Good response, thanks. I would add that last spring at age 18 mos this pup took a sit while 3000 snow geese were coming at us at about 30 yards in the air. 4 shots 3 fell in front of us and she still sat. Don't know how she stayed calm, I was excited. There seems to be no relationship between hunting and testing. I think I did start her too young, now will age slow her down a bit? 9th lab, 1st tester.
Prolly doesnt appy to the OP;s personal dog, but, if you think about a dog that may well be somewhat steady at Hunt tests,(Master Hunter Titled dod) I wonderif you can really expect to see that same steadyness and controll on an exciting hunt?
Originally Posted by JustinS
Everthing is differentwhen hunting. People are sitting very close to the dog, they are excited, blowing calls, their body english telegraphing something's up.
Birds circle and pass by several times working the decoys. Then the quick motion to either stand to shoot, or sit up to shoot, combined with the shots being very close to the dog, instead of 150 yrds away(:):)) makes a Hunt totally different than what level of excitement the dog has been conditioned to at HT.
The OP says his dog "sits" when hunting, but may exibit being unsteady or excited at HT.
I bet, if he were to find someone that UNDERSTOOD what "sit" should mean,,, The sit standard isnt being held to a high standard.
Hunts (at least mine) can be long and boring. You may start out with good intentions,, the dog is told to sit,, but then with the bordom of waiting,, the Bull Shi!! starts with your buddies,,, and the dog is allowed to move,, beg, walk around a bit,, WITHOUT you releasing him to do so.. What did he just learn??
I think,, the same CAN apply, with guys that run tests that incorporate buckets, calls, and guns at the line with the handler.
I would be very careful with a high drive dog, listening to your training group tell you, that Judges will allow the dog to "Reposition" when swinging with the gun.. I dont think MOST dogs know "reposition"... They know they can "MOVE"... If the handelr also has all the resposiblity in training days ,Blowing that duck call to sound like a champion caller, shuckin that noisey action of a rusty old pump shotgun,,, spinning on the bucket shooting the marks at the top of the arc,,, right next to the dog,,, AND ALL THE WHILE,, makin sure his dog sits DEAD STEADY,,,, Good luck with that!:):)
I think all this should be brought on gradually in progressive steps, and at seach step,, a very close attention to "sit" incorporated.
I think,, like I have said before,, MY mistakes in the past, has been bringing all this stuff on to quickly for the dog.. Really,,, It was probably done all at once,, and no attention was paid to the dogs movement.. After all,, they can "Reposition" right?
Again,,,, Gooser Opinion..
When I am sitting all day I need to reposition too! It just feels good to stretch the legs. And I do not have someone telling me I can.
With a high drive dog age rarely helps to slow them down they are usually more obedient and therefore can handle more high stress environments a little better especially if you do keep your standards high while out hunting like I said before let your buddy do the shooting and you handle the dog.
Originally Posted by jacduck
I do believe that hunting has some similarities to hunt tests, yes there can be boring spells and BSing but when your out at a test you can spend upwards of 45 min just standing in holding blinds - don't you maintain your standards there?
I use an Avery dog blind while hunting and the dog "kennels up" when not retrieving she isn't allowed to create a lot of movement because who knows when another flock of low flying teal will come in at 30 mph.
One other thing that I do while out hunting by myself is put a stake in the ground and use a 3 foot rope to leash the dog to it, for those too tempting birds that land 10 yes from the blind when they know they can't go there is less temptation because they can only go when you release them. After multiple hunts and corrections for breaking and consistency they learn to be steady.
I am not saying that this is the best way to create a steady dog, or that this is what everyone should do to get your dog steady on the line at tests, this is just what I have done and it works for me.
I full heartedly believe in Mike Lardy's saying you own what you condone. If you never allow your dog to break then they will be more conditioned to being steady.
