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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I didn't want to hijack the dummy thread but it started me thinking - how do you guys deal with starting your young dogs on cold game, but still keeping an interest in dummies?

Oak is 15 months, progressing nicely on dummies and I hope to continue training on dummies and running him in working tests for many years yet. But, also, I am considering maybe trialling him one day, and he will certainly join in the picking up team. I have started giving him cold game, in a seperate training session to the one on dummies, and, for the first time this weekend, at the end of a session on dummies. Is that how you would suggest doing it? I don't want to have him turning his nose up at a canvas dummy in the future becasue I have handled it wrong in the early introduction to game.

When I was in this situation with Fife, Oak's dad, I had no problem as he is 110% keen to retrieve anything I ask, game, dummies, smelly socks, shoes, you name it, he loves to retrieve it. Oak so far is showing the same keeness so I am not unduly worried, just interested.

Ash, on the other hand, didn't really like dummies, did a couple of seasons picking up, and now is dead keen on dummies! Totally opposite to what you would expect!

Thanks

Katy
 

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I am going to leave this for someone else to answer, not least cos I'm off to the hairdressers.

But I have been giving my dogs training some thought lately and I can safely say, because I have had a fair few young dogs to train recently, that I have not trained one of them in the same way I have had to adapt my training for each individual dog, so I guess you need to look at the different methods people use and adapt it to your dog.
 

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Ettinsmoor said:
I have not trained one of them in the same way I have had to adapt my training for each individual dog, so I guess you need to look at the different methods people use and adapt it to your dog.
I wasn’t going to say anything about this, despite having opinions, but I have to react to what Jill has said, because it’s so true!! (I find it so anyway, with the usual disclaimers in place etc etc etc).

I introduced Rowan to game at about 14 months, a pigeon that I shot for her and Acer at 7 months 8O with a dead poult, neither exactly by the book, on quite a few levels!! :oops: :oops: They were situations that were considered and then went for, both with happy endings, because we know our dogs and treated the traditional advice and experience of others as a useful guide only.

I’ve never had problems reverting back to dummies, but I do use a wide range of dummy types, so the dogs are used to retrieving different things.

John
 

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To be honest Katy, as per above....twice.... a well mannered dog with at least a basic level of keeness will swap between game and dummies pretty well usually. After all, you go out picking up, or trialling, and a problem rears its ugly head that you need to work on... maybe they are not stopping quick enough.... maybe they aren't taking a line from you well... You won't use game to train 'at home' to fix basic training things, it would always be dummies (etc), so really...honestly... most dogs go between hem just fine.

It doesnt make logical sense that on saturday they are looking for a bird, and on Sunday (lets say) they are hunting for a dummy, but they are, and they can, and most usually.... they do.

Di
 

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I dont really do much training with cold game. As and when I've got a particular species of game to hand I'll take it out with a young dog to make sure that the're happy to retrieve it. As long as I know that they'll pick it and can deal with the size and shape then I'm happy with that.

I dont generally bother with rabbit skin dummies, wings tied to dummies, and certainly not the bird shaped things. I virtually always just go from canvas straight to game.

So, other than the early introductions, I pretty much just rely on picking up and shooting experience and use dummies, tennis balls and the air-kongs for training.
 

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In my experience it all boils down to how keen the dog is on retrieving. An example: Adder has always been extremely keen on retrieving and I mean really keen - he will retrieve absolutely anything without hesitation: fox, crow, squirrels, magpie, hare, rabbit, seagull, rat... I was aware of his 'obsession' with retrieving very early on, well ever since he brought me a rabbit that was bigger than himself at the age of 12 weeks, so he has had very few retrieves of any kind and he will continue to have few retrieves for the rest of his life (quality rather than quantity :lol: )

If a dog is keen or kept keen on retrieving then it should never be a problem swapping around between dummies and 'the real stuff'. The tricky part is to keep them keen - some dogs need a lot of retrieving work or even introducing to 'the real deal' before they get fired up where as some keen retrievers need very few retrieves to keep them on their toes - they need to 'work' for those few retrieves.

