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Thread: Short bird marking - Secondary vs Ideal selection

  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetrieversONLINE View Post
    From North of the Border:
    SO much snow to shovel that I missed the start of this discussion-but here’s my thoughts.

    History of Selection (in brief)
    In the good old days “selection” meant ‘sending your dog on the first retrieve for a bird other than the last bird down’ (go-bird). The test that really got this idea going was the indent in which you had a short retired in the middle and the flyer last bird down longer on the outside. This has been called the McAssey Test (John McAssey). This kind of selection became known as Primary selection and Rex Carr was one of its early proponents.
    Primary selection has always been controversial because of the difficulty of pulling off flyers. Dogs reliable in training where not always reliable at trials (hmm –no kidding!) Often a lot of pressure was used. Interestingly in Canada, where all birds were dead, Primary selection was much easier and more often seen.

    Secondary selection occurred when the handler selected which bird was picked up second. Usually, this meant the flyer was picked up first as a go-bird and then the next shortest bird was picked up. Again this was often that short retired bird with a longer one to go and after a longer one. Because this pattern was the most common, it became convention to call Secondary Selection, “picking up the short bird second”. In reality, it is secondary selection occurs when the handler selects which bird is retrieved second. One can even talk about tertiary selection when the handler selects which bird is third (as might be needed in a quad).

    Eventually, Rex Carr abandoned primary selection because dogs AND handlers were unreliable at doing it. It wasn’t reasonable to pursue with all dogs. Later, he pursued picking up the short bird last. Dave Rorem trained extensively with Rex in the early 90’s when Rex preached this approach. Dave adopted Rex’s philosophy and later coined the term “Ideal Selection” which today he defines as “getting any bird at any time”. Of course, because Rorem has pursued picking up the short bird last after one or two longer birds, now some people think Ideal selection is short bird last (just as some thing secondary is always short bird second).

    Why do dogs over-run short?
    1. We train so much on this in formative years-Short-long ad nauseum in Derby-teach that punch bird, get that long retired-force back-drive long!
    2. Experienced dogs love flyers-ever notice short birds second as flyers are relatively easy? (Hint-great way to train short retireds). Dogs know when short birds are dead-they may be less certain that long bird was dead. Rex said to me: He wanted that long bird-he was hoping it was a flyer!” Note: Canadian dogs often primary select to short birds on their own when never exposed to flyers.
    3. Visible birds are easier to remember than retired- a long visible is more attracting than a short retired-duh!
    4. Dogs that have run long naturally are comfortable running long again because they have just been successful doing that.

    What do I do?

    For Chris: I say “Never says Always but Never say Never!”

    I train over and over on being able to take a short bird after a longer bird. In day to day training this is usually second for clarity and simplicity although it could be done second, third or 4th. Is this secondary-yes! I am always selecting which bird is second in training. Is it tertiary –sometimes it is also. Is it ideal- yes because I’m deciding which bird next. I occasionally train on Primary for control reasons. Enough that I could do it in some trial situations.

    In a trial, I “usually” go with my dog’s strengths- what is he best at? Because of my training, I often feel comfortable digging out that short retired second but not “always”. PS. I have both won and lost a National in the 10th by going contrary to my training. Four times the decision has been which bird to take 3rd when there was a middle and a long retired left.
    There is always both Science and Art to handling! Knowing when to go with the dog and when to not go with the dog is the Art!

    Cheers
    There have been a few posts elsewhere on the Forum recently giving erroneous definitions for the various forms of selection so I thought it would be an appropriate time to bump this to the top ,

    john
    "i guess the old saying 'those of us that think we know everything annoy those of you that does' " --bobbyb 9/13/06

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  2. #112
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Main View Post
    A big reason for secondary selection, is to pick up the tougher short bird while it is fresher in the dog's memory. Is that the trade off? The fresher memory vs the absence of the suction from the long attractive bird if it is out of the picture.

    Does the it matter the type of dog? For example, a good short bird marker vs poor short bird marker. Or, a dog that is flier crazy and will go to the long flier anyway vs the team player that will pick them up in whatever order the handler wants. Who determines the order of pickup the dog or the handler?
    From my experience it absolutely depends on the dog. All of my field bred Goldens have been very fast dogs with a lot of drive, but my first was an absolute fire breather. He was a reasonable marker, not great but good enough, he ran very straight lines through anything that was in his way, but he liked the feel of wind in his ears and really liked the long marks retired or not. He was six years old before he could check down. We tried "easy" cues, always did secondary selection of the short bird, everything we could think of, but he would take a perfect line right over the top of a checkdown bird, and unless he actually tripped over the bird, he just kept going long.

