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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to get some more dummies for training with Rusti & Sunni but am looking for ones that are more game realistic. I currently have the plain canvas ones but want something a bit more interesting and some variations.

What would you recommend and where can I buy them from?

Thanks for any help.
 

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You can get a dummy called a Dokken that is a mock duck, phezzie etc but they are pretty pricey, and perhaps a little heavy for your pups just yet?
 

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Nikki can I be completely honest with you (I know I usually am and that's what gets me into trouble :oops: ). For now just stick to canvas dummies, wait a while before moving onto all sorts of other things. You can sometimes give yourselves more problems than you need by moving on to quickly.

As an example some young dogs when put on fur or feather at a young age get bored with canvas dummies. Then you decide you want to do a Working Test which is all canvas dummies. Do you get my drift?

There is no rush to move on honestly.

Edited to add: All Spice is getting to retrieve at the moment is a tennis ball and I have no plans to move her onto anything else in the near future.
 

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I agree with Jill. I have a "Mallard" Birddog dummy, but never use it until shortly before moving onto cold game ready for the real thing. The same applies to Pheasant wings and Rabbit skins.

It's not so much the dummy that makes it interesting as what you do with the dummy.

Regards, John
 

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Tennis balls, like Jill uses and perhaps one of those dummy shaped tennis kong things on a rope? Air Kong Fetch Stick, that's what they're called lol! They do at least two sizes, opt for the small puppy one.
 

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The Working Dog Company sell dummies which are more "bird-shaped" - but not as realistic as dokken-types. Sort of a half-way house between traditional canvas dummies, and full-on fake birds (and nearer in price to canvas dummies!). Probably the best way to describe them (at least as I've seen them described and from pictures only, I should hasten to add) is a rugby-ball shaped dummy with a toggle. They do them in pheasant & partridge size - and I've been quite keen to get one for a while but I'm constantly told "you've got enough...!" :( The dog columnist in the Shooting Times has raved about them more than once...

Link: http://www.workingdogcompany.co.uk/results.php?category=1
 

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I have some of the ones that Poola mentioned.

i also have canvas dummies - normal ones in various sizes, tennis balls and also some air kong sticks (just get the ones minus the squeaker! :wink: )
 

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I totally agree with John and Jill, I especially liked your 'it's not the dummy it's what you do with it' quote John! All labradors should be natural retrievers and unless they have been bored to death by throwing too many dummies at a young age or exposed to game scent or retrieving game itself at a young age then you shouldn't have any problems. They should want to retrieve anything for you. If you ever want to compete then you need a dog that will retrieve a bog standard, brand new stiff dummy that could quite possibly be covered in slobber and been retrieved loads of times already that day!

That said I do have 2 rabbit skin covered dummies in my bag and I use them when progressing onto double memories or memories/blinds with it as a distraction. My dogs naturally want to retrieve the rabbit skin dummy instead of the other dummies so it is a good exercise to install discipline with 'you will pick the one I want you to pick' problem. If the exercise is completed well and the dog doesn't 'pull' to the rabbit skin dummy then it gets to retrieve it at the end as a reward. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ettinsmoor said:
Nikki can I be completely honest with you (I know I usually am and that's what gets me into trouble :oops: ). For now just stick to canvas dummies, wait a while before moving onto all sorts of other things. You can sometimes give yourselves more problems than you need by moving on to quickly.

As an example some young dogs when put on fur or feather at a young age get bored with canvas dummies. Then you decide you want to do a Working Test which is all canvas dummies. Do you get my drift?

There is no rush to move on honestly.

Edited to add: All Spice is getting to retrieve at the moment is a tennis ball and I have no plans to move her onto anything else in the near future.
Thanks Jill for the advice and I hear where you are coming from. I've been thinking about this and realise its proabably not a good idea to move on from canvas dummies at the moment. This thread really relates more to Rusti, we've progressed in our training and he's very good at retrieving canvas dummies now and has really increased his speed, but I must say that I feel these dummies don't excite him enough! So far he's never been that excited over a canvas dummy (the dummies only come out for training and just for a few retrieves). Have been using a "Kong Fetch Stick" instead lately and he's much more excited about it and even faster.

Perhaps I should stick with that for a while and then introduce the dummies again, what do you think?
 

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Nikki you need to think about the end game. What would you like to do with Rusti? If the answer is you might like to have a go at Working Tests I would stick with dummies. If you just want to have some fun then go ahead and lob whatever you like.

