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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I often think about dog training. With four dogs it is difficult to avoid.

Do you ever think the training forums spend an huge amount time "watching the surf”?

In a related way, the trend in dog training is to create better training programs which in turn tend to generate requests for help. The "modern" programs are written by gifted trainers with varying styles/experience and reveal innovative techniques which show just how much a young retriever can learn. Most seem to “side step” the simple fact that their curriculum may be effective (some more than others) because of the teacher. Isn't that a bit backwards?

There has to be a better way of training trainers besides getting a program and using the Internet. There are so few "teachers of teachers" that dog training is DIY for many.
 

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But what would the world be like if everyone knew exactly how to train a dawg?..No arguements, no newbie discussion, no help needed, no FF' debates....sheeesus..

..too boring, Lol.
 

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Jim- Always enjoy reading your posts. As usual, this one got me to thinking.

I believe that the pro trainers' experience alone allows for better and quicker results than an amateur can reasonably expect. Someone like Mike Lardy spends as much time on the line with the dogs in one day as I would spend on the line in a week; not to mention, his lifetime of experience to this point. Somethings can be taught but others can only be learned through time, experience and effort.

That being said, I believe that watching and reading Cesar Millan's shows and books improved my abilities as a trainer in the ways to which you allude in your post. I am now much more aware of my energy level, my posture, and reading my dogs for signs of what they are thinking and/or what they are going to do. It is interesting that his cut line is, "I rehabilitate dogs. I train people." Also, videotaping our sessions, allows me to review my handling as much as, if not more than, I review the dog's performance. I pay particular attention to how well I am 'teaching' the dog as opposed to just kicking her off and seeing how it goes.

That is a nuance that I have picked up from watching these tapes over the years, a pro never sends a dog with a "Let's see what happens," attitude.

Good topic.
 

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Nothing can replicate being there. Being able to spend time with a quality pro, training , watching, and asking questions all with an open mind is worth every penny. Reading a book, watching a video and internet training can only do so much.
 

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Typically the biggest problems that I see with really good pro's, is that they are reactive to dogs, not so much with being able to explain it to people.
 

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Nothing can replicate being there. Being able to spend time with a quality pro, training , watching, and asking questions all with an open mind is worth every penny. Reading a book, watching a video and internet training can only do so much.

I agree with this.

Its amazing to just have the priviledge to watch in person, pros run dogs, or for that matter , run really good handlers...

If those folks take the time to answer your questions it is all that much more valuable..

You can really learn quite a bit by watching.

I have improved somewhat,, but like has been said before about some handlers Having "It",, I dont think I have "IT" Some people do...

I have also learned,, I prolly have never really owned a truely FF'd dog.
Watching that process on Vidotape, or reading that process, in my opinion,, doesnt even come close to whats involved... I believe it takes a special person to be able to read the dog,, and take appropriate measures..
 

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I think a few old sayings may sum it up.

1) "Follow the money"

2) "I taught you everything you know.....Not everything I know"

3) "There is no substitute for skill and ability"

4) "Those that can....DO. Those that can't.... Teach"

Randy,

P.S. # 4 is NOT a shot at the teaching profession.
 

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Typically the biggest problems that I see with really good pro's, is that they are reactive to dogs, not so much with being able to explain it to people.
That has not been my experience. Someone had to teach them they didnt learn it from Lardy videos.
 

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Years ago I had the privilege of having Bill Autrey stand behind me and critique (and hiss in my ear) me in handling one of MY problem dogs. (I say hiss because, for those that don't know Bill, he had throat cancer and had his voice box removed). I still remember most of his advice due to the fact that 1. It was good 2. It was true 3. I was paying for it! He reads dogs better than most people I know and it also helped me judge other peoples dog over the years. I don't begin to know who taught Bill, but he was an excellant student and is good at passing it on, IF YOU WILL JUST LISTEN CAREFULLY. Hard for me to do now, partly deaf, Bill Watson
 

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I often think about dog training. With four dogs it is difficult to avoid.

Do you ever think the training forums spend an huge amount time "watching the surf”? .
Hi Jim, I'm not sure what you mean by the term "watching the surf". There will never be one size that fits all. Many topics, questions, issues, jokes, and all other content on the forum will only be of value to a minority of the user population.

In a related way, the trend in dog training is to create better training programs which in turn tend to generate requests for help. The "modern" programs are written by gifted trainers with varying styles/experience and reveal innovative techniques which show just how much a young retriever can learn. Most seem to “side step” the simple fact that their curriculum may be effective (some more than others) because of the teacher. Isn't that a bit backwards?
I think it can and will seem backwards to some - depending upon the perspective from which it is viewed.

One of the main reasons RTF exists is my memory of my graduating from school with little money, a retriever puppy, a copy of Waterdog by Wolters, and a canvas bumper. When I made phone calls and reached out to folks for help (there was no internet) I was actually told I'd not get to where I wanted unless I went to the local pro.

I think many trainers today are like I was back then. I decided that I was going to have a DIY retriever, and I did wind up putting the titles that seemed at that time, like the holy grail.

I believe that the modern day existence of all these choices, all these DVD's, all of this online information is a huge improvement. In fact, it can be daunting - the excessive amount of choices to some.

There has to be a better way of training trainers besides getting a program and using the Internet. There are so few "teachers of teachers" that dog training is DIY for many.
I believe that even if there were more "teachers of teachers", dog training would still be DIY for many. There is no "one size fits all".

I played guitar a bit as a kid. I set it down for over 30 years and picked it back up. I see the same sort of sense of pride that folks express for being "self taught", versus formally trained by someone else, in guitar play, that I do with many folks training their retrievers.

I view RTF and the internet just like any other tool - a collar, a leash, a platform, a 2-way radio..... Those tools can be, and are for some, valuable components of the overall composite product - retriever work that makes the individual happy.

In the 80's, I sure never thought I'd be at my desk typing on a resource like this about training theory. My guess is that things will continue to progress in some manner. Frankly, part of it is folks taking the time to put the energy and effort into creating "better ways"....and for most of us, time is the most valuable commodity we've got.

Since you've tee'd it up, do you have any ideas of the "better way"?

Sincerely, chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Chris, I think you missed the point of my post.
.........(edit: or I didn't express is very well.)

The intent was to present an opinion about what most new trainers are dealing with. In most cases they have only one source of information.......the Internet. The "pounding of the surf" reference may have been too cryptic, but it stood for the fact that forums like RTF are the only source of help many have.......which is a great thing. Without this avenue they would be in even more trouble.

There are other more general forums on the Internet that will have a section for dog training. When reading these more obscure discussions, the difference between problems and requests for help are dramatically different. There are many more out there trying to train their dogs that don't come close to getting the advice and help available on RTF. Expectations are not the same.

The problem with most retriever training programs is there is very little written advice on "how to teach" because they are mostly about "what to teach". Of all the programs I've read or had access to there has been only one that thoroughly stressed the importance of being a teacher first.

The backwards reference was about programs. It's like "Here is the lesson plan.......good luck."
 

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I agree with this.

Its amazing to just have the priviledge to watch in person, pros run dogs, or for that matter , run really good handlers...

If those folks take the time to answer your questions it is all that much more valuable..

You can really learn quite a bit by watching.

I have improved somewhat,, but like has been said before about some handlers Having "It",, I dont think I have "IT" Some people do...

I have also learned,, I prolly have never really owned a truely FF'd dog.
Watching that process on Vidotape, or reading that process, in my opinion,, doesnt even come close to whats involved... I believe it takes a special person to be able to read the dog,, and take appropriate measures..
I agree completely with the above statement. I recently have been forcing myself to work or atleast watch as many Master Stakes as possible. Making the sometime 2 hr drive to not run a dog seemed crazy to me about two years ago. But I learned more the last 3 months of WATCHING than I have in the past 4 years running dogs. Watching a pro handle and trying to think about what you might do in the situation and compare it to what the Pro did really helps you see your mistakes.
 

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Chris, I think you missed the point of my post.
.........(edit: or I didn't express is very well.)

The intent was to present an opinion about what most new trainers are dealing with. In most cases they have only one source of information.......the Internet. The "pounding of the surf" reference may have been too cryptic, but it stood for the fact that forums like RTF are the only souce of help many have.......which is a great thing. Without this avenue they would be in even more trouble.

