Happy feet/bouncing at line
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Thread: Happy feet/bouncing at line

  1. #1
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    Default Happy feet/bouncing at line

    1.5 y/o is a very solid marker. However, at the line he likes to bounce up and down on his front feet. Not moving forward at all. It does not appear to affect his marking ability as far as I can tell. Personally, I don’t like it and am worried it may earn him a mark down of sorts in a hunt test/field trial. I have been told by some that this would not be the case and as long as it is not affecting his marking to leave it alone. Should I point my finger at this? Will he grow out of it? I am also asking for ideas on how to address this, although I am apprehensive about using pressure at the line, as I do not want to create more problems that could negatively affect his marking ability. Other observation is that he only does this when running a field trial setup, (human gunners in field, and me standing next to him), when running a hunt test setup ( sitting on bucket with wingers in the field, he does not do it.) I read this as excitement as he only does it in more exciting setups (birds v bumpers) etc.

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  3. #2
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    I think you need to nip this in the bud. He might not become perfect, but the bouncing is a short step from creeping.
    I agree to not resort to pressure immediately. You said he only does it on more exciting set ups. I would start with one gunner in the yard throwing bumpers. Deny the retrieve if he moves at all, have the gunner pick it and move to a different spot. Then repeat. Once he is solid with bumpers, mix in a bird. Keep the retrieves short and more exciting. Once he is good with that move to the field with one gunner, then add a second gunner. Demand perfection. Do not run setups that he bounces on. We want to condition him to good line manners, so you cannot have times that are too exciting and allow him to bounce or you are tempted to use pressure. Once he is WELL conditioned then use can use some pressure to reinforce the conditioning. Take your time and get it right.
    Incorporating Hillmanns traffic cop should help too.
    Good luck
    Nate Baxter, DVM
    Clarksville, OH

  4. #3
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    Do you think that simply denying the retrieve without a correction of sorts will get the message across to him that the bouncing behavior is not ok? If I tell him “mark” and he starts bouncing (which is usually the case) or the gunner throws the mark and he starts bouncing then how do I tell him that’s not ok. Do I just tell the gunner to pick up the mark and the dog will make that connection? Or am I gonna have to start by using light pressure whether stick or collar to reinforce “sit”, then deny the retrieve and just have to except that his marking may suffer? ( atleast temporarily, but hopefully not permanently). It’s my fault I let this develop. My dilemma

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  6. #4
    Senior Member ErinsEdge's Avatar
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    Probably not. I don't think they know they are doing it. If you have to use too much pressure, it may cause other problems. I would keep trying on a young dog, but I was told on an older dog they don't worry about it as long as they are steady.
    Nancy P



    "We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." M.Facklam

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdboy88 View Post
    Do you think that simply denying the retrieve without a correction of sorts will get the message across to him that the bouncing behavior is not ok? If I tell him “mark” and he starts bouncing (which is usually the case) or the gunner throws the mark and he starts bouncing then how do I tell him that’s not ok. Do I just tell the gunner to pick up the mark and the dog will make that connection? Or am I gonna have to start by using light pressure whether stick or collar to reinforce “sit”, then deny the retrieve and just have to except that his marking may suffer? ( atleast temporarily, but hopefully not permanently). It’s my fault I let this develop. My dilemma
    Denying the retrieve IS THE BIGGEST CORRECTION you can give to a dog like this.
    It is also the most effective way to address it IMHO.

    That being said your dog is now year-and-a-half-old and that may be a young dog chronologically speaking, but if he has had a lot of marks this habit may be ingrained.

    You say he is not moving forward and it doesn't affect his marking.... then what are you worried about?
    You go up like a bunch of pressure to try to fix this I guarantee it will affect his marking and not in a good way.

    Has one poster is already mentioned frequently the dog is not even aware they're doing this if that's the case it is almost impossible to fix, and the "Cure" May leave you with a dog you don't care to have.

    Another poster pointed out the old tried-and-true go to Hillman cure all solution.
    Let me assure you that Hillman has had a number of dogs with Happy Feet that creep, including his latest derbystar Shadow who I just saw yesterday do Okay in spite of exhibiting Happy Feet and creeping.
    Some of the best markers of all-time had Happy Feet and creeping issues and they were trained by some of the best trainers of all time who accepted the Happy Feet creeping issue and realized that the Cure may have ruined the tremendous marker they had at their side.

    I've never seen your dog and I don't know if this problem can be fixed.
    I'm just giving you some other things to think about.
    My personal feeling is this has to in the Infamous words of Barney Fife;.... be nipped in the bud. A one and a half year old pup may no longer be in the bud stage

  8. #6
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    At 18 months, the dog has developed a habit which is not desired. You won't change it easily or quickly, and doing so probably will result in some other unwanted behavior.

    I'm not sure of your experience level as a trainer, but I would be careful with this. If he gets too worried about correction and his marking suffers for it, are you willing to try and work through that? It may take a while. If you make your point and get the statue-like steadiness you seem to want and he starts to whine, are you ready to deal with that? These are only examples of what I have seen other trainers dealing with, not necessarily what your dog might do.

