Yes, I too have experienced a reluctance among dogs to pick woodcock and the problem is not just confined to the Labrador breeds – I have seen plenty of spaniel showing their distaste for the bird, too.
Only the other week I watched one refuse to pick a freshly shot woodcock so I sent my dogs in to see if this would encourage him to ‘get on with the job’ but it still refused.
I placed the bird gently in the dog’s mouth and made it carry it for a little while.
No problem. I then tossed the ‘cock into cover and sent the dog.
After a great deal of encouragement, he picked the bird, turned towards me – then spat it out just before placing it into my outstretched hand!
I’ve got some woodcock wings ready to strap to dummies so now that the dog has shown itself willing to carry woodcock I will set-to on a little bit of training at the appropriate time this spring.