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I'm training my first lab retreiver and my Dad, who's never trained a dog but still knows it all, ahem, says not to have them retreive doves because the feathers get in their mouths, they don't like it and then stop retreiving altogether. Season opens tomorrow and I was itching to get her in the field. It's been a long, hot, dry summer in Nebraska. Anyone got any tips either way?[/img]
 

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I use my lab for dove hunting when it's cool enough. I trained my last two labs and had to spend four or five sessions with them to get them to pick up a dove. I started with a dove wing tied to a dummy and worked up to the whole bird. Afterwards, never had a problem with them while actually dove hunting.
 

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Labs pick up everything including the kitchen sink. This is what they do for a living. He'll be fine. By the book "water dog" by Wolters and train him.
 

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It is true that some dogs seem to be bothered by retrieving doves because they often get a mouth full of feathers. In my experience this seems to be more of a problem with pointers and setters (who sometimes have to be force trained to retrieve) than with labs. Labs seem to generally retrieve about anything.
 

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I have personally trained 2 labs in my life, a black lab and a choc. from a really good bloodline.
The 1st one wasnt all that great, but she will fetch a bird up.
However, my choc. has a lot of $ in her and I wasn't about to mess up with her. So I started going to a local duck dog trainer and I watched them train labs, I helped them out and they gave me free lessons in exchange for the help I gave them. (throwing and shooting birds, etc.)
We used dead pigeons and then mallards, after a few days they will pick them up fine.

I have dove hunted with both dogs and they will pick them up just fine. You just might or might not have to tease them with the bird a little at 1st, but after a while they will be fine.
 

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Another tip is to bring plenty of water, not only to help cool the dog but also to help rinse the feathers from the dog's mouth. I think it is more the dry mouth and general discomfort the dog recieves from the loose feathers that cause them to hesitate retrieving doves and other loose feathered bids. I do this with my pointing dogs and they retrieve doves just fine.
 

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I think the issue is that with a new pup a dove sheds feathers a lot worse than other birds and has turned some off to having a mouth full of feathers. You can get around this to start them off by dropping it in a short length of panty hose.
 

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Can't say that I've had any problem with this. The only hunting I've ever used my lab for is dove hunting. She loves it. I had fun getting her to not EAT the doves the first day out, but she seems to love retrieving them more than I like shooting them! :wink:
 
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