    Lastly, you could have the dog “force fetched”. This involves a training method that uses minor pain correction, like an ear pinch, to get the dog to fetch. This is a bench training technique that is NOT for beginners. You can very quickly ruin a dog forever if you don’t do it right. I’ve done a few dogs with this method over the years, and while effective, the results often do not lead to a happy dog.

    If you can get you dog to at least go to the spot where the fallen bird is so you can pick them up, he will be no worse than a good number of pointers I’ve seen…………………..

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