Report from the Trainer

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Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:36 pm

Well, Teal has been at the trainers almost 2 months. Obedience is completely dialed in. Sit stay down here heal place. She has been force fetched. And introduced to the collar. This past week she was finally put back on live birds. She put up a little fight on the force fetch so it went longer than planned.

I have visited her twice and Saturday will be my third time. The visits have not been much more than just playing with her, showing support, and giving her some love.

The trainer called me tonight and told me that Teal had lost her drive..... She mentioned that it was breeding. However,!!! The day before I sent her off she was loving birds. She had obedience basically down except heal and place. We conditioned her to gun fire and she was charging hard after some dead pheasants. Even before that I would throw a spoony, a dove, or even a bumper in the back yard and she was all over it. Now she is saying the drive is gone and she just kind of gallops to the bird and has even had a "no-go" when releasing her on her name. I was flabbergasted. I know it is not the end of the world and I plan on taking a close hard look at everything on Saturday but, ***! Just trying to vent and looking at some people that can give me the glass half full look at things or even some solid knowledge.

Did the pressure change her drive and she is thinking to much?

Was she away from birds to long during the force fetch process? (3 weeks)

I am at work and didn't want to ask a million questions because maybe i am over thinking what it actually is. I will wait till i see it first hand saturday. The 30 minute phone call ended with I'm sorry to give you disparaging info., she is going to make a great hunting dog, she is a doll, a joy to be around. She just doesn't burn up the ground to go after the bird like I want to see.

After y see where she is at on Saturday I am going to have the option to keep her there longer or take her home and hunt over (controlled hunts) and get her drive back up and continue some work on my own. Then I can bring her back after the season if I want.

Thanks for reading haha. And if anyone has some questions that I should be asking I appreciate it.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:52 am

Reading this over and thinking more. I guess the "drive" is not gone if she is steal going and getting the bird. I guess her eagerness to get there as fast as she can, but reading it seems like that could change with "force to pile" which has not been touched on. I believe we are a ways from that.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby cn44 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:04 am

Right now retrieving the birds doesn't sound like fun. Get her out in the field shoot some birds for her, let her hunt and have fun. That drive will pick right back up. In FF I would assume she was forced on birds? Possibly just coming off that force and sees it as pressure to be by birds right now. Like I said, just get her out hunting and pick her spirits up.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby gonehuntin' » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:22 am

What type of dog?
Age?
Breeding?
Well known trainer with references?

Sounds to me like she's about on schedule and normal behavior. They ain't always happy when they're at the trainer.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:35 am

She is 7 months now. Black lab. Came from a good line of dogs (top dog retrievers)

Trainer had great references. I spoke with 3 people that actually used her. 1 of which has his dog with the trainer now and the. My uncle in law had his dog there too.

I did notice the last time I was there she was cowering down a little from the trainer. I guess they had a bit of tough session and she put up a wall. Hoping it is normal behavior. I am sure she is not having a lot of fun. She finally has been able to retrieve after almost 2 months. She has been doing obedience and the. Force fetch. I probably will visit on Saturday and leave her there one more week to get "place" dialed in and have a couple more live birds shot over her. Then hunt her for the last 15-16 days of the season.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Raves24 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:42 pm

Duck-

After FF was completed on my dog, he hated the trainer. The trainer to this day will tell the dog to heel or sit and he will come to me and do it. He is a one ower dog. He tolorates the trainer now, but even when we hunt together, he eye balls him and he will not sit on his side.I wouldn't worry to much about it, unless she does the same with you when you get her home.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby berudd » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:28 pm

I'd be concerned that she cowers from the trainer. She may be a good trainer but not the right one for your dog. Nobody has all the answers, right? She said your dog does not charge out aft birds the way she would like. Well, so? You want her to retrieve and sure doing at a dead run impresses your buddies but as long as she does it and is happy you've got a good hunting buddy. Like others said, get her Ina fun setting with numbers and birds and I bet she comes around just fine.
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Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:30 am

I have so much to report after what I saw today. Still trying to put all the pieces together, but I can say I was crushed when I saw her petrified of the pressure and refuse to go get the bird. Actually back pedal from the line because she thought the pressure was coming. And when I say pressure it was a light nick on a "1" setting. It goes to 10. I was sitting with my fiancé and actually put my head in my hands. I had a stern talk with her and asked a million questions.

