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Thread: Exercises or drills to help an amped up dog on test day?

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    Member PHRGold's Avatar
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    Default Exercises or drills to help an amped up dog on test day?

    I’ve got a 6 year-old retriever who began training for the hunt test game when he was 5. Prior to that, he was never expected to be steady to the shot or to live birds. He has made great progress given the unsteadiness engrained in his behavior over previous years, but he still has steadiness issues on hunt test day.

    We train for the mechanics of the HT with everything that he sees at the line (including a few minutes of anticipation behind a holding blind) - completely “game like” scenarios. He is steady during training for every element of the seasoned HRC test. I feel like I’m doing everything I can to condition and desensitize him to the distractions of the hunt test experience, but when he comes to the line on test day he is not steady. Anyone had a similar issue with a dog? Does anyone have any ideas for calming him down in the hours or minutes before heading to the line?

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    I had one that required an ob session before testing, I would leave test grounds do here, heel, sit with walk up birds thrown in her face to get the corrections in then off to the test we would go. The one test I didn't have time for it she caught the walk up as it hit the ground. She would honor after running but would never sit still on a cold honor. Never broke in training, even would sit in the holding blind waiting her turn as I ran another dog but test would just get her so amped.

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    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    My suggestion is try to find a training group to create more excitement . More trucks, more dogs, reloading, etc.
    You can try Gunzup cd on a portable CD player. Put a two way radio on the dog box. Take a blank pistol and other radio with you when setting up . Shoot blank pistol and say ht things into the radio.
    Wayne Nutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Nutt View Post
    My suggestion is try to find a training group to create more excitement . More trucks, more dogs, reloading, etc.
    You can try Gunzup cd on a portable CD player. Put a two way radio on the dog box. Take a blank pistol and other radio with you when setting up . Shoot blank pistol and say ht things into the radio.
    I think you need to read the OP again as did I...the question reads a whole lot different than what the poster actually wants
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    Senior Member P J's Avatar
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    My dog knows that something is going on. We usually didn't spend the night at home, we are up early with camo or boots on so, lots of clues we are either at a hunt test or hunting.

    The morning of a test I try to find somewhere to run a lining drill, something to burn some energy and exercise some discipline. Once at the test site, if we are not running early and I am not working/marshaling, I try to do some obedience on lead. Heeling and walking backwards heeling, corrections for not paying attention to me. Try to be calm yourself and firm with your dog. I have found that if we get a "no bird", I take her off the line treating her as if she has done something wrong.

    If you think your dog may break, keep your whistle in or near your mouth, it will stop a dog a lot faster than screaming at them.

    Good luck!
    Paula

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    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    I like to take my dogs off the grounds and relax with a dog, air, and do some healing and figure eights etc. Get the dog to pay attention to you. However I find any serious corrections to be counter productive. I think they just make a dog nervous and more amped up on game day.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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    Senior Member Brad B's Avatar
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    You're trying to undo 5 years worth in 1 year. It may take some doing but consistent and effective training is better than any game day band aid. Take a hard look at your training regimen and see where you can raise the bar on what's expected from him. I'm willing to bet there's room for improvement.

    Thought I'd never get one client's dog finished on his MH. Steady as a rock everywhere....except a test. Tough road to climb sometimes.

    Good luck!

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    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrettG View Post
    I had one that required an ob session before testing, I would leave test grounds do here, heel, sit with walk up birds thrown in her face to get the corrections in then off to the test we would go. The one test I didn't have time for it she caught the walk up as it hit the ground. She would honor after running but would never sit still on a cold honor. Never broke in training, even would sit in the holding blind waiting her turn as I ran another dog but test would just get her so amped.
    That's what works best for my high roller. I need him to remember who's boss and leave the holding blind more nervous about me than excited about the birds. It's a fine line but seems to work most the time.

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    I went through this same thing, some great suggestions from the many great
    Folk on here but in the end only thing that worked for me was live flyrs and multiple honoring other
    Dogs working and dening and retrive for breaking and putting my hands on him heavly for any movement
    Stay in the game it can be done !

  10. #10
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    So you have two issues. (1) the trial/test-wise dog and (2) a breaking issue. I can't tell you how to fix #1 and folks here know more than I do. But if it's going back to basics to really solve the second problem, maybe a whole different approach might work. If that's the case, then think about Hillman's Traffic Cop. Definitely originated for young dogs, but he says it works on older dogs with creeping/breaking issues... though naturally, it will be a long haul.

    Also consider that running tests might be making both problems #1 and #2 worse (and costing money.) The pro pulled my dog off all competition for an extended period while solving a HT-day-only water-deafness problem. Same with a dog that developed test-day-only mouth issues. May need an extended break from HT's.

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