Vocal Dog at the Line Correction, road kill style
People who contributed;
Evan Graham, Randy Bohn, Chris Atkinson, Lanse Brown, Susan Bledsoe, Bon Malari, Ted Shih, Rich Pyka and finally Janie Hoctel and Dwayne Durant!
These people gave me advice and more importantly encouragement during this process, thanks.
Janie and Dwayne took us the final yard.
A couple people suggested that I would never fix it and I should get rid of Elvis, he will never make it.
I won't say he has "made it" yet in terms of titles, but we are on our way now.
Those of us that have had to deal with this know the frustration and heartbreak that goes with this issue.
It is a little more complex to me than some think.
I am of the belief that though we contribute to the problem, more often than not there are genetics involved.
Every noisy dog in history is in Elvis’ pedigree, well almost.
Add to that "HANDLER ERROR" and the issue worsens before we even know it!
I think this trait is the result of ANXIETY!
The fix is not easy and requires a strong will and dedication.
#1—This is very hard…..STOP RUNNING TESTS!(last season Elvis passed a SH and I shut him down to fix this problem)
#2—This is hard…..STOP RUNNING MULTIPLE MARKS!!(singles—singles—singles)
#3—Develop a standard!!—SIT means SIT!! This is key!
#4—Do NOT use the collar for this( I beleive the e-collar creates more anxiety and noise), use a healing stick, you control the correction level.
(if you nick a dog with the collar at a high enough level, what does the dog do?
He makes a noise.
Using a stimulus that you already know creates that kind of tendency (noise) seems a foolish way to stop noise, doesn't it?
If the dog gets out in front going to the line, whack his azz and make him sit….and I mean WHACK HIS AZZ!!
#5—When you get to the line and get ready to run a mark (did I mention a single?) if he makes noise, pick the bird up while correcting for quiet.
Don’t put the dog in the truck, he ain’t learning in the truck.
Pull him off the line at first and come back up.
Eventually you can just pick the bird up and rerun.
Use the healing stick for sit so the dog is worrying about sitting and the correction rather than noise.
Run a single mark with total quiet.
No duck call, no shots at the line and no noise at the launch station.
When the dog runs a silent mark PRAISE the hell out of him, I mean treat that dog like you just won the Master National or the biggest trial ever!
Then run another one quietly (a single), if he is quiet PRAISE the hell out of him!!
(we actually had darn near everyone in the club come over and make a big fuss about his being quiet).
Keep doing this until you get a quiet run (did I mention PRAISE the hell out of him?).
Now you have a standard, or a baseline for the dog to reference.
This is key.
Don't try again, acheive success and put him away on a positive note.
Anything other than a quiet mark gets a correction.
This may take time, you didn’t get here over night!
I mean a long time.
If he makes noise on the (SINGLE) mark, pick it up and run again!
Start to add a shot, then a call at the station, then gently call at the line.
If he is quiet, PRAISE the hell out of him.
If he is not, pick the bird up and take a stimulus away and run again, quietly.
When he runs quietly, PRAISE the hell out of him.
All the time reinforcing the standard that we have set----and he knows the command-Quiet and he becomes steady.
#6—Do other drills than marks around people, generally these dogs are hi-rollers and want to learn and play and run.
Then run complicated drills and start to challenge the dog.
Marks, for a great marker, I believe get boring.
Make him think!
Evan Graham often states that dogs are “situational learners.”
They develop expectations.
Change them, change up routines, challenge the dogs intellect, they will surprise you!!
At this point, all they know is they are going to get the ultimate prize, a retrieve, and no matter how they behave we will give it to them!
BUT.......when you go back to set ups, do EVERYTHING exactly the same every time!
#7—If you stick to this, for months, you will win!
All of a sudden you will see an improvement in line manners, if you hold to the standard.
No bird with noise (the ultimate correction), bird and massive PRAISE when compliance to the standard is achieved.
One more thing, if you want your dog to be quiet, stop YELLING at him.
Trust me, he can hear you, I actually whisper now, so he has to concentrate on listening, not making noise.
When I whisper "Elvis," there he was.....GONE!!!
#8—The hardest part……..in our case, after several months of nothing but steadiness and noise corrections he was exemplary.
Many people were amazed and commented on his improvement.
Ran tests where he was silent on each series.
Judges that knew him were amazed.
#9--Often over looked-- SLOW DOWN!!
All of a sudden one day at training he erupted again because he had to wait.
It hit the fan and we had a 4 round main event.
He took round 1, had me early in round 2....then I got him!!
(this is tongue in cheek)
It needed to be established who the Alpha was in the pack.
(this is not tongue in cheek)
It was (and MUST be) established, and Elvis found out he ain’t the Alpha.
Since then……he is quiet at the line.
He barked one bark one time at a shot flyer in training.
He has gone from 100% out of control at the line (actually failed an AKC JH because of noise) to 95% silent and very much under control.
Understanding training partners
E-Collar (creates even more anxiety)
Erratic administration of standard
This is not a 100% correction, it is in his genes.
WE will always have to watch for this and continue to set and hold the standard.
This is not easy, it is ongoing and in my opinion, it is not entirely your fault.
I am not sure if this will work for every dog, it worked for mine.
It took about 8 months.
I sincerely wish you all the best in this endeavor!!
As does everyone else who ever had to deal with this.
I want to add something……do not even think about where anyone else’s dog is in training!
It is irrelevant to you, you have to focus on you and your dog and what your teams goal is, nothing else matters!!!
This is not a quick fix, you must endeavor to persevere!!
You must NOT give up!!!
You must stay the course!!!
This must be adhered to every time you train.
I have added a visit on occasion to doggy day care.
It has helped Elvis anyway, be more settled around other dogs.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on dog training, I have NO credentials or "pelts" of consequence.
I am just a guy that was to stupid to give up on my dog and I understand that this process is lengthy and difficult and maybe outside the box, if you stick to it YOU can win!!
I have reposted/bumped this post because someone at a HT this passed weekend asked me too.
I have added a couple more things as well.
BTW--we have been proofing this issue for a few weeks.
We now approach the line proudly and fearlessly.
I know we have to watch for this issue everyday, but we are on the same page now.
WE are running at the HRC finished level and MH tests this summer.
I am confident we are ready!
At least we can get to the line and have a chance!!!!!!