I apologize in advance but this will be somewhat lengthy. I will go through our entire 2 hours.

She brought her out and let me say. Holy smokes my girl had gotten big. A compeltely different dog, but still the same one lol. I checked.

She opened up the door on the truck for teal. She told her to sit, placed the pinch collar on her and then the e collar. She grabbed the ramp and teal waited for her command and she came down the ramp. Completed a firm sit at the bottom and waited for the next step.

She started off saying let me start with obedience. Never a single mistake the entire time she was doing "obedience check". She walked in circles, figure eights, backwards, and did the hokey pokey basically and teal was by her knee. Left hand lead right hand a yellow whiffle bat. She never used the bat once and teal was not intimidated by it. Then it was our turn and She worked great for my fiancé on obedience and for myself. She was extremely excited to see us but she fought it well and maintained her composure to listen and perform perfect. The here. Heal. Sit. Down. Place. We're great.

Then teal started to get bored after about 30 minutes so she put her back up in the truck. She then wanted to show us the different steps of dogs that she has and what she looks for at each process.
*The first dog had outstanding force fetch work and was eager to grab the dumbell out of her hand, off the ground, out in front, and never mouth. Solid hold. But when retrieving the dog kinda just was a sluggo and took his time coming back.
*the next dog loved retrieving bumpers and birds but when it came to the force fetch work. She refused it. Hated the dumbell or the Rod she used. But she would submit when the pressure applied to her. Retrieving those bumpers and birds was like flash lighting. Hard charging son of a gun.

*the last dog, well the all American dream. Not one mistake. Listened to every command. Steady at the line. Loves the force work. Loved retrieving. Hard charging. You could say anything you want and that dog would not move until the command was complete. Came back to the heal perfect, head up to release and ready for the next move. Dog held all the hunt passes. MH. National. You name it. She had the ribbons hanging from her rear view mirror

THEN IT WAS TIME FOR TEAL! I was like a dad watching their kid take that first at-bat. She started with the force work. She held the dumbell perfect. No mouthing. No dropping. She would reach out to grab it. She would grab it off the ground. Fetch on command. Release on command. Then she grabbed the bumper...... Tossed it 5 feet in front of her and she said fetch ..... Teal looked at her. "FETCH!" She sat there. Well then she nicked her fetch and pulled her to it. She then grabbed it and it was no problem. The she threw it same mark again. She didnt go. Nicked her again and then she whined a bit. Then grabbed it. Then she threw it farther, "quack quack quack quack" throws the bumper in the air says "mark"...... "Teal!" She no go's and nicks her and she starts back pedaling and whining. There was no pressure being applied. The trainer was in a happy voice saying "come on" and was walking out to the mark trying to get teal to comply. The trainer walked about 70% of the way with teal before she picked it up and then she praised her. But there was no pressure being applied. She grabbed a mallard drake, which teal Loved prior to training, and she no go's on the bird too. It was deflating like a blow to the stomach. She walked Teal to the bird and teal grabbed the bird and brought it to her and she did some "hup hups" to get her excited and it worked. She didnt have a problem with those. Danced the bird around her and then tossed it and she grabbed it and brought it to her. She "hup hup" toss and she goes and gets it. She actually brought the bird to me at one point and she said to grab it and praise her for doing so. I was about 20 ft away from them and she ran all the over to me sitting in a chair to give me the bird.
It just seemed like she was anticipating the pressure but it was never applied sometimes. Sometimes it was. I just felt like she was burned. It was tough to watch. I feel like I let her down, but the trainer said she has only been back on birds 1 week. She has been experiencing pressure for almost 6 weeks and not doing anything fun for the last 3. Zero retrieving. Teal is exceptionally soft. I am talking Charmin double extra plus soft. I saw the setting and it was on a one. She put the collar in my hand and I barely felt the spasm sensation.

