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Hi everyone! Im a biologist, and I work turtles. I´ve been training my BC, Phoenix, to search for the turtles in my backyard since I got her when she was 3 months. Now she is 9 months and not only can she find them, but sometimes she can even take them out of the water with her mouth, wich is great... but lateley whenever she founds a turtle she turns kind of agresive to them. Im worried that she might hurt them when she does this but I don´t want her to "unlearn" to find them, because that is very helpful for me at my fild work.

 

Any Suggestions?

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If you have her collecting turtles out of the water, what precautions are you taking to make sure she doesn't get bit, by, say, a snapping turtle.

 

As for the aggression, Jim is right. Correct her for the behaviors you don't like. The last thing you need is for her to damage turtles. If you've been praising her a lot or ramping her up for finding them, you may need to back off that a bit if the aggression appears to be a manifestation of overexcitement at succeeding in the find.

 

J.

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In your shoes, I would focus more on a very structured retrieve that was heavily rewarded when turtle was delivered quickly to hand. If you teach a dog a formal obedience dumbbell retrieve you can finesse your training so the dumbbell doesn't get chomped or mouthed, I would imagine with a fake turtle you could practice individual aspects of the turtle retrieve.

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I agree with rush doggie, start with dumbell, move to fake turtle. Does she find and get them, or is there a command for find, and a seperate one for retrieve? She's also going through a change period, so its important to really manage it at this age, I would back off from the real turtles for now, work on the retrieve and go back in a few months after some maturity lessons

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A dog I sold is being used to locate and count and endangered species in the wild, when she isn't working sheep that is. B) I think it is a fantastic job for a dog.

 

However, I don't agree with allowing a dog to actually catch a wild animal. The dog or animal might get hurt. People who train dogs to find people, animals, objects, etc generally teach an alert signal. Some dogs will point, some will sit or lay down, others will bark or paw at what they have found. For your purposes, I think the best thing to do would be to teach her to point to them with her nose. You could do this by teaching a touch command (touch a target with her nose) then transferring it to the turtles.

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I would put a behavior to the find, like SAR dogs, a bark or a down. Keep her finding just no touching allowed. The reward for a find comes from you- not the turtle! I have 2 that find them...my alert is their circling... though it could be any wild creature in their case!

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I think you might get good advice from owners of hunting retrievers. They are taught soft grip. My BC is able to fetch escapee quail without hurting them :), but I never needed to teach her that.

 

maja

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Thank´s for your replies!

 

You are right, I think I should have used "fake turtles" at the beginning and then move to the real ones. I also agree that my BC might get hurt by a snapping turtle bite, wich is why Im also teaching her to avoid certain kinds of animals that could be dangerous, like toads and snakes.

 

I think I´ll go with the recall/find thing for now. But then I will need to teach Phoenix "soft grip" so she won´t hurt them because I do need her to capture the turtles. Some of the turtles Im studying are terrestrial and in this cases "pointing" or "recall/find" would do fine! But then... the aquatic ones are way to fast to stay in one place and wait for me to get there.

 

Thanks! :)

 

I´ll let you know how it goes!

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  • 3 months later...

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