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Hard mouth, who's had success fixing it?


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46 minutes ago, MAArcher said:

I've seen Wes's eyes roll back in his head with ecstasy as he clamped down and grouse guts blew out the end with an audible "pop".  

That’s clamp down white shark territory. A slight squeeze will expel Woodcock trail.... 

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I have had only one dog that was what I call hard mouthed. That is, she chewed the birds while retrieving. I convinced her with shocks from the e-collar each time she bit down. That might have backfir

I have never fix HM but I have covered it up. The best way to "fix" HM is not to breed to it. Never had any issues with our own Field Bred Springer breeding but sure saw a issues and mouth problems wi

While the hairbrush/pine cone thing sounds worth an attempt or two, I'd like to circle back around to the "HOLD" command.    Mr. Jim is suggesting to use the ecollar while issuing a known co

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On 12/3/2020 at 6:26 AM, Brad Eden said:

There is a difference between a dog ravaging a bird upon retrieve and a dog that tenderizes it a tad with a few tooth marks. I’ll take the latter over a dog that doesn’t retrieve game birds at all. 

 

Exactly Right! Tooth marks are exceptionable and common place. It is when the degree of clamping escalates and crunching begins. That behavior is very pleasurable for dogs and the more they produce that behavior the more problematic it may become. Just look at the plethora of chew toys that are available. Dogs love to chew. 

 

Hal

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  • 2 weeks later...

My limited personal experience with "conditioned retrieve", was overwhelmingly positive. The effort was deliberate and quite honestly took the better part of 18 mos (me not the dog), but worth it in the end. The biggest benefit in the end was increased confidence in both dog and handler and a rock solid understanding of both pressure and praise and how to overcome physical and mental barriers. It defy logic but with weight (24lb raccoon, @150 yds), physical obstacles (fox in the box), and a healthy amount of work with live ducks I can count on him to bring back grouse, rabbits, ducks alive this year and that wasn't the case the last couple seasons. 

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  • 2 months later...

What about a ‘frozen’ bird?  Seeing some issues with Bella on this...Great on retrieving, but birds are getting some mouth work...Will start some FF with her!  

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Ray Gubernat

Problem: Dog continues to chomp down despite encouragement and training to have a gentle mouth.   

 

Observation:  If the dog is not allowed to have a bird in its mouth, it cannot chomp down and destroy the game.  

 

Solution:  Dog no longer gets to retrieve.  Period.  End of problem.   

 

That is the easiest and most reliable way to fix hard mouth and  is what I do.  

 

When I can no longer bend over and pick up a dead bird off the ground, it is time for me to quit hunting.   If I can't find the bird, the dog can point it again for me after it is dead.   They are actually quite good at that.

 

RayG

 

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shoot-straight

Since this has been resurrected, as I mentioned earlier my young PP (now 13mos) has a habit of "biting" vs just picking up the bird. We stopped letting him retrieve (and shooting many) woodcock for this reason. They are just so small and fragile. His prey drive is SO strong. I think he thinks he needs to kill it. In the end, instinct is tough to train out. However, if I put a bird or dummy in his mouth he will walk around and carry it with no munching. Its interesting. We were doing some training with chukars, one flew aways into a tree then fell. Dog did not see it. I took him over and told him to "hunt dead" and he found it, and delivered it perfectly, not a mark on it. Some others that day werent so fourtunate. BTW, never let him have squeaky toys which reward the chomping in my experience. 

 

I have been watching videos, reading, and am trying to formally FF him. Kinda hard when youve never done it before. Our local NAHVDA chapter has still suspended events due to COVID. Anyone in the NE or Mid Atlantic that hears of a FF seminar, let me know. 

 

Ray- I understand your points but retrieval of game is one of the things I like the most about hunting with a dog. I'd like to exhaust all avenues before I give that up. But making game inedible is not acceptable. 

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Ray Gubernat

SS - 

 

The person who owns the dog has the task and the responsibility to bring that dog to the training level that they require.  

 

If a dog does it well,  a clean retrieve is  a beautiful thing.  In addition, I do not know of  a greater reward that can be given to a dog than to allow it to wrap its gums around a bird.   

 

However, if one cannot bring the dog to the desired level of competence, when completing the retrieve, they have several choices.  But as you said, allowing a dog to destroy game should not be one of them. 

Installing a clean, soft mouthed retrieve to hand  is one more behavior  for which there  are multiple ways to get from here to there with a dog.  

 

For me personally, most of my hunting ventures are on dry land and I do not do waterfowl, so a retrieve is not something I absolutely MUST have, to conserve game, so it is far less of a need or  focus for me.   

 

When I say that my wing shooting skills are mediocre... at best, and  you can infer that I do miss a far percentage of my shot opportunities  you can understand why I  much rather focus on the finding and pointing aspects of the hunt. 🤔

 

Added to that is that birds are not shot at American Field trials, so no retrieve is required for those trials, or for that matter for AKC trials for my breed.  A retrieve can be something some folks deliberately do NOT  permit their dogs to do., in order to reduce the temptation to break point. 

 

Different strokes for different folks, as always.

 

RayG      

 

 

 

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When Chukar sail a few hundred yards down the canyon, that retrieve is kind of nice...😁

 

Before you say it, yes, shoot better!  🤣

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Ray Gubernat
1 hour ago, GeorgeE said:

When Chukar sail a few hundred yards down the canyon, that retrieve is kind of nice...😁

 

Before you say it, yes, shoot better!  🤣

GeorgeE - 

 

There WAS a time that I might have considered climbing up after game such as chuckar.   Traversing sidehills covered with assorted brush and sticker bushes after grouse and pheasant was  relatively routine in my earlier years.  