I don't know. I am giving her one more week and she said she is going to pick up live birds tomorrow. She is going to do all bird work, shooting, swimming, the hole 9. As fun as possible.

The fiancé was taking some pictures that I will post tomorrow but she would not let me take video....... Weird. Thanks for reading, I am sure some flipped the page on me, but I don't have any other retriever training friends besides my HRC but they are 3 hours away.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby copterdoc » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:39 am

Soft dogs have trouble with pressure.
They NEED to learn that it's not the end of the world.

That's what basics are all about. Teaching the dog to DEAL with pressure.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby ScaupHunter » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:37 am

I have been fighting this with my dog. She is incredibly soft. Mine simply refused to FF at all. She came home with no retrieving drive. Getting her on live birds in a hunting environment flipped the switch for her. Your pup will be fine. She just has to work her way out of the FF blues.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Dakota Creek » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:52 am

Agree with both copterdoc and ScaupHunter .... From the start of your note I thought something HORRIBLE had happened at the trainer. This is a "soft" dog simply learning to deal with pressure. If it were me, and I realize that this is not what you wanted to see .... You were looking for Teal to respond like the American Dream dog, I would not be putting "one more week" timeline on this. Let the trainer finish the FF as long as she is working with the dog trying to make this as fun as FF can be.

If you bring her home in a week's time, will you be able to properly finish FF? Send her off to another trainer to finish this which will take longer as the new trainer will have to figure things out, or give up on the process and be one of the guys who post on the forum "how do I correct my dog ... Sometimes they will make the retrieve, sometimes not. Sometimes they deliver to hand, sometimes not ......?
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby cn44 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:59 am

Sounds a lot like my dog. I went to see him right when he was coming out of FF and he would sometimes retrieve other times he would have to be forced. He wouldn't even go for fun bumpers. I left him until everything was finished up and he started back on marks and his drive came back up.

We are just coming out of our hunting season and he is all about getting that bumper or bird in his mouth. It's just part of the process with some dogs.

FF is the first time a young dog has HAD to comply with pressure and be held responsible. So their world has essentially collapsed on them. After FF is the time to build them back up and get their confidence going. Your pup will be fine, just got to let her have some fun.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby dudejcb » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:01 pm

Get rid of the electronic collar control and use only the collar!

1) You should never "pressure" a dog that is still learning.
2) If a training session isn't going right, you don't extend it, you end it. Cut it short, don't reward the dog (for a poor job), and simply begin anew another day.
3) sounds like your trainer sucks, but has been able to "impress" some who don't know diddly about good training.

Never make it "no fun" for a dog in training, but only praise them when they do right, ignore them when they do wrong. If they keep doing it wrong, scold them a little and quit the session. Next time out, when they do it right, make a big happy fuss! They'll learn to want to please you.

Dogs naturally want to please, but can be like teenagers at times -- don't fight with them. Electronic collars should always be worn during training, but they should not be used unless a dog is already really well trained, knows very well what he's supposed to do, but is just acting up a bit to test you. The best trainers will verify this: e-collars are an over used crutch for poor trainers.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Dakota Creek » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:36 pm

dudejcb wrote:Get rid of the electronic collar control and use only the collar! ....... The best trainers will verify this: e-collars are an over used crutch for poor trainers.


Really???? Your experience in training dogs particularly through FF is???? And how pray tell do you work through FF in going from ear pinch / toe pinch to working to finish FF (with the collar, force to the pile, etc) if you do not use the complete collar with both transmitter and receiver?

As others have said Duck_Popper .... Do not panic, work with your trainer. Your dog may take a little more time being a softer dog than you had initially planned on but you will see results!
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby gonehuntin' » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:21 pm

Sounds to me like your trainer is inexperienced in force. I would NEVER back off on a dog when she refused a retrieve and make it fun for her. Force is force. You go when and where you're told, like it or not. Sounds to me like the trainer is trying to coax her through force and not force her through force.

