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just for Merlin to show more interest in retrieving. Cheers!
What problems are you facing with him right now? Does he show little interest in retrieving balls, sticks or bumpers? If so, I don't think using a dead fowl trainer will help much. It's not like using real birds to help start-kick his instincts. Maybe if you added scent to it, that may do the trick, but not necessarily. Perhaps some of us here can give advice on building up his desire to retrieve, if that's the problem you are having :)
 

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Tagen said:
just for Merlin to show more interest in retrieving. Cheers!
What problems are you facing with him right now? Does he show little interest in retrieving balls, sticks or bumpers? If so, I don't think using a dead fowl trainer will help much. It's not like using real birds to help start-kick his instincts. Maybe if you added scent to it, that may do the trick, but not necessarily. Perhaps some of us here can give advice on building up his desire to retrieve, if that's the problem you are having :)
He doesn't seem to be as interested in retrieving as Labradors should be. At home on our small grassed area he will do about 10 or so fetches before he slumps down and just starts chewing the ball. :p If we're at the river, or park. He would rather be head down, bum up sniffing and galloping around randomly. If I throw a ball, he will run up to it, sniff it, then continue sniffing in another direction!
This may be a silly question, but if I add a scent to a dummy bird, will it encourage him to hunt down the birds in our garden? I quite like having birds fly around, and he looks at them if they fly past, but wont try to catch them.
 

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While a lot of times labs are retrieving fools right from teh start, there are dogs that may not show much retrieving desire until they are a bit older. Belle was like that, and could not give a rip about retrieving until she was about a year old. After that, (for whatever reason) she was a retrieving maniac. At hunt tests she absolutely ROARED with excitement as we approached the line. (Surprised the heck out of me the first time).

I agree that using a live bird would likely spark an interest. If you have problems using a bird like that, you can try tieing a bird wing to a bumper. I don't think using birds will cause Merlin to chase the garden variety of birds in your garden.
 

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He sounds like a pretty normal Lab if you ask me. They all have different priorities. Some are insanely focused on retrieving and block everything out, others are way more interested in sniffing around. His age is partly to do with his lack of interest. He is only young so his focus is still somewhat limited.

I think the first thing I would do is stop fetching in your back garden. That is boring. Save retrieves for somewhere interesting -- the lake, an open field, marshland.

Next, put away all fetch toys for 2 weeks. If you play with him often he will begin to crave it after a week or two. Make sure you purchase a few training dummies that come out ONLY for retrieves.

After the two weeks take him some place brand new. If he loves water, do the retrieves on water. Otherwise, an open field is good. Walk him up on leash at heel to somewhere you can tether him. Move a fair distrance away and make sure he is watching you. Throw that dummy HIGH up into the air. He should 'mark' the fall with his eyes. Go back to him and wait another 30 seconds. Then release him for the retrieve. If he runs out with enthusiasm, fantastic. Get down on your hands and knees, praising like a maniac, until he returns. If he did well, throw him one more retrieve in the same way. Keep sessions very short. 2 or 3 retrieves at the most.
 

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TA with all the suggestions from Trickster, above--especially because you are violating the First Principle [which also applies to showbiz, lol] namely:
''always leave 'em wanting more!'' so if he's bored after 10 retrieves, ONLY do 8, [or 3 or whatever] so You are in control of this game.
 

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You also may try:
http://www.armadillofoam.com/

My dogs LOVE their ducks/quail. :) I thought I read somewhere that there was bird scent that you could purchase for them, too, but perhaps that was a sep. company.
 

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CaliforniaLabLover said:
I thought I read somewhere that there was bird scent that you could purchase for them, too, but perhaps that was a sep. company.
I have always wondered about "bird scent." I usually stick a fresh dead bird in the bag I carry the dummies in. HAs anyone used "bird scent"?
 

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Karen, I bought some "bird scent", quail I think, back from a trip to the USA over a year ago. I got the quail because we don't hunt it so it wouldn't interfere with birds we do hunt here -- mostly pheasant. The smell was putrid but I soaked a spare dummy in it. I have to say, the dogs went CRAZY for it. I don't think I would use bottled scent long term but they are quite fun for training sessions. Good for a pet owner who wants to build retrieving desire in their dog, though.
 
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