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Thread: Training for calmness

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt'EmUp View Post
    grab him by the muzzle and tell him NO_QUITE
    Is this something you'd do while training as well? He doesn't whine a lot while training, but if i walk out to throw a bumper he will start whining and get antsy. He doesn't really do it if I'm standing next to him though.

  2. #32
    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    I'll assume it's a serious question. It's something I deal with on a day in, day out basis with dogs of all sizes and breeds. Pet owners are great for buying high energy working breed puppies and having no time or desire to tire them out.

    The first answer is you have to be a good match for what I call a very "busy" dog. As I mentioned a lot of people aren't. I hope the folks here have a much better chance. You then have to, in some ways asses what the reasons are behind their busyness. In the case of a high drive lab it tends to be straight up energy but in a lot of dogs it can be based in anxiety. A very nervous dog that lives in a very chaotic household will do a lot of "therapeutic" behaviors, like chewing and destroying things because it is inherently nervous about it's surroundings. Management of these dogs tends to be somewhat different but it is all based in a couple of things regardless of the "affliction". Good news is a lot of high energy dogs are very motivated for rewards which also makes them very trainable. You may have to accept the fact though, that a particular dog just isn't a house dog. I have one that I think would be a huge pain in the house. She is in at night to sleep in a crate but otherwise kenneled during the day, whether it be in her run, or on the truck travelling around for sales calls and obedience demos. I make sure she gets a fair amount of mental work every day because I can just see the energy pouring off the poor dog, if for some reason I don't get a chance to work with her. She'll parade with a bumper for a half hour when she's in this state. It's something I just have to keep after. I signed up for it when I asked the breeder for "the craziest pup he had" and he gave her to me.

    Structure tends to be key for all dogs but especially the nervous and high energy ones. The dog needs to be taught early on how to gain rewards, such as attention/affection, food or being let into or let out the door. This takes a lot of patience, a good read on the dog and a good regimen of reward based training. Sitting for a high energy dog isn't just having their butt on the floor, it also includes ears back, relaxed demeanor, no noise and all four paws on the floor. Long duration "downs" are a big benefit and having a dog that loves their crate is very important. It also helps to teach the dog a number of behaviors otherwise useless like rolling over, playing dead and such, that can be used for mental stimulation when the energy level is at it's highest. After that you just have to think about how you manage a dog like this.

    Silly story. As I said, I have a very busy young BLF. I thought she was going to be an absolute nightmare in my barnegat bay sneak box, until I put her up under the dodger and she literally went to sleep on me waiting for the ducks to fly. If you don't know what a dodger is, think dog blind, like a mutt hutt. Having a crate like structure on the boat is absolutely the key to this particular dog. Bank standing or in a jon boat I think you would have to constantly be on her ass but give her something like a crate and make her stay there for a little bit, and she literally starts snoring. I think if I ever end up in one of those situations I am actually going to take a blind and or stand/blind with me. It will make for a much better experience.

    Back from that tangent though, if there's one thing I've noticed, it's much more efficient to force a dog to engage it's brain than to engage it's legs. You can road a dog for a fairly long time and it will be back up and playing pretty quickly. Make one work, and I mean really work, to figure out 20 minutes of obedience training or tricks, and it will sleep for a couple of hours (usually). It gets harder in older dogs as you can be continuously teaching new tricks, so that they have something to figure out but you would still be surprised what 15-30 minutes of focused, calm heeling with other behaviors mixed in will bring to the party.

    High energy dogs take a lot of patience. We say fast dog, slow handler and it's absolutely true. In fact I think it should probably be "patient" handler. Waiting for one to calm down and do an acceptable behavior can be frustrating at times, but it definitely pays dividends in the longer term.

    Learn how to do reward based obedience from someone with a lot of practice with high energy pups and you will find the key to getting good behavior in the house, if that's why you're asking.

    I've seen and made a lot of attempts at corrective training for these dogs and while it can suppress a certain amount of behaviors, they tend to keep coming back. Taking one's time and teaching them how to properly earn rewards seems to stick a lot better. It is a lot more time, effort and work though. I usually get a call when frustration is at it's highest with a customer so I tend to use corrective training to shut down the annoying behavior but there is ALWAYS positive training in the background to help reshape the behaviors in the long term. Without it, I just get a call in a month about how the training didn't work.
    Last edited by DarrinGreene; 11-07-2013 at 03:21 PM.
    Darrin Greene

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwen Jones View Post
    I have a fire breather who is the best house dog I have ever owned. The problem is he is so excited at a trial, handling him looses the joy. He is skilled, derby list and QAA but just can not stand the excitement at a trial so will be a day training partner for me. You can only put so much money up against an animal who just can not help himself. He drools huge pools on the floor at the sight of a cracker. Can you imagine what he does when he sees ducks?
    I think we may own the same dog. Except for the derby list and QAA part.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by WyoLab View Post
    Is this something you'd do while training as well? He doesn't whine a lot while training, but if i walk out to throw a bumper he will start whining and get antsy. He doesn't really do it if I'm standing next to him though.
    In my world, retrievers are quiet. In the house, I correct barking (from puppyhood ) with the muzzle grab. You must be consistent. In the field, an occasional whine I let go. If it is more than a one off, muzzle grab and/or no retrieve. You know the dog. If they vocalize, they vocalize.
    For me there are some exceptions in early training. A single bark on release for a mark seems to go away. As do single barks on early cold blinds.
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  5. #35
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    That's a Randy question.
    Keith

    and I want to say thanks, you have made my life much more simpler.

