Who can figure this training issue out?
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View Poll Results: After reading senario who guessed it before me?

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  • Who guessed before hint 2?

    4 18.18%
  • Who guessed before hint 3?

    3 13.64%
  • Who would have been as clueless as I was?

    15 68.18%
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Thread: Who can figure this training issue out?

  1. #1

    Default Who can figure this training issue out?

    Here is an interesting training scenario for you, let's see who can figure it out:

    Dog was bold on birds. GREAT upland hunter and pointer. Range was a little far but solid pointer (pointing Labrador) so not too much of a concern, being he would hold point until I flushed.

    First season training for retrieving, I blew through started hunt test levels. He was always one of the top dogs at the hunt test, and got extra marks for delivery to hand, pushing through heavy cover, and was just crazy about birds.

    However then when I started teaching handling I had trouble building the dog's confidence. Lining the dog at any distance was a challenge, and when doing the "T" drill involving any distance from dog to handler was always a problem. I used white buckets and flags which seemed to help.

    I had been told by professionals watching us two separate opinions: First was a sheer lack of confidence in the dog which would develop with repetition. Second from those seeing how much time training I was putting in, that I had an obedience problem with the dog. At a distance he would blow me off and use his nose to hunt. When I put pressure on him he would freeze up and refuse to move until I moved up closer to him to handle him.

    Anybody figure it out yet ??????????????????
    Hint 2:

    Then I tried teaching doubles. First I started schooling out singles, then would re-run as a double. This went fine. Then I tried easy doubles. At first he would simply forget a second mark had landed, after retrieving the first. In time he didn't forget but would either give me "no goes" or would insist on going to the "old fall", and I would have the bird boys help.

    Figure it out yet ?????? (don't worry I didn't)
    Hint #3

    Then I said, ok, NO MORE SINGLE MARKS for this dog. Everything was a double. I could NOT handle the second bird because of my handling problem. So I would do one mark REALLY close (like a breaker bird) and the next further. I would school the further marks using the breaker bird as a double and then in the end eliminate the breaker bird and do a double of the two far marks (on the already schooled distance marks).

    It became obvious to me that the only doubles he could do were if the "memory" bird was wide out in the open, or if the memory bird was right on top of us.

    Now I bet I have some people figuring this out now !!!!!!!!!!

    So then I happen to take the dog for a CERF eye exam which he passed, no genetic defects ...... but I found out the dog had severe scaring in both eyes from a previous illness when he was young. He is not blind, but is severely visually impaired.

    This amazing smart, really birdie dog had been doing singles for most of his life by seeing some movement, listening for fall to get to the area and then scent to get the bird. That is why he could not handle, he couldn't SEE ME.

    How could I have been so blind to not see this !!!!!!!!!!!! If dog's had hands he would have put the e-collar on me for pressuring him and not reading his body language that he was trying to please me and I could not be pleased. So loyal and devoted these dogs are to us, a smart trainer will learn from the stories they tell us with their body language.

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  3. #2
    Kristie Wilder


    My first thought is always health with any odd training problem. So I guess I got it generally right...

    This is a great example of making sure you're on top of your dog's physical condition. Thanks for posting.

    Hopefully he can still enjoy some hunting and training.


  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    NE Wi.


    I'm not so certain you have the whole answer here. I agree that his eyesight would affect the handling. But I don't see that that would affect his ability to do doubles. If he could do a single at a distance and you added a second mark at the same distance or shorter, he should be able to do it. Some dog's just can't count to two (or three or four). I would have to believe from the information given that not only do you have a dog with tissue scaring, you MAY have one that can't remember multiple falls.
    A Lab's best friend is the person holding the food dish.

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  6. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Salem, Oregon


    I honestly though before I read the CERF part that the dog may have a hearing problem as well. But definitely was clued into the possibility of a phsycial problem with the dog.

    Here is why I thought hearing:

    Blowing through whistles at a distance...

    Perhaps not being able to hear quacks or guns from bird boys, so the dog would see fall 1 but would not always catch the auditory cue that another fall was occuring.

    But of course the eye illness makes more sense...Sorry to hear that though.
    Ask not what your dawg can do for you, but what you can do for your dawg...

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    SW AR-- Ouachita Mountains


    Quote Originally Posted by Kristie Wilder
    This is a great example of making sure you're on top of your dog's physical condition. -Kristie
    And a good example about learning to *read* a dog.

    Great training is not just making sure a dog knows what you want him to do, but also making sure a dog is *able* to do it.

    Great post.

    Is a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac someone who lies awake at night wondering if there is really is a dog?

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Upstate NY


    Another one I have come across along these lines is the location you are training. I train a lot in a rectangular field that has two buildings along two sides of it. The dog would often sit on a comback whistle and come on a sit whistle. It wasn't until I was downfield from someone else with a whistle I figured out why. The sit whistle echoed off of the buildings like a come whistle and the come whistle would have one late blast on it that sounded like a sit whistle.

    Poor little guy could never figure out why I got so frustrated!

    I am glad you figured this out for you and your dog...i hope he can continue to enjoy a lifetime of retrieving.

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