The "trick" to "going Amish..."

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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby HNTFSH » Tue May 16, 2017 10:17 am

Rick Hall wrote:Why does that hood ornament not surprise me?


:lol3: I'm pretty sure that's an upgrade on a Caravan
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby gonehuntin' » Wed May 17, 2017 8:22 am

crackerd wrote:Correction, Rick - "The 'trick' to going [or coming] Amish..." is to make sure they come back by the same route they go out, whether through the water or over terra firma. My Amish "almost-blind" training would be indicative of such a route

Image

and completing the blind through water, and at great distance is really rewarding

Image

though there is also the disclaimer that I "see orange" very well...

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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rise and Shine Retrievers » Thu May 18, 2017 6:44 am

I have trained 'Amish' for 30 years. I am an avid hunter, hunt tester and part time trainer. I have clients that use a collar and others that don't. If you can't train a dog without a collar, you can't train one with one. I am the first to admit that it is quicker than trying to do it without. Notice I said quicker, not easier. A few thoughts...
I have come to the realization that I will never train a dog to MH/HRCH/MHR level by the age of 2, although I did have a friend that did, without using a collar.
At least 60%+ of the time, if I fail a test, it's during the water blind. It's very hard to make corrections during training when the dog is 60 yards out in the water and blowing you off. :hammer:
Whether at the line or in the blind, my dogs are obedient and sit quietly.
While walking down the driveway with 5 dogs on our morning walk, my dogs took off down the driveway at a pedestrian in the road. I called 'come' and all 5 dogs turned around as if on a switch, and returned to my side.
One of my proudest moments during a hunt was a 120 yard blind retrieve, in an ice choked, tidal river in Jan. I got my HR titled Chessie there in 3 whistles. There was very little open water that day and a group of hunters at the boat launch asked me to hunt with them, they were dogless. They thought I had the greatest dog in the world. Pics attached.
You can achieve a well trained hunting companion without a collar. It will take you more time and effort though. Over the years I have developed a few 'tricks' to get my point across during different phases of training. It's called experience and I am happy to share that knowledge with others. I'm too stubborn to change my ways at this point in my life. Train, train, train...
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Irishwhistler » Thu May 18, 2017 7:51 am

NICE PHOTO'S WES. :thumbsup:

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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rick Hall » Thu May 18, 2017 12:17 pm

Rise and Shine Retrievers wrote:It's very hard to make corrections during training when the dog is 60 yards out in the water and blowing you off. :hammer:


That's where applying the same "trick" (never letting them realize there's an option) to the foundation cornerstone of "bad" (aka: "no" and its many derivatives) pays off.

I'm between chores (and wish I was napping), but will expand on that later today or in the morning.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Alaska_Skeeter » Thu May 18, 2017 11:17 pm

I am 90% amish in terms of training..I use both the carrot and stick approach.

Here are a few tricks that have helped me over the years:

1) I de-cheat with waders. I wade the route I want pup to take
and throw stand alone marks. I did this for the first time tonight with my 1-yr old lab as
the water/air temp exceeded 100 degrees F for the first time here in Alaska.
Pup was doing angle entries, down the shore marks,
and re-entries after a few stand alone marks and having a blast.

2) I teach silent auto-sit on walk-up shot flyers. Pup is reward because he thinks his act
of sitting triggers the shot flyer. This pays off when we jump shoot in the fall and I focus
on shooting as pup automatically sits when we stalk spring creeks for late season mallards.

3) I teach pups that water is a good place to be. As soon as the water is warm enough (> 60 degrees F)
we are lining/casting into water, playing water walking baseball, and most water blinds end
with the bumper in water. I also use small potholes as lining targets for long land blinds.
Water is good as that is where the bumper is likely to be. I never throw a mark in front of a
body of water and I never correct a dog the instant of water entry. That would send the wrong message.

4) I usually run blinds first...when pup is excited, conditions are cool. I often throw a mark first and then
run a long blind over the mark. Pup learns to enjoy long blinds. I never run blinds at the end of a long
training session, I want pup to have a good blind attitude.