Generally, they way that a dog react the first few times of retrieving cold game, can be an indication of how keen it is: if the dog has a sort of 'bring more of it on' attitude then I would say no need to do many cold game retrieves but if the dog is a bit hesitant and need more encouragement then perhaps some more cold game practise is needed. Also remember that one of the worst introduction to cold game is very often using pigeons as the feathers comes off so easily and makes most dog wanting to spit the bird out and even pluck it 8O

When is it the 'right time' to introduce cold game? Well, I know a couple of people that would skip the whole cold game stage and would simply wait and let the dog have one or two retrieves on 'warm' game on a shoot day. I've used that 'method' myself and that has perhaps been the most successful introductions to game overall. I would never introduce game (warm or cold) if I feel that the dog is going through a 'playful' non-respondent period as I don't particularly want the dog to think that the bird is a new toy. As with any other training situation it is important to try and set it up to be a success so if you have doubt about things like recall, steadiness or bringing stuff back then don't try and introduce something new into the training before working on getting the other stuff to work first...

Natasha
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for these thoughts.

I think (hope) I will be ok with Oak still wanting to retrieve dummies after he has had the real thing, as I have always used a variety of articles for him to retrieve, and he is just as red hot keen for a canvas dummy, a plastic dummy, a tennis ball or the slipper that he left down the garden in the rain 8O :lol: , so I think we will be alright! (although he has not had a rat - yuck! No thanks! How could you be delighted and pleased to take that when it is presented to you?!! 8O )

I was just interested to see what you all do.

Thanks again

Katy

PS Hope the hair-do is good Jill! Fingers crossed it doesn't rain now! (I worked out it has been 6 months since I had mine cut - ooops! :oops: )
 

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Well Katy I figured it would be a good idea if I could see out from under my fringe tomorrow when they are shooting partridge 8O :wink: :D .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ettinsmoor said:
Well Katy I figured it would be a good idea if I could see out from under my fringe tomorrow when they are shooting partridge 8O :wink: :D .

:lol: :lol: :lol:

my hairdresser is a friend of mine and she gets so cross when I cut my fringe myself!! All wonky!! 8O :lol: :lol: :lol:

Katy
 

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Must be the day for it! Got mine cut today too - but that is more of a vanity thing because will have an audience of millions sunday all staring! A decent haircut might detract from having put on weight! ;-)

Di
 

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As Matt, I don't use cold game a lot, I don't actually use any cold game at all.

My oldest bitch does not retrieve cold game, she sniffs it and looks for something else. She does not hesitate a milisecond when out picking up or using warm game, but once it has been in the freezer she will not take it.
When I have a young pup in I introduce them to game a day after a shoot or when I get home in the evening from a shoot, when I've got freshly shot game. If they are still young I let them retrieve a duck's wing or a goose's wing. If they are a bit older I let them retrieve a complete duck or pheasant. Once they picked it a few times they wait until it is their time to join me on a shoot. The first day or 2 they join I don't let them do much, but after a drive when walking back to the car I put out a bird, walk on further and send them back for it. Once they did this 1 or 2 times without problems I gradually introduce them to the real picking up.
I have a 7 month old pup now and 2 weeks ago I tried her out with a goose's wing. She sniffed it but would not pick. So, I will wait a few more months and by the end of the year I'll try her again. I take it as it goes and so far this has done me well.

Dave
 

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Like others I dont use a lot of cold game. I think with Amy I got a couple of birds out of the freezer about a month before I intended taking her picking up, just to get her started thinking about looking for the scent. In the early days, if something different is shot I might borrow it off the game cart and do a quick retrieve with it to give the dog experience of different things. But I dont do much with cold game. Personally I prefer to eat it. :wink:

Regards, John
 
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