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I've been working with my pup now on the basics of course, an have been working on the "get the bone" with sheds an at first she had nothing to do with it, with the confusion of of new owner, new home, new name, even though she was retreving sheds for her previous owner. I thought I'd teach by example, I have her sit an throw the shed for my yellow an She caught on right away. "hey this is what we do" It's been working really well, but two things of concern, she drops it about two feet from me SOME times, an if we are playing, both dogs, rosie the yellow will beat her to it, then keysha the choc/GSP takes it from her an finishes the retrieve. Should I find onother play toy? Should I scolled the yellow form not finishing the retrieve or the pup for takin it from her, but she retrieves it.

I had trained my yellow at 8 monmths ten years ago with the book "Water Dog" with out all the physical training techniques. She did great. fist duck hunt was a success an so were the rest, but in the off season I gave her a tennis ball to play fetch with, well I couldnt turn her an she became the Ball Dog. I dont want this to happen to the pup so I'm afraid of a ball. But She needs an outlet of exercise an my yellow loves chasing the ball. I know I sound contradicting in saying tha my yellow became the ball dog an couldnt turn her from retreiving balls back to training dummies, because she now retrieves sheds when thrown. But she is out to please even more as she gets older. If I give my yellow back a ball, the first time I have her retrieve a shed i think she'll do it again, might have to try tho, any thoughts on this? Sorry to ramble. Maybe looking for play time out let that can realy do a pup good. Thanks. Boar

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When training a pup get rid of the distractions. Your lab is a distraction.

Not only that, when you have two dogs going after a retrieve, or a dog taking away during a retrieve, well that it no good. Instead of having the pup sit and stay while you work the lab put it in a crate, other room, or restrained. Its a pup and it will break, the last thing you want to do is start disciplining a pup for disobeying his sit/ stay command during retrieving sessions. Right now that is a time for you to eliminate the chance of failure.

Discipline on the obedience training yes but not retrieving right now.

A dog should retrieve everything you throw. Ball, antler, dummy, shoe, and so on.

That can be done without force fetching but if mistakes were made then you can count on needing that.

See above about distractions, moving to fast without obedience training, failures during retriever training, dog feeling ownership of training dummy.

The antler, ball shoe, dummy all have a familiar scent. After all you threw it your scent is on it.

Dogs want to retrieve, starting with retrieves in plain sight and moving onto retrieves that require scent.

If all you want is this dog to find sheds then use a shed as the dummy.

The hurdle you have is repetition. As important as it is for getting a bird dog on as many live birds as you can, so is it true for sheds. Problem is sheds aren't plentiful and the training shed has your scent on it.

Is there a scent to sheds that a dog can pickup on even with your scent all over it? Maybe but being an object its not nearly as much as a live bird and one that leaves a scent trail behind. That is going to make it all that much difficult. I'm thinking sheds planted in the woods for a long time to loose your scent would be the best true test you could replicate.

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Surface tension provides great advise.

The only thing I can add is to the shed part. Old sheds have very little scent on them and are going to be the hardest to find. Sheds have far less scent then a live bird so don't get bent out of shape if you watch you dog run over a few training sheds like they didn't even exists. Especially if they are not freshly shed antlers, it is going to happen and you will wonder if your dogs nose is shot or what. There are some Antler scent products on the market now that you can order and put on the antlers to make them easier to find by giving them a stronger scent. I have not tried them but they are not a bad idea especially for getting a dog started. You do not want the dog searching for your scent which will be easier to find then the antlers. By just relying on playing fetch with an antlers and hiding ones you handled you will not know if the dog is looking for sheds or your scent. Once she is really into retrieving sheds and finding ones you have handled I would remove your scent from the antlers. Keep them in a baggy and put them out with out you ever touching them. Also you will want to train in areas besides your yard because when you go to a knew place there will be a lot of distracting scents and the dog make not look for sheds at all.

Here is a video I made a couple days ago. I put out a couple sheds that are a few years old a few days before it snowed. You will notice she picked the scent up in the air right way but its took her a while to pin point it the antler under the snow. Funny things is I put this antler near the spruce and it was drug a few feet away probably by a rodent.

Shed video

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