Smart lab, too smart....

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Smart lab, too smart....

Postby Webfoot12 » Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:49 pm

I've concluded that there are several knowledgeable hunters in this forum giving what I think is pretty darn good advice. Definitely some points I will be sure to remember when I get my next pup.

Here is my delima:
I have a four year old lab that's probably smarter than I am. She has a magnificent drive to hunt unlike I've seen in any other dog. The problem is I think she does it for herself and not so much me. She fails to come when called. I have to get my angry voice before she acts like she's paying attention. When working with her I CAN get her to stay, sit, come heel, lie down or "hide" as I call it. When we get to the field she forgets or rather chooses to ignore her training and me, and do as she pleases.

I'm certain that part of the problem was that when she was a pup she lived with my then fiance at college several hundred miles away who spoiled her to profound measures. I only had limited time with her and when I did get a chance to work with her I'm sure I failed miserably in many ways.

She has such a strong desire to hunt and retrieve that I thought skill and talent would work in my favor. It did, but obedience was what she was and still is lacking. As she is getting older she is starting to get a little better but she is so hard headed and so smart/stubborn.

One of the things I would like to correct other than the come issue, is that she sometimes breaks before we shoot and the ducks are just outside our "shootem" range. Especially when she is really excited. She knows that when we "work" she can't go get the dummy until I give her the command to "Go". But when we hunt she sits on a dog ladder outside the boat.

I'm considering a shock collar for those times she chooses not co "come" and ignore me but how can I keep her from breaking early while on the boat. I guess I could tie her up, but then I would be affraid that she would drown trying to get back on the ladder. But maybe that's what she needs is to get scared a bit. I love hunting with her and she has a maddening desire to hunt. I just would like to tie up a few loose ends. I don't expect her to be perfect. I just want her to get the ducks she sees fall and hunt for the ones she doesn't.

Sorry for the lengthy note, thanks for your replies.

Webfoot
Rest in peace my friend... Mocha- Jan 20th, 2001-Feb 1st, 2009.
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Postby duckdog » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:21 pm

Ahh that is a problem. I have seen many dog's do this, even mine seem's to enjoy this on occasion. One thing you could try is when your hunting you just might have to put your gun down( I know it would suck) But when you got duck's coming in let the other guy's in your party shoot, and you stay right next to your dog making sure she stay's. Wether it being all it might take is telling her to stay while your next to her, or holding her collar, or on a very short leash. Or maybe go out now in the off season, and sit somewhere where you know duck's will be landing, and try to fix her of it now!! The sooner the better, even if you have to go out, and watch other's shoot, while you work with the dog. A few lesson's and not being able to shoot now v.s. having to deal with this problem for a long time. This is not gauranteed advice just something to try. Good luck
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Postby bullet » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:04 pm

Webfoot, I'm an amateur so take it as you will. I would have this figured out before you go hunting. Having a ecollar is the quickest and most humane way to teach a dog. Used properly I think it is the great equalizer between pro and amateur. Your dog is not steady to wing. An ecollar, check cord, and a dozen pigeons would be my recipe for this problem. The ecollar is there to reinforce something the dog has already learned. In other words you can't discipline a dog (in any way) that the dog hasn't learned. Here or come I think you need to take this dog back to the basics sit, stay, come commands. Teach these commands to the dog and reinforce them with the collar. It won't take long believe me. When talking,or hollering to a dog you do 1 or combo of 3 things. You 1 Convey a message, 2 Add pressure, or 3 Release pressure. Example on a water retrieve my pup comes in front of me to heal, if I have to I may say "Sit" I've conveyed a message and added pressure. I say "give" he gives up the bird. I than say "good boy" I've just released pressure. Then and only then will he Shake the water off of himself. He won't shake under pressure. He never does. Why? I don't know.( I usually say "shake" right then. Why miss an opportunity to teach) I'm saying this because tone of voice is key as well. Lastly. Be consistant in your training. Don't let him get away with something today and be ok tomorrow. Sounds like you have a good dog, and whatever you do don't let anybody tell you "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". Thats a wives tale. Hope I've helped a little and good luck
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Postby gsphunter » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:04 pm

If you want to spend the money on the e-collar, it will be well spent. This is just a long leash that you can reach out and touch the dog with. If you do choose to purchase one, PLEASE learn how to use it correctly for the dog's sake. You can cause more problems with them than you fix, if they are used incorrectly.

As for the steadiness, this should be fairly easy. Start next to the dog and fire a blank while you have someone throw a dummy or dead duck. Move away gradually as the dog improves. If the dog gets up, put it back in place. Keep the dog on a check chord while doing this so she can't make the retrieve if she breaks. Make the trip back to the spot you put her unpleasant if she should break. Then praise the dog when you get it back to the spot where you had her sitting. Your final test with this will be firing the blanks out of sight of your dog.

Just thought of another starting place for you if your problem is really bad. Command sit, give slight pulls on the dogs leash. If you haven't done this before, I guarantee the dog will break. When it does, command NO and put it back in place. This is how I steadied my dogs up on woah, which is just a stop and stand in place.
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Postby JJ McGuire » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:30 am

Good advice so far. I would say start with a check cord. You can fix both problems with a check cord. Every time you go out put the cord on her, don’t give her any more opportunities to do what she wants. Give her a here command give the cord a sharp jerk and real her in. Do not repeat the here command. When she gets to you give her some big praise.

On the braking issue one thing I would add is don't let her pick up every mark. You should pick some marks up, start with one out of every three. The lesson is not every mark is hers and you decide which ones she gets.

When you have achieved a good level of consistency using a check cord you can consider transitioning to an e-collar.
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Postby cooter » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:34 am

Yep, I'd say that about covers it. :salude:


Also, I really love the Really Smart Labradors ! ! ! !

When ya get one of those, just take them in the house and put on Mike Lardy's Tapes for them. Go take nap, and come back and put in the next tape. In about 3 1/2 hrs, you could be running Field Trial and possibly winning a National. :toofunny:

Or better yet, teach them how to work the DVD. :getdown: :getdown:
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Postby Webfoot12 » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:38 am

Sounds like good advice to me. Now can anybody change the entire time continuim process and give me a few extra hours a day?? :smile:

What is a "check cord" exactly? Just a long leash with a special type of collar? I have a choke collar.

That's funny cooter....

The dang smart dogs. I swear she gets on the internet while we're sleeping and goes to a forum to train humans. :smile: Her couch is in the computer room...makes one think....

Thanks for your comments. I know she is sensitive to electricity, she bumped a hot fence out in the field one day and heeled the entire half mile home without a word. That's remarkable in the fact she likes to get out in front and lead so it was a shock to me too.

Have a fun and safe 4th everyone....

Webfoot
Last edited by Webfoot12 on Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rest in peace my friend... Mocha- Jan 20th, 2001-Feb 1st, 2009.
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Postby JJ McGuire » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:48 am

Web
Just hit wally world and pick up a 50ft length of poly rope and a snap. Tie the snap on the end of the rope and connect it to her collar. I would use it on her flat collar, the choke collar could get cinched down and not release. If you think 50 is to short then pick up something longer. Just leave the tag end trail behind you. Oh, keep gloves on - the rope can burn or slice you up pretty good, and watch the free end getting tied around your ankles. It is a little awkward at first but you will get comfortable quickly.
Keep the training sessions positive and short, 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Let us know how you are making out.
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