Giving up the bird!!!

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Giving up the bird!!!

Postby sully » Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:35 pm

First time training a dog. Been going really well, but concerned about my dog giving up the bird. She is just at 6 months (yellow lab) and I have used duck scent on the dummies. I just recently introduced her to doves by hand - not fetching yet. The instinct definitely kicked in and she really wanted to swallow the dove whole. I got it away from her without scolding and without swallowing. I then took dove wings and tied them to the dummy. She did good fetching, but she did get the feathers off and wanted to swallow them as well. I know that a duck would probably be too big to swallow, but what can I do to make sure she will not swallow a dove or just keep the duck to her self? Any suggestions. Again, this is my first time. :cool:
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Postby SteveInTN » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:09 pm

Force Fetch would give you the tools you need.

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Postby sully » Wed Sep 15, 2004 3:07 pm

Thanks, I have also heard of wrapping the bird in chicken wire to keep her from eating it. Do you think that would cause her to dislike the fetch. She is crazy about it right now, but I just want to be for careful.

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Postby muskiemac » Fri Sep 17, 2004 7:53 am

Hey sully: Iwas looking at you sitting question, and I thought that I would pipe in here as well.
I am also going to to down another road here.
I have, after many years, gone totally away from forcing a dog. I think especially for the first timer, forcing a dog is a really tricky thing to do, and many dogs are left in worse shape. I would slow down a little bit here. I think that you should start working on hold with a hard plastic dummy. Have her walk at heel, and correct both her dropping and repositioning the dummy. Work this up to 30-50 minutes at apop.
Then work your way up to cold dry dead birds out of the fridge, then warm and so on. I would switch to live birds soon after,. I also like to take the birds and dunk them in a pail of water so they are not so fluffy.
A couple of good resources: There is a new book out that describes the British way of dog training- The retriever Journal has it on there website.
Also, I would go to the GRANDRIVERWEB web board and look down at the subjects that address this.
I would sure try to stay away from the force method if you can.
Take the high road here man.
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Sep 19, 2004 7:48 pm

muskiemac wrote:I would sure try to stay away from the force method if you can. Take the high road here man.


While the Force Fetch might not be for everyone, and it might be tricky for a rookie trainer, it DOES give the trainer some powerful tools with which to craft an absolute retrieving machine. I'm of the OPINION that if you don't feel comfortable/qualified doing it yourself, it is worth paying someone to do.

I really don't understand what you mean by "taking the high road"? I'd like to hear you expound upon that a bit.

The process of force fetching a dog is to turn the act of retrieving from something to dog does for himself into something that he does on command for his handler. That is it. Period. It isn't easy, it can be tough, but IF done right, it is powerful. When he describes how his dog is acting, it reaks of his dog doing what his dog wants to do. FF WOULD give him the tools (HOLD, FETCH, GIVE) to get over the hump. It may be a shortcut to an end result that CAN arrive after persistent training and EARLY training. It can also jump start a dog to a higher level of performance, for those of us who also started training EARLY and have PERSISTED.

BTW, my OPINION is a guy training his own dog is cheating himself and his dog if they DO NOT go through Force Fetch. If you don't communicate to the dog what is expected of them, how can you expect them to suceed? It isn't brutal, and it won't ruin a dog unless the person doing it is already abusive and heavy handed.
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Postby Rat Creek » Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:33 pm

Use force fetch as a last straw.
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Postby muskiemac » Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:39 pm

Steve:
First off, let me say that the primary problem that I have with forcing a dog is that I think that you take a dogs natural ability and desire, and turn it into a contest that centers around pain. I guess that I first began to really question the practice, along with the "Conventional" use of the collar when I spent some time watching the Brits run dogs.
I think that the basics- Fetch, Hold, Give- Can all be taught through basic obedience. I think that many owners/trainers spend too little time on basic obedience, and forcing a dog is part of the solution to the problem.
I also think that the entire process is just disrespectful to the dog.
No matter what you call it, or the method you use, Force fetching is based on the premise that you are in complete control, and completly dominant over the dog. In my mind, we need to focus more on the partnership part of the equation. . Working on the basic parts of the fetching process without this degree of pain and intimidation is just as effective.
In my day, I forced over 20 dogs, all of which spent time in collar conditioning as well. Since then, I have run about ten dogs through the newer "Program" All of them are accomplished hunting dogs, highly motivated, and obedient. I have never had one of those dogs quit when they knew a bird was around. I also think that the Force/Collar program gets you a dog that is so conditioned to be under your control, that they loose some of their ability to think for themselves, '
The smartest dogs seem to have the most trouble with forcing. It is almost like they say:"Hey, I know what I am doing, so stop this S***". I think that the same is true of dogs who are trained in strict accordance with field trial rules.

To me, the high road is about showed the proper respect and reverence for a dogs natural ability, and his abilty to think on his feet. If you want to see two sides of the same basic idea, look at the Grad River guys from out West, or look at atape of a British "field Trial"

Thanks
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:07 pm

Your response was very eloquent and sound. You obviously have a lot of experience and your opinion is an important one for amateur trainers (like myself) to take note of.

Having said that, I must continue "just a bit", because I don't want to leave the impression that I agree. I could type an entire manifesto on this topic, not because I have that strong of an opinion on the force fetch but because I think it speaks more on ones personal beliefs. I love my dogs ‘almost’ as much as I love my kids. With my kids, I am not hesitant or in the least bit ashamed to make it crystal clear who is the parent and who is the child. As a parent, I sometimes have to do exercise my authority for the greater good of my family, and society in general, in order to teach them right from wrong. Yeah, I have to ‘apply pressure’, I have to teach them that who is the master, but it is always done in a manner that is intended to disrespect them as little as possible, but in their eyes it is usually just that.

The same with my dogs. While I love them, respect them, and revere them, they need to learn they have a master. My dogs love retrieving and pleasing me, not unusual traits for any dog in the retriever family. However, for the greater good of the family and the society of my ducks blinds & pits, I choose to teach them in no uncertain terms who the master is in our relationship. You talk of spending enough time in obedience training, what is the difference here? Are you able to obtain a high proficiency in obedience training without any pressure whatsoever? If it is not physical it must be mental pressure, there has to be something to convince the dog to obey. Obedience in and of itself requires a master. You are not required to obey a partner, just ask my wife!

While I commend your obvious love for dogs I question your demonizing the Force Fetch, and apparently, the use of an e-collar. Just because you find the amount of pressure used in that style of training distasteful doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right. You’ve been able to train dogs to reach a high level of proficiency at retrieving, and that is awesome. It doesn’t mean that those who utilize methods that require the STRATEGIC use of pressure don’t take a high road, or do not respect, and revere their dogs.

It is no different than the various styles of parenting that exist in our country today. There are those that feel the most effective way is to empower the kid and treat them as an equal, let them make their own decisions, learn from their own mistakes. Then there are those that take a more biblical approach, more “old school”, something about spoiling and a rod. Then there are those that come down somewhere in between those two extremes. They pick and choose between the two in order to find an effective way to rear a child without breaking their spirit. The frequency with which you will have to reach for a tool approaching either extreme is usually dictated by pedigree. All you can hope for is that the good Lord has blessed you with offspring that will allow you to remain in the middle.

Dog training has the same extremes, and just like in parenting, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle and is driven by pedigree.

I think the vast majority of amateur retrievers don’t force fetch, use an e-collar, or spend enough time with obedience. I also think that most of these trainers expect more from their dogs than they are capable of, and in turn, they treat them with disrespect. And I think retrievers who aren’t even close to being steady, often refuse retrieves, and chase flying ducks and geese are disrespectful to their breeds by no fault of their own. The blame lies in the laziness and ignorance of their trainers for not helping them to maximize their God given talents. I think respect needs to be paid to the NATURAL master/servant relationship between man and dog, it exists for a reason. Great working dog breeds are identified by their willingness not only to perform a certain task, but also by their desire to serve and obey. Before they can obey, they must learn what is expected of them.

Anyway………I RESPECTFULLY disagree…

Steve

:salude:


Rat Creek

If you use Force Fetch as a 'last straw' you ought not use it at all. At that point in time is does become unfair because it is obvious that a solid foundation has not been laid. At that point expectations probably exceed realistic returns.

Just my opinion...
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Postby 98ramtough » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:38 pm

Steve

I entirely agree- great post. I believe some think of force fetch like the old fassion way, put pliers on a dogs ears and slap their feet with a stick. Force fetching does not have to be extremely painful, for me it is nothing more than teaching a dog to hold a large wooden bumper. I have read some pretty cruel methods on doing this, but people need to understand that not everyone uses these methods.

From my experience-- I have never seen a non force fetched dog be more reliabe than forcefetched.
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Postby muskiemac » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:00 pm

Sully:
I'll get back to the other posts in just a minute. My basic position is this: I DO NOT Fell that the solition to your problem is to force fetch this dog. First off force fetching a dog is a tricky thing to do. Most first timers quit in the middle, and leave a dog that feels that it can win the battle. Second of all, I think that a dog that shows as much retrieving desire as your pup has needs some basic tune up. Third of all, if you decide to hire the job out, you are looking at a big chunk of change. You can figure about $300.00 for the training, and another $300.00 or so for the collar-IF you go that route. If you decide to not force fetch the dog, I would suggest that you look at the section of the Vic Barlow book about teaching a dog to hold. I would also look at the GRANDRIVERWEB website and go on the web board, and look at some of the posts.

