Training mistakes

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Training mistakes

Postby mfetter » Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:40 pm

We all brag on how good of trainers we are and how good our dogs are, but lets help out the newbies with some of the training mistakes that we have made and learned the hard way from. Ill start

When trianing my GSP for the NA test I didnt want to drive an hour to get quail so I figured that if he pointed pigeons he owuld point quail. We went to the NA test and failed because he ran right by every quail lookin for pigeons. :hammering: :hammering: If your dog wont point it wont pass the test---Drove the hour reapplied for the NA and passed with a prize one--

When training the same dog for the UT water search I would throw the ducks from the same side of the pond as the dog--dog would find the duck with in 30 ft of me every time. When I planted a dead duck on the other side of the pond I couldnt get the dog to swim across the pond because he was used to finding the ducks within 30ft of me.

And Last--I didnt have acess to ducks so I began training for the UT water search with bumpers. When I finially switched to ducks the dog went looking for bumpers and not ducks. "dummy search"

Remember you train a dog to do what you want it to do when it does something that you didnt want its because of your training. I am sure that there is more, so when I think of them I will psot again
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Postby cmelik10 » Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:55 pm

the biggest thing I have seen so far in training my dog is a tendience to move to fast. I have alot of goals for my dog that I want to accomplish I have taken things alittle faster at times than what she is ready for.
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Postby SteveInTN » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:20 pm

Beyond mistakes due to a total lack of experience, there are some notable ones that come to my mind. The most significant to me were AFTER I 'finished' my first dog. He would handle like a champ and could handle multiple marks with the best of the, AT THE TRAINING POND.

Opening day in the blind...

1) Dog port and door were COMPLETELY covered by brush. Dog couldn't see to mark and wasn't accustomed to exiting down a ramp and through brush in order to get to open water for retrieve. All of the super training references and advice I had never mentioned hunting conditions, not once.

2) Did anyone else know that ducks dive? That is one my first dog had to figure out on his own. Fortunately for him, but not for me, he had plenty of cripples to teach him this his first year.

3) Remote sit is one thing, but remote sit, stay, be steady, and wait for me to shoot something was not in our bag of tricks on opening day.

4) Marking from elevated positions (table or platform). I had to teach this mid-season in order to compensate for #1.

5) Teaching the dog to mark by sound as well as sight. Again driven by #1


I think you get the drift. At the conclusion of my first season with my dog I was almost angry because I had COMPLETELY neglected training my dog in conditions very similar to what we would be hunting. To this day, I've not found this point emphasised by the 'high brow' and 'super technical' training material that I have seen. Now, during training, my dog is seldom sent on a retrieve from the heel position. I'm more apt to have him sit on a table up on my deck, or mark from a laying down position in his field blind.
"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"
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Postby gsphunter » Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:26 pm

Mistakes? What do you mean mfetter. I don't know what those are, haven't made any personally.

Now to be serious. Everything you guys have said so far has been excellent. Steve, I'm sure I'll be going through exactly what you're talking about this next season, because this will be my shorthair's first duck season.

I think I'm with cmelike10 though. I wanted my dog to be the best and still strive for excellence, but I didn't realize that the finished dogs I saw didn't get that way in a couple training sessions. I would expect too much from my dog, then it would frustrate me, I would get mad, and the only place that put both of us was farther behind than where we started.

One thing I didn't do when doing obedience stuff was add enough distractions in steps. I remember the first group training day I went to. I though my dog knew heel, I thought it would woah and stay there. HAH! It saw other dogs and went nuts, because it was never trained around other dogs.

Plenty of other I could think of, but I'll stop for now.
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Postby gahunter » Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:27 pm

NOOOO! Don't stop! I am absolutely eating this up. This is the first time that I have trained a dog, so I need all the help that I can get. I have barely had enough time to make any mistakes (though I know I have), much less learn from them, so it is great if I can learn from y'all's mistakes. Keep'em coming. :thumbsup:
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Postby Rat Creek » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:01 pm

My biggest mistake was thinking I could improve on what God gave my GSP. Now I just try not to screw up her natural ability.