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    Last edited by truthseeker; 11-07-2013 at 05:55 PM.

  6. #36
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    I have a pup that is more then I can currently handle. He is the full nephew of my previous dog so I was hoping to get a similar level of drive well I got 5x the drive, Im just a joe hunter type Not a pro or a hunt test guy. The dog did spend a few months with a pro.
    He is just 16 months old got his JH (4 for 4) last month and was a NUT at the tests (my first HTs btw).
    He is a great house dog calm and obedient. He is becoming tolerable in a duck blind getting better every time out (mostly because we dont get a ton of action) My problem is upland preserve hunting. He is completely off the hook at the bird farm, He does very well on wild upland game like grouse and woodcock, (I can keep him close and he is finding birds) but if I take him to my preserve all bets are off too much sent and its like he is on crack It didnt start that way. The first few times out he did great found all the birds and put them up in range. Electricity has no affect when he gets to the farm. Last time out I had to just put him up and leave the birds in the field. any advice on how to hunt him at a preserve? he just gets too high can it be worked out or should I just keep him off farm pheasants until he has matured a bit more? -
    Thanks
    JJK

  7. #37
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WyoLab View Post
    Is this something you'd do while training as well? He doesn't whine a lot while training, but if i walk out to throw a bumper he will start whining and get antsy. He doesn't really do it if I'm standing next to him though.
    Yes whenever he's making noise. You need to stay consistent in all scenarios; so he learns that you won't tolerate it, no matter where or how exciting things get. If your consistent especially at his young age the noise will usually go away; Worst case at least he learns the command-consequences for quite; and now you have a tool to stop his vocalizations.
    "They's Just DAWGS"
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    MHR HRCH Lakota MH (most importantly Upland/Duck Enthusiast)
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  8. #38
    Senior Member JS's Avatar
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    I have not read this entire thread. Apologies if this has been covered but my comment is that whatever you do in trying to create a calm dog, none of it will work if you yourself are not calm. Excitable, highly animated people usually don't have calm dogs. Be calm and deliberate in your praise, your corrections, and your general management of the dog. Shouting, screaming, fast hand motions, jumping around, panic in your voice, etc. ... will all make it worse.

    Kinda like, "train a fast dog slow and a slow dog fast".

    Good luck.

    JS
    Last edited by JS; 11-08-2013 at 09:59 AM.
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  9. #39
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkern View Post
    any advice on how to hunt him at a preserve? – he just gets too high – can it be worked out or should I just keep him off farm pheasants until he has matured a bit more? -
    Thanks
    JJK
    The only thing I've done that works with this type is to tire them-out mentally. Basically I get a chair and a drink, and I put psycho dog on a down stay and he is made to stay there until he calms and until I decide he can get up. It's sort've like asking a sugar-high kid to sit and be still, .Takes a bit to get them solid on it; at first it's physically and mentally exhausting for all parties involved. But eventually it starts to stick and the dog will take less and less time to calm. Plus side this simple mental exercise of making a psycho dog stay; completely wipes their energy (sometimes your as well ). Eventually psycho dog is on a down stay for entire training sessions; with birds and other dogs going every which way. Then we get to the upland field and if dog goes psycho he goes on a down stay again, doesn't get up until he's calm (I don't care how long it takes). Requires a bunch of handler patience(to not kill psycho dog); when he is unable to stay on a down; but it's worked for a couple heavy offenders. Even got a psycho fire-breather his HRCH title, dog couldn't sit but would calm on the down. I remember months of having that dog down out in the middle of a field as others ran; continuously having to put him back on his spot and back in the down; before it stuck that you cannot get up, your not getting birds, after you get birds; you still have to down; I'm not putting you away excited; and I'm more stubborn than you -So you might as well calm down. Dog was 6 yrs. old at the time; I wish I had had him as a pup it would've been so much easier, to control earlier.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 11-08-2013 at 10:16 AM.
    "They's Just DAWGS"
    "Hunting is a skill to be learned whether you do it early or late it still needs to be learned"
    "I train dogs, Not papers"

    GMRH HRCH Quick MH (most importantly Duck/Upland Enthusiast)
    MHR HRCH Lakota MH (most importantly Upland/Duck Enthusiast)
    SHR Storm.. the Pup (Beginning Upland & Waterfowl Enthusiast)

  10. #40
    Senior Member J. Walker's Avatar
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    There are definitely things that can be done to improve a dog's focus and control. For starters, you need a good obedience regimen. I have one I use that is not related to field training since I haven't seen a field training video with even decent obedience methods. One thing most people don't do is teach the dog something then proof it in gradually more tempting situations. I just had my dogs out this week at kids' soccer games making them do precise heeling and sit-stays and down-stays with people walking by, the kids yelling, balls rolling by, etc. All of that said, some dogs are just never going to be calm as it's not in their nature. They can be under control and very obedient but when they are released, it's a jail-break. My dogs are very obedient but there have been huge differences in their temperaments that are just part of what have made each dog unique. Case in point, my little rescued Golden-Beagle mix is incredibly calm when doing any obedience even in distracting situations. Yet, he'll go after squirrels with a vengeance and sounds like the Tasmanian devil when he's playing with other dogs. My much higher strung field dog will watch squirrels run through the yard with complete disinterest, never making so much as a peep. He'll play with other dogs if he feels like it but often prefers chewing on pine cones. In the field, saying he's wound tight would be an understatement. My point is that much of a dog's calmness or lack thereof is situational based on what motivates that dog.
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