Short sightedness(myopia) in retrievers

Discussion in 'California Flyway Forum' started by Slick, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Slick

    Slick Senior Refuge Member

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    Hi! I won't go into much depth on this but is there are those out there who have experience w/ their dogs/pups on this condition I would really appreciate your comments.

    My 10 mo old BLF and one of her sisters is believed to have a depth perception problem which shows up in marked retrieves of 150 yds and less. Problem 1st started on 75 yd retrieves and has progressed to longer retrieves. Result is the sister pups continuously hunt short of the mark. My pro trainer who is highly recognized and myself are perplexed. Vet opthamologist
    checked and no eye structure or disease problems. Sire/grandsire(NAFC champs and lineage never has had this condition.) We're thinking it might just be a mental/physical developmental problem but we're still at a loss. My plan is to develop my pup for derby field trials but if we don't overcome this condition I end up w/ a good gun dog but she will never be able to compete at the trial level.
     
  2. Silver Wings

    Silver Wings Elite Refuge Member

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    I've never heard of this condition...are there any studies on it? If so, maybe they have some definitive test. Perhaps Squaller...being an optometrist and Lab owner/handler...could come up with something? Fingers crossed for the best possible outcome with your dog.
     
  3. J.Bennett

    J.Bennett Elite Refuge Member

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    A dog’s binocular field of vision is only about half of what a human’s is. This means that they can’t judge distance nearly as well as we can. Their visual acuity isn’t nearly as good as ours is either. To put it in human terms, most dogs’ have about 20:80 vision. They have a greater number of rods and a much higher proportion of rods to cones than we do... their eyes are designed to see in low light and detect motion not detail. In other words, canine eyes are designed for chasing prey that has already been located via scent or sound.

    Think about how canines hunt. They locate prey via scent (and to a lesser extent, sound) then, if the prey runs, they have to be able to track its movements while giving chase. On a long mark, you are asking the dog to use sight to locate the “prey” which is not something that comes naturally to a canine. They want to rely on their better developed sense of smell. They have to learn through experience that they can trust their vision in these situations or they will naturally revert to hunting with their nose.

    I doubt that there is anything physically wrong with the dogs’ eyes. The dogs simply trust their noses more than they trust their eyes. The dog that I had prior to my current one had similar issues (wanting to start hunting with her nose well short of the mark). It got to the point that she’d start putting her head down and start using her nose so early into the retrieve that she’d veer way off course. I mostly corrected it by practicing marks in dirt or closely mowed fields (where she could clearly see the bumper on the ground) and having the marks thrown downwind of the dog. Basically making it so that she had to rely on her eyes and not her nose. Once she started running straight to the mark with her head up, looking at it the whole time, I increased the distance. Once I was convinced that she was confident enough using her eyes and not her nose, we moved to a field with a little more cover where she’d run to where she saw the mark fall before starting to hunt with her nose. It isn’t a terrible habit, but it is definitely not ideal for a dog that will be running trials.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  4. J.Bennett

    J.Bennett Elite Refuge Member

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    Disclaimer regarding the above... I am by no means an expert on dogs or training them, just relaying my experience with a similar situation.
     
  5. ChrisF

    ChrisF Senior Refuge Member

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    If the dog marks the fall then hunts short I’d consider that a training/experience issue that could be corrected dependent on training/experience.
    If the dog doesn’t mark consistently at those distances/doesn’t see the fall at all I’d consider that a vision issue and I’d likely wash the pup fairly soon in training.
     
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  6. river_city_dogs

    river_city_dogs Senior Refuge Member

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    For what it's worth, I agree with the earlier comments that suggest maybe a training issue vs a health problem. Haven't got a clue how to fix...if the dog was older and handled, you could probably get creative with the "back" command and a ton of pile work to keep the dog from getting used to stopping short. But since the dog is young and there just aren't that many tools in the toolbox yet. i imaging all you can do is work with the wind ... run marks directly downwind to keep the dog from being able to use its nose and start short in situations where the pup can see the bumper or bird the entire time, and work longer, and with more cover, with success.
     
  7. Bunkhouse

    Bunkhouse Elite Refuge Member

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    Just a quick word. Almost all young retrievers tend to hunt short. It's the natural of the beast. Throw your marks down wind so he can't wind the mark until he has gone past it. Keep increasing the distance as you train and you will have a dog that will go deep. We spend a great deal of time on this. If the dog hunts short he will seldom work his way out and find the mark. If you teach him to hunt deep he will find most all marks as he learns to set up a proper hunt.
     
  8. 7pntail

    7pntail Senior Refuge Member

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    Just curious, how are you tossing the marks at 150 yards? Bumper boy? At that age, I'd sure want to make sure there is a lot for a pup to see and hear at that distance when I lined him up. Wouldn't that make it less likely for pup to put on a "big hunt".

    No expert here.
     
  9. Bunkhouse

    Bunkhouse Elite Refuge Member

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    Best way to describe is "large electronically operated sling shots". Can put 3 or 4 out at time and then release them one at a time when ready. They have horn to draw the dogs attention and shoot blank when released. You can use bumpers or birds. I don't like people standing in the field for dogs to mark off of. Not too many places I hunt have people out in the field for dogs to mark from.
     
  10. river_city_dogs

    river_city_dogs Senior Refuge Member

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    This was always the part of dog training that didn't make sense to me. While the basics are the same, seems like training a dog to be a good hunting dog and training a dog to perform well in competitions are different animals....not many people in white jackets or 200+ yard marks from the duck blind, and not many 25 yard retrieves or chasing cripples in a hunt test or field trial.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018

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