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Lack of spirit

I have a 1.25 year old yellow lab. He is very obedient except when he gets on a trail and goes out of range. That will come with training. I have had him hunting a lot for his age. Just like any young dog, he picks up a lot of scents. In the future I want to hunt pheasants and ducks with him.

My problem is with his lack of go-go-go full out running required to cover a lot of space to be a good hunter. He simply jogs around taking his time and has a hard time hunting the area that more than one person covers. Its not that he lacks desire, he loves being in the field. And its not that he is in poor shape, he is kept outside and left out all day long.
Thanks for any suggestions.


It will be tough to answer your question without knowing more about your dog. Some breeding lines develop more slowly and this may be the case with yours.

It may be that your dog is out of shape for the kind of all out drive you are looking for. Leaving the dog out all day probably means that he sleeps until you get home. Pointer trainers spend a lot of time conditioning their dogs for the hunt. Running in a roading harness and/or a drag sled helps ensure that these animals are in peak physical condition for the demands of all out hunting.

If your dog has been out hunting and has flushed and retrieved birds, I would expect that he would show plenty of enthusiasm for the hunt. If he does not, it may be a matter of style. This is a genetic factor that will not be easily overcome, if at all. If you cannot adapt to his hunting style it may be best for both of you if you seek another hunter from high-powered field breeding.

You can enhance your dog's drive by exposing him to a lot of very exciting situations and birds. Expose him to a lot of planted birds so that you can guarantee that he will find birds to reward his efforts.

Best of luck.

Bill Corcoran
Highland Retrievers
Highland Retriever

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