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Discussion Starter #1
I need help and advice to correct a problem I created with my 5 month old lab pup.


Since she was younger I used a lot of excitement to get her into the bumper but not enough obedience and now she is obsessed. She has no focus and she jumps on me and is extremely excited, so much so that her training and obedience is suffering greatly and we can't progress.


I've stopped retrieving for now and I'm going to do a lot of long walks and training heel, and sit. However, I'm afraid that once I bring out the bumper again she'll go crazy and the training will go out the window.
I've ordered Lardy's program and I'm waiting for it to be delivered.


How can I get her to focus and calm down? Has anyone had a similar experience?
 

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You need to take a mean pill. I don't mean you should abuse you dog but it sounds like he needs a firm hand and some discipline. For instance, what do you do when he jumps on you? I would buy a heeling stick and a pinch collar. Then set a high standard for ob and require compliance with the tools I mentioned.

Lots of trainers deal with high rollers but it always begins with ob compliