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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK new guy here.

So I have a young dog (1.5 years) that has a bad attitude ( ears and head down at the line) until I hit the noise maker or break out some fresh birds. I have no doubt I have brought this on myself through my in-experience and poorly timed corrections ect ect.... beat me up if you want - I am fairly new to this game..BUT that said what would your method be to bring a dog out of this??? He is a happy retriever in fun-toss situations be it bumpers or birds but some where down the road to where we are things have gotten stressful and not as fun for him in the field.

Thanks in advance

O.clarki
 

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First, take a step back and make it fun for him again. Back off the pressure and make things simple for him again. Secondly, if he's having issues at the line don't let him have retrieves until he acts correctly. Without more info those are my suggestions.

Remember dogs learn by association, so if he's being punished at the line all the time he probably doesn't want to do anything in fear of corrections.
 

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Welcome to the forum, I'm sure you'll find it a great resource. Well, you are where you are, but I'm not exactly sure where that is! It would be a help if you could be a bit more specific.

So in training you take him into the blind and he cowers and looks miserable, but if you operate the Bumper Boy type quacker thing he perks up and looks for a retrieve and outside the blind he's a happy camper who retrieves willingly. Have I got that bit right? When you say "in the field" do mean real live hunting or the training ground? If you could clarify things for the boys and girls it would help them to form a judgement.

Things to ponder and maybe come back on...

Is he really OK with gun fire?
Does the blind itself spook him as you approach it?
What was he doing when you mistimed the corrections?
How were the corrections administered?
What else gives him the heebie jeebies?

If you think in your own mind that it's just the physical presence of the blind (or something else) he associates with punishment and it's giving him the creeps, there are a couple of ways of desensitising him that we can help you with. Let us know.

Another point to consider is his behaviour in the hunting field proper .... has he actually done any? And did he enjoy it? Does he still?

I'm sorry to ask all these questions, perhaps it's because I'm unfamiliar with some US training styles and terms. I do however spend a lot of time remediating gun dogs poor performance and behaviour, so perhps if you bear with me (us) we can work something out.

Anyway, best of luck with him,

Eug
 

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Poorly timed corrections? OK---what did you do? What kind of corrections and what for?

Your dog should be happy when he works. Most of the time we know what we did to bring something on in the dog.

My guess is too much pressure too quickly. Structure several play sessions with him in the field. Did you ever bring him into the field just to walk around and sniff, maybe play chase, laugh and have a good time? Let him walk around without harassing him? Try it, I would. And I wouldn't do just 1 or 2 sessions. I would do several sessions of play and then ease into the work.

Good luck!
 

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Oclarki
Where are you from? Can you get to a group/club/Pro? Lots of flyers required, running the dog on a tab so he does not break, with NO!!!! collar corrections....... LIGHTEN up on the dog, he may or may not ever get better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. I'l clarify a bit more. Dog is not gunshy or afraid of holding blind - problem developed during swim-by where I had a lot of no goes, water was probably to cold too and too much pressure...
Also we used to have a lot of live birds mixed in and the bird supply dried up so just bumpers lately. Anyhow there is alot of advice there that makes sense so I'll wade through that.
On another note - I thawed out some birds and used those today along with making him watch the other dog work. WOW what a difference - I think some of my issues might be boredom - routine same ole bumper different day.
 

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let up on the pressure and really work on a balance in training. Keep the collar on the dog, but put the transmitter up for a week or more. Make the marks easy (with birds, pigeons or flyers preferred), and only do blinds where the dog will be successful. When your dog improves, I would write down a plan with your training and record how much you are correcting your dog and where. If you have a session where you have to put pressure on the dog, your evening session or ending of that session needs to be successful. I'd also use birds.

If your dog is really birdy you may try buying a few pigeons. Throw them up yourself, shoot them and let the dog get them. Sounds way too easy, but some trainers do this. good luck
 

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My Bad...I clicked on this thread thinking that it was about one of my training buddies ( human, that is) and how they come to the line. Guess it's fodder for a different thread?
Bill
 

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My Bad...I clicked on this thread thinking that it was about one of my training buddies ( human, that is) and how they come to the line. Guess it's fodder for a different thread?
Bill
Bill, if it's me, LET ME HAVE IT!

I may not act on every constructive criticism, but darn it, if one of my training buds sees me doing something odd, I'd rather hear about it. Especially from someone who's been around the game longer than the rest of us.

I have a little local training session in a couple hours at the local park. I'd love to train with you guys again soon.

Chris
 

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..if he is getting lots of corrections going to the line..and at line..the work out in the field is likely to fall apart.

For a while, just get him to line/on the mat quickly..not a big walk to the line etc...lots of singles, if you can..walking singles.