Just my 2 cents
I found the best resource is a club training day, set up for a HT or FT. All looks the same to the dog except you can make corrections, and they use flyers just like an event. Running in events, where no correction is taken will make the problem increase, then more, then more, then more . My first test quote from the judges "Calmest handler and dog they had ever judged." By the 5th HT, she was the worst wild woman I had ever seen, Tearing down the holding blinds all the way to the line. In training never moved a paw. Another thing that helped me, I took the dog out on a training day and put her in the gunners station with me shooting pheasants, she had to lay down and watch all the other dogs retrieve birds. She still does a jig on the line but doesn't break.
Guys call it repositioning when a dog breaks sit,, or even moves his front feet, and drags his arse,, to swing with the gun on multiple marks, when handler is sitting on a bucket. I wasnt talking about extended long sits on a days hunt in a blind..
Originally Posted by yellow machine
After having dogs with creeping problems, that I ALLOWED because of this acceptance of a reposition,, I now want a dog that "Sits" and just moves its head to mark. I have witnessed dogs that can crane their necks to Mark the widest degree of seperation between gun stations.
It all becomes very black and White for the dog.. Sit means Sit..... (Period)
You can demand this standard weather you are standing next to the dog,, or sitting on a bucket,, or required at a hunt test to have the dog on a remote sit.. Its ALL consistency on that "SIT" standard.
Hopefully,,, this is what I wil lend up with.. (talk is cheap):).I am working for it to be a main goal with this pup.
As long as they wait for me, I guess it's OK!
Originally Posted by chuck187
Seriously though, there is the old "sit means sit" post from Ted around that's always relevant to this topic.
I never had too much problem with the last personal dog I trained, except once after 5 tests in 6 weeks and not much training in between. He kinda lost it that day. I laughed my head off while the gallery thought I was going to die. I knew that one was my fault.
Having handled 150 or so dogs with varying levels of obedience since then I have established a couple of things with my most recent personal dog unlike what I did previously. These are strictly ideas of mine so take them for what they are worth, which is exactly what you paid.
First I set this dog up to believe that retrieves are a reward for sitting. From an early age I taught her through self discovery that she earns the retrieve reward by putting her butt on the ground and being still, focused and quiet. Now I can have someone throw a bumper while we are heeling to the line and she will sit rather than bolt, without me saying or doing anything to influence her. She will lock on the fall for quite a long time. Plenty of time to make the send. In fact, it's been a little bit challenging to introduce multiple marks because she is so focused on the initial fall. I'll accept this as she learns the game though. She needs to watch that memory bird to the ground.
Second I created a standard that includes head movement and head movement only. No movement of the feet whatsoever without correction. On multiple marks she is to sit there still and move her head only to watch each fall. I'n also beginning to work on head swinging, strictly by planning marks that don't encourage it and timing the send to avoid it.
I plan to do very little if any push pull (wagon wheel) type drills with this dog, rather focusing on heeling in the exact right position every time when she comes in. In this manner I hope to make adjustments to body position by positioning myself correctly the first time, letting the dog position herself out of habit with the correct spine alignment. If I have to make an adjustment on line I'll likely be stepping back from the mat, realigning and stepping back on, vs. trying to push/pull her body.
I'm hoping to minimize the pressure I have to apply on line in training with these techniques and smooth out the set up on her blinds/memory marks. I want her as relaxed as possible with her head in the game. The mechanics need to be habitual to the point that she never thinks about them.
I want her thinking about where the marks are.
We'll see what we get out of all this.
Good luck Darrin. Depending on how far you want to take her and what degree of precision you want on the initial line, I think you will have to train her to work with you on the push/pull stuff. But, I love the rest of it, especially the foot doesn't move standard!
Thanks Howard, I appreciate the comments. Don't worry, nothing is off the table. Planning to do very little push pull and really getting there are two completely different scenarios!
Originally Posted by Howard N
A good example of that flexibility would be walking fetch or fetch/no fetch as some call it. I tried skipping over this one and ran into some issues in FTP that I thought that drill would fix, so I did a couple of sessions, then went back to what I had been working on and it went fine.
I'm either going to end up with a really great young dog or basics that are full of holes. We'll see what happens and how fast.
If this works I'll be able to put out a competent gun dog in a very short time frame, so we'll see.