Chomping Bird Feathers
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By JMule1 - 10/17/2013 9:48:26 AM
So here is the deal. My 5 month old lab loves bird feathers and wings. I am using a bird wing on a string to awaken his inner instincts every once in a while. I don't do it as much now because when he gets a hold of it, he chomps. When I say give, he gives but not like he does when he gives me the bumper. My dog doesnt clench his teeth on the wing but he really chomps on it. He does not do this with the bumper that has feathers taped to it or the deadfowl trainer that I use. I have talked to some buddies that have trained their labs and they said get rid of the feathers for a while. Will this continue? Should I be worried about him chomping on a wing and tearing a bird apart? Is there anything I can do or not do to help with this issue later on in his career? 
By Mark B - 10/18/2013 11:26:58 PM
Hi, if it was me, befor I started to fix something, I'd be sure it was real problem first. I'd get my hands on a live (or dead) duck or pigeon and see how he handles it. It it's rough then you have something to fix if not then he is just rough with feathers. If you have something to fix, then I'd go back to just bumpers and start force fetch (or revisit if already taught). If you have not FF yet and plan on doing it, that might clean things up. If your opposed to teaching force fetch then I'd at least teach the hold command. My expectation is that he holds with no mouth movement at all. Even a twitch gets a stern no with a rap under the chin.  I'd then progress to birds setting the same standard.  I'd be sitting on bucket and he has  to hold until I gave the command to drop. No mouthing or rolling or teething it.  

I'd first see if you had a problem with birds first. Good luck 
By Windjammer - 10/24/2013 10:03:58 AM
I wouldn't worry too much at this point. They are still puppy after all, and they can get a bit mouthy. I agree with what was said earlier. My 2 year old won't chomp on a bumper, Dokken or dead bird, but if I strap some wings to a bumper, he becomes Jaws. Maybe it just feels good on his gumbs or teeth.
By JMule1 - 10/29/2013 9:46:33 AM
Thanks for the reply. I got a frozen pigeon out and he does mouth it quite a bit but he is learning to give more frequently. I have decided to wait until I force fetch him with a bumper. By the way, I have heard many different times to start force fetching. How old should the dog be when you begin to start force fetching him?
By ray3 - 10/29/2013 1:22:08 PM
He should have all his adult teeth. So around 6 months or so
By Teacher504 - 11/12/2013 8:11:30 AM
When to FF a dog is a dog by dog consideration.  At a minimum, they should have all their adult teeth, but they also should have a solid obedience foundation.  FF, if done correctly, will address rough handling of birds.  In the meantime, I don't you think you have a real problem...just a puppy who enjoys birds.  Congratulations!