5) For days when I am not group training (no flyers) I like to shoot a retriever launcher mounted on a rifle stock.
That teaches pup to follow the gun and really focus on each mark as they are much more exciting than hand-thrown
marks after a shot.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rick Hall » Fri May 19, 2017 8:25 am

Rick Hall wrote:
Rise and Shine Retrievers wrote:It's very hard to make corrections during training when the dog is 60 yards out in the water and blowing you off. :hammer:


That's where applying the same "trick" (never letting them realize there's an option) to the foundation cornerstone of "bad" (aka: "no" and its many derivatives) pays off.

I'm between chores (and wish I was napping), but will expand on that later today or in the morning.


While many speak of them as "hard headed" or "harder to train," all of my Chesapeakes have been very quick studies, right back to my first "retriever," five ago. I had him during a time when big white spreads would still kill our geese by the sometimes nearly literal truckload, we were carrying four to twelve hunters to set them (and, ugg, pick them up) virtually every morning and many afternoons, and he became something of a celebrity: both for his prowess born largely of genetics and opportunity and for blowing my handling off to prove it wrong. Which I was at least smart enough to let him get away with.

Folks also thought it pretty slick that no matter how great the distraction of something hampering his OB might be, the quietest audible "What did I ask you to do?" would make him hop to, as if he'd been nicked by a collar. Looked like a neat little trick I'd intentionally taught him, but was, instead, the result of my own undisciplined training practices. I'd inadvertently transferred the power that should have been in the command to the question I'd fallen into the habit of asking before enforcing it, and Bud was trying to beat that conditioned heat as surely as if he were wearing a collar.

The lesson, of course, being to keep commands, to include handling commands, just that. Which is easiest if done from day one, so Pup grows up within that framework without being given reason to believe he may have viable options to compliance. And which, in turn, puts the real onus for maintaining discipline on the handler. Putting force of habit to work for us depends on developing and maintaining our own good training habits. If Pup never learns he can blow off a remote "no" command while still young enough to easily enforce it in the yard, he's not apt to blow it off in the water, either (assuming, of course, that he's comfortable and not panicked there).

But let's say he does. How can we discipline him to gain compliance then? The same way "What did I ask you to do?" did. We can give him a cue that makes him think trouble is sure to follow continued disobedience. With one of the handiest such controls being voice control.

Here again, we need to start with our own habits. If a drunk roll out of a bar screaming curses, its something expected that probably won't draw much attention. But when a minister mutters a curse, ears perk up. So we'll want to be careful both about what we say and how we say it, in order to keep quiet commands meaningful and to provide emphasis when appropriate. Dogs are masters at interpreting body language, tone and more of our human language than most credit them with - as long as those signals are fairly consistent. If we show them being yelled at doesn't mean much, that's how it's interpreted. But if we show them a harsh glance or word means correction's coming - and never teach them otherwise - that in itself will generally prove all the correction needed. But we can also gain additional emphasis by raising the volume.

So if an Amish pup should for some reason break from a well developed good habit of compliance and blow off a stop whistle or cast "60 yards out in the water," a handler who's been careful to mind his tongue and make meaningful voice associations can expect the same reaction to a loud "Hey!" as an e-collar user might expect from a nick.

And if he hasn't done his own job well and that doesn't work, it's time to bite his tongue until he can better control and condition proper response, least more than a single repetition only serve to further weaken the correction's future meaning by convincing Pup it carries no real threat in the water. Or, better, time for the handler to go meet Pup in the water, after which he'll likely not ever need to do so again.


(Enough for now. Going to go put my own dogs in the water before the day gets any hotter. But I've more on gaining handling compliance if there's interest - and perhaps even if there's not...)
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby buckmeister » Fri May 19, 2017 2:05 pm

Rick believe me, there is interest. Thanks for taking the time.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby HNTFSH » Fri May 19, 2017 2:12 pm

This weekend I may sticky this thread. Might reward the time and effort it takes. It gets "old" having good information fall off the page and then answer the same question 1 year from now with meaningful detail. IMHO - much of what Rick is saying is applicable to any training regiment - just a difference in tools at some point in the evolution.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rick Hall » Sat May 20, 2017 5:30 am

Sorry I didn't get back to it yesterday: watched youngest grandson's coach-pitch baseball and then Cavs vs Celtics, the two of which were much more similar than I ever would have guessed.