    Like I said he finally matured and figured them out, but even in old age if I ran him long twice, there was no was he was going to check down on the last bird.

    Then I got Yoda who was a much better marker from the get-go. As I say, Yoda was a very-very good marker, and he was super confident about his marking to the point that he knew in what order he wanted to pick the birds up. He liked going long after pickng up the go-bird. Try and select out the short bird next at your peril, as he would likely end up in no-mans-land between the long and short bird. I finally quit trying and let him have it his way, that's when I discovered he had the talent to pin the flyer, pin a long retired, then check down and pin the short bird.

    With Yoda you stepped back a bit as he returned with a bird and set himself up on the next bird, then step up, re-inforce the bird that he's already lined up on, take the bird out of his mounth and send him. If's a short bird he's lined up on, it's the "easy" cue then you launch him with a no-hand, soft send, if he lines up on a long punch bird, he get's the "way out" cue, hand down and a loud send.

    Two different dogs, two different approaches. My Gus who is actually an even better marker than Yoda seems more willing to take them in the order that I select. With that said my training default position is to use secondary selection and enforce it in training, I tend to be more flexable on the line in a trial, good or bad.

    John
    Last edited by John Robinson; 02-08-2011 at 11:25 AM.

  3. #113
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    Worked on just this thing the other day. I shot some video and will try to load it tonight if I get the chance. This is a version of the W drill with only 3 stations. (First big set up since hunting season started)

    Here's the layout description: On a hill over looking a hay field with rolls still in it. Wind is blowing from 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock as you look at the middle of the set up. The hill slopes down to the left. (Fall to hill on bird 1 and you're on bird 2, let the wind push you and you have to get deep to pick up bird 1) Bird one is at 312 yds thrown from left to right (slight angle back) Bird two is at 144yds also thrown left to right landing in the hip pocket of station 1. Bird three is then thrown right to left at 265 yds. The stations are all exposed.

    Here's what I was working on:
    Big dogs- checking down for bird 2 after getting bird 3. (Trying to really cue the dogs to check down)
    Youngsters- ran as singles long birds first followed by short (also working on cues for short marks)

    Here's how they did:
    Outlaw- 5 yr old (really who this was for because he will always pick up outside outside in no matter length if I let him choose) Front foots go-bird comes back looks long at bird 1. I cue easy and pull him to bird 2. He locks in and I kick him off. As he is going down the hill he fades just slightly with the wind and looks looks to be headed long. As he gets even with bird 2 he makes a hard left about 10 yds and picks up bird 2. Comes back and looks long and then proceeds to front foot bird 1.

    Girly- 7 yr old, Front foots the go-bird, takes the cue and goes between gun station and bird 2 and with a very small hunt comes up with the bird. Carries a great line on bird 1 but squares the hill and ends up backsiding the gun but recovers nicely.

    Spirit- 18 month old- Front foots the go bird, does exactly what I wanted and with a very small button hook gets bird 2, comes back and locks in on bird 1. When I kicked her off she gave me a terrible line fat right, ran a banana but front footed the bird.

    Tina- 18 month old- ran as singles, perfect on birds 1 and 3, overran bird 2 by 10 yds before she checked down.

    Raider- 3 yr old, Front footed the go bird, checked down great but was off line and had a small hunt on bird 2, fought the wind and squared the hill and ended up in no man's land behind the gun station on bird 1, handled to recover.

    Bear- 9 month old, ran as singles, did fine just getting stretched out. hunted a little short on 1 but recovered and did great on the other 2.

    All in all it was a great session. I got exactly what I was wanting to get out of this set up. Moved and did a very similar set up without the hill factor with even better results.

  4. #114
    Senior Member Lucky Number Seven's Avatar
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    I searched the topic of ideal selection after going back through a Retriever News article from Rorem about it and came upon this little gem of a conversation. This is really good stuff and thought I would bring it back out if others had anything to add and continue this topic.
    Last edited by Lucky Number Seven; 03-12-2013 at 01:12 PM.

