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Ryan Becklund

Early goose and a new pup

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Hi all, I introduced my pup last night to feathers. I actually had a pheasant skin that I froze from last year and attached it to a bumper. She didn't care as long as she was retrieving it. I also had a goose that I saved from last year and I threw that out for her too but she would not pick it up. I am wondering if since she is only 8 months old that she is not big enough to carry a big goose around on dry land. Do you all intro geese to the dogs in the water first? I was thinking on getting in the boat and having her sit. Having someone else throw the goose and tell her to fetch and see what she does. Any thoughts?

Ryan

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seems like a couple of hurdles to attack separately.

First, jumping out of the boat. Work her often enough (even from a boat on the ground first) w/ bumpers out of your boat until she is comfortable.

Second, once she if retrieving well w/ bumpers, introduce feathers, then whole birds (small to medium sized). Once she has a real zip for the whole deal, then contemplate the big brute.

Keep in mind, this is a slow drawn out process.

During these sessions always leave her wanting more to keep her interest up. I liked short 10-20 minute sessions all determined by interest level of the pup. Don't spend the entire time dwelling on the retrieve.

Also work obience and enforce (religiously) the basic commands in the boat/blind. This instills good manners, which is vital to having a "good" retriever.

One other trick to pumping up your dogs drive is once you have it retieving well and holding steady, consider introducing it to another polished retriever. Make her hold while its handler runs a retrieve or two in front of her (perhaps building up to the goose), then give her a turn on her own and see if this revs her up.

My male GSP has tons of zip in him on the water and will grab a fiesty goose w/ gusto. My last GSP attempted to tussle w/ a winged Tundra Swan (we drew a permit in ND one year...) and got a bit of a beating even, but didn't get too phased.

BUT.... Neither one was reliable over ground to carry geese to me. They both would pick up, drop, stand on it, pick feathers, wag tail, etc. I can't say I ever lost a goose w/ my dogs along though, even the ones that dropped in the middle of the beans or corn. It just took us a LOT longer to find the pooch wagging the tail.

I do know the REAL solution to this problem is to Force-Fetch train the dogs. I never could drop the cash, spend the time, or convince the wife we had to give up "the baby" for several weeks.

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Thanks for the quick reply. I have been working with her in the boat. She is fine jumping out of the boat and retrieving bumpers. She has an extreme drive that I have seen in a female lab. I am going to work with her tonight in the water fetching a bumper with wings on it. Thanks for the advice.

Ryan

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I had my dog out last year goose hunting for the first time he was about 1.5 yrs old. He wouldn't retrieve overland the first time. Finally we took some geese over water and he picked them up and carried them overland like he had done it a million times after a successful water retrieve.

Although I believe that it is a sportsman's duty to make clean ethical and humane kills. I let my dog play with a wounded goose for a little while. I felt bad about doing it but I think it got him excited about it and he learned to retrieve a little faster then if I got them all on my own.

It takes time. Be patient. I was a little too hard on my dog the first time out. But gave him extra praise once he got it down.

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Quote:
I introduced my pup last night to feathers.

That's great. Has your dog been introduced to the gun yet. If not you may want to address that too before the hunt. Alot of big guns shooting at geese could cause huge problems if your pup isn't ready for it.

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Quote:
I introduced my pup last night to feathers.

That's great. Has your dog been introduced to the gun yet. If not you may want to address that too before the hunt. Alot of big guns shooting at geese could cause huge problems if your pup isn't ready for it.

Especially right over the top of your dog!!!! Be careful with that. Having 5 guns in the field during a pheasant hunt is one thing. Completely different story sitting in a blind or within 10 yards of one another.

One other thing, at 8 months old she is plenty big enough to drag the bird back to you. A full grown goose is tough enough for a full grown Lab to bring back completely proper. So don't let the fact that it is a goose scare you into thinking she can't do it.

GOOD LUCK!!!

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UPDATE: Hey guys, thanks alot for the advice. All tho I did end up taking her with anyways. I was totally amazed with her performance. I dumped the first in the water out in the decoys but she did not see it fall or splash down. I pointed it out and it flipped a wing. She saw it and I sent her out for it. She retrieved it without incident and right to my hand. It was awesome!!!!

She went on to retrieve 2 more over the next hour and always waited to be sent as well. I could not believe she stayed steady long enough for me to send her. She and I had a blast! Thanks again for all your replies and hope you all had as good a time as I did.

On one sad note....This was the first time in 10 years I did not bring my yellow lab with me. Was kind of weird. She is getting too old and stiff to swim anymore....really sucks.

Ryan

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