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Thread: Labrador won't move

  1. #1
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Labrador won't move

    I have an eight year old labrador that I use on both game and deer. She's been a great stalking dog, very steady to deer and has successfully worked a number of blood trails. She loves going stalking, getting excited if I come down the stairs in my stalking kit. But recently she's started acting strangely occasionally when out stalking.

    She will walk perfectly at heel but then, for no apparent reason, she'll just sit down and won't move. She won't come to the whistle or hand signals. If I go back to her she'll just lie down and, as a dead weight, will not be moved. If I take the lead out she will stand, put her head through the lead and walk at heel, but then 50 or so yards later she might sit and then lie down again. The only way I can then move her is to drag her After that she'll walk back at heel, maybe for the rest of the time I'm out but maybe just for 5 minutes when she'll then repeat the process.

    Initially she only did this when I was out guiding one particular client, so I though that might be the reason, but over the Christmas/New Year break I took her out on my own and she did exactly the same thing. Then, to really confuse matters, when I was out last Friday she was perfect throughout. So it doesn't happen all the time, doesn't happen on a particular beat, doesn't happen at a particular place, doesn't happen at a particular point on a stalk and doesn't happen with a particular client. For the life of me I can't figure out why she does it. Oh, and she doesn't do this when she's out beating/picking up and doesn't do it when we take her for a regular walk with the other two dogs, so it's only when we're out stalking, and then only sometimes.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? And no, before anyone mentions it, I'm not going to have her put to sleep! Although I've only had to use her twice on deer that were shot and wounded by clients, I've got used to stalking with a dog and wouldn't want to be without one.

    willie_gunn
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  2. #2
    Sorry I don't know the answer. I have a wee spaniel bitch similar but it is fear and selfdoubt causing the problem Anything she is unsure about or new to her she freezes. Once she gets the confidence she is fine but everything takes time. Might be worth getting her heart checked. The excitement may be affecting it. (Arythmia) Basically she is having a fainting fit.At her age it is worth a visit to the vet, Jim

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo123p View Post
    Sorry I don't know the answer. I have a wee spaniel bitch similar but it is fear and selfdoubt causing the problem Anything she is unsure about or new to her she freezes. Once she gets the confidence she is fine but everything takes time. Might be worth getting her heart checked. The excitement may be affecting it. (Arythmia) Basically she is having a fainting fit.At her age it is worth a visit to the vet, Jim
    Could be having a fit or a seizure? Are you sure you haven't shot over it with the rifle muze behind it? Does it happen at any other time?

  4. #4
    There's something wrong with her anyway that's for sure
    Especially if she was ok and keen before
    Bad experience with wounded deer recently?
    Bad experience when out stalking at all recently?
    If no to either of these perhaps something wrong with her physically/mentally
    Got me flummoxed especially if she loved it before

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  5. #5
    Over how long a period of time has this gone on for since you first noticed it?

    The reason I ask is that I have had 2 dogs that suffered a pyometra, which in laymen terms is a womb infection. The first time I saw an indication was when one of my dogs stopped on walks and either lay down or went into what my vet called a praying pose, her bum in the air and front legs laying flat on the ground. Apparently the reason they do this is to alleviate the pressure on the womb caused by thickening of the muscle. It resulted in the first dog requiring a hysterectomy.

    When it happened with another dog because I had experienced it before, I was able to recognise the symptoms immediately. I took her to the vets and they deliberated for a while and considered putting her on antibiotics for a couple of days although a pyometra was being queried. In the end they decided to operate and the result was a pyometra that was so bad the vet thought she would not have survived the night, in fact he said it was the worst he had ever seen and he retired 2 years ago. She made a full recovery but the vet felt that she had been carrying the infection for a considerable time without showing signs, but that was typical of that bitches temperament.

    Both my dogs were a similar age to yours at the time and both had had litters of pups.
    Last edited by jamross65; 03-01-2012 at 18:00.

  6. #6
    Sorry have only just picked this uphaving been made redundant and having man flu as well. It sounds as if your dog may have gone gun shy because of being shot over to close. How does it react when a rifle is fired and will it hunt for the downed deer after the shot. There is obviously a fear factor involved which is why the stubborness to move and having to be dragged. With no such fear when out beating and working it may be that you will have to go back to basics and reward to the shot and finding deer. Commence with starting pistol and deer liver or carcass close by and slowly over weeks increase the velocity of the weapon and slowly slowly will hopefully get him on track. But despite frustration always end a training session on a high note and a reward so the dog will not fear training because of the last session being castigated.

    Dave

  7. #7

    dog

    Had something similar happen to my 10year old lab cross 6yrs ago, turned out to be a problem with his heart causing a sudden drop in blood pressure, no pattern to it could happen at any time.
    would take it to the vet asap and get it checked out though.
    Sinbad
    I wish I was half the hunter my dog thinks I am

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Many thanks indeed for all the replies.

    Jim - I'd wondered about a fit, but she stays fully conscious all the way through and just looks at me like she's a grumpy old bitch who would rather be in bed! What also makes me think it's not a fit is that she doesn't do it any other time, only when she's stalking. When she's out beating/picking up she's like a guided missile on runners/pricked birds, so if it was excitement I'd expect to see it there as well.

    Deerman - nope, it's only when she's stalking and doesn't seem related at all to firing the rifle. On Friday I was out and shot a roe doe whilst the lab was sat at my feet and she was perfect throughout. Didn't flinch, just waited until I reloaded and then we worked our way in to the fallen doe.

    Wolverine - no, similarly no bad experiences that I'm aware of. That was why I wondered if it was the one client who'd given her a surreptitious boot up the backside, but apparently not! She not only loved stalking before but she still does. I was out guiding yesterday and when I came down she was desperate to come out with me, but as it doesn't look good dragging the dog around with you in front of a client I left her at home.

    Jamross - it started about a year ago and has happened perhaps 4 times since, though with no apparent rhyme or reason. Coincidentally she had pyometra when she was younger (perhaps aged 3) and was operated on. Like your dog she was close to death when they operated and, when they opened her up, her womb was grossly enlarged. I wouldn't have thought it could be pyometra again, particularly as the rest of the time she is right as rain.

    Thanks agian

    willie_gunn
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  9. #9
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Dave - sorry to hear your news, hopefully 2012 will turn out better. You can never be sure, but she certainly doesn't appear to be gun shy. Per my other reply above, she sat with me on Friday as I shot a doe and never flinched, and then worked her way up to the doe quite happily after the shot. We have another lab that is shy of any loud noises - even a bottle of champagne will set him off - and he slinks away if he sees the rifle or shotgun coming out of the cabinet. Bizarrely he's fine when my wife works him picking up. The bitch, on the other hand, just needs to see the rifle and she's jumping up and down like a pup, raring to go. She'll then head out to the car and wait to be let in. She'll be fine when we start stalking and then it's like a switch is hit and she'll just sit. There's no pattern to it, at least that I can see - not every outing, not at a particular time on the stalk, not when she sees a deer, etc.

    Sinbad - Yes, I'll maybe pop to the vet and get her checked over. If it happened as well when we were out beating/picking up, out on our regular walks or at home, I'd maybe think it was something like a heart problem, but only out stalking, and then only occasionally??

    Thanks again to all for your thoughts and comments.

    willie_gunn
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  10. #10
    WG

    I am no vet but would agree, it appears to be a relatively short term thing.

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