  5. #115
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    Thanks for bringing this back, it is definitely one of the best training threads of all time. It was an article on teaching the checkdown bird by Dennis way back around 1996 that really taught me how to train my dogs on this difficult concept.

  6. #116
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granddaddy View Post
    Obviously, based upon my comments in the previous thread, I train with secondary selection, shortest to longest approach. I also subscribe to the "keep it simple, stupid" theory.

    Even in a trial, esp with a tight set-up, I don't think I would purposely send a dog for a long mark past a tight short mark (unless the dog clearly indicated he wanted the long mark in some way) before the short mark has been retrieved. The risk is too high that the dog would instead p/u the short mark anyway & I would be left with the prospect of attempting to convince the dog to take the same line again to the long mark (loud voice, hand down etc).

    That's why I am convinced there is something else to Rorem's logic for teaching this 2 longs before a short retired as a concept that has not yet come into the conversation.
    To me it appears the short marks are no brainer for the dog and if you could get him by those marks then go for it. I was surprised when the group I was with p/u the short first. Left me asking in my mind why and why one can't teach the dog to leave short alone? So all the marks down say to your dog, "no leave it" to the last short bird down???and aim him for the long bird??and say "that is it" . Should the dog go to where you want him to go no matter what? Just wondering?

    I should add this is a great thread started before I joined RTF.
    Last edited by Mary Lynn Metras; 03-12-2013 at 05:57 PM.
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  7. #117
    Senior Member Ted Shih's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Lynn Metras View Post
    To me it appears the short marks are no brainer for the dog and if you could get him by those marks then go for it. I was surprised when the group I was with p/u the short first. Left me asking in my mind why and why one can't teach the dog to leave short alone? So all the marks down say to your dog, "no leave it" to the last short bird down???and aim him for the long bird??and say "that is it" . Should the dog go to where you want him to go no matter what? Just wondering?

    Dogs like to go short, long, longer
    Dogs tend to want to run if they are nervous

    You seem to have a smattering of questions
    1. If you no the dog off of the go bird and pick up another, you are: a) opting for a bird in the hand versus two in the bush (you may find the go bird to be no easy proposition); b) putting some pressure on the dog by taking it off one with a "no" and opting for another (and dogs mark best when relaxed); and c) possibly making things more complicated than you want or need for them to be
    2. In a National, it is the short nasty retired hen pheasant that often annihilates the field. So would you want to leave it for last (when memory is worst)? Moreover, if you go long second, you will find for reasons stated above, that it is hard to get your dog to check down
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  8. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Lynn Metras View Post
    To me it appears the short marks are no brainer for the dog and if you could get him by those marks then go for it. I was surprised when the group I was with p/u the short first. Left me asking in my mind why and why one can't teach the dog to leave short alone? So all the marks down say to your dog, "no leave it" to the last short bird down???and aim him for the long bird??and say "that is it" . Should the dog go to where you want him to go no matter what? Just wondering?
    Mary Lynn, not sure I fully understand your post. But it appears that you imply that the short bird is the easier"no brainer" bird
    . That seems logical and may be true in certain situations such as at HT distances without a lot of factors.
    However, for whatever reason, in Ft's most dogs will typically have more trouble checking down and digging out the short bird thrown in heavy cover, ditches etc; especially if retired.
    It may be counterintuitive, but a dog that goes long for a bird once or twice wants to go long again. Your chances for success{with the vast majority of dogs} are greater if you can teach the dog to successfully check down on the short bird before getting sent for longer birds, than it is to reverse the order and send for the long one before the short one

  9. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Lynn Metras View Post
    To me it appears the short marks are no brainer for the dog and if you could get him by those marks then go for it. I was surprised when the group I was with p/u the short first. Left me asking in my mind why and why one can't teach the dog to leave short alone? So all the marks down say to your dog, "no leave it" to the last short bird down???and aim him for the long bird??and say "that is it" . Should the dog go to where you want him to go no matter what? Just wondering?

    I should add this is a great thread started before I joined RTF.
    I see two others have already addressed this, but I'll back them up. Marking a well placed short "check down" bird is generally considered the hardest concept for field trial dogs to master. That's why we try so hard to teach our dogs secondary selection. 90% of field trials are picked up, "last bird down, short to long".

    John

  10. #120
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Sorry to be confusing. I understand the comments and reason. Great info. Thank you very much for your replies!
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