Training mistakes

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Postby gsphunter » Fri May 06, 2005 4:56 am

Ace, how long have you been working hold? How many days a week and how long are your sessions? I don't think using a stern voice would hurt. You don't need to yell or anything, but when she spits it out give a quick sharp NO and if you are close enough, pop her under her chin. Disrespect, laziness, whatever it is the dog needs to learn there is no other way about it. Be patient and keep at it, the end result is worth it.
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Postby ACEBLDRS » Fri May 06, 2005 9:21 am

gsp, its been a little over two wks. sessions only last about 20mins. and they are everyday at noon. The last couple of days we haven't trained, works been murder. (only took 3 days off.) I didn't like the days off but i couldn't help it. we start back up today.

I do give a firm "HOLD" when i tell him to hold. I havn't done "NO". I have been contomplating that for a while. I didn't want to do anything to screw up the training. but now would be a good time to start that , since the progress is at a slow stand still.

I also have seen where some trainers have taken a loop of the lead rope and looped it around the dogs muzzle so that he can not open his mouth to drop the bumper. I don't like the idea all that much but i am open to suggestions.

Thanks.
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Postby gsphunter » Fri May 06, 2005 9:43 am

Typically the leash around the muzzle is used for dogs that refuse to hold at all. From what it sounds like, your dog will hold until you walk away and come back. Tell us how it goes after your days off. I noticed if things got bad if I took a day off or went back a step thing would sometimes work themselves out. It's also amazing how when you are training your dog will instantly pick up things that you have been working on. It's like a light switch or something, and they act like they new what to do all along. Good Luck and keep us posted.
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Postby mfetter » Fri May 06, 2005 10:11 am

ACE--

I skipped the whole hold thing---Fetch means to go get something hold it bring it to me and not open your mouth till I give the command.

I would stop where you are and go to the fetch---ear pinch to open the mouth and a HARSH ear pinch for any dropped dummies. Remember that there is a difference between direct disobeying and mistakes. I went so far as to try to hit the dummy out of my dogs mouth--slapping the bumper to simulate a squirming bird or a half dead one hitting a branch ir bush.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Patience is the whole key to force fetching your dog
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Postby harvey1b » Fri May 06, 2005 11:35 am

ACE,

I think you are doing it right and it sounds like you are about to go/are going through a critical period. The force fetch is a great way to train reliable retreives, but it also shows the dog who really is in charge. Stick with it. Show him you are calling the shots. Once you get that in his mind I think he'll fall in line and the FF will procede for you.

I finished force fetching my dog a few months ago. She did the same BS you're talking about . . . yawning when she didn't want to hold the dumb bell anymore. It seemed like that was her way of rebelling. I had to use a stern voice and more physical pressure to get across the point that her holding was on my time and my terms and that she didn't have a say in the matter. There were a couple of sessions where we butted heads and I had to stand with my thumb pressed into her chin, repeating "HOLD". After those couple of sessions she seemed to figure out that if she held the dumb bell and did what was told the training sessions were a lot less stressful. She even seemed to have fun toward the end, as strange as that sounds.



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Postby ACEBLDRS » Fri May 06, 2005 2:51 pm

hey guys, i just got done with todays session and it went very well. I think the couple of days off helped me and the pooch. today when i first told him to "hold" while standing beside him in the heel position, he did just fine. the first time i walked away and started back towards him he pulled his yawn and drop technic. I pointed at him and gave him a firm "NO" and imediately replaced the bumper and cuffed his mouth and gave a firm "HOLD". He sort of set up and had wide eyes, like oh shoot, I've done it now.

For the rest of the session he did great. not dropping the bumper once. toward the end i even took a finger and sort of poked at the bumper trying to dislodge it a little the whole while repeating "hold" and he would just tighten his grip on the bumper.

I'm not going to get my hopes up to high because tommarow is another day. but today i feel like a rounded a big corner.

Thanks for all of the advice guys, and i will keep posting improvements if you guys keep posting advice.
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Postby gsphunter » Sun May 08, 2005 10:25 am

Good job ACE. Success is always a good thing to hear.

