Hunting Q & A

How can I get my puppy to return the dummy?

How can I get my puppy to return the dummy?

Q: I have a white lab puppy that is now fifteen weeks old. He retrieves well but has a problem bringing the dummy all the way back to me. He gets about half way back and then either stops or walks off. What should I do? I want him ready for next duck season. - Will Smith

A: Thanks for your question and your situation is one that nearly all of us that have worked with retrievers have come across working with our puppies. First of all, I would encourage you to get at puppy level and hunch over and offer a lot of encouragement. You may find that be simply changing your posture to a more welcoming one may be the little extra that gets your pup coming in. If your pup is working on whistles, I would also call and blow the come in whistle.

If this adjustment doesn’t work, I would turn and walk or jog away from the pup. This trick has worked exceptionally well for me in the past and will usually have the puppy bounding after you with his new found trophy! Remember pups will have good days and some not so good days, but what you are looking for is solid progressions over time. I hope this work and your little guy turns out great!

—John Devney