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Thread: Hand down vs. no hand

  1. #11
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Caswell View Post
    After all the birds had been picked up one of the judges recommended that I shouldn't put my hand in because it made it appear that my dog didn't know where the mark was and I was lining him to the bird.

    Different strokes I guess. I did it in a senior test a long time ago and the judge told me to quit lining up my dogs. He said they don't score lining, just marking. It was one of the things that helped me make up my mind to just go and try field trials.
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    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    It is used as a cue in field trials, that hopefully after thousands and thousands of consistent sends, the dog picks up on. The way I and most FTers use it is;

    1) Always put the hand down on the go bird, should help a little in steadying the dog. He shouldn't go until he feels the hand over his head and hears his name.
    2) A No-Hand send on check down birds, coupled with an "easy" cue and soft send.
    3) Hand down on most other retrieves including blind retrieves.
    4) Hand down and a loud send coupled with "way out" cue on long punch birds.

    Like I said, the theory is that after thousands of retrieves being 100% consistent in training and trials, hopefully the dog associates the use or non use of the hand with these specific retrieves. I can't read my dog's mind, so I don't know if it works or not, but I figure it can't hurt.

    edit: Not all field trial trainers do it this way, but probably a majority do and all are absolutely consistent with whatever technique they use.
    Last edited by John Robinson; 02-18-2014 at 09:28 PM.

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    Senior Member Ted Shih's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    It is used as a cue in field trials, that hopefully after thousands and thousands of consistent sends, the dog picks up on. The way I and most FTers use it is;

    1) Always put the hand down on the go bird, should help a little in steadying the dog. He shouldn't go until he feels the hand over his head and hears his name.
    2) A No-Hand send on check down birds, coupled with an "easy" cue and soft send.
    3) Hand down on most other retrieves including blind retrieves.
    4) Hand down and a loud send coupled with "way out" cue on long punch birds.

    Like I said, the theory is that after thousands of retrieves being 100% consistent in training and trials, hopefully the dog associates the use or non use of the hand with these specific retrieves. I can't read my dog's mind, so I don't know if it works or not, but I figure it can't hurt.

    edit: Not all field trial trainers do it this way, but probably a majority do and all are absolutely consistent with whatever technique they use.

    I do the above plus:
    1. I will put my hand down and say "no" on a poison bird
    2. I will put my hand down and say "here" if the dog looks lost and I want to jar her memory
    3. I will put my hand down and say "no" if the dog's focus is where it should not be
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    The way I and most FTers use it is;

    1) Always put the hand down on the go bird, should help a little in steadying the dog. He shouldn't go until he feels the hand over his head and hears his name.
    2) A No-Hand send on check down birds, coupled with an "easy" cue and soft send. - sometimes will put a hand in if there is something difficult about the check down bird ie: close under the arc type of thing, cover or scent wall, but will still keep the voice soft - hand delineates the importance of it & to focus to the dog. Must read the dog.
    3) Hand down on most other retrieves including blind retrieves.
    4) Hand down and a loud send coupled with "way out" cue on long punch birds. No verbal "way out" cue.

    edit: Not all field trial trainers do it this way, but probably a majority do and all are absolutely consistent with whatever technique they use.
    I do the above plus:
    1. I will put my hand down and say "no" on a poison bird I just say No Bird, "Dead" to give the attention back to typically what is a p.b. blind. May say Dead on the way to the line a time or two if dog is looking around.
    2. I will put my hand down and say "here" if the dog looks lost and I want to jar her memory. I will say "here", get them on the mat looking towards where I want them to be, and let them re-focus themselves before I ever put my hand back in. Again, you have to read your dog, as too much hand use can interfere with their memory.
    3. I will put my hand down and say "no" if the dog's focus is where it should not be. I will say "No, here" without a hand, and then re-focus their attention.
    My differences are in "RED" above - each "camp" (ie: pro camp, region of the country, amateur camp, etc.) may do things slightly different. As long as you're communicating with your teammate in a consistent manner, that's all that matters.
    Last edited by JusticeDog; 02-18-2014 at 11:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Caswell View Post
    Yep..