I'm going to expand on what mfetter said about hitting the bumper. Great for teaching a dog to hold objects that are moving and for getting a firmer grip. If the dog holds the bumpers on the ends very loose or so they could get knocked out easily hit them and make sure they fall out. Apply the pressure until the bumper is back in.
The part I'm adding is hitting the bumper even if the dog is holding correctly, but don't kock it out of the dogs mouth. This teaches the dog the proper way to hold a bumper or bird.
I wouldn't neccesarily move to this yet ACE, but it sounds like you are really close. Just make sure everything is sound before moving to the next step, which it sounds like you are doing. Keep up the good work.
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Long Post. Sorry !

Postby defectivedabbler » Sun Jun 05, 2005 5:17 pm

Wow. Mistakes ? I could write a book ! While some of them have been mentioned, I'd like to lista few of the most important in my mind.

1) During OB and early training, my pup would do incredible things followed by days when he acted as if he had received a lobotomy during the night. I lost my temper one time and one time only with my pup. I did not strike him;however, I yanked (popped not yanked) his *** all over with a pinch collar when he wouldn't HEEL. I am still disappointed to this day for even losing it that one time. Shameful and unacceptable.

2) No one knows your dog better than you.

During FF up at a protrainers, My pup could not/would not make the transition to fecthing from the ground.

For those of you that aren't familiar with FF with a collar, you tell the dog to FECTH. If you get a refusal and are absolutely sure the dog understands your command, you knick with an ecollar. If you again get a refusal, you increase level of ecollar and knick again.

11 weeks in training, my trainer called me and explained that my dog was blowing up during FF. He would sit there and take the ecollar hit, even when led toward the bumper. He asked me to come up immediately.

I drove up and we put the dog up on the table. The dog was rock solid on FETCH as long as I was physically touching the bumper. I set the bumper on the ground with my pinkie on it and gave the FETCH command. BAM !, the dog was all over it. Take away my pinkie and nothing. On the third refusal, the dog did not vocalize when hit with the ecollar but urinated on the table. The trainer and I both felt like sh!t. We were obviously pushing too hard.

Fortunately I had a trainer that suggested an unconventional approach. Stop in the middle of FF, hunt the pup all season and see what develops, giving him a little more time to mature. No ecollar and no training for a week or so, to allow my dog to readjust after being kenneled for 11 weeks.

I asked two other pro trainers/authors. They both suggested that I apply more pressure. They explained that if I stopped FF, the dog would be useless. WHile I was a first time trainer, this approach just didnt feel right.

A friend of mine who had extensive dog experience, sided with me stating that I had all kinds of time to let the pup develop and that I had to go with my gut instinct.

After 2 days of a painful decision process, I brought my dog home. I refused to jeopardize my pup's desire. While I wasn't an expert, I just did not feel comfortable applying any additional pressure.

At home, we did no training whatsoever for a couple of days. Threw some fun bumpers and just hung out. I was extremely depressed as I felt that my pup had failed me, or actually that I had failed him.

On the way back from the park on day 3, I stopped to speak with people that were asking questions about Jax's training. While I was chatting, Jax kept trying to take his Dokken out my hand. I gave the LEAVE IT command but still he persisted. I finally HEELED him up and gave the FETCH command. WHAM ! He was all over the D. I held the Dokken 3 feet from his face again giving the command. WHAM ! All over it. I placed the Dokken on the ground touching my foot and gave the command. WHAM ! All over it again. I tossed the bumper 6 feet away and gave the command, expecting him to sit there. Instead, WHAM ! We did remote fetches for 5 minutes minutes. My pup was attacking with a passion. I never corrected him. Heck, I wasn't even running his ecollar.

My point to this story is that:

A) No one, not even a Pro knows your dog better than you !!!!

B) Sometimes (not very often) the experts are wrong, especially if they weren't able to evalute your dog in person.



3) DO NOT JEAPRDIZE YOUR DOG"S LIFE BY BEING A CHEAP BA$TARD !

