archer66, here is something you might consider using. This is a photo of a young pup. She was older than yours (9 months) and was well past FF at the time. Daisy was a very precocious pup (like yours).
At that age, she was running a tower shoot......the youngest by far working that day. "Euro" shoots mean many exciting retrieves, adrenelin "boosts" and distractions including often crippled, big rooster pheasants .
In order to have more control over her delivery, she was wearing a short tab. This allowed me to take hold of it and "settle her down" before asking her to "give" any retrieve. It provided the opportunity to impress upon her, "Hey....remember me? and what you are supposed to do?" The focus was on responsiveness.
Here's a link for all the photos featuring Daisy's tab.
Pheasant Tab (link)
Ok....as to slowing things down....I haven't been requiring him to heel and sit between retrieves because we're only for sessions into formalizing heel. I have kept field training and obedience somewhat separated and I had planned to start requiring more of him in terms of that in the next week since he now is progressing well on HEEL, SIT, HEEL. I have allowed him to savor the bumper between retrieves part of the time.....but from what you folks are saying I can see that it's time to settle him down and expect more.
Originally Posted by KwickLabs
I appreciate the feedback immensely. Funny....I was more concerned about the obedience aspect of his training than I was about his field work yet the field work is what nearly all of the advice I've received has been toward. I'm glad I covered his entire progress (obed and field) in my original question.....it gave you folks a chance to pick up on areas that need work. I'm sure if I can get video you'll see more deficiencies.
I think what Kwick is telling you is that you can further develop that heel lesson you are working on by helping him and requiring him to heel during field work. Don't "expect" him to heel, but help him heel. Bring him in, grab that tab or leash or collar, and guide him to the position you want him. Don't reach for the bumper, don't try to take it, and don't "say" heel expecting him to know what you mean. Bring him into heel, get him to sit (all the time holding the bumper), then say heel, once he's there. This is going to take a minute. If the fussing causes him to drop the bumper, don't sweat it. As you said, FF will fix that. Even if he drops the bumper, get him to heel and calm down before sending on the next retrieve. Kwick makes a great point that the frantic pace of retrieve, get set, go will make it really hard to get him to calmly watch and remember multiples later (any chance that he turns into a crazy whirling dervish between that first throw of the memory bird and the second throw when you are working on doubles????).
As for your obedience question specifically, I think there's a lot to be said for understanding the difference between a lesson being "ingrained" or "proofed" and "overtraining" a certain lesson. I, too, am following Smartwork and have found that I have a tendency to train every lesson until it's perfect. The problem is, the dog gets the message a long time before I believe it's perfect. I have found that once I am convinced the dog KNOWS the perfect response, even if he isn't scoring perfect tens on every drill we do, the tools are their to perfect and strengthen the lesson in the field. You have to read the dog on this, but if you know for sure that he knows how he is supposed to respond, you can hold him to that standard in the field and correct sternly if he doesn't respond correctly.
Maybe Evan will reply to this to verify my take on this difference between "ingrained lesson" and "perfect drill performance."
I am using Smartworks, just a little behind you. I have a 7 mo. old who I just CC'd to "COME" and I am about to embark on sit/heel. But I don't really know how to apply stick pressure. The OB video is in the mail to me, and I'm hoping it'll explain, but:
How do you use the stick? Like, literally what do you do with it. Tap the dog repeatedly? Press on the dog's rump? Tap her nose/chest? And when to you release whatever pressure you apply?