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Thread: Newbie trainer with questions

  1. #11
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    Of course I want to train him to the highest level possible, but right now I am trying to get him to be calmer and more under control so we can go forward. I do plan to take him through force fetch and teach him lining and casting. What I am asking for is help with the basics that have to be there before we go farther. Let me tell you what I have done. I have taught and worked extensively on sit, stay, down and heel. As I stated he is very good in the yard and on walks on our road. These are of course controled situations with limited distractions. He knows the commands and what I want him to do. Everything I have read and heard says that the next step is "proofing" where you basically hold the dog more accountable than you did before and make him know that "sit means sit" Other than that I have not been able to find any more guidance on what "formalizing" or "proofing" really entails. I am willing to learn and have done a lot of searching and research on my own with little success. Thank you all for your help and suggestions. It really helps to be able to ask specific questions. You can't do that using a book or a DVD. I am currently using Tom Dokken's book.

    "Ready to learn about Basics?" Yes, what I am doing evidently is not working as well as I had hoped so yes please help me with the basics.



    Thanks again,

    AA
    Last edited by American Ace; 12-28-2012 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #12
    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    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.
    OK, you've done an excellent job of identifying the problem. The issue you are having is created by not understanding what "to the field" means. By going from "yard work" to "hunting" you've skipped "the training field" entirely.

    "The training field" is where you engrain "steadiness and calmness" before hunting. It's where you have total control (in theory) over OB, marking, handling and skill development.

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  3. #13
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    You have to do what Evan said above. There are no shortcuts. You should, if you aren't already, follow an established training program. Evan has one: Smartworks, I follow Total Retriever Training 2d ed by Mike Lardy. Another program mentioned lots on this forum is Fowl Dog by Rick S. See the below video. Hank (by Pirate) went through the TRT program and the steps suggested by Evan.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Proofing your dog on basic ob (sit, stay, heel, etc) would be to take your dog to five different places to do ob training. And then see how he performs by taking to places with lots of distractions, like parks, retriever club training days, etc.

    I am not familiar with Tom Dokkens book but would suggest there are better training programs on dvds like I mentioned above. I think they do a much better job on basics.

    My puppy will be 9 months on 12/30/12 and has been through the Lardy program partially (doing doubles, has been through three handed casting, ff, FTP, collar conditioning). See my Rowdy (by Pirate) videos on this forum. I have a video for almost ever stage of training he has been through. We have just begun T work. Yet, I don't think he is ready to hunt.

    In short, I think you are expecting too much from your dog given the stage of training he is in.

    I don't mean to be curt or critical but just trying to help.
    Last edited by Wayne Nutt; 12-28-2012 at 04:49 PM.
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  5. #15
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    Wayne,

    No offence taken. I appreciate the feedback as it is the only way to improve. I know that you can't cut corners, and any I have cut have been unintentional. That is part of my frustration, knowing that I am missing something, but being unable so far to find what I need to do next.

    I know he is not where he needs to be to be a reliable hunting dog, but I have been able to work our trips as "training sessions" as I have patient and understanding hunting partners who are totally on board with helping me train him for the future. I will take him to various different places and settings and continue to work to make him understand that no matter where we are he needs to behave the same way and to work toward better reliability and control.

    As far as the videos you mentioned, do you buy the program all at once or can you buy the DVD's a little at a time as you need them?

    Thanks again for your patience and help,

    AA

  6. #16
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    I think Evan's Smartworks dvd can be purchased incrementally but TRT 2d ed. is a single purchase item which is $150.
    Last edited by Wayne Nutt; 12-28-2012 at 05:12 PM.
    Wayne Nutt
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    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. 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
    Evan,

    I have read and re-read this section of your response several times today. I just want to be sure I understand what you are saying. You talk about conditioning to pressure. Am I correct in understanding that this is more than just leash corrections when the dog doesn't do what he is supposed to do? Is this were you apply pressure with the command to get compliance in order to "turn off" the pressure? Thank you again for your patience with me while I try to get this straight in my head.

    Thanks again,
    AA

  8. #18
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    Anyone else?

  9. #19
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    Ace, I'm not Evan but I do fall under the anyone group...Let me give you my 2cents worth....Conditioning to pressure begins with the leash and moves forward from there to all other devices used to create pressure on the dog ..."This is this were you apply pressure with the command to get compliance in order to "turn off" the pressure?",,,, YES...This is commonly called avoidance/escape training ...The sequence goes , give command , apply pressure , repeat command ...hopefully get the proper response...As in obed..give the sit command , pull up on lead , give command and dogs rear end goes down...Pressure is used to reinforce a known command when it comes to collar use ...The amount of pressure used is only enough to get the dog to comply with the command....Dogs must at some point be able to do the command with out the use of pressure...Teach the command ,reinforce the command with pressure, remove the pressure ....Dogs that are not taught how to deal with (handle ) pressure (properly) will respond to it in one of two ways, flight or fight...If they can't physically flight they may just collapse into a fetal position and vocalize or freeze up...They must learn and be given the chance to avoid the pressure or a so called "learned helplessness"will develop and they never learn the vocal command...Steve S

  10. #20
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by American Ace View Post
    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
    I agree with the pinch collar. If someone else can shoot for you would be good so you can concentrate on the dog!If he can behave in the yard as you said then he can do it out there but you need to enforce that is what you expect of him when you are hunting! I also agree you have to nip it in the bud-it will only get worse!
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