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Retrieving rabbits?

PostPosted: Sun 07 Feb 2016 4:42 pm
by Justin T Brown
This is my first post on here so Hi to everyone.
I'm currently training a 13 month old Gsp bitch who is going really well on retrieving dummies but when I have her out in the field she will not pick up rabbits, although will chase live ones quite readily. She will roll them around looking for a better hold then quickly looses interest. I've tried rabbit skin over a dummy and she works with that well but doesn't seem to like the way an actual rabbit feels in her mouth. I've looked at using forced fetch training but its a bit different from what I'm used to and am a bit reluctant to try it.Rabbits are my usual quarry over the dog so would like to see her working them well.
I'm beginning trialing soon and when I saw the use of rabbits as game in the rule book it got me thinking.
Any ideas??

Re: Retrieving rabbits?

PostPosted: Sun 07 Feb 2016 4:52 pm
by Diane McCann
Hi Justin, have you taught your girl to 'hold'? By that I mean have you gone through the process of teaching her to hold anything in her mouth that you ask her to take and to keep holding it gently until you give her the command to give? If you haven't then you need to do that first, then you do recall's with the item in her mouth and ensure that she holds at delivery until commanded to give. Then you progress to her picking the item up from the ground. I really do not think that you have a big issue here, she is a GSP after all and if she is keen to hunt and chase rabbits then she will also be fine to pick them up and retrieve them, it is really just a matter of her understanding how to handle them. Once you have taught her to hold introduce a dead rabbit and have her hold this and bring it to you on a recall. I am sure once she has done this a few times she will be fine. Good luck

Re: Retrieving rabbits?

PostPosted: Sun 07 Feb 2016 8:06 pm
by Justin T Brown
Thanks for the reply Dianne,
I've actually started using a few "hold " commands with her over the past few days. I'll give it a few weeks with her holding the dummies and see how she responds to another rabbit after that. I might go back to the rabbit skin over the dummy as a progression before trying again with a rabbit proper.