Keeping your dog steady


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By Dead Eye Eli - 3/12/2014 8:05:12 PM
During training, my young retriever did excellent staying by my side until I released her to fetch her dummy/bumpers. I make her stay before allowing her to eat any meals and work on stay training all the time. The problem is, real birds drive her up the wall. This isn't a huge problem as far as I'm concerned. If my dog wants to fetch ducks so bad that she completely loses her mind, it's a lot better than if she had no interest in jumping in after the bird at all. The problem is, she breaks even if I miss!! (Which happens more than I like to admit) I've had her chase a healthy flying bird a few hundred yards down the river before. (even the e-collar won't bring her back) 

I tried hooking her up to my vest and even using a ground stake but no matter how many times I make her sit before going after the bird, she doesn't learn. I was hoping someone else had this problem. The issue is, I can only train for it in the field because she does so well in training situations. Thanks in advance for any tips. 

P.S. I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I'm new here and looked back a ways and didn't find anything.
By krazybronco2 - 3/13/2014 1:21:11 PM
sounds like your dog needs a healthy dose of live flyers. i would use pigeons since they are pretty cheap. have a buddy that is a really good shot and have him throw a pigeon in the air and let it fly for a good sec or two so your dog sees the bird flying and have him drop it. if the dog even starts to move (hasnt broke yet) command no sit and back to the truck for a little bit. this gives the dog time to think man if i move i dont get to pick up a bird. also the first couple of times i would make sure the dog is on a very relaxed slip lead so if the dog does break you can correct the dog quickely.
By Dead Eye Eli - 3/13/2014 1:51:12 PM
That's a great idea. I just got the opportunity to buy some pigeons from a guy so I'll do that! Thank you.
By NBGtj12 - 4/17/2014 2:31:41 PM
Another thing that has worked great for me in the past training dogs to be patient is to have them heel and sit. Then throw a dummy and instead of the dog going to get it you walk and get it. Do that between 10-20 then let the dog retrieve one or two and repeat. This build patience in the dog which should carry over to live birds. But i would also do the flyers too the more experience with live birds the better.
By Windjammer - 6/4/2014 5:27:40 PM
Had the same issue with my lab- was so-so for bumpers, excited for Dokken's and went ballistic for a real bird. We used a "choke" chain (the kind without the prongs), tied a piece of 6inch (can be whatever you want) to it, and had him sit by my side while real birds were tossed in front oh him. And what happened? He bolted- except he went about a foot and that was it. By the end of that session he was pretty steady. Now he is 2.5 years and we still train with it. Now however, I am more concerned with him creeping, even just one paw, rather than losing it all together.