After collar conditioning at the trainers, I had to buy an ecollar. Everyone told me to buy a TT Flyway Special. 410.00 !!! The cost of a decent pump shotgun. I refused and elected instead to purchase a cheaper inferior brand, saving 250.00. It had a no questions asked return and repair policy. THat's all you need , right ?

I was out hunting a lake with my pup and a friend one day. It started out toas a beautful morning but a nasty strom moved in. Wind blowing the rain sideways. Just plain nasty. Yet the ducks continued to fly.

The flooding up north was so bad that the river that emptied into the lake was 18 feet above normal level. Entire trees were floating into the lake and stacking up against the dam.

I had an overhead shot on a duck moving away from me fast. I cracked his fanny and dumped him. His forward progress carried him out to about 70 yards. I held off releasing my pup to ensure that the duck was deceased. He was not moving, so I gave the release command, and my pup was off !

When Jax got to within 30 yards or so, Mr. Duck popped his head up and started swimming towards the dam. I couldn't put a shot on the duck withhout jeopadizing my dog. My hunting partner ran down shore to get an angle on Mr. Mallard. By now, the duck was out at 100 yards with my pup in hot pursuit.

The waves in the lake were hammering my pup. I decided enough was enough, and gave the HERE command. No response. I hit the COME IN/HERE whistle. My pup continued to move out into the barage of floating trees. He couldn't hear as the wind was blowing directly into my face.

I grabbed his transmitter. I hated to knick him off of a retrieve but the weather had deteriorated further and no duck was worth my dogs life. As I went to push the knick button on the transmitter, the transmit button and a spring shot right out of the unit and over my shoulder. The cold had caused the rubber button to shrink and it had ejected itself. By now my pup was out at 250 yards and directly in the path of floating trees. I became sick to my stomach. He was going to get pinned in between, or worse, get forced or trapped below the surface and drown !

I threw the whistle to my hunting partner and told him to blow it until he passes out. I ran down shore to my Otter Stealth and hopped in. While we had a pleasant ride on the way over, the wind and whiteecaps were preventing any real forward progress with the trolling motor.

I felt like I was was watching a slow motion movie and thought I was going to throw up in the boat. I did evrything I could to stay focused trying to keep the boat on an interception vector. I was closing the distance on Jax and Mr. Mallard but I wasnt sure I was going to get to him before he got caught up in the trees packing up against the dam.

Once I closed to within 25 feet of my pup (Now out well over 300 yards), I screamed HERE HERE HERE with everything I had. He turned around and looked very surprised as if he wanted to say, "Hey dad ! WHat are you doing way out here ?"

He immediately turned and came to the boat where I promptly hauled his fanny over the side. Man, I was shaking bad. We closed on Mr. Mallard to winthin 20 feet and I brought him to an immediate standstill with a 3.5 Hevi # 4.

Jax and I headed back to shore. It scared my hunting partner and I so bad that just sat on shore not saying a word for about 10 minutes.

That night on the way home I stopped by Sportsman's Warehouse and paid 410.00 plus tax for a TT FLyway Special. I wasn't even upset about spending it. When I told my wife the story, even she wasn't upset that we blew 4 bills on an ecollar.

The moral here ? Sometimes "quality" and "dependability" cost money. There are times to be frugal and times to just put up and shut up.
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Postby gsphunter » Sun Jun 05, 2005 9:08 pm

Dabbler I agree with you on the breaks in FFing. I consider my dog to be a soft dog. I got into FFing and my dog shut down like that. Urinated too like you described. I gave her about a 3 day break and bingo, went back to the basement and she performed great. I think it gives both of you time to cool off if things are getting too heated. I think the big mistake made here is putting yourself on too much of a time schedule. Dogs don't read calendars so why should there training be set to one. I am planning on running my dog in a NAVHDA UT test this fall, but if she isn't ready oh well. She'll still be a great hunting partner this fall and winter, and I can test in the spring. A day enjoying your dog's company is not necessarily a day lost training.
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