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Thread: Newbie trainer with questions

  1. #1
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    Default Newbie trainer with questions

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and new to training hunting dogs. My dog is 1 year old and I think he is doing pretty well so far. I hunt ducks by jump shooting farm ponds and I am training him to hunt with us. We do not hunt over decoys or any other method other than jump shooting. This is his first season and I have taken him hunting the past 3 Saturdays. He retrieves ducks very well and is enthusiastic when I send him into the water. He has retrieved as many as 5 on one pond at a time. He has not been through force fetch so he is of course not polished, but he brings the ducks back to me without problem or hesitation. I plan to take him through force fetch after the season is over. The trouble I am having so far is his obedience has not transferred from yard work to the field as far as steadiness and calmness. He is very good on sit, stay, and heel in the yard and even on walks, however he seems to "forget" with the excitement of hunting. I have high expectations for obedience as I know it is the cornerstone for everything else. It seems difficult to introduce enough distractions to be able to "proof" his obedience. So far I have either had to leave him in the truck and go back after him after we shoot, or let the others in the group shoot and I strictly handle the dog. I am continuing to work him on obedience and steadiness at home. He loves to hunt and I know that the first season is about training more than hunting. Is the excitability and loss of self control due to him being young and inexperienced? Will it go away with experience and continued work on obedience? I have not found any exercise or drill that addresses this problem. Please let me know if there is anything I am missing or could/should be doing to help him improve. Thank you in advance.

    AA

  2. #2

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    I am no trainer but have trained my own dog and will tell you to basically nip this in the bud, Allowing him to break on the hunt will reinforce this behavior and will be very hard to correct, you going and just handling the dog seems like a wise choice.

    Introducing more distraction during training sounds like a good idea, you need to set up training so it is very similar to what he will see in the field and I would think refusing him some retrieves would be a good idea.

    I think a big mistake I made when training was having my dog retrieve everything, let the dog know it is only to retrieve what you let him/her.

    Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in, but that is what my experience would lead me to do.

  3. #3
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    The excitement of the hunt can never be duplicate 100 %..That is your problem as you stated...NO, the reason for no control is he isn't trained yet...It will not improve with age unless you teach obed...SIT OR HEEL.....Yes , it will improve if you continue with the training ..

    You can duplicate jump shooting to a certain degree..Walk ups as they are called ...Hidden throwers and birds with shooting...Has the dog seen flyers in training yet? If you can't get him under control through training you are going to have to do it when you hunt...Sit is the command you need to enforce to the inth degree...anytime and all the time ...Keep up the training ,things will improve .....Steve S

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtrkyman View Post
    I am no trainer but have trained my own dog and will tell you to basically nip this in the bud, Allowing him to break on the hunt will reinforce this behavior and will be very hard to correct, you going and just handling the dog seems like a wise choice.

    Introducing more distraction during training sounds like a good idea, you need to set up training so it is very similar to what he will see in the field and I would think refusing him some retrieves would be a good idea.

    I think a big mistake I made when training was having my dog retrieve everything, let the dog know it is only to retrieve what you let him/her.

    Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in, but that is what my experience would lead me to do.
    Very good point ...Walk out and pick up some in training and make the dogs sit and watch....Steve S

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    Thank you both for your replies. I was not clear in my post about what exactly he is doing so let me clarify. I am keeping him on a lead as we are walking from pond to pond. When we leave the truck, he will heel for a short distance, but then he gets excited and starts lunging and pulling at the leash which he normally doesn't do in any other situation. That is my biggest problem right now because unless I have him tied somewhere while I shoot and go back and get him after we shoot I cannot shoot with him pulling on the lead. When we have birds down on the water, he settles down and will line up so I can send him.

    Steve, I agree that he is not fully trained to the degree that he follows commands every time, everywhere no matter what. That is what I am struggling with as a trainer at this point. Is this a matter of needing to enforce the commands with increased pressure with the leash and slip collar? Breaking it down to specific skills, I guess I need to work on sit as you mentioned as well as heel. I really appreciate your input and suggestions. I will continue to focus on obedience and these two skills in particular. Thank you for your patience and help.

    AA

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    Senior Member Daren Galloway's Avatar
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    Pinch collar will stop this immediately, at least it did with mine.
    Daren Galloway

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    Senior Member COgoosehunter24's Avatar
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    I 2nd the pinch collar. 1st season with my dog I barely pulled the trigger. I kept him on a pinch collar and lead next to me. Spend the extra 5 bucks and get the pinch collar that clips together in the back. It is a lot easier. Also this makes him sit and watch until you undo it. The slightest movement out of the sitting position should be corrected with a "no! Sit!"
    Bay's Smokin' Aces Royal Flush "Ace"

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    I am living your issue for many of the same reasons you stated.

    One thing that has helped us is having something in the hunting situation that he realizes he is supposed to kennel to. I have basically a camo boat cushion that I use, which serves a dual purpose as an anchor for his rear end and keeps said rear end from sitting directly in mud/water, thus helping prevent the cold tail. At least theoretically. There is so much excitement at an actual hunt -remember those are ALL shot flyers - that mine has to have a black and white place to sit. He is acclimated to the cushion, and his rear end is either on it or not. This has worked pretty well so far in the simulated hunts we have been doing, so we will see what happens in a couple weeks in AR when he hunts out of a blind for the first time. Our other experience duck hunting was a timber hunt last season, and it served to expose some training issues that we needed to address.

    There may still be a dock line attached to his collar as well. I have finally started to realize that dealing with my dog is more about not letting him do what I don't want as opposed to making him do what I want. Plus, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to beat him to the bird if he breaks. So IMHO the best policy is to to take appropriate steps to stop him from breaking before he does it.

    Hope this helps some. Good luck with your dog.
    Last edited by RookieTrainer; 12-28-2012 at 08:11 AM.

  9. #9

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    I'll thow this in there to. You mentioned one of your options is to let your buddies shoot and you control the dog.

    That is sound practice the first year. Remember this is your first year with him. Put your gun down and focus on the dog. It will pay off in future years.

    Since your buddies have to live with this dog too, perhaps they will swap up and handle the dog once, so you can shoot.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by American Ace View Post
    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and new to training hunting dogs. My dog is 1 year old and I think he is doing pretty well so far. I hunt ducks by jump shooting farm ponds and I am training him to hunt with us. We do not hunt over decoys or any other method other than jump shooting.
    Good to know. But Basics will still be the same, assuming you’re aiming toward an efficient, reliable retriever. A working retriever must Go on command, must Come when called, Fetch what he’s sent for and deliver to hand on command. Further, a well-rounded retriever will also run effective blind retrieves – lining and casting as directed – for birds he did not see fall, or marks he missed. All of this is founded in a strong set of Basics, and then Transitioned toward a fully-trained state.
    Quote Originally Posted by American Ace View Post
    He is very good on sit, stay, and heel in the yard and even on walks, however he seems to "forget" with the excitement of hunting. I have high expectations for obedience as I know it is the cornerstone for everything else. It seems difficult to introduce enough distractions to be able to "proof" his obedience….Will it go away with experience and continued work on obedience
    AA
    The proofing of commands occurs AFTER the training of them, and that involves more than merely teaching them. Formalizing your fundamental obedience commands is the beginning of formal Basics, and it involves a principle that is over-arching in Basics: conditioning to pressure. That will not only give you the reliably obedient dog you seek, but also will result in a dog that is stable in the presence of all the excitement of hunting. Ready to learn about Basics?

    Evan
    "Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham

    “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw


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