STEVE:
I spent a little time looking back over some of the other subjects that we have both posted on, and I think that we agree on alot.
However, I don't think that the core issue is obedience or control, I think that it is a means to an end, and how we get there. I agree that a dog must have a high degreee of obedience and control to be a proficient hunting dog. However, I do not feel that the only way to get that is to resort to the collar, or to forcing a dog. My dogs are all at the level that I want them to be, and I think that a wide variety of other dogs have shown that you can train a dog without using the force. If the basic idea of force fetching is to teach a dog to hold and fetch on command, then you can do this without ever resorting to the ear pinch, or the toe hitch.
In my heart, I feel that I can still control my dogs without these methods. I also feel that the collar especially takes away from a dogs natural bird sense. A quality hunting dog must have the ability, senses, and feedom to work independently alot of the time. To me, this is equally important as the control. Control and domination are not the same, and I think that often times we cross over the line.
I would also offer up a whole array of dogs that require a high level of control who have never been down this road. British retrievers, Police Dogs, Handicapped service dogs, sheep dogs, drug dogs. the list goes on.

finally, Thanks for helping me to look hard at what I see, and I believe. I amy have alot of experience, but I am no smarter, dumber, whatever that you guys. Also, I think that for all of us, it is really all about the dogs.
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Postby Keith S. » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:57 pm

5 months is still very young. Try to make it fun, IMO you don't want to get too serious this young.


I use to not believe in FF, but when I understood the benefits from it, I think it can really help any retriever. I use to think FF just means you force you dog to retrieve and not let go until told, which it does, but it also teaches your dog to deal with the pressure of training and hunting conditions.

I'm a first time dog owner, and joined a HRC club after mine was a two years old and wanted a better hunting dog. the members of our club have really helped me out, more than any book could. If you have a club in your area, I suggest looking into it, even if you have no desire to run your dog in hunt tests. I have been involved in the club for about a year and wouldn't have the quality of dog I have today without the club
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Postby SteveInTN » Mon Sep 20, 2004 8:32 pm

muskiemac wrote:STEVE:
I also feel that the collar especially takes away from a dogs natural bird sense. A quality hunting dog must have the ability, senses, and feedom to work independently alot of the time. To me, this is equally important as the control.

finally, Thanks for helping me to look hard at what I see, and I believe. I amy have alot of experience, but I am no smarter, dumber, whatever that you guys. Also, I think that for all of us, it is really all about the dogs.


You're a classy guy and I'm sure you've got some awesome dogs. Having someone like you surfing this board definately boosts the quality of advice that can be found at this site!

I couldn't agree more on the collar while hunting. While I strap mine on my dog when we enter the field, I've rarely had to use it for a correction while hunting. It just gives me a 3/4 mile lead that I can snap if I have to. My main reason for strapping it on at this point is for his own sake. He has so much drive that I sometimes worry that he will swim out of whistle/voice range at some point trying to swim down a cripple on the reservior. I believe in training, and I believe in hunting. If I have to interact with him much when I'm in the blind then it simply shows a weakness in my training or a deficiency in my handling of him (i.e. I put him in a situation where his chances of success were minimal).

His first hunt was opening day in SE MO last year. He was 10 months old and was watching the skies for us by the afternoon of his first day. These dogs are truly amazing and it is remarkable when you consider how much of their talents are just plain 'built in'. It's my favorite part of this sport, just watching a good dog work.

Later......
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Postby sully » Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:05 am

:thumbsup: Hey, you guys have been excellent help. That is why I signed up for this forum. I wanted to get help from guys who have been there and done that. I have enjoyed reading all your posts and I am still really excited about training Bogey. She does have a lot of drive and want to, so I know that can be channeled in the right direction. You guys have given me a lot to think about. Please keep adding any thoughts you may have. I just want to learn as much as possible. This has been very helpful. Keep it up, Please.
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Postby SteveInTN » Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:03 am

Sully,

The simple fact that you are this eager to learn all that you can almost guarantees you that your dog will turn out just fine, so that is a worry you can forget about. Having a trainer that is giving 100% is a huge leg up for your dog and will carry you 90% of the way to making the dog a good 'started' retriever. Now the trick is for you to find methods that fit your style, and that will help you get to your desired end result in the general fashion and timeline you have in mind. Does that make sense?

To use the vernacular:

"Don't worry about getting there, cause you're gonna get there. Just concentrate on how and when you want to get there."

:thumbsup:

I strongly suggest to you that you pick a method, which can pretty much be narrowed down to

a) with the e-collar

or

b) without the e-collar

Then find a good video or video series that fits that method. Books are great for training tips, but it is a lot like trying to learn to blow a goose call with audio only. You need to see what someone is doing with their hands to learn a goose call. You also need to see dog training excerises first hand to get a clue on how you should carry yourself and what you should expect from the dog. Very important.

