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Thread: Work Ethic and/Perseverance in the Hunting Retriever

  1. #21
    Senior Member thelast2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    To follow on to the post I just made, I kind of disagree with you on this. The example I just made of my lazy dog who is off the charts in prey drive. He is so birdy he just wants that bird by the fastest easiest method, it is only through intense training and pressure that forces him, against his will to not cheat water and not take the fastest-easiest route. Now he will take the diciplined route to the bird, but only if he has to, that's where training come in. One thing is sure with him, in a field trial, good route or bad route, he is getting that bird.

    My other, lower drive dog is much more willing to "work" hard and take the diciplined route to the bird, he has a much better work ethic, he always tries his hardest.
    So to sum it up you have two dogs that both have the same job, one dog does the bare minimum to get the job done, one dog trys to better his/herself in doing the same job. Thus the latter dog has better work ethic.
    Jesse

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    Did you read my first two post at the top of this page, I think those are good examples.
    I did John but guess I am confusing trainability with work ethic. As you stated in your post I tend to see work ethic, perseverance and prey drive as all pretty closely related. If a dog has perseverance and prey drive training will develop work ethic. That sound reasonable?

  3. #23
    Senior Member Jerry Beil's Avatar
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    I think that perseverance is to some degree something their born with, but isn't there an element of nurture in there too.

    A confident dog has more perseverance. If he has known nothing but success, he's less likely to quit, because he's never learned to quit. I think you can get dogs that are at the extremes on both ends genetically, but it seems to me that the well of perseverance is enhanced or decreased based on how the dog is trained especially early on. That's why all the programs teach LOTS OF SUCCESS, END ON SUCCESS etc.

    I'm not really sure I understand work ethic from the perspective of a dog. I think that's kind of a human characteristic. You work hard because it's good for you and because it builds character, and because it has positive implications for your future, and because it's important in terms of how we are perceived by others. Dogs don't really have that. Are we talking about how much of a team player a dog is? How willing they're willing to work with you? Or how much they want to please you? Or how honest they are?
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  4. #24
    Senior Member 7pntail's Avatar
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    Nice thread. Not sure which is the better attribute. My litmus test is simple however: I am a hunting guy so , I like my dogs to: well, hunt. "Hunt dead" means keep looking till you find the bird.

    I love a "lunch pale, hard hat, blue collar" retriever. Don't like it when dawgs give up if there is no scent. ARGHH

    I think it is critical to make them successful early as a puppy. Each time there is no success, reinforces coming back to the blind or line a little earlier, and, each time the duration can get shorter.
    John Stroh, Lodi ca


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    Senior Member thelast2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7pntail View Post
    Nice thread. Not sure which is the better attribute. My litmus test is simple however: I am a hunting guy so , I like my dogs to: well, hunt. "Hunt dead" means keep looking till you find the bird.

    I love a "lunch pale, hard hat, blue collar" retriever.
    +1 I like the way you think, I for one, am not and will not, have a house dog or show dog for that matter residing under my roof. Scraggly looking, mud in the toes, green algae coated, stinking to high heavens hunting retrievers that is the way I roll.

    And yes my dogs do live in the house, and when I come home from hunting the wife yells at me for bringing home wet grungy dogs, but the dogs earn their keep and thus get a warm comfortable place to sleep
    Last edited by thelast2; 02-04-2013 at 10:36 PM.
    Jesse

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  6. #26
    Senior Member truthseeker's Avatar
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    To me desire, perseverance and drive are the same thing. They are the willingness to hunt to they drop and never stop. A dog with a good work ethic is a dog with the willingness to please. It dose not matter weather their doing T drills, swim byes or hunting down a cripple they are giving you a 100%.

    I'm am also in the camp that says, that a good work ethic can not be tote. Your pup is born with it.

  7. #27
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    This is one of those fun RTF discussions that forces you to think about your assumptions and maybe change your mind. I thought about it a lot after I went to bed last night.