In my mind, that dog is young for force. Many times you have trouble with a dog handling the pressure at 7 months when at 10 they'd zip right through it.

Nice description of what you're seeing though, one of the best I've read on here.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby sharris » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:26 am

I'm not a FF expert having only FF'd my current dog but have a couple of questions based on your description of what was happening.

#1: Was an ear pinch used or just a collar on the nick setting? You want continuous pressure until the dog does the desired behavior. It sounds like the trainer used temporary pressure (nick) when she gave the command and then the pressure was off for the dog to retrieve, rather than keeping the pressure on until the dog completed the task. Was pressure kept on the dog from the time the command was given until the dog had the bumper in its mouth or did the pressure stop after the command? Nothing wrong with transitioning to nick a little later in the training after force is understood.

#2: Why was the trainer pulling your dog to the bumper after the short throw? The trainer shouldn't be pulling the dog to the bumper, it really should be the other way around. A logical transition is have the dog fetch from your hand, then the ground, then from the ground with you holding the dog back (hand across its chest so it really has to lunge forward to get the bumper), then at a short distance. Did the trainer skip the step of holding the dog back while forcing it to the bumper?

#3: Maybe the trainer wasn't using enough pressure to get the desired response.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:59 pm

Dakota Creek wrote: This is a "soft" dog simply learning to deal with pressure.
If you bring her home in a week's time, will you be able to properly finish FF?


I agree that she is really soft from what I saw. I would not be able to properly finish her. I called the trainer and told her she has my full support on finishing the dog. I will pay for the live fliers, the extra week or so, I just want her to finish her. If we do not get her out to hunt I will not make a big deal of it. We still can have some fun with pheasants.

Dakota Creek wrote:
dudejcb wrote:As others have said Duck_Popper .... Do not panic, work with your trainer. Your dog may take a little more time being a softer dog than you had initially planned on but you will see results!


I only panicked because I thought she was burned. I am excited to get her out and have some fun. I know that she will change for me and see the fun in it. I get the feeling that she is only performing for her out of fear, but with me it will be to please me. Could just be my random thinking though?

gonehuntin' wrote: Nice description of what you're seeing though, one of the best I've read on here.


Thanks I tried to be as detailed as possible and hold back my thoughts and opinions so I could get some clear feedback. Thanks to you all I received that.

sharris wrote:I'm not a FF expert having only FF'd my current dog but have a couple of questions based on your description of what was happening.
#1: Was an ear pinch used or just a collar on the nick setting? Was pressure kept on the dog from the time the command was given until the dog had the bumper in its mouth or did the pressure stop after the command?
#2: Why was the trainer pulling your dog to the bumper after the short throw? Did the trainer skip the step of holding the dog back while forcing it to the bumper?
#3: Maybe the trainer wasn't using enough pressure to get the desired response.


#1 yes ear pinch was used during the force work. With the dumbbell, dowel, wood, and other tools. I was there to see how her force work was going a few weeks prior to this last visit. It was pretty intense and she was definitely being a stubborn dog. Whining, howling, and trying to scoot away without any pressure being applied to her ear. It got to the point where she would say fetch and she would start whining, then she would put the pressure and she would whimper and grab it. This was after a bit of force work. She was trying to give her a chance to see if she would do it without the ear pinch, but when she messed up she didn’t give her another chance, she would automatically ear pinch.

#2 She was exactly pulling her just walking with her to guide her to the bumper. She had said that she couldn’t keep nicking the dog because she was shutting down. I do not know about the holding the dog back and forcing.

