Thanks for all the great feed back I have received. I am going to go read Sharon's article in a moment.
I wish everyone here could see what is going on with this dog. He is OB trained. In the yard he is fine, and when in the field by himsef working with birds, or taking him out to places like a flea market, Lowes, petsmart, etc there are no issues as was described when he is going from blind to blind at a HT or monthly club day.
Now take him to a Hunt Test or a group training day and Satan comes out. In that statement I mean he runs all the marks great. It's getting him to the mat in that environment is the issue. This is also the dog that squeals like a pig going out to the water marks in the water series. He is extremely high drive in a HT or group training session where he has a sense of competition
Just some things to think about.
It comes with the territory of inexperience. Coming to grips with it is a process.
Here is one "page" dedicated to my vast experience and slow progress in changing. You might find some common ground to provide a better perspective of what the issues really are. It is probably best explained in a single phrase "coined" by my pro friend "It's not the dog."
The Hunt Test "Wise" Dog (link)
Jim Boyer www.kwicklabs.com
MPR UH HRCH Kwick Taffey of Joemac's MH
HR Kwick Daisy's Spirit Keeper SH
Kwick Kooly Dew It Allstar SH
HR Kwick Draw McGraw SH (June, 2007 - May, 2014)
Totally agree with Darrin. There are other ways to get the excitement up, also. Best money I ever spent was a regular obedience class. Not for the instruction but for crowded environment of 10 other dogs and people. OB was rock solid in the park and yard. Not so much at the first class.
Heck even weekly trips to practice heeling at Petsmart will help. Then move up the distractions.
It isn't an equipment issue, it is a time and exposure issue.
I have been working through similar issues with my dog. After I got an expert involved, the first thing he made ME do was admit the dog was f-ing me in those situations and taking over as pack leader. Its hard to admit sometimes and any time you make an excuse, just insert "my dog is f-ing me". After that it all came down to obedience and I believe the finished product is a dog that pays attention to you and only you, no matter the situation. It is really hard not to let the dog run when in a group training or test but that's when we let our dogs F us the most if we let them.
Dogs are situational learners and also read handlers better than we read dogs. He's learned HT's are exciting and is feeding off your excitement as well. Finding ways to get both in training is key to working through OB.
A "routine" in the holding blinds help also.
A submissive posture like havin g the dog "down" (lie down), so it is facing OUT of the blind, with you standing upright,making sure to keep eye contact with the dog.
The way in wich you call your dog toheel as you leave that blind and progress to the next blind, should also become a "routine".
I step back from the blind, and have the dog come to ME which will be in a direction AWAY from the line, then once the dog is at heel, start a slow deliberate walk to the next blind, keeping that heel standard very high. This is where the Wonder lead works well. Keep slack in the lead, and when coorection is necessary, or when the dog "Pulls" the lead instantly applies pressure.
ALWAYS at training days, set up holding blinds and make this part of every training day,
It is far easier to spit on the work of others than it is to produce something better yourself.
Brynmoors Prairie Sage JH (Sage) Just a dang fool huntin Dawg
HRCH Calypso Seven Bales High SH (Bailey)
HR Calypso Zoomin Loosies Mad Hader (Maddi) We loved you baby. R.I.P.
FlatLanders Broken Pistol Ricochet SH (Flinch)
My Christian Name is Michael Baker..
I have gone by "Gooser" since I was a "gossling"
"Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”
― George Bernard Shaw
The Smartwork System for Retriever Training (link)