Don't take this the wrong way the problem isn't the canvas dummies not being exciting enough, it is the way that you are training.

I imagine you play with Rusti and all the other dogs with all sorts of balls and toys and they race around having a FUN time. Then you go off "all serious like" to do some "real training" and expect Rusti to be equally excited. Think about it a minute? Which would you prefer?

You need to find more innovative ways to train him and light his fire in the process. It is nothing to do with canvas dummies. New retrieve items will excite him for a while, but its a short term fix. Without seeing him I would guess given a choice Rusti would rather play with the other dogs than do "gundog training" with you. You need to turn that around. All of my dogs would rather do "gundog training" with me (I think) and the jostling to be "the one" taken for training is manic 8O .

Does that make sense Nikki? I am not sure if you are still having lessons, but you probably need some 1 to 1's to look at what is happening and how you and Rusti can be more of a team when out gundog training.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ettinsmoor said:
Nikki you need to think about the end game. What would you like to do with Rusti? If the answer is you might like to have a go at Working Tests I would stick with dummies. If you just want to have some fun then go ahead and lob whatever you like.

Don't take this the wrong way the problem isn't the canvas dummies not being exciting enough, it is the way that you are training.

I imagine you play with Rusti and all the other dogs with all sorts of balls and toys and they race around having a FUN time. Then you go off "all serious like" to do some "real training" and expect Rusti to be equally excited. Think about it a minute? Which would you prefer?

You need to find more innovative ways to train him and light his fire in the process. It is nothing to do with canvas dummies. New retrieve items will excite him for a while, but its a short term fix. Without seeing him I would guess given a choice Rusti would rather play with the other dogs than do "gundog training" with you. You need to turn that around. All of my dogs would rather do "gundog training" with me (I think) and the jostling to be "the one" taken for training is manic 8O .

Does that make sense Nikki? I am not sure if you are still having lessons, but you probably need some 1 to 1's to look at what is happening and how you and Rusti can be more of a team when out gundog training.
Thanks for the advice Jill. I'm not entirely sure where I want to go with this at the moment but for now want to do things properly so will stick to the canvas dummies.

Rusti and Sunni do get retrieves with other toys (normally a tennis ball) or the kong sticks but I wouldn't say its something I do too much of with them when all the dogs are around, as I prefer practicing retrieves with each of them on their own so that they get it right. Of course, there are times say when we all go to the river or something, and they will all play with some balls.

I don't think we have a problem really with Rusti not wanting to do gundog work with me. Yes, he loves playing with the other dogs but equally he loves it when I take him out on his own for some training. He certainly gets very excited about it and really does want to work and I think if he didn't enjoy working with me or wasn't happy about it, I really wouldn't want to carry on with it.

Perhaps I'm just expecting too much and getting ahead of myself with Rusti, after all he is only 8 months old and there is plenty of time. I'm probably comparing him with Sunni also which I shouldn't. For example, Sunni is potty about the dummies and has alot more enthusiasm with retrieves. I'm very pleased though with the way Rusti is progressing, he's increased his speed alot and now retrieves to hand.

I do think we work well as a team, just need some pointers on how to improve things from here. We've not had a lesson for a while but have some lined up after our hols.
 

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Its really hard to guess without seeing him Nikki, but it sounds like you may have overdone the "control" element of his gundog training and inadvertantly taken away the "thrill" of the retrieve. Mine are very soft natured dogs and there is a very fine line to be walked to get the balance right. Knock there confidence and it is hard to get back.

My guess would be that Rusti is desparately trying to get things right for you and because of this he lacks confidence on his retrieving. You need to build that confidence back up again. To be honest with Spice I am keeping the obedience side of her training completely separate from the retrieves, BUT they are very young and I am not putting any pressure on her at all. There is no problem with you using other things to retrieve ie. the kong sticks etc. But you will not solve the problem by going out and buying all sorts of ducks, pheasants etc.. Does that make sense Nikki? The problem is in the training not in what he is retrieving.
 

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Yes, I think you could be right Jill and maybe Rusti has lost some confidence. I will try and get some videos done to show you when I get back from hols. It may even be the case that you think he's doing fine and I am making more of it that I need to.

What you have said definitely makes sense and I can see that it is a training problem, not what he is retrieving. Its a shame you don't live round the corner from me, I could pop round with Rusti and see what you think!

Hopefully I can get some good advice when we go for our next lesson.
 
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