My 10 month old pups (vizsla mother, lab father) dont seem to like to retrieve. they will retrieve a few time then lay down when I throw the bumper. They wont retrieve a bumper at all unless I attach feathers to it. Any thoughts??
It kind of sounds like the dog is getting bored of the "game". As soon as the dog is no longer engaged with retrieving you have done too many throws, rather you want to keep the dog wanting more. I would say limit the number of throws the pup sees, such that the retrieve is the reward. If the pup loses focus after 3 throws, start out with only 2 a day. Keep the sessions short and allowing the pup to play with the dummy rather than simply taking it right away.
The trick is keeping the dog's attention, if that takes feathers, use feathers for now. After sometime of limited exposure, then gradually increase the number of retrieves the dog sees If the dog loses focus, take a couple steps back. Once you've increased a couple of throws, lose the feathers and drop back down the number of retrieves. Once again, if the dog loses focus, take a couple steps back.
I am truly not trying to be a smart aleck here but if attaching feathers is working for you, I'd keep doing it.
Bounce has the right idea. keep them interested and keep it fun for as long as you can. Change the location and seperate them into one on one sessions.
One of my previous Vizsla's would retrieve a training buck 8 times. I swear that dog could count. . Through force retrieval training I got him up to about 15-20 retrieves. I actually kind of gave up on him as a retriever, until the first time he hit real birds. Wow! he was a machine. He could swim like an otter, and it didn't matter what kind of cover, or water, or land. If it fell he was going after it, especially in water.( Maybe he was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever in a former life or something. ;D)
He just wasn't going to waste his time on dummies I guess. The real thing was an entirely different matter.
Some dogs you just have to take as they are and work with what they'll do.