HNTFSH, while I'd think you're right about the principles I practice meshing well with mainstream programs, I'm about to take a pretty hard philosophical turn. Hopefully sooner than later, but not just now.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby HNTFSH » Sat May 20, 2017 6:56 am

I'll let it germinate a bit. Once stickied it seems more useful to point to as the topic resurfaces as it seems to disappear a bit from sight, unfortunately. Informational enough, it seems best to lock it so the value of the information/perspective don't get lost in debate.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Alaska_Skeeter » Sun May 21, 2017 9:07 pm

There are several amish trainers that have been very successful in hunt tests and field trials.

For example, Frank Plewa president of NAHRA, Paul Young in the hunt test world.

Lorie Jolie in field trials with an AFC.
Lorie wrote a book that is 90 percent Amish:
Motivational Training For The Field
http://www.rosehillretrievers.com/book.html
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rise and Shine Retrievers » Mon May 22, 2017 5:12 am

Frank Plewa president of NAHRA, Paul Young in the hunt test world


Being an old NAHRA guy I've met Frank and one of my Chessie's received her first HRC Seasoned pass under Paul and his wife Sue recently.

Or, better, time for the handler to go meet Pup in the water, after which he'll likely not ever need to do so again.


I've gotten wet many times. Great info, thanks
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Alaska_Skeeter » Tue May 23, 2017 8:30 pm

I see your from New Hampshire.
I purchased a lab in the late 1980s from SSK labs in central New Hampshire.
Nice biddable labs back then...I used to live in Dover.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rise and Shine Retrievers » Wed May 24, 2017 4:57 am

Taylor Loop from Warner. Our paths must've crossed at one point back then. I was running AKC & NAHRA.
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Rick Hall » Thu May 25, 2017 8:23 am

The forewarned expansion on my approach to handling without electronics has been delayed by indecision over which confession to lead with: "I'm a treat trainer." or "My standards are low." So we'll try both.

Though I once employed Milk Bones to get my second Chessie quickly past a bonehead (that being me) induced case of freezing (not letting go of game on command), I don't normally train with food treats and actually view that practice as mentally cruel and a distraction from our goals. But I very much want the work we do together to be a treat for my dogs and strive to keep it so. I'm not trying to establish an owner/slave or boss/employee relationship but, instead, a partnership working for common goals - albeit while retaining a senior partner's veto power. Though it can't always be so, I'd much rather my dogs were inspired by love of the work than compelled to do it by other forces. As a result, we very often reap the benefit of affording them the latitude to take the initiative to use the special skills they bring to the partnership, rather than work by some rule book.

One of the reasons I generally find it so easy to do that with regard to handling, is that I've come to put my faith in what mainstream training experts often refer to as "low standards" that I'd be more inclined to characterize as "hunting standards". While mainstream retriever training standards are predicated on achieving field trial winning performance (trial pros quite literally "wrote the book"), mine were formed by the demands of hunting. While the trial oriented training mainstream is striving for the geometrical precision trials (and AKC hunt testing) award, I need only work to achieve enough precision to get birds in hand as expediently, in terms of time and effort expended, as possible. And while some mainstreamers will wail that it isn't so, no small field experience tells me the difference isn't just real but very often quite pronounced.

Those two "shortcomings" or "advantages" work well in concert. We can train to our field oriented standard relatively quickly and easily, largely through the joy of making retrieves without the encumbering fear of getting "stimulated" for misstep, much less just because following a trial oriented program requires it. We expend no time or energy on collar conditioning, force-fetch, force-to or much of the drill perhaps requisite to training for the AKC retriever games, nor on unloading the "baggage" that can accompany them, and we get by quite nicely largely through attrition/rote and simple game-like. low or no, pressure variations on memory blinds, wagon wheel and baseball. Pup learns to handle as bid, because he's conditioned to believe doing so gets him to his reward.