Later.....
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Postby 98ramtough » Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:18 am

Have any of you ever seen a guy who spent as much time as possible with a dog and it turn out not to want to hunt? The only poor hunting dogs I have seen were because the owner did not spend the time with them. I think that there has to be a bond between you and the dog before the dog will REALLY want to please you. For me this did not come until the dog was 8 months old. Sure the dog wanted to please me as a puppy, but as we grew closer to each other I could say no or give him the look and he knew he didn't do it right. To be honest I think I have only used the ecollar about 3 times in the last month or so. I put it on the dog often just he doesn't become collar wise and I get bad looks from everyone when I walk him or I am working him in the yard..

Hey does anyone videotape thier hunts? I love watching dogs work, We should make a video of just dog footage, anyone know of anything like this? I would love to just watch a tape with repeated retrieves and flushes from a lab or such....
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Postby SteveInTN » Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:49 am

98ramtough wrote:Have any of you ever seen a guy who spent as much time as possible with a dog and it turn out not to want to hunt?


I guess that was my point to Sully. The simple fact he is so diligent pretty much buys him the fact that his dog is going to turn out fine, in the end. Given an average candidate dog from any of the retrieving breeds and a trainer willing to ask for advice and follow up on it (i.e. Learn), then an acceptable retriever will most likely result. There is always the occasional knot-head dog, or one without drive, but for the most part it is going to work. A good trainer can always adjust to the knot-head or driveless dog too. Basically, if you have a trainer willing to do whatever it takes and not give up, an acceptable level can be reached.

I think the common mistake made by most amateur trainers is them concentrating so heavily on the retrieving end of training at too young of an age. They do this because it is kind of fun and is usually a bit easier since it is something the dog wants to do. They completely forget about the total package that makes up a good hunting retriever. Obedience, Environmental, and Social training are every bit as important, if not more so, than retriever training, in terms of 'starting' a dog. If you've got a dog that will go through the gates of Hades in order to make a retrieve, it doesn't mean that much if he:

* doesn't know how to hunt out of a blind/pit
* isn't steady and can't mark single or multiple falls
* bugs the crap out of everyone in the blind
* wanders around the area and flares birds
* won't ride in a vehicle
* goes berzerk when the game warden walks/floats up to you
* breaks on the gun (unsafe for dog and people!)

the list goes on and on.

Probably 1% of the time I send my dog on a retrieve from the heel position. The rest of the time he is away from me in some way, shape or form. Yet MOST AMATUER trainers never practice that. So simple it is not obviouis.

I'm of the opinion that the retrieving is built in to retrievers with a good bloodline. You will have to help them hone their skills in that area. It's the other stuff that needs to be taught to them, and that is where most people drop the ball, then get pissed at the dog while they are hunting.

Talk about dog videos... Watch the new Hunters Specialties video, Take Em 6 I think. Their is a goose hunt with an unruly lab on it. The handler is constantly growlilng/screaming at the dog to get him back under cover. The dog doesn't seem to know any better, he is running around in the dekes having a good time. Who cares if 1000 geese are heading his way.
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Postby 98ramtough » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:02 am

Steve,

You make an excellent point. There is nothing worse then hunting with a guy who has a dog out there that pisses on the blind or keeps running through the decoys or breaking before sent. Obedience will keep your friends going with you. It is definately a challenge to keep my dog laying down 15 yards away from me, he will do it, but shakes because he is excited. With age I am sure he will settle down faster, he just gets over excited.

A funny story- I went out on an early goose hunt a couple weeks ago with a guy that had a 2 year old chocolate female. The dog was so excited she didn't quit whining the whole day, but as soon as she saw or heard geese she would shutup and get down. She sure was a sweetheart of a dog, she made a 200 yard retrieve on a wounded goose, the goose kept diving and the dog would tread until it surfaced, then the chase was on again, she ran it up a huge hill delivering it to hand after about 10 minutes of swimming. As soon as she delivered the goose she would start whining again, seems she wanted more. Her owner said she has always did that for the first couple hunts, then she calms down and gets into the routine. I enjoyed watching this retriever more than shooting any of the geese.
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Postby SteveInTN » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:28 am

Now THAT is the kind of dog I love hunting with! A dog that loves to hunt as much as I do!
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Postby phillipstd » Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:58 pm

What's up with all the undertrained dogs on t.v. doing hunting video's, I'd be kinda ashamed to put a dog that wasnt almost perfect on t.v. cause I know people would be laughing, like I do when I see them, you'd think they'd getta better dog to do the show!
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Postby SteveInTN » Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:52 pm

I think different people have different ideas on the right level of training. They are so used to screaming at their dogs, and their dogs doing whatever, that they don't know anything else.
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Postby 98ramtough » Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:00 am

I think a lot of people making videos these days are not what I consider professional hunters. They are kids shooting the crap out of the birds, which is awesome, but that is why the dogs aren't trained as well.
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