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I have an 11 month old black lab. He does a good job retrieving ducks that are DEAD. but if they are still twitching he will swim in circles around them and he is very hesitant to grab onto them. Even with dead birds he just picks them up by a wing, a foot, a small patch of feathers, etc. He has been out about 4 times this year.

Just wondering if this is just a phase he will go through or if there is something that I can do to make him more agressive twords wounded birds?
 

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Just from your description above I'm am going to assume he is not FF, doing this wil solve your problem. There is a sticky above with a gentler approach to FF and teaching the Hold command.
 

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If your dog hasn't been FF/CC (ecollar conditioned) then to him retrieving isn't a task to be completed as efficiently as possible upon command, it's a game he does if/when/as long as he feels like it...

What you are experiencing is a classic refusal, and without FF/CC, you have no tool in your training method to correct it...

If you are not following a training program, I suggest you pick one and start from the beginning. Normally FF/CC is begun around 6 months of age, after basic OB is rock solid and the pup's adult teeth are fully grown in...

You have lost several months of training time (most dogs are well into Transition Training by 11 months), but you will be far, far better off & happier in the long run for training your dog right...
 
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