Of course, such simplicity is usually countered by the notion that it won't work if Pup decides he's not in the mood, at distance or when the going gets rough. But, knock wood, it's been quite reliable in our experience. I've only had five dedicated waterfowl retrievers (all dumb-a--ed Chesapeakes) over the past thirty-some years, but anything under 1,000 working retrieves per season would have been a pee-poor year for any of them, and I don't recall ever having one of them up and decide "Nope, I ain't going." Much less that being a meaningful issue that might be attributed to lack of electronics.

Have had them be so tired and/or miserable that they plainly didn't want to make a retrieve. Might even have had to ask twice somewhere along the line, but they still did their best with what was left in the tank out of rote conditioned obligation, if nothing else.

Have also had them blow off the second whistle and even follow-up "Hey!" used to inform them that I'm exercising my "veto" (ala "What did I ask you to do?") over their initiative to vary from a handle when they felt they'd reason to. But they're virtually always pretty quick to look for and welcome my assistance to our shared goal when their own "better idea" doesn't work out - which it sometimes does, even when I'm absolutely positive they're screwing up.

And while my guys' sometimes loose interpretation of a "line" would presumably get them DQed in a trial or gigged for "lack of courage" in AKC hunt testing, having enjoyed the opportunity and freedom to learn to work with factors, rather than necessarily through them, is what helps keep them going when those factors are tough enough to fry dogs that fight them. (It flat tickles me to see the retrieving game guys refer to "cheating" as "lack of courage," while praising a straight line trained by fear of punishment.)

None of which should be misconstrued to suggest I think my Amish dogs approach perfection. They're dogs, and their man is human. They do stuff dogs do, and I don't train as well as I know how, much less to the level a better educated, more perceptive trainer might. But being in the business of hosting hunts waterfowlers will want to repeat, dog work is hugely important to me, not just to get what's fallen in difficult places on the strap but to do so with as little distraction as can be from my own primary job of providing additional shooting opportunities. Generally we succeed quite nicely, thank you. Sometimes we don't.

When we don't, it's noted in our daily log, where it won't be forgotten, to be worked on when we've the chance. (Search "Crumby Coyote Chronicles" on this site for a long list of examples.) And while my own search for better, or easier, ways to get closer to our end goal and have fewer such entries isn't nearly so intense as it once was, it's likely been more broad than most and is continuing...

(Anyone wishing my most recent read, Doc Gwaltney's Training and Campaigning Retrievers, for the price of a mailing address is welcome to it. Though I don't know that I'll ever use it, the almost elegant simplicity of the "three pile drill," I'd seen attributed to his book is what led me to it in, alas, unfulfilled hope of discovering more of the same. Can't say I'd recommend most of what is in the work to anyone not at least strongly considering field trialing, per se.)
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Re: The "trick" to "going Amish..."

Postby Dawnsearlylight » Fri May 26, 2017 6:59 am

^Heresy, heresy I tell you! Grab the pitchforks and torches and burn this witch at the stake!!

Rick, I am totally right there with you. When I started training and hunting I was too dumb to realize that I was supposed to micro-manage every move my dogs made, so they pretty much had free rein to use their God given talents to work out difficult retrieves on their own.When I went to the ecollar it was primarily to keep them from committing suicide in pursuit of birds. When I worked the preserve (which was a very different situation from your guiding), I was unable to manage them on the duck shoots, because many times they were out of sight; it was just turn 'em loose and let them do their job. I did do some management on the upland shoots. but never had to go to extremes, because they were brought along to understand the partnership concept.

Two of the things I value the most is a dog that is an intuitive learner, and an excellent marker. A dog that possesses those qualities doesn't need a lot of pressure in training, especially when those qualities are coupled with drive and work ethic, so it is not likely to develop any baggage that has to be dealt with.

The only thing I question in your post is your attitude toward using treats in training. I start conditioning command response in wee babies as early as 5 weeks of age with eliciting via food, which has three different functions. I often get clients who have started teaching with food and are unsuccessful because they don't understand that you have to pair the primary reinforcer (food) with a secondary (learned) reinforcer, teach all commands simultaneously, and gradually fade the primary reinforcer from constant to totally random. This conditioning is hands off, and the most pressure involved is the lack of reward for unwanted behaviors, which are ignored. When started early, the command responses become reflexive, and make formal training that much easier with much less correction involved.
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