There are other more general forums on the Internet that will have a section for dog training. When reading these more obscure discussions, the difference between problems and requests for help are dramatically different. There are many more out there trying to train their dogs that don't come close to getting the advice and help available on RTF. Expectations are not the same.

The problem with most retriever training programs is there is very little written advice on "how to teach" because they are mostly about "what to teach". Of all the programs I've read or had access to there has been only one that thoroughly stressed the importance of being a teacher first.

The backwards reference was about programs. It's like "Here is the lesson plan.......good luck."
I get it... I do. I just don't know what the solution is. Or even if there really is one.

I do believe that as long as the hobby exists, the need for professional training, professionally done seminars and workshops, training clubs, etc will be around.

It's just like golf pros. There are all kinds of instructional golf materials out there. But very few individuals will be able to pick up a set of clubs, an instructional, and go out there and become better than par golfers. I think another parallel between golf and dog training is effort and repeat exposure. Tiger Woods in his heyday or any other top pro did not get there just because of great instruction. They got there because of work ethic.

I meet plenty of folks who see me with my dogs at the local park. They are waterskiing behind single dogs pulling on leads and stating that their dogs "failed" obedience class. These classes may have had some of the best instructors going. But if the student doesn't put the true effort in, they won't get the potential out of it.

I just have real trouble figuring out how it is possible to put out a DVD or other instructional product that "fixes" all of this for the average student new to the activity.

I can see that it seems "backwards". But then again, I think it is possible for someone to gather information, seek input, research programs, and put together a pretty decent plan that tries to focus on going "forwards".

*********************

Pre-internet, I had a phrase called "read a page, train a page". What I meant by that was I saw folks, (and was guilty myself) who would read the first chapter or two of a book. Then, they'd quickly scan the pages towards the end, then they'd figure they'd get to that detail later. Then they'd read up on the training they wanted to do on that day. They would not read up on the training that they'd be doing the next month or the next year.

I always felt like that was similar to staring down at one's feet and trying to take a direct line to a distant target. If you don't study your destination, and also study the entire path you expect to follow, BEFORE you start the journey, you will probably hit some forks in the road that lead you down less productive trails - than if you'd planned better, earlier.

I guess my point is that if someone wants to train a dog to a high level, there will not be a program that spoon-feeds it to them. They have to work hard. They have to really pay attention to all the information that's available, and implement it appropriately....and it is DARN easy, to make mistakes due to misinterpretation or misapplication.

I think after all of us complete a job the first time, we realize there was a better way. I think the best tile installer in town, probably constantly tweeks his methods with each complex kitchen he tiles.

Repeat exposure, work ethic, practice....it all comes into play.

What is the better way? What turns "backwards" into "forwards"?

Chris
 

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Jim I think I just glimmer what your saying, I do know that getting involved with a training group that has a couple top local trainers and a past national judge it is like cheating for me, just watch , listen and help as much as I can because the knowldge given is way beyond anything I can get for the web, or DVD .

Do I make mistakes , you bet , but with the combined eyes of this group on us there is a easy cause and effect that keeps the target in sight, I think that all information is searched for by us , we that are newly born into this great undertaking, and without some great pepole paying it back it would be easy to become lost and searching with out knowing where to turn and who to trust. I thank the group that helps I think they all truly care about the dogs and getting the most out of them for everyone that they can..
 

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That post says about all of it, Chris!

If someone wants it bad enough, they will find a way to get it. Good post.

JS
 

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Great discussion! I spoke to the pro that has my pup and she wants me to run her AA dogs the next time I visit. They will for sure teach me something! Hands on training the trainer (handler) for sure! I'm looking forward to it!

Thanks for the good info everyone!
 

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I agree with Jim. There is a lot of material out there on training retrievers. I think it's pretty telling that one of the primary pieces of advice to new trainers given on this forum is to pick a program and stick with it. I think that is an example of the material being more of a guide for how to train a dog, than as an aid to teach you how to train.

I'm not sure there's a better way though since many DIY trainers are training their one dog, and in 10 years they'll train another. I don't think you can really learn how to train dogs that way, or at least not in a very deep way.

Those who train many dogs have the benefit of learning from each dog they train and being able to immediately apply what they learned, or a new idea or wrinkle that on the next one. They learn how to read dogs better. You just don't get much of that going through it once every 10 years.

