Because he still has a reluctance to pick up lively birds on the water, we waited until the Teal season closed to start overcoming whatever his fears are. He's perfectly happy to pick up any dead bird on land or water. He'll chase a live bird on land. But if he approaches a bird on the water and it moves or flaps a wing, he'll make an immediate U-turn and head back to me.
This morning we used 8 of our last 20 (out of 70+ originally) pigeons specifically for emulating a live injured bird on the water. Carol stayed in the blind and I took the Jon boat out about 50 yards away but in plain sight in front of Carol and Rusty. I hobled one wing of a pigeon and, when Carol was ready and gave me the signal, threw it well out, up and away from the boat. Carol then fired her gun in the general direction but NOT at the pigeon. That simulated the bird being shot.
Rusty was released for the retrieve from the blind one bird at a time. He had marked the fall of all 8 and went directly to each. Because they were only hobbled by one wing, as he approached them on the water they began to flap in an effort to get away. He stopped and started back to Carol. I whistled him to stop, turn and look at me and then resent him back to the bird with a pick-up command. If he still showed reluctance he was "reminded" with the e-collar at it's lowest setting. It took several efforts on both bird 1 and 2 to force him to pick up the lively birds and take them back to Carol in the blind. Birds 3-8 were automatics as if he'd never had a problem previously. We'll do some more re-enforcements over the next few days but it appears as though he's over the hump now.
Must be a lot of pigeon fanciers on this site judging by the replies Jim !
He is a natural!
I respect the rights of everyone here and the choices they make with and for their dawg's entertainment and hobbies. Some are unwilling to grant me that same respect and feel compelled to make some negative comment.
I'll be 69 next month. I've been hunting with gun dawgs since I was 14, and have owned my own since age 18 ... nine in total ... more than fifty years worth. Cappy was my first Labrador 11 years and 7 months ago. Remi joined us 6 years ago in November of 2004. We are hunters. Rusty is a family pet and the breed that Carol wanted. He too is being trained as a hunter. He already shows promise and he loves the sport. He needs additional training, some of it with continue to be with live birds up until at least his age two.
Since we don't do conformation, therapy, agility, drug interdiction or other pastimes that these breeds have become known for, we hunt. We take pictures of our hunting and the training prep work that goes into it.
I don't need to post on this Forum. While I enjoy sharing pics of Carol, me and the dawgs doing what we enjoy most, I don't need to do it here. There are many other sites available to us. As a result, I can only respectfully request one of four things; 1) place me on "ignore status", (2) don't respond if my posts are content offensive to you, (3) if you choose to reply to a post, please do so with relevant and constructive questions or comments about the dawgs training and hunting, or (4) if there are sufficient numbers of you who would rather I no longer post here at all ... please have the moral conviction and stregth of character to say so directly and I will leave without fuss, drama or fanfare.
Don't go anywhere Jim!!
I like your stories Jim! I love to see dogs doing what they were meant to do!
You have done such a good job with Rusty!!
Good job, Rusty.
Jim, Rusty doesn't like getting splashed in the face by those lively birds!
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy