Beginning duck search with Doc and Mia

I upped the ante with Doc and Mia in preparing them for duck search, with the addition of Scott Linden’s Real Bird Bumper along with getting them accustomed to retrieving from land to water. Although they have retrieved ducks from land to water on several occasions, it’s nothing we’ve trained on.

Mia: throw the bumper already

Mia: throw the bumper already

I really like the Real Bird Bumper because it sits higher in the water making it easier for them to mark, has a wing that can be left to flap or fastened to the bumper, and (the size of bumper I use) weights about the same as a duck. I haven’t used the bumper for a couple of years and Doc was intimidated by it at first.

Mia goes out for bumperMia heads out for the bumper

last week –

Mia had no problems with straight water retrieves. Doc wouldn’t pick up the bumper but I solved that by making Doc heel while Mia retrieved. After impatiently watching her retrieve the bumper, I let Doc go and he was retrieving it like a pro.

Mia retrieving bumper by its wing

Mia retrieving bumper by its wing

I then set the bumper on the opposite side of the pond and this time it was Mia who wouldn’t retrieve. She would swim over to the bumper but not pick it up, so I sent Doc to retrieve and that’s where we ended our session.

Doc retrieves bumper

Doc retrieves bumper

Mia approaches bumper but fails to retrieve

Mia approaches bumper but fails to retrieve

Mia wouldn't retrieve bumper from land so I let Doc get it.

Mia wouldn’t retrieve bumper from land so I let Doc get it.

Doc shows Mia how its done

Doc shows Mia how its done

This week –

After giving Mia a few preliminary water retrieves, I placed the bumper on the opposite side of the pond. She learned from last week’s mistakes and did a great job of searching and retrieving even though she chose the land route for her retrieve. At the beginning of the video, she looks back at me for direction and takes her cast very well.

This time Doc had trouble with the bumper. We did a few water retrieves and as I did with Mia, placed the bumper on the opposite side of the pond. The distance was too far for Doc so I’ll have to start him out on shorter distances. I led Doc to retrieve the bumper, but since didn’t see me throw throw it didn’t recognize it as a bumper and was afraid of it. We ended the session with some easy water retrieves.

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2 Responses to Beginning duck search with Doc and Mia

  1. When we started Thunder on blind retrieves through water, he just did not get it. He did not understand to go and retrieve if he had not seen the bird or bumper fall. We did a couple of things. One was to send him through just running water so he understood the concept and put a command to it. The other was walking fetch around a pond with our trainer.

    For walking fetch, the dog is with you. Drop the bumper next to you on land so the dog sees it. Move around the pond a bit, and send the dog to where it saw you drop the bumper. Obviously if you have a technical pond it is easier, but you can so it with any pond where you have access around it. You will want to be able to send the dog so it is a straight swim so they are not tempted to run around the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, I’ve sort of started variations on that, and will try the walking fetch and the other suggestions. These ponds are fairly large, probably 10-20 acres in size, but have little bays so maybe I can make that work. Doc is like Thunder was, but I really haven’t worked with them very much on retrieving yet.

    Like

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