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Thread: Actual training question: Improving perseverance on marks

  1. #1
    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    Default Actual training question: Improving perseverance on marks

    Thought I'd toss this out there for suggestions. The dog in question is my young dog, 17 mos. old Chesapeake bitch, she's fast as a jet coming and going but we'd like to get her to hunt more productively.

    Background first, with caveat: I do bear some of the blame for her shortcomings. Poor thing is the product of an accidental breeding and several sales fell through on her last year despite price tag of $500 and later, $0 . She was stepped on by a horse at 9 weeks, which badly mangled a toe. Though it healed fine, she couldn't swim last summer; she was one of those pathetic dogs that did the vertical puppy paddle forever. She did finally master swimming by the end of last summer though and she absolutely loves the water, hits it hard and swims fine now.

    Because I hadn't planned to keep her, she didn't get much in the way of puppy marks and certainly nothing consistent last year. When she was 8 mos. and ready for formal training we had that financially devastating house fire so she sort of fell through the cracks. She had OK obedience, without much time spent. In Feb., a friend force fetched her and did a super job in just 5 weeks, but he had something come up so she was pretty much only trained through collar fetch, he didn't get to FTP or anything. She's always loved retrieving and been bird crazy, she just hasn't seen as many marks as dogs her age normally have.

    That's changed now as she's getting regular marks all summer and lots of birds. She seems to have some marking talent; she's a fast learner and eager student and one of the fastest Chesapeakes I've ever seen: she's like a rocket off the line and comes back as fast as she goes out. But we've noticed occasionally and more often since she began learning doubles that she sometimes gives up too easily on a mark she has to hunt for any length of time. She has a great attitude and is doing well in her TT work right now. She's somewhat soft, but more of a drama queen (screamer) than the kind of dog that caves under pressure.

    Any ideas how to get her to persevere in her hunt would be appreciated. I know I'd seen drill ideas on here before but wanted to hear from people that have successfully taught a young dog to perservere when hunting a mark.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris Meyer's Avatar
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    Sod toss drills.
    Dogs have many friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.

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    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    Chris would you explain how you do those? As that's what I vaguely remembered from some other post on here I couldn't find and what I'm looking for: a drill you could do to teach a dog to hunt productively.

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    Senior Member Chris Meyer's Avatar
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    Throw a piece of sod for a mark and let the dog hunt for it. The minute the dog is giving up throw a mark when the dogs not looking and have the bird boy help him to it.
    Dogs have many friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.

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    Another way to run "dirt clod" drill is run the mark as a single first with a bird. You like to have the area heavily scented. Then repeat the single but throw a dirt clod. Since the dog has already retrieved a bird from that station it's pretty confident it will find something again. If she should try to leave the fall area have the bird boy "hey, hey" to keep her in the area and hunting. When you are satisfied that she has hunted enough, on your say the bird boy whips a bird out without the dog seeing him put it out. Then continue having the bird boy help as before for however long it takes her to find the bird.

    Angie

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    Another variation to Angie's suggestion is instead of throwing bird first is to litter the area with feathers by clipping or plucking a bird and then throwing dirt or a rock. Although this method is not AKC approved it will provide a dog a reason to keep hunting the area until you have the thrower place a bird.

    Tim
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

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