My dog and I have come to an agreement. I don't yell or curse if she busts birds or can't find a downed quail, and she doesn't look at me stange when I fall over a downed barbed wire fence or need to return to the vehicle because my hands are frozen. It seems to work for us.

No more mistakes.
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Postby mfetter » Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:38 am

:toofunny:
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Postby harvey1b » Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:34 am

I'm in the middle of training my first dog. She's just over a year. I've made tons of mistakes. A big one was last fall I sent her on a retrieve for a dead duck in really cold water. She had been hesitant to swim since. It is just within the last week that she has turned into a "fish". Must be the warm weather.

Being a rookie trainer my other big mistake is going too fast to get a "wonder dog".

What I've learned:

1- take your time. It's easy to get all excited about how good your dog is going to be, and your dog is going to be good, just not tomorrow. I've found when I think my dog has something down and we're ready to go on to more advanced training I need to take a few more days or weeks even with whatever we're doing to be sure it is solid. The thought is I'll be a lot happier with a dog that does a few things really well (i.e, obedience and marked retrieves) than one that does everything marginally.

2- these dogs are pretty incredible and resiliant animals. By that I mean it seems you really have to screw them up to do unrecoverable damage. I thought my dog was going to hate water after I screwed her up last fall. It turns out that's not the case. With that said Forced Fetch and Collar Conditioning are 2 places where bigtime damage can be done so make sure you have a game plan down before you go into it.

3- As a newby I get kind of nervous at times 'cause I'm not sure if things are going the way they should. this is when I have to pull myself back and go have a beer to keep things in perspective. My dad has lab that has minimal training but is a hunting machine. I'm not trying to brag about him because his obedience is marginal at best and has run pheasants way out of gun range, but he really showed his salt last winter goose hunting. A flock came in and we gave 'em hell. We stood up to assess the situation and his dog was gone. A few minutes later the dog was coming back from another field with a goose. He had marked and retrieved a bird we never saw go down maybe 1/4 mile away. Like I said above these animals are incredible and smart. Persistant training will get them where you want them. They'll figure it out.

Those are my thoughts from what I've learned so far. My dog is a work in progress and we are learning together every training session.

-Matt
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Postby cmelik10 » Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:48 am

1- take your time. It's easy to get all excited about how good your dog is going to be, and your dog is going to be good, just not tomorrow. I've found when I think my dog has something down and we're ready to go on to more advanced training I need to take a few more days or weeks even with whatever we're doing to be sure it is solid. The thought is I'll be a lot happier with a dog that does a few things really well (i.e, obedience and marked retrieves) than one that does everything marginally.


Matt I can't agree with that statement more. I find myself doing that all the time, one thing that I have found that sort of keeps me from doing that is having a journal that I write in after every training session (what I did that day and what I need to do the next day.) By doing that and going back and reviewing it helps keep things in prespective on where you are at.

Scott
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Postby huntingwidow » Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:53 pm

Ours was kind of a mistake but kind of not. We got Belle for me to be a house pet and companion for Tucker. If she happened to be good out in the field great but her training wouldn't be focused on hunting. So, when my darling husband would start singing or humming she would start howling and barking. He thought it was cute and encouraged it. Well when he finally got a duck call and started practicing calls what do ya know she started howling. Not such a great trait in a duck dog. lol
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Postby gsphunter » Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:20 pm

That's a funny one huntingwidow! :laughing: My last weim would howl if you you got her started with some humming. Never took her duck hunting, so it never really turned inot a problem.
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Postby HuntingWife » Mon May 02, 2005 8:42 pm

What do you do when a dog has a "setback" in their training? Our Springer was doing so well with his basic commands at first (come, sit, fetch, etc.) that we could not believe how well we were doing. He definitely still knows the commands, but now he is so hyper or so bent on taking care of his own agenda (chase cat, dig hole, sit in hole, sniff around for dead lizard he has been playing with for days) that he's just not listening any more. He may go get his bumper, but he's sure as hell not bringing it back... you know? Suggestions? Would going ahead and neutering him help? He's 14 weeks old and I very much doubt we will be breeding him.
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Mon May 02, 2005 9:56 pm

14wks. old. Don't worry about it too much. Don't worry about neutering until around 6-8 months. and there are many opinions on that. About the obedience. He is still very young. Your not losing him (yet) But if you give him a command you must make him do it or he will learn that you don't really meen it. or that if he ignores you long enough you will grow tired of trying to make him do it and you will give up, and he wins.