 

For me...that time passed... some years ago.   Flat land is  enough of a challenge these days for me.  Heck, even my horse it too tall for me these days.   😒

 

RayG

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22 hours ago, shoot-straight said:

Since this has been resurrected, as I mentioned earlier my young PP (now 13mos) has a habit of "biting" vs just picking up the bird. We stopped letting him retrieve (and shooting many) woodcock for this reason. They are just so small and fragile. His prey drive is SO strong. I think he thinks he needs to kill it. In the end, instinct is tough to train out. However, if I put a bird or dummy in his mouth he will walk around and carry it with no munching. Its interesting. We were doing some training with chukars, one flew aways into a tree then fell. Dog did not see it. I took him over and told him to "hunt dead" and he found it, and delivered it perfectly, not a mark on it. Some others that day werent so fourtunate. BTW, never let him have squeaky toys which reward the chomping in my experience. 

 

I have been watching videos, reading, and am trying to formally FF him. Kinda hard when youve never done it before. Our local NAHVDA chapter has still suspended events due to COVID. Anyone in the NE or Mid Atlantic that hears of a FF seminar, let me know. 

 

Ray- I understand your points but retrieval of game is one of the things I like the most about hunting with a dog. I'd like to exhaust all avenues before I give that up. But making game inedible is not acceptable. 

Watch closely, is this "biting" the bird more an attempt to pick the bird up than actually biting it to "kill" it? I've seen that with smaller birds, it is not uncommon for the dog to kind of bite at it in attempt to get it in its mouth. I used to think this was an issue but I've come to observe that the dog isn't really dawdling or mouthing it, just trying to figure out how to get the little thing in it's mouth without also grabbing a mouthful of dirt, etc. I've seen them do thr same thing on a bird that's been shot to he** too. So I give them a few extra moments as long as when they pick it up they bring it right back to me. It's kind of a judgment call based on what you're actually observing.

 

As far as FF clinics or seminars, I suspect you won't find any as I don't think there are too many trainers willing to put one on. Heck, they catch grief sometimes just from demonstrating how to use a pinch collar.

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Pat Berry

I would agree with suggestions to go through the FF process, although I'm guessing it'll have limited effectiveness as the dog gets older. Philosophically, It would be better to start with this element of training and development when the dog is young. If a dog has possessiveness issues that manifest in HM, that's usually significantly mitigated when the dog is just learning the difference between what we want and what we require. If not done properly, or done later in a dog's training process, the pressure to "fix" something can come out in the mouth.

 

Short of that, I agree with Jim Vander's solution to use indirect pressure. When the dog starts chomping, mouthing, or generally screwing around with the bird, give a here/come command with an e-collar overlay. 

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munsterlander

I commented earlier in the thread with my story of a hardmouthed dog, and how professional force fetch did not fix it.

I might add that I had tried everything, including retrieving sharp objects, frozen birds, encouraging the dog to come in faster and with me yelling various things to distract.  I'm sure there were many more things I tried.... everything you read about in books and threads like this.  No success.  Like I said, she always brought a bird to hand.  Always dead.  Smaller birds crushed and usually not table worthy, big birds like pheasants would be dead, but meat might be okay depending on the grip location.

I agree with the statements:  make sure not to breed to it, and either live with it, or move on to another dog.  I'm not saying you can't fix it.  Just don't think I can. 

 

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Coveyrise64

Jon Hann (Perfection Kennels) has a good video for the beginner on FF or trained retrieve. Cant remember if he has any seminars or not. He teaches a hold using a pvc pipe then progresses to frozen birds. That is where he cleans up any mouth issues. Then transitions straight to the e-collar. No ear or toe pinch. Much easier on the handler and less stressful for the dog. The video addresses several different retrieving problems with dogs. If you have problems using the  method Jon suggests videoing and sending to him for his input. You won't find a nicer guy.

 

cr 

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On 2/22/2021 at 1:09 PM, shoot-straight said:

Since this has been resurrected, as I mentioned earlier my young PP (now 13mos) has a habit of "biting" vs just picking up the bird. We stopped letting him retrieve (and shooting many) woodcock for this reason. They are just so small and fragile. His prey drive is SO strong. I think he thinks he needs to kill it. In the end, instinct is tough to train out. However, if I put a bird or dummy in his mouth he will walk around and carry it with no munching. Its interesting. We were doing some training with chukars, one flew aways into a tree then fell. Dog did not see it. I took him over and told him to "hunt dead" and he found it, and delivered it perfectly, not a mark on it. Some others that day werent so fourtunate. BTW, never let him have squeaky toys which reward the chomping in my experience. 

 

I have been watching videos, reading, and am trying to formally FF him. Kinda hard when youve never done it before. Our local NAHVDA chapter has still suspended events due to COVID. Anyone in the NE or Mid Atlantic that hears of a FF seminar, let me know. 

 

Ray- I understand your points but retrieval of game is one of the things I like the most about hunting with a dog. I'd like to exhaust all avenues before I give that up. But making game inedible is not acceptable. 

 

I have always considered FF to be very Specialized work when it was called for. And it is very daunting for the 1st timer to proceed with. Dogs really do not live that long for the 1st Timer to experiment with in this area.

The best advise I can give, if a clean retrieve is a requirement, find a Retriever Person that has FF'd numerous dogs and has a a track record of success with this process. Quite honestly it will be much fairer for your Dog.

 

Hal

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