Blinds...the same, get to line quickly without a fuss...when he looks out, "good" send him.

Good you asked! work on one project at a time!...enjoy your young retriever!

Judy IMHO

... :) don't know what to say about you Chris! ..but enjoy your training today..
 

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well, at least you know what got you into this problem. you're in a hole, so stop digging.

in my opinion, advancing this dog's skills has to be put on hold while you restore momentum.
during this time, pick up a copy of Training And Campaigning Retrievers by Jack Gwaltney. read it twice and then live by it. if you combine what's in this book with the information currently available on how to train the mechanical aspects of the game, you won't be sorry.

good luck!-Paul
 

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Kooly went through a stage like that. Right after swim-by, too. I put too much pressure on him with not enough fun and this led to the "issue". My pro friend and I discussed it after I saw a very "different dog" on an early fall day when we went pheasant hunting. It was a "who is this dog and where did he come from morning".

I asked Brian to take Kooly west on his winter trip to California. To shorten this up, if Brian shot a flyer for him first thing in the morning, Kooly's training was outstanding the rest of the day. If a bumper was involved early, his work would be less than mediocre. For awhile we had to continually do things that were fun. Drills he would "see" as work were discontinued. Others, like walking baseball (which he "labeled" as fun) tranformed him into a fun dog to work with. It wasn't long before the "dynamic dog" showed up every day.
 

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Kooly went through a stage like that. Right after swim-by, too. I put too much pressure on him with not enough fun and this led to the "issue". My pro friend and I discussed it after I saw a very "different dog" on an early fall day when we went pheasant hunting. It was a "who is this dog and where did he come from morning".

I asked Brian to take Kooly west on his winter trip to California. To shorten this up, if Brian shot a flyer for him first thing in the morning, Kooly's training was outstanding the rest of the day. If a bumper was involved early, his work would be less than mediocre. For ahile we had to continually do things that were fun. Drills he would "see" as work were discontinued. Others, like walking baseball (which he "labeled" as fun) tranformed him into a fun dog to work with. It wasn't long before the "dynamic dog" showed up every day.
...and "walking baseball" does not require flyers etc..and is great for lots of issues, attitude and momentum, "handling" etc.. Part of the basic teaching process, not just issues. Builds teamwork, do it own your own. Great post!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hey this is cool - have a lot of good info coming in..

did some walking baseball today - dog loved that

Keep it coming..
 
G

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I'm going to put a different spin on this but please take this with a grain of salt without having a very experienced and trustworthy trainer assessing your dog.

Depending on what your dog has gone through (you mention possibly ill timed corrections), there is a possibility he is copping out, i.e., staying safe at your side is better than going out in the big bad scary world out there. Dogs learn in black and white situations. This could be a grey one for him.

You mentioned he no go'd a lot. Did he get away with it? Where did he get his correction when he did? Could this have become a pattern? From the dog's point of view, if I don't go either a) I don't have to do it or b) scary things happen to me "out there." There does come a point where with some dogs you need to make the place closest to you less inviting than "out there."

Again, DO NOT make any decisions based on this post without input from someone watching your dog in person but sometimes just simplifying and giving a dog bunch of gimmes does not cut it.

More often than not, if it happens to be a cop out and they are shown that is not an option you will get a "phew, thank you boss" reaction.
 

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Does this same lack of confidence-cowering etc. show itself when running a test or running without a collar? I ask because sometimes dogs just train badly and run like champs, in such a case the dog is usually playing on human emotions with a poor me game to get out of working. It could be a confidence issue, but you might be being played. You could save yourself a lot of headpain and time if your were to have it evaluated by a pro or another knowledgeable person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Does this same lack of confidence-cowering etc. show itself when running a test or running without a collar? I ask because sometimes dogs just train badly and run like champs, in such a case the dog is usually playing on human emotions with a poor me game to get out of working. It could be a confidence issue, but you might be being played. You could save yourself a lot of headpain and time if your were to have it evaluated by a pro or another knowledgeable person.
Ya this dog has definetley played me before. I had with a pro for 10 days for evaluation last summer and the report he gave me was that the dog was working me. He described him as a smart and stubburn cuss...The behavior I refer to in my OP does go away in an exciting atmosphere (real birds and other dogs around). Collar on or off does not affect him.

Melanie - you mentioned this "You mentioned he no go'd a lot. Did he get away with it? Where did he get his correction when he did?"

No he did not get away with it I heeled him forward a bit then Back - nick - Back and he would take off and launch into the water every time after that with no further burns UNTIL the next day or session he would want to start like that again with a no-go until he got the fist burn..that became a pattern
 
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