When my lab was a pup and wouldn't obey me, I would take him down (gently) roll him over onto his back and hold him by the skin of his neck( all of this is gently) and sort of growl "nooooooo" to him. This is something his mother or anyone else in his pack who is dominant of him would do. When i would let him up, i would make him go through sit, down, stay, come and so on.

When neighbors see this of course i would think that they were going to call animal rights.

Anyways that was very effective for me to get the upper hand and to get his attention back to what i wanted him to do. The bigger he got the harder it got. About 4 mons ago we got into a scuffle over bath time. He growled at me when i went to tell him to get into the tub. I had to take him down, and it wasn't funny.

If i would have let him win he would have never respected another command from me again.

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Postby gsphunter » Tue May 03, 2005 7:19 am

HuntingWife I wouldn't get to worked up yet, the dog is only 3.5 months old right now. I didn't have my male when he was that young, but my female went through this. Partly it was my fault, because I didn't ensure that I could enforce the commands with a check cord. My final step in enforcing commands was an e-collar and in my opinion this is one of the most effective tools in my training arsenal. I don't have a check cord that is 100 yards long, but I have a collar that will go a mile to ensure obedience of known commands.

I know what Ace is talking about neighbors calling animal rights too. I hate living in a subdivision with houses all around me. I'm waiting for someone to say something to me, not that I'm cruel or anything but sometimes dog training is not the prettiest thing in the world.
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Postby HuntingWife » Tue May 03, 2005 8:14 am

I'm thinking the electric collar is a good idea too... my parents had one when they were training their Standard Poodle, and it had a tone that went along with the buzz. After a while, they were able to use the tone alone with the same effect. It's mostly the "come" command that we're worried about right now, as we live in a subdivision and not in the country. He's tried to follow people walking down the street before, and run across the road several times, and I'd like to have him see his first birthday without getting run over (or adopted by some unscrupulous pedestrians!). We'll keep at it. It's just frustrating because for a few weeks, he was doing everything spot on, and now it's, "What happened?"

Thanks for the info!
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Tue May 03, 2005 7:49 pm

You deffinately don't want your dog hit by a car. Flat puppys are no fun to play with. Check cords are the key, or the e collar. I prefer the check cord when they are young and learning, and the e collar when they are older and already know the command, but just need to be reminded.

With the younger dogs, a check cord is good because, they don't need to be more than a hundred feet or thirty feet away from you. Most obediance on a young dog is done in a short distance or back yard training. With a check cord and a choke collar you can get you dogs attention very quickly.

If you need some good direction on obediance. There is a good dvd set out (fairly new) It is by Dustin Retrievers if you look it up you will find it. I have it and watch it all the time. The obediance part was really helpfull.
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Postby mfetter » Wed May 04, 2005 7:11 am

Hunting Wife--

Before you go get an ecollar how old is the dog?

An ecollar is NOT an instant fix to a problem like a dog dsobeying commands---If used this way you wll ruin any chances you have of usig the collar for training.

Proper collar conditioning will take about three weeks if not longer.

Also a VERY harsh correction on your part should be given for directly disobeying any command regardless of who might see you do it. I lived in Boca Raton FL when I got my first GSP and the last thing that people wanted there was a 75lb GSP jumping on the 500.00 prada shoes(I think they are ugly anyway)

ANY WAY---I would give extremely harsh correctins to my dog when he would run to strangers, jump or directly disobey any given command.

NEVER "spank" your dog more than one swing on the rear. A GOOD scruff grab with a harsh NO and then bring him back to your side of the yard.