I think this is one of the areas where belonging to a training group is a big advantage. Even if there isn't a ton of high level expertise, you still get the benefit of seeing a lot more dogs trained, and you can learn a lot from that if you pay attention. It's a bonus if you have some excellent trainers in the group.

Our club is fortunate to have some professional trainers as members. This really helps - when you can watch a pro going through the things you're working on, and see how he handles it, or one on one advice etc. We recently had a local pro put on a training seminar for us which I found to be a HUGE help.

I think if you want to train your dog, the materials around are good. If you want to learn to train, you need to find a mentor, and you probably need to train a lot of dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
What is the better way? What turns "backwards" into "forwards"?
I get what you are saying, too.....but this needs to be said more often.

Many go through school learning to follow directions. They become very competent in doing what they are told to do. Then they decide to buy a pup......maybe even a retriever......and what about hunt tests?

Not everyone understands the dynamics of DIY. Today, if the TV is not working, we take it to the repairman or buy a new one. Many years ago, I'd pull all the tubes and go down to the local drugstore and find out whch one was bad....and fix it.

Times change and solutions to problems become different. However, a person may learn being a DIY'er has great benefits and the more information they have access to inhances the possibilities.
 

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I often think about dog training. With four dogs it is difficult to avoid.

Do you ever think the training forums spend an huge amount time "watching the surf”?

In a related way, the trend in dog training is to create better training programs which in turn tend to generate requests for help. The "modern" programs are written by gifted trainers with varying styles/experience and reveal innovative techniques which show just how much a young retriever can learn. Most seem to “side step” the simple fact that their curriculum may be effective (some more than others) because of the teacher. Isn't that a bit backwards?

There has to be a better way of training trainers besides getting a program and using the Internet. There are so few "teachers of teachers" that dog training is DIY for many.
I see nothing backwards about it. While learning how to train a dog simply by seeing Mike Lardy on a DVD is obviously not as good as having Mike Lardy coach you in person, it is infinitely better than trial and error, and even trial and error is better than learning from the wrong professional.

I've trained 3 dogs on my own by watching the Mike Lardy DVDs, reading the articles, and attending a couple of workshops. In addition to that I was able to train on weekends with a local pro that has a very simlar training philosphy as Lardy (He spent time as a client of Andy Attar several years back).

Until my pups were through transition, if I didn't see it in the Lardy material, I wouldn't do it. Even if the pro I trained with on weekends did it, I wouldn't.

Dog 1 - UH HRCH with 3 MH passes, a Qual JAM and a Qual 3rd
Dog 2 - HR with 3 Master passes, 3 Qual JAMs and a Qual 4th
Dog 3 - UH HRCH with 5 MH passes, a deby JAM, a Qual JAM and a Qual win.

Not setting the world on fire or anything, but a pretty respectable record for a first timer following a DVD.

Not everyone has the means to be able to train with the likes of Mike Lardy, but they can all buy his training materials. And if folks will watch, listen, and study these materials, they can build a fine dog. You have to go deeper than just the mechanics of running a drill, you have to try to understand when and why you handle, correct, call back, etc. You have to listen to the "preaching" as someone referred to it in another thread if you want to get the most of the material. This is all covered in the DVDs, but you need to watch it more than once to get even a little bit of it.

I feel fortunate that folks like Mike are willing to make the training material available for all.
 

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Most seem to “side step” the simple fact that their curriculum may be effective (some more than others) because of the teacher.

QUOTE]

A long time ago in a land far far away, I dabbled in professional B.A.S.S. fishing with moderate success. Made my boat payments and paid my fishing bills. Not much more than that. Pro tournament fishing is very much like the high end national FT game. Some can do it, others can't.
I was fortunate to live in the same community with a very successful pro who won the Classic 3 times, has had a TV show for 30 years, and is quite the deer hunter now.
Once I asked him why he was doing the TV show, seminars, etc. and publicizing his "trade secrets" and his response was that "I can show them where to fish, how deep, what bait and color to use and they still can't beat me. Some of us can do it. Most can't."
I think retriever training is a lot like that. Some can, a lot can't.
JMHO
MP
 
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