    I was running test dog a few years back in a HRC finished test, after the last bird was down I stood up put the gun in the stand and stepped up to the dog put my hand in and sent the dog. After all the birds had been picked up one of the judges recommended that I shouldn't put my hand in because it made it appear that my dog didn't know where the mark was and I was lining him to the bird.
    In reality it appears the judge didn't understand dog handling. I can't stand a judge that tries to tell a handler how to handle. Do the judging... I'll handle the damn dog.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethompson63 View Post
    Ok but why? I'm not being smart just would like to know what it helps
    As handlers and trainers we are striving to build communication with our team mate on line. Many use the hand as one more cue in the line of defence against a dog "breaking" on marked retrieves, there is no magic understanding from the dog's perspective of the meaning of the hand until we train it into them. You may find a host of uses for your hand in trials and tests; before the birds are thrown in trials to help point out the guns, to emphasize a bird which you think may be difficult for your dog to retrieve. In tests and trials you may use your hand after the birds are down to; give it the cue that it will now be sent on it's first retrieve, it may be used subsequently to help focus on a difficult mark or it's absence may by used to indicate a short retired(or a short visible mark). The point is there is no right or wrong about using your hand to communicate the subtleties of the test to your dog, provided you have trained your dog to understand your signals.

    The day may well come when a precise handler may use a hand projected with knuckles only exposed to mean one thing and fingers extended to mean something completely different. You could achieve very complicated and subtle nuance though your hand but success will only come from consistent repetition of signals in specific circumstances, together with a dog sagacious enough to understand your efforts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    In reality it appears the judge didn't understand dog handling. I can't stand a judge that tries to tell a handler how to handle. Do the judging... I'll handle the damn dog.
    Absolutely! The rule books only proscribe against excessive lining of the dog on marks, not against using the hand as an aid to marking if accomplished briskly.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethompson63 View Post
    Is it better to have your hand down on a marked retrieve or no hand? It seems like the hand would distract the dog more than help it and I think during a lot of hunting situations you wouldn't be able to do this. Don't rip me for asking I'd just like to know the plus for doing this and the minus. What's the reasoning for it?

    Thanks
    Whether or not you buy into the use of the hand in one situation another is directly related to your viewpoint on how complex the dog's thought pattern is.

    If used consistently it can definitely have meaning to the dog. Most dog training is predicated on the dog's innate ability to predict the next event in a predictable chain. If your sequence is to say "dead bird", say "good", place "hand in peripheral vision", release ("back" or "name"), the dog will most definitely come to see the hand as part of that sequence and expect it.

    Here's where it gets muddy though, at least in my mind. Before I say this I want the experienced among us to know that I simply DON'T KNOW the answer to this and I am NOT ADVOCATING for change nor am I ASSERTING THAT ANYONE IS WRONG.

    The question is... does using "hand" in certain situations but not others really give the dog a clear understanding of what you want, or does is simply create two (or more) command sequences that ultimately mean the same thing (dog released)? We know we can train multiple cues for the same behavior (ex: verbal sit and whistle sit). Is that all we're doing, or does the dog really understand that it should run easier when no hand is present and the handler's voice is soft (if that's how it is being used)? Do they understand, or do they run softer just because they are wondering if they've actually been sent when you whisper?

    I don't think we know these things for sure, but I believe that as handlers we have been taught to try and do everything we can to help our dogs understand what we need them to do.

    I think John Robinson said earlier "I don't know but I hope after 1,000's a consistent repetitions they get it"

    It's an accepted method for handling, so whose to question it, other than someone like me who teaches pet owners all day? I'm constantly preaching "Your conversation is nothing but background noise. Simplify your communication. Use only the few words that we have really taught and re-enforced."

