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2 goldens and a BMD
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841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My older golden is a late comer to the field game. He'll be 8 in December and is just getting started. Because of his age, I won't be force fetching him. He has on occasion been shaking the bumpers on return. It actually seems to be getting more frequent. He hasn't shaken a bird yet, but I think it's a matter of time before he does. He's also doing a bit of parading on the first few throws that I'd like to work on stopping.

I don't have Master or even Senior aspirations for him, but I'd like to try and get his WC and JH if possible. He absolutely loves the game and I want to give him the chance to play.

Any ideas how to get him to stop shaking things? I've taken the ropes out which makes shaking a little less fun, but as soon as they go back in, the shaking starts again. Thanks in advance!
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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4,639 Posts
Head shaking is often a symptom of weak recall.

Think about the normal process of making a marked retrieve. The dog marked the bumper, went when sent, located the bumper and picked it up. Rather than returning promptly, the dog is dilly dallying around shaking the bumper.

He needs to get his furry backside back to you and deliver the bumper.

Spend some time working on response to obedience commands. Demand prompt response to commands given, correcting for a lack of effort if it becomes apparent. When the recall becomes prompt and snappy, I suspect the head shaking will go away.
 

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the party's crashing us
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Have you force fetched a dog before? Are you opposed to it in general?
I would not let his age affect whether you FF'd him especially if you have done it with other dogs. If you've done it with other dogs you realize that it's as little as a week for the basics (say, stopping with walking fetch and no pile work). That's one week that will make the rest of your training SO MUCH EASIER.
I have a training buddy who's two goldens were never force fetched. Both spit out the bird 3 feet in front of her like clockwork, on EVERY retrieve. She dutifully says "HOLD" puts the bird in their mouth for them, then they return to heel just as they should. This is part of the game for them. It KILLS me that if she spent TWO WEEKS force fetching those dogs, all of that nonsense would go away and she could quit nagging her dogs forever.
Fisher was five before I bought an ecollar and collar conditioned him. We would never have progressed without it, well maybe we would have but it would have taken five times longer and five times as much wear and tear on the dog. Enough of that!
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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7,650 Posts
I'll start by saying I don't force fetch, nor do I do a lot of field work. My dog has a JH and that's it. Competitive obedience is my game of choice.

I'd look at the problem as a hold problem and I'd work to fix the hold. I'd go back and re-train the hold using an object that was un-evenly weighted and a bit heavy. It's what I did to make great progress in a mouthing problem (obedience dumbbell). Quiz couldn't mouth a dowel w/ a weight only one end b/c if he tried, he couldn't successfully hold it, and the reward only came for holding.

Might work the same with a shaking problem. Harder to shake something that's got some un-even weight to it. Then use your hold cue to prevent shaking of the bumper, only asking for short duration holds to start and working up to longer, shake-free holds.

JMO.
 

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2 goldens and a BMD
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841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for the responses! Great suggestions!

Have you force fetched a dog before? Are you opposed to it in general?
I have not force fetched a dog before, but am considering it for my younger guy. Because of Cisco's age and how sensitive he is, I don't think he's a very good candidate for it.

He needs to get his furry backside back to you and deliver the bumper.
Love this line :p Actually this makes a lot of sense. He's more likely to shake running a drill than he is for a happy bumper, so I very well could be dealing with an obedience problem. His obedience is getting much better working drills as he's starting to understand that obedience equals more bumpers -- I put him in an obedience match a couple of weeks ago and you would have thought I was torturing him. I don't see an obedience title in his future.

I'd look at the problem as a hold problem and I'd work to fix the hold.
Admittedly, the hold isn't something I've spent a lot of time on with him. So this is something I do need to go back and address.

Thanks again for the responses! This definitely gives me some good things to think about.
 

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the party's crashing us
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I have not force fetched a dog before, but am considering it for my younger guy. Because of Cisco's age and how sensitive he is, I don't think he's a very good candidate for it.
Well there ya go -- that'll make it easier :)
But I totally agree with the other guys, solidifying obedience AND showing the dog what you expect on "hold" is the way to start. We take so much of our dog's retrieving abilities for granted, it is amazing how even the most integral parts can break down unless you teach it systematically. Best of luck!
 
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