    My conclusion is that a lot of the terms we use in dog training is symantics and not all of us even agree on basic definitions. From reading the thread I think we mostly agree on what perserverance means in the context of a hunting retriever, that trait in a dog where the dog refuses to ever give up on a bird, no matter how difficult the retrieve. I think we mostly agree that this trait is built in the dog and is coupled with high, off the charts sometimes, prey drive. I usually call such a dog as being very "birdy". It has long been my contention in evaluating young street bred retrievers for other people, that in order to have a workable hunting dog, the dog needs to either be extremely birdy or have a good drive to retrieve, preferably both, but if you have one or the other, you at least have something to work with.

    Work ethic on the other hand is a bit more vague as it relates to dogs. It's a bit of an anthropromorphism, but having worked with a number of different dogs over the years, I have observed dogs who consistantly came to the line in training and put in extra effort, versus those that appeared to be lazy. Are lazy and work ethic just human terms? I don't think so. Does it matter what the dogs motovation in working hard is? If you could read your dog's mind, would you care whether he was working hard to act on that trained decision because 1) he feared a correction, 2) he was so bonded to you he just wanted to please you, or 3) that it was just a good habit built through months of repetition?

    For me I believe drive plus patience does equal perserverance, and most of that is built into the dog at birth and reinforced through a lifetime of training. If you put a gun to my head I would put as 85% inherited, 15% trained. I also believe some dogs are born with a built in tendancy toward lazyness or working hard. Someone asked if work ethic is another term for tractability or being compliant? I kind of think they are. I also belive that though the traits that lead to a good work ethic are somewhat built-in, good work habits can also be built through early and consistant training from a young age all the way to old age, constantly holding the dog to high standards and balancing the drudgery with fun stuff.

    One last example of a situation that I think demonstrates how high drive doesn't necessarily equal a good work ethic. For a high drive, very birdy dog retrieving is fun, the most fun thing ever. Running long, through heavy cover, up and down, in and out of sight through tough terrain in search of a thrown bird is shear joy for these dogs. Take the same dog and run pattern blinds, over and over, using corrections and attrition to fine tune a line under the arc or tight to the back side is work. Having to repeat a long entru on a cheating single over and over is not fun, it is work. Some dogs are just more willing to do this drudgery day afer day without breaking down or developing a sour attitude. Those are dogs that I would say have a good work ethic.

    Sorry for the long post, but it took a bit of thinking for me to get my head around this.

    John

  8. #28
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    I have a dog who thinks training is tedious and does it simply because it seems to please me, however her heart is not into dead hand thrown birds, nor canned situations. Hunting wise she is another dog completely who will continue out in the field, plowing into ditches, long after all her training partners have stopped, you have to call her back and put her away to prevent her from over doing. Hunting wise she has a work ethic that I'd like to clone into other dogs, training wise @ least she has the desire to please me. I do have other dogs who love to train all day, but I prefer the dog I never have to order into a ditch, never have to encourage to hunt and who you have to pull back from flushing birds when everyone else is ready to pack it up. Neither a hunting ethic nor a training ethic is a quality I think you can put into a dog, it's just there from the start or not.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 02-05-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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    My definition for work ethic would be a retriever that you have to stop before it kills itself while doing the task at hand, i.e. retrieving on a hot day and not wanting stop hunting or swimming in frigid waters. Perseverance would be a dog that knows the right thing to do and does it, no matter the circumstance, i.e. continuing to look for a bird and retrieving it even though you were sure you missed or coming back with a ten foot tree limb caught in its collar so it can deliver the bird.

  10. #30
    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetrieverNation View Post
    My definition for work ethic would be a retriever that you have to stop before it kills itself while doing the task at hand, i.e. retrieving on a hot day and not wanting stop hunting or swimming in frigid waters. Perseverance would be a dog that knows the right thing to do and does it, no matter the circumstance, i.e. continuing to look for a bird and retrieving it even though you were sure you missed or coming back with a ten foot tree limb caught in its collar so it can deliver the bird.
    Nice definition! I have owned and currently own such dogs. They are a tremendous responsibility but also a tremendous joy.
    Mark Land

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