    All I'm saying is 'look before you leap'. The decision is yours and yours only. Good luck as you move forward and enjoy working with your dog. -Paul
    Last edited by paul young; 09-29-2019 at 11:15 AM.
    there's no good reason to fatten up a retriever.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerfan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdboy88 View Post
    Do you think that simply denying the retrieve without a correction of sorts will get the message across to him that the bouncing behavior is not ok? If I tell him “mark” and he starts bouncing (which is usually the case) or the gunner throws the mark and he starts bouncing then how do I tell him that’s not ok. Do I just tell the gunner to pick up the mark and the dog will make that connection? Or am I gonna have to start by using light pressure whether stick or collar to reinforce “sit”, then deny the retrieve and just have to except that his marking may suffer? ( atleast temporarily, but hopefully not permanently). It’s my fault I let this develop. My dilemma
    Denying the retrieve IS THE BIGGEST CORRECTION you can give to a dog like this.
    It is also the most effective way to address it IMHO.

    That being said your dog is now year-and-a-half-old and that may be a young dog chronologically speaking, but if he has had a lot of marks this habit may be ingrained.

    You say he is not moving forward and it doesn't affect his marking.... then what are you worried about?
    You go up like a bunch of pressure to try to fix this I guarantee it will affect his marking and not in a good way.

    Has one poster is already mentioned frequently the dog is not even aware they're doing this if that's the case it is almost impossible to fix, and the "Cure" May leave you with a dog you don't care to have.

    Another poster pointed out the old tried-and-true go to Hillman cure all solution.
    Let me assure you that Hillman has had a number of dogs with Happy Feet that creep, including his latest derbystar Shadow who I just saw yesterday do Okay in spite of exhibiting Happy Feet and creeping.
    Some of the best markers of all-time had Happy Feet and creeping issues and they were trained by some of the best trainers of all time who accepted the Happy Feet creeping issue and realized that the Cure may have ruined the tremendous marker they had at their side.

    I've never seen your dog and I don't know if this problem can be fixed.
    I'm just giving you some other things to think about.
    My personal feeling is this has to in the Infamous words of Barney Fife;.... be nipped in the bud. A one and a half year old pup may no longer be in the bud stage
    I understand that denying the retrieve is one of the most effective methods to address steadiness. I’ve used it and seen it used, but always in conjunction with a physical correction of sorts at the moment the dog is behaving incorrectly. I.e dog breaks, “sit nick sit” and denied retrieve. What I’m asking is; is there a way to correct this behavior by simply denying the retrieve with no pressure involved. That would be ideal. Unfortunately, I personally don’t believe the dog will make that connection. If I call for the birds and the dog starts hopping, and I simply tell the gunner to go pick up the bird, will the dog ever equate that to his hopping? has anyone seen this work? Or any other methods that could work and don’t use pressure?

    I’m a first time dog trainer who happened across a dog with some talent. I would like to run some derby’s before he ages out, Ive been told he’s capable. Someone asked. I’m worried about it firstly, it just bothers me. Secondly, i don’t want it to negatively affect how he would do in a test, but I’m not sure that it even would based on what some have said. And thirdly, I don’t see how it helps his marking to be doing that behavior (or perhaps it does?) Idk. Also, what this behavior could lead to potentially if not addressed like it should have been, more serious line manner issues

    I really don’t want to risk the dog losing his marking ability. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered it’s not a straight forward problem with a straight forward solution and that’s def causing me some stress over it. What’s frustrating is he doesn’t do it all the time, if you read my original post
    Last edited by Birdboy88; 09-28-2019 at 07:49 PM.

  10. #8
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    I would let the dog see the mark and then i would take the dog back to the holding blind. let three other dogs run then try again. if the dog dances back to the holding blind. if the dog doesn't get a bird that session don't get upset this is going to be a long process. when you train alone you can sit the dog walk out with 5 or 6 bumpers toss them go out and pick them up move to a different place and repeat. do this 4 times if he is sitting solidly allow one retrieve. then pack up and go home.just remember to tell the dog to sit before each toss also don't use a e collar and check out hillmans traffic cop. best of luck

  11. #9
    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Stay put and do nothing until the happy feet stop. Just stand there and wait him out. Once you get immobility, count slowly for a couple of seconds, then send him. It take patience, but the dog will figure out exactly what it is that will permit the retrieve...and once you get through the first few times it gets easier.
    Sharon Potter

    www.redbranchkennels.net

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers...too many to list.

    Team Huntsmith

  12. #10
    Senior Member Tobias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Potter View Post
    Stay put and do nothing until the happy feet stop. Just stand there and wait him out. Once you get immobility, count slowly for a couple of seconds, then send him. It take patience, but the dog will figure out exactly what it is that will permit the retrieve...and once you get through the first few times it gets easier.
    Best suggestion of all. Put the onus on the dog. Make him figure out how to get what he wants.
    The way I look at it, every dog is an opportunity to be a better trainer, and every day is a new day to be a better trainer to the same dog we trained yesterday.

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