    I spend my life trying to get people to use 7 words and only 7 words with a dog. It makes me think sometimes about the conversations we have with our pups at the line. I'm not saying they don't get it.
    I just wonder sometimes.

    So to finally answer the OP question..

    It's all up to you but whatever you're going to do, it has to be a trained cue, it should have some meaning (to you, if not to the dog initially) and it needs to be consistent to mean anything. We can probably all agree on that.
    Last edited by DarrinGreene; 02-19-2014 at 08:13 AM.
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  9. #19
    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrinGreene View Post
    So wait... A dog that didn't see a mark for some reason is lined into the area of the fall and picks up the bird without an excessive hunt... and that's a bad thing?

    I've seen some judges set up marking scenarios (primarily in AKC MH tests) where either the dog was sucked into looking elsewhere or had a downright hard time seeing a particular mark. The best dogs in those fields were experienced and lined really well. I can remember in particular a 9 or 10 yo that was a pro's personal dog who literally lined across three angle entries to pick up a 100 yard mark like he'd seen it perfectly... The dog wasn't even looking in that direction when the bird went off...

    That's TEAMWORK and that's what makes a great hunting dog. Yes, they have to be able to mark and according to the book it's "primary" but if for some reason they get in trouble... A good dog/handler team is efficient and makes it look easy. That's the essence of a MH level dog IMHO.

    Get out there, get the bird and get back here so we can shoot some more...

    A cooperative / strong lining dog can do that even if he hasn't seen the marks particularly well.

    So why would anyone tell you not to use those mechanics?
    i believe some of this commentary stems from references to "excessive lining". Some misinterpret the intent of that wording.

    Chris
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrinGreene View Post
    Whether or not you buy into the use of the hand in one situation another is directly related to your viewpoint on how complex the dog's thought pattern is.

    If used consistently it can definitely have meaning to the dog. Most dog training is predicated on the dog's innate ability to predict the next event in a predictable chain. If your sequence is to say "dead bird", say "good", place "hand in peripheral vision", release ("back" or "name"), the dog will most definitely come to see the hand as part of that sequence and expect it.

    Here's where it gets muddy though, at least in my mind. Before I say this I want the experienced among us to know that I simply DON'T KNOW the answer to this and I am NOT ADVOCATING for change nor am I ASSERTING THAT ANYONE IS WRONG.

    The question is... does using "hand" in certain situations but not others really give the dog a clear understanding of what you want, or does is simply create two (or more) command sequences that ultimately mean the same thing (dog released)? We know we can train multiple cues for the same behavior (ex: verbal sit and whistle sit). Is that all we're doing, or does the dog really understand that it should run easier when no hand is present and the handler's voice is soft (if that's how it is being used)? Do they understand, or do they run softer just because they are wondering if they've actually been sent when you whisper?

    I don't think we know these things for sure, but I believe that as handlers we have been taught to try and do everything we can to help our dogs understand what we need them to do.

    I think John Robinson said earlier "I don't know but I hope after 1,000's a consistent repetitions they get it"

    It's an accepted method for handling, so whose to question it, other than someone like me who teaches pet owners all day? I'm constantly preaching "Your conversation is nothing but background noise. Simplify your communication. Use only the few words that we have really taught and re-enforced."

    I spend my life trying to get people to use 7 words and only 7 words with a dog. It makes me think sometimes about the conversations we have with our pups at the line. I'm not saying they don't get it.
    I just wonder sometimes.

    So to finally answer the OP question..

    It's all up to you but whatever you're going to do, it has to be a trained cue, it should have some meaning (to you, if not to the dog initially) and it needs to be consistent to mean anything. We can probably all agree on that.
    I am new at the FT game, slowly figuring things out.

    On the lonnnnng gun/punch bird, my dogs ears perk when I cue "mark" if she has picked out the gunner. If I get no ear perk when I cue "mark" she has not picked out the gunner (so I have to work with her some more). The dogs can respond with their own body language if you work with them.
    Renee P

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