Speaking of Fred
Do people remember that 6 month old detection dog (I can't remember the exact age) maintaining focus on the job or it could have been the handler (don't remember that either) while other dogs were running around it.
That's probably a by product of development.
In our world it may be ,a 7 month old dog that hears a gun go off and its first response is to sit even though it was not trained directly to do that,,,or it comes bouncing back to the heel position even though it was not trained directly to do that. All it knows is how to get what it wants, which is the bird. Same concept.
When I let the dogs out to air in the field those trained to go to a mat ,run there sit on itor around it and stare at me intensely as if they are expecting me to do something,,,,, the others are just enjoying their freedom and ignoring me.
Thatss a developed response triggered by a stimulus in the environment.
You can't know what you don't understand
One thing Ellis will bring to the party, if his DVD is used by people is a focus on... well... focus. He calls it engagement, and states that until he has strong engagement from a puppy, there's no moving onto more complex training.
In pet dog world I have found the lack of engagement to be the main problem people have with their dogs in public, or even in the back yard. When the dog is not engaged with the owner he will not perform commands he already knows. I hear this daily.
On big challenge I think we have with our retrievers is to actually balance the dog's engagement with his independent thinking ability and to teach him to make the correct decisions when he is disengaged. We also need to be able to reliably demand the dog's attention in a situation where it gets in trouble on a mark and needs to be handled.
I think a lot of people, especially good trainers, end up being able to do this as a bi-product of solid basics. I don't know a lot of trainers (pets, retrievers or otherwise) that really focus on the issue.
Turning this engagement on and off isn't necessarily easy with a high drive dog, as we all know.
Last edited by DarrinGreene; 03-05-2014 at 08:17 AM.
Great discussion, Pete. I always appreciate your input. Always thought provoking.