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Thread: Dog blinking memory bird

  1. #1
    Member cajundogman's Avatar
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    Default Dog blinking memory bird

    I have a HRCH almost 3yrs old who recently started turning her head for a split second on the memory bird we do lots of singles so its not like she's prone to head swinging on marks. On singles she will concentrate on the bird all the way to the ground but on multiples she will blink it for a second thus missing the area of fall. Any advice on how to fix this problem would be nicely appreciated

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    Senior Member Lynn Hanigan's Avatar
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    First, the correct terminology is not blinking, it is head swinging. Blinking is when the dog finds the bird, but refuses to pick it up. Head swing happens at your side and is a product of incorrect handling on multiple marks. The best way to fix it is to do a LOT of single marks off multiple guns with a pinch collar and a short lead on the dog.
    Throw the mark and wait. When the dog shifts attention to a different gun just tug him back to the original mark with the pinch collar. Repeat until the dog stays focused on the first throw for 15 to 30 seconds.
    You should probably also go back to the wagon wheel exercise and watch the dog very closely because he is probably head or eye swinging there and you have not noticed.
    NOTE- This is a poor place for an e collar correction because the dog needs guidance, not just corrections.
    Duckworth Retrievers

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    Member cajundogman's Avatar
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    Well sorry for wrong terminology. We do way more singles than multiples in a given week. The problem as my training partner also noticed is that after the bird is thrown so will look at it then just turn her head before it hits the ground. It's like she loses interest. I was thinking of throwing live bird to get her very excited about it and see if she still turns her head. It's not always she does it but its agrivating when she does. While duck hunting this past season she was very focused and didn't do it. Any suggestions

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    Member teacher504's Avatar
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    I agree with Lynn: "a LOT of single marks off multiple guns with a pinch collar and a short lead on the dog.
    Throw the mark and wait. When the dog shifts attention to a different gun just tug him back to the original mark with the pinch collar. Repeat until the dog stays focused on the first throw for 15 to 30 seconds." The big thing is to delay the send and direct your dog to maintain focus on the mark before sending.

  5. #5
    Senior Member crackerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cajundogman View Post
    Well sorry for wrong terminology. We do way more singles than multiples in a given week. The problem as my training partner also noticed is that after the bird is thrown so will look at it then just turn her head before it hits the ground. It's like she loses interest. I was thinking of throwing live bird to get her very excited about it and see if she still turns her head. It's not always she does it but its agrivating when she does. While duck hunting this past season she was very focused and didn't do it. Any suggestions
    Wondering why you haven't got more responses to your quandary. The traditional way (OK, one of the traditional ways) to address headswinging is send the dog for the mark that she's looked off of the instant her head swings - then either make a correction if she goes astray or let her get the bird if she's marked it. (And let the subconscious notion percolate that she could be sent for any bird, any time, so she'd better pay attention to all of them.)

    Another way of taking on headswinging is to have the memory gun station or stations give a good "hey-hey!" before throwing and shooting their birds. That at least gets the dog's attention temporarily because it's something unnatural coming from the field.

    But please define "loses interest" - if the dog comes up with the memory bird without a hunt she must've marked it, right? so I wouldn't fret about any loss of interest. Or is the loss of interest manifesting itself by her no-going on the last bird, or going but getting nowhere in the vicinity of the mark?

    Also, you said memory bird, not birds - and your dog's earned an HRCH title which requires triples. Is the dog head swinging on both memory birds or "a" memory bird that may be the longest mark/pinched with another mark/anything that involves a flyer?

    MG

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    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    There are many ways to address Head Swinging, which is what you have.
    First, take your time. You need to do some yard work than transfer to field.

