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Thread: question about positive training

  1. #1
    Senior Member hotel4dogs's Avatar
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    Default question about positive training

    So as not to hijack the "interesting article" thread, here's a new thread.
    The question is specific to my dog. I truly am curious how the "purely positive" trainers would have trained him.
    Background...golden retriever. Never saw a bumper or bird until he was 3 years old.
    At that time, when we began field training, he was already trained/shown at a high level of competitive obedience (UDX). He was trained "mostly positive" for obedience. Never wore a prong collar let alone e-collar, never force fetched, relied on quite a few treats, praise, etc. Very sound on basic (and advanced) obedience commands.
    Now we begin field training, and I see a side of my dog that I never knew existed as soon as the birds come out. Remember, he was already 3+ at this time.
    When there are live birds around, I might as well not exist. If I try to give him a treat, no matter how "high value" the treat is, I will have to shove it in his mouth to get him to take it, and then he will literally spit it out and remain focused on the birds.
    If I attempt to pet/praise him, he will literally shake my hand off his head or body, and remain focused on the birds.
    If he flushed a bird, and the shot was missed, he would take off after the bird full speed ahead and, as I said, I might as well not even exist let alone turn him back.

    So my question....to the "purely positive" (or maybe even "mostly positive") trainers....how would you train this dog to stop, and come back?

    (BIG NOTE---WE HAVE SINCE FIXED THIS PROBLEM WITH THE E-COLLAR and he is steady to wing and shot now...this is a curiosity question, not looking to fix the problem).

    Barb Gibson
    with
    CH Rosewood Little Giant UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG
    also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT
    (golden retriever) born 3-10-07
    a.k.a. "Tito", "The Tito Monster"
    www.GoTeamTito.com

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    Barb...you are a very naughty girl....WE HAVE SINCE FIXED THIS PROBLEM WITH THE E-COLLAR ...... Just my humble opinion. Duckdon

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    I think the answer is to make sure he is steady before adding live birds into the equation. I have a golden who does the same thing ( spit out treats, why are you petting me? looks). That tells me that those rewards are not high value enough, which is good,it is a retriever after all. Its highest value reward should be a retrieve. This is where the chuckit and the tennis ball has become my best friend. I first started with good heeling, that led to a retrieve. Then let the dog work out in front and when i whistle he stops, looks at me and gets a retrieve. Then shorten the whistle and the throw sequence so eventually the dog stops when he sees something he can retrieve without hearing a whistle. Basically the dog is brainwashed into thinking that there is an imaginary door for a retrieve that only opens when i tell him "get out". I would use a check cord for some of this work(so it is not purely positive), so that breaking never ends up in a retrieve.

    So that is how i would go about it, but i am by no means a trainer. Just a guy with a couple dogs that enjoys problem solving.

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    Senior Member hotel4dogs's Avatar
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    DuckDon, yep, he scared the bejeezes out of me a couple of times, almost got killed once, and I needed a relatively quick fix. It worked.

    To Mudminnow....Thanks for the well thought out reply. He was steady. Very. Until he started flushing live birds. I was absolutely floored when he took off the first time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Lietzau View Post
    Barb...you are a very naughty girl....WE HAVE SINCE FIXED THIS PROBLEM WITH THE E-COLLAR ...... Just my humble opinion. Duckdon

    Barb Gibson
    with
    CH Rosewood Little Giant UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG
    also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT
    (golden retriever) born 3-10-07
    a.k.a. "Tito", "The Tito Monster"
    www.GoTeamTito.com

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    Senior Member polmaise's Avatar
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    A view from afar' from a trainer that is neither Purely Positive or E-collar ,and had many dogs similar to what you describe (in fact almost every client that wants a gundog in the field)
    If the answer you seek , is a positive alternative to what you have already achieved?, I can offer one common suggestion that has worked for some ,not all?
    .....
    The dog in question being highly focussed on the bird/game? obviously has no immediate desire for anything else ,So in this situation (if the dog has learned 'Hold') I stick a bird in it's gob as the live bird flushes !, when it is out of sight, I release the dog from it's ''prize'' ,and reward !
    ...
    I would add, that an early stimulated conditioning process of the 'stop whistle' is also of immense help
    One Shooter One Spaniel One Retriever

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    Senior Member hotel4dogs's Avatar
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    Thanks Polmaise, it's an interesting thought how he might react if he already had a bird in his mouth. Something I surely would not have thought of. We have done "bird in mouth" single marks with him, but it was to work on memory, not steadiness in an actual hunting situation.
    I sure can't disagree about early conditioning with the stop whistle, but I was starting with a dog that was already 3.

    Barb Gibson
    with
    CH Rosewood Little Giant UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG
    also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT
    (golden retriever) born 3-10-07
    a.k.a. "Tito", "The Tito Monster"
    www.GoTeamTito.com

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    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    were is Miss Molly MiniVan going to get a bird,
    to put in Poofie's mouth
    afore they walk down the city bike path and flush a bunny?
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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    Senior Member mitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    were is Miss Molly MiniVan going to get a bird,
    to put in Poofie's mouth
    afore they walk down the city bike path and flush a bunny?
    I was wondering how I was gonna get in there with my dog, thorns and all, but I realize you can set up a training scenario to teach this to the dog. But still I'm thinking I'm gonna have to grab the dog by the collar and stuff the bird in its mouth, and try and convince it that holding a bird is more fun than chasing one.
    Renee P

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    Senior Member gdgnyc's Avatar
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    I wouldn't expect Tito to be able to do it. My own trainer points out that purely positive dogs may do well in obedience but when they start to do something like field they have a problem. He is currently working with someone who has a field lab that was trained purely positively but now needs to use the rest of the OC learning model.
    Last edited by gdgnyc; 01-22-2013 at 11:02 AM.
    "I love the rod and gun and where they take me."

    "Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins."

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    Definitely being able to teach steadiness/ whistle stop younger helps i think/assume because food is higher reward than retrieves for puppies (at least in my cases). In your question though you have a three year old dog and don't have that advantage. One common thing i see in these threads are folks asking a question of how do you fix this problem. The first and common response is " has the dog been properly force fetched, or the dog was not properly force fetched" because it is the base of the rest of the training. Ususally it is suggested to go back and revisit FF and work up to the point where the problem was. I think one could answer your question with the same but different response of "has the dog been properly steadiness trained". The dog was steady for you in every previous temptation but the jump was too great from wherever he was steady to a flushing bird. Finding a connection in the temptation flow chart is an important part of more positive training. So if the dog was steady with birds flying close then maybe go to a park throw some bread out to get some ducks or pigeons close and tell some kid to run through them or something like that. If i was in your situation i would have tried to find a bridge in the distraction ladder, or maybe i would have got fed up and CC'd my dog

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