PETER BLATCH says: I have known young gundogs refuse to pick pigeons because of the loose feathers but as they have matured and gained more experience they eventually seem to get used to the situation.
Pigeon feathers seem to give lots of dogs a problem so you’re not alone in this respect.
The best thing to do is put a freshly shot woodpigeon into a stocking and encourage your dog to carry the retrieve. Make the retrieving sessions fun and praise him when he carries the package and delivers it properly to hand.
When he’s happy and confident picking the retrieve, try him on a cold pigeon without the stocking as a cover.
Cold birds do not shed feathers as readily as one that’s just been shot.
Again, give the dog lots of encouragement and when he brings it to hand, clean any loose feathers from his mouth after each retrieve.