The ABSOLUTLY best way to do this is to set up the scenerio with a friend who knows what you are trying to do.
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Postby gsphunter » Wed May 04, 2005 2:01 pm

Should have been more clear about the ecollar. Mfetter is right, it is not an instant fix thing. My aunt wanted to use mine on her lab because it would not come to her. Her words "I want to stick that collar on her and nail her with it when she doesn't listen like that." :eek: I asked her what she thought her dog would listen if it were hit with a collar. She didn't have a very good answer as to why, but she was sure that it would. I had to explain to her that it would be like beating a dog with your hands, hitting a dog with a stick, or whipping it without the dog having any idea why.
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Postby mfetter » Wed May 04, 2005 2:04 pm

I have never explained it to anyone like that---THAT IS AN EXTREMELY GOOD WAY O DOING IT!!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Way to many people ruin dogs because of improper use of an ecollar
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Wed May 04, 2005 5:57 pm

I have a hunting buddy that has two fat labs that get walked twice a day (if they are lucky) anyways he never trains or works with them. When he goes huntin with me and sees how obediant my dog is. He says "Ya i need to get a shock collar on my dogs so that they'll listen to me." I have finally quit talking to him about it, because he won't listen to me. It is hard to believe how someone can think like that. Like shocking a dog will make them listen.

If someone put one of those on me and i didn't know what it was for. I would either run like hell or beat the $#@& out of them. probobly the later.
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Postby mfetter » Thu May 05, 2005 6:17 am

:toofunny:
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Postby shrpshtr » Thu May 05, 2005 7:18 am

i had a yellow lab puppy that was more hard-headed than any living animal i have ever seen. he just wouldn't get things. unforuntately, my training philosophy back then was based on the "if you want a donkey's attention you have to bring a pole down between his ears." i don't hit animals (except once i was defending myself against a stray but that is another story) and i truly believe i would have killed that dog had i not found him a new home. funny thing, i am friends with his then new owner and judge is one of the best dogs he has ever owned/hunted over. he said the dog was already trained when i gave him to him...he just wouldn't listen to me. i was more proud that i new my limitations enough and was able unselfish enough to make the decision to keep his best interests in mind and to get rid of him before i did something he and i would regret. the mistake was the treatment he got from me before i got rid of him. i couldn't bring myself to show him the love and attention he needed because he was so unruly. fortunately for him and me, all's well that ends well.
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Thu May 05, 2005 8:11 am

shrpshtr. Buddy you hit the nail on the head. I finally had to reallize myself that The dogs interests were what this is all about. not my over blown ideas of how my dog should be a champion. when i finally slowed down in my training and worried about the dog(instead of how fast we were getting through things) my training got easier.
.....you've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?

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Postby gsphunter » Thu May 05, 2005 7:44 pm

Ace I had to do that today. The part about SLOWING DOWN. I recently completed force fetching her and now I'm moving on to different drills and marks. I was trying to extend her marks way to fast among other things that she just wasn't prepared for. I stopped after getting frustrated, and realized I need to take baby steps. I did and things went smoothly from there on today. I guess it didn't help that I watched part of the WRC on OLN right before I left the house. Sometimes it's easy to forget that even those dogs were once where your own dog is now.

Shrp my recently acquired male shorthair could end up like the dog you described. My attitude and his just don't seem to be gelling. My female loves nothing more than to please me, but he has other priorities besides me. We'll see how it goes.
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Thu May 05, 2005 9:29 pm

I'm struggling right now with the FF. My dog is a little old for it 2yrs. (would be easier if he was 1yr. i think.) we are two weeks into hold. he holds well, when i walk away (5-10ft) i keep saying hold hold...... Then when i start back towards him to stand at the heel position he pulls this bull @#$% yawn ( which i take as total disrespect) and drops the bumper. I stay calm, catch his open mouth and the bumper and replace it and repeat hold and cuff his chin.

I feel like i have to have him completely steady at hold ( heel beside me, sit) until i tell him to give, before i move on to any kind of force i.e. ear pinch.

Even though i am a little frustrated i try to never elevate my tone of voice or show emotions.

I have even started to take off my sunglasses during training. I feel like maybe the direct eye contact with him will help out the effort.

I am bound and determined to stick with this. He is a smart dog and he can learn this. It is a matter of wheather or not i can "TRAIN" him to do it. I believe the force fetch is the absolute foudation to the progression of further training. I mean if your dog can't deliver to hand, what makes me think that i can get him to follow my casts.
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