#3 To me it felt like she was using quite a bit of pressure, but there was sometimes when she didn’t use any. It was just like Teal was anticipating the pressure and acting like it was the end of the world. Being a soft dog.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Rutin » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:22 pm

Sounds like your pup is going thru something similar to what mine did..... got pressure wise! When they anticipate pressure they scream bloody murder and act a fool! There's two ways to handle this..... let the dog train you and accomplish nothing by letting the dog win the battle "OR" FORCE the dog to do what its told and teach them the quicker they follow direction the quicker pressure gets turned off! It's painful to see/do sometimes but once it clicks in their head it usually sticks! Best of luck :thumbsup:
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Duck_Popper » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:46 pm

Rutin wrote:Sounds like your pup is going thru something similar to what mine did..... got pressure wise! When they anticipate pressure they scream bloody murder and act a fool! There's two ways to handle this..... let the dog train you and accomplish nothing by letting the dog win the battle "OR" FORCE the dog to do what its told and teach them the quicker they follow direction the quicker pressure gets turned off! It's painful to see/do sometimes but once it clicks in their head it usually sticks! Best of luck :thumbsup:


This is what I wanted to hear.... Now which way did you choose? And how did it turn out? Where do you stand now?
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Dakota Creek » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:06 am

[quote="Rutin"There's two ways to handle this..... let the dog train you and accomplish nothing by letting the dog win the battle "OR" FORCE the dog to do what its told and teach them the quicker they follow direction the quicker pressure gets turned off! It's painful to see/do sometimes but once it clicks in their head it usually sticks! :[/quote]

Yup! A dog's typical response to pressure (not just with FF) is "fight, flight or fake" and you have basically seen all three ... Dog "fighting" the trainer in not moving toward the bumper, trying to head in the other direction away from the pressure (flight) or the noise making before any pressure is applied (fake).

As Rutin states above, many trainers start to see the above behavior and are not willing to work through it or just barely start to see compliance and figure FF is done because the dog is holding the bumper. The FF process is not just about holding a bumper, it is about a dog learning to turn pressure off and comply to the task being asked of it.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby Rutin » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:25 am

Duck_Popper wrote:
Rutin wrote:Sounds like your pup is going thru something similar to what mine did..... got pressure wise! When they anticipate pressure they scream bloody murder and act a fool! There's two ways to handle this..... let the dog train you and accomplish nothing by letting the dog win the battle "OR" FORCE the dog to do what its told and teach them the quicker they follow direction the quicker pressure gets turned off! It's painful to see/do sometimes but once it clicks in their head it usually sticks! Best of luck :thumbsup:


This is what I wanted to hear.... Now which way did you choose? And how did it turn out? Where do you stand now?


Only one choice IMO..... Force! He fought for awhile and then it all clicked. Eventually he got wise to loop holes in my game and we had to start reinforcing other areas. He would run to a downed bird and not pick it up, he'd stand over it and look back as to say " I'll pick it up when I'm ready". NO WAY buddy!!!!! Even though he was CC he didn't handle it well so we went old school. Simply walk out, grab collar, grind on ear while dog screamed bloody murder for 30 secs and flipped thru the air like a bucking bronco and then release with a stern FETCH command. Amazing after a couple of mishaps how that sets in and they don't like pressure anymore so its easier to pick the bird up and bring it back. Always remember dogs will train YOU and find loop holes in your game before you know it! Being precise and stern about your training is key, never let them gain the upper hand!
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby sharris » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:26 am

Totally agree with Rutin and Dakota.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby TNDUCK34 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:43 am

At what point do you lose the gametotally and lose the dog. Can that happen and how fast? Is it just trial and error? What are the signs they are not playing you? Then what do you do? Can you get them back or is it a lost cause?
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby HNTFSH » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:55 am

TNDUCK34 wrote:At what point do you lose the gametotally and lose the dog. Can that happen and how fast? Is it just trial and error? What are the signs they are not playing you? Then what do you do? Can you get them back or is it a lost cause?


Lotsa if's, and's and but's on that one.

Personally I'd sum it up to: you're not apt to lose them if you know what you're doing. If you don't - you're probably confusing them.

Stubborn often gets quickly mistaken as 'soft'.
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Re: Report from the Trainer

Postby goodkarmarising » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:58 am

After reading thru all this, I am so glad I didn't send either of my dogs to a so called professional trainer. Does nobody train without a e-collar anymore or train dogs without force fetching. Oh wait, tell me again, how it is such a better way of training dogs.
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