Boykin - Low Drive

Discussion in 'Gun Dog Forum' started by agtex42, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. agtex42

    agtex42 Refuge Member

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    I've dug through just about every thread I can find on the topic and I think I have a "get well" plan, but figured it'd be worth opening up the topic for some of yall with more experience.

    Our pup is 4 months old and he's always been fairly low key (much less energetic than I was expecting for this breed). Initially I attributed much of this to diet and some minor parasite issues, he had Giardia when we brought him home and the food we started him on didn't agree with him (low appetite/loose stools). That said we've tested negative for two months straight and he's on a more agreeable kibble that he devours (Victor Nutra-Pro).

    He's never been a big "chaser of things". I wasn't too concerned about it given the "rough" start we had, but it's been about a month since those issues were resolved and I haven't seen much change in his drive. This is my first retriever and I'm attempting to follow the Hillmann approach, I probably got a little out of balance early on by attempting to do some intro OB in conjunction with the chasing game, but for the past three weeks our "regiment" has consisted of 2-3 minute sessions spread out every couple of days (sometimes once a day if he's showing more interest) simply focusing on chasing a toy or mini-dokken (more recently attached to a line which he seems to enjoy).

    That said, I can't quite seem to get that "crawling out of your skin" excitement even in these short sessions. He doesn't interact much with other dogs and he's kenneled for at least 2-3 hours before "play time". We're still working through the teething process and sometimes it appears that he's more interested in me than the object I'm holding (the dragline has helped in this regard). I can't help but wonder if there's something I should be doing differently at this point, not looking to dial it up but I'm not sure if my current approach is still "too much" given the lack of response.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  2. duckbuster5901

    duckbuster5901 Senior Refuge Member

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    Have you introduced feathers into the games(duck wing)?
     
  3. agtex42

    agtex42 Refuge Member

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    Yes, but not that frequently. Initially the only way I could get him to chase a canvas bumper was to zip tie a wing to it, but I stopped doing that after a day or two because he wouldn't give it up or accept a "trade" for something else in return. We used a wing yesterday to encourage getting him into the water, he's not swimming yet but willingly chasing it "belly deep" on his own accord. It had been at least a month since he'd seen a wing and it certainly perked him up.
     
  4. Kornfed

    Kornfed Senior Refuge Member

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    Get him on some live pigeons.
     
  5. KwickLabs

    KwickLabs Elite Refuge Member

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    Most of the techniques for "turning on" a pup have been mentioned. It is usually about
    prey drive (I want that! or maybe not). I have seen a few posts from very good trainers that
    had no qualms about using play toy, tug therapy.

    Most will not "go there" because it promotes prey possessiveness. :h

    Ahh.....maybe that is a good thing......"sometimes". :tu

    My most recent pup is exactly the opposite. She enjoys "shaking and killing" bumpers. Which
    simply means I have a different challenge. Not every pup comes perfectly balanced. :no
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  6. Tailfeathers

    Tailfeathers Elite Refuge Member

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    Maybe drive will kick in as the pup gets older. Maybe at just 4 months old, the pup is just a late bloomer?
     
  7. Don Smith

    Don Smith Elite Refuge Member

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    As said above, get some pigeons, tape the wings with masking tape or painters tape and let the fun begin.
     
  8. Fletched

    Fletched Refuge Member

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    Im no expert but I will share my experience with my current pup. He’s my first dog to ever train. He’s a lab but I experienced some of the same things your going through. One thing I found early on is that at my house he did not retrieve good at all. When I took him elsewhere he would do much better. Even then he wasn't crawling out of his skin to get a bumper. He would bring it back but with not much excitement. I tried wings and he did like them but still wasn’t crazy excited. The past couple of weeks it has changed. I think that it’s just short attention span and curiosity about everything around the first few months. He will catch on!
     
  9. agtex42

    agtex42 Refuge Member

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    Hey gents, the pigeons were a big hit! We just completed a long cross country move but during that process we were able get him on some birds for five days straight while at an enroute stop. He went from “interested but unsure” to “on fire and chasing a thrown bird into cover” before we left the in-laws farm a couple weeks ago. It’s certainly helped with the overall interest in chasing, he’s still only getting a few throws each time but he raring to go for all of them! Thanks again for the encouragement, looking forward to posting future progress reports.
     
    volsquackhead, Doc E and Trout Bum like this.
  10. volsquackhead

    volsquackhead Senior Refuge Member

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    TX(Currently) AL(Always)
    Just remember to keep it fun! Keep us posted.
     

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