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Discussion Starter #1
Molly is 4 1/2 months old and generally has very good recall - she will leave most distractions (eg other dogs and people) most times and come to me. However when she finds a dead bird or animal she not only won't come but when I go to her she picks it up, if she can, and runs off with it. She seems to smell them from a long way away - one minute she's trotting along beside me and the next she's heading into the distance. Today's finds were a dead fox (at least she couldn't pick that up and I could put her on the lead and pull her away) and a crow, which took about 10 minutes of following her to get her to leave it.

At home I practise 'leave it' and she'll leave a dog biscuit (we're up to about 10 seconds) and then I reward her with a better treat (usually sausage) and remove the biscuit.

On walks no other rubbish is a problem - if she picks up something I think is unsafe I ask her to give and she hands it over, in exchange for a treat.

The problem with the carrion is that she starts to eat it and I worry about poison, disease etc (so far she's been fine, but her luck might run out.) So where do I go from here?
 

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If you are going to go down the reward and swap route you will need to put a key word in place. Something you only use when Molly is about to get something really yummy. It's also good to have something that's in a crinkely wrapper. My two come running every time I open a dishwasher tab incase its a 'biscuit', that's their key word. If she's running off it will help to snap her brain back onto you if she associates the word with the reward. It will also help you if you ever get caught out without anything in your pocket. It's also not the best idea to chase her to get it from her because it will be a great game to her. :0)
 

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As yuck as it sounds don't chase her. Get her to bring it to you lots of praise and happy voice and get her to show u her amazing prize. If it's not something that is going to harm her, take it gentle and give it back. Or then swap for her fave toy.
Take the game out of it and praise her for everything she carries
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for replies. I'll try to think of a higher value reward and stick to one 'keyword'. I might try taking a squeaky toy with me - she has one with a piercing squeak that I keep in a cupboard and she only gets now and then as the noise is so awful and needless to say she loves it, so maybe that would distract her.
I can see the logic in not chasing her (I do walk rather than run) but if I don't approach she'll simply lie down and munch on the decaying body! My husband took her to the beach this afternoon and apparently she ate a whole fish.
 

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Heh heh, we often walk our dogs along the coast and they like a rotten fish or two.

I'm not sure I could find a "swap" with a higher value than a smelly salmon or a decomposing seagull 8O :lol:

So we just stick to "leave it", and if necessary "LEAVE IT :twisted: " Grrrrrrrr, that does the trick :wink:

Also, never, ever run after them, they need to believe that you can outrun them, don't let them find out that they are quicker than you :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have tried sounding fierce (not too difficult sometimes!) but that just makes her scurry away faster, looking worried.

My last Lab was so laid-back in this respect. I'd say 'No, don't do that' and he'd say 'OK Mum whatever you say.' I didn't actually use treats to train him as calling him a good boy used to send his tail wind-milling with pleasure.

What I'm wondering is if there are training exercises I could do at home to reinforce 'leave it' apart from what I already do?
 

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We tend to use the "ooh what's this" in a happy sing song voice to get them coming running and then swap for a bit of cheese and lots of fuss. Merlin still sneaks the odd nibble on seaweed but after nine years it's more a habit.
 

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I have tried sounding fierce
Think about that. You want her to bring it to you and so you are trying to sound fierce. Under those circumstances, if you were her and you'd just found something really nice, would you go to you?? I'd be gone in the opposite direction just as fast as my little legs could take me! Reread what Sam wrote and remember, us working people have to tackle this with every dog we train. It's a standard training procedure.

Regards, John
 
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