Curing a Hard Mouth

Try this simple, effective fix.

Once a dog develops a hard-mouthed retrieve, be it a man-made problem or due to a genetic predisposition, it can be difficult to correct. One simple yet effective cure was shown to me by Mike Wallace of Salmy Acres Kennel, who has trained field trial hall of famer FC AFC Salmy's Zorro and (WARNING: shameless self-promotion) one of my dogs.

The process is simple:
1) Put a dead bird in the freezer until it's frozen solid
2) Toss the frozen bird for a hard-mouthed dog to retrieve
3) If the dog bites into the bird, it will have an unpleasant experience

"Just like people, not all dogs have sensitive teeth," Wallace says. "But the ones that do only have to sink their teeth into a frozen bird one time and they get the picture."

The technique is effective and easier on the dog than other methods. I've seen Wallace use it on at least one dog to great effect; the dog never sank a tooth into a bird again.

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