    In the yard with dog at heel handler hand throws a bumper out about 20 yds, your helper stands 20 yds off to the side and starts swinging a white bumper while you then work on keeping dog looking at hand tossed, when the dog looks over correct with a tap on the ass, say no, here, mark. If the dog behaves he picks up the hand thrown bumper. Have the helper switch sides and repeat it again.
    Once they figure it out with one helper try 2 helpers one on each side of the handler at 9 o clock and 3 o clock positions swinging bumpers as you throw the hand tossed bumper. Once they understand what not to do move your helpers forward several yards so they are in view of the dog making it more tempting to swing.
    After they get that down pat use a live flapping, quacking duck. This will ramp up the excitement for the handler and the dog.
    In the field reinforce what they have learned in the yard with the crop correction.
    In the field you can also have your gunners help by throwing multiple bumpers from one station. shoot throw, shoot throw, shoot throw.
    Next, for sure, set up a triple in pyramid configuration with the flyer long and only pick up the long flyer, never the short birds for weeks. They start to come out of the blind looking for the long gun and usually don't bother with the short ones anymore.
    There is more you can do but this should help a lot.
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    Senior Member mitty's Avatar
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    I have a head swinger, so I'm following this thread, too.

    Mine usually is obsessed with one of the gunners, usually but not always the closest one...I suspect she suspects it is the one with the flyer! I have a hard time getting her to not look at it and focus on the rest of the gunners.

    I'm curious about the pinch collar correction. Say dog is heeling on my left. Say there are two marks, the memory bird is on the left and the go bird on the right. So dog sees memory bird start to launch and then swings head to the right to the go bird. The correction then is to reach over the dogs head and yank her back to the memory bird? Reaching over the dog's head seems like a bad idea, but it works? Or am I misunderstanding something?
    Renee P

  8. #8
    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Hanigan View Post
    First, the correct terminology is not blinking, it is head swinging. Blinking is when the dog finds the bird, but refuses to pick it up. Head swing happens at your side and is a product of incorrect handling on multiple marks. The best way to fix it is to do a LOT of single marks off multiple guns with a pinch collar and a short lead on the dog.
    Throw the mark and wait. When the dog shifts attention to a different gun just tug him back to the original mark with the pinch collar. Repeat until the dog stays focused on the first throw for 15 to 30 seconds.
    You should probably also go back to the wagon wheel exercise and watch the dog very closely because he is probably head or eye swinging there and you have not noticed.
    NOTE- This is a poor place for an e collar correction because the dog needs guidance, not just corrections.
    Lynn,
    Yes, use a pinch collar & tab but do NOT use it to Tug dog back into position. Instead, talk to the dog NO, Here (or heel), and when he looks back, Good, Watch and make him stare it down for x seconds. You may need to correct for sit with the pinch collar but don't use it to correct the headswing or try to pull dog with it.
    When you train with a tab it's simply a way of maintaining a connection to the dog, most of the time. It's best to communicate with the dog via the pinch collar with gentle barely perceptible tightening of the tabs slack, not tugging and let the dog move in compliance with your voice command. Of course if you need to correct with a pinch that's a different animal.
    For head swinging use a stick or low nicks to bring them back.
    Last edited by Breck; 02-15-2013 at 01:12 PM.
    "Darla" AFC Candlewoods Lil Smokin Tequila (2002-2013)(fondly remembered)
    "Smoke" Smokin Auggies Menace, QAA (2003- )(retired nut case, ask Rando)
    "Simba" Humewood Simba (1999-2014)(my 1st dog)

    .
    Per favore, non mi rompere i coglioni.
    Grazie




  9. #9
    Member cajundogman's Avatar
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    I don't know if you would call it headswinging or not. It's not that she's looking for another bird, or at least I think, she just turns her head away for a split second and then returns to fall area but by that time duck is on the ground. Sometimes she does it and sometimes she doesn't. What's frustrating is that when she stays concentrated on the marks she steps on them. I guess I should call it lack of concentration on all birds. She never no goes because she does see it and goes fir the mark but its just she's not sure and has to put on a big hunt most of the time leaving AOF. We do slot if singles where I make her stay focused for 10-15 seconds on the mark before I send her. Thsrs if she didn't turn her head first. Any little distraction also makes her look away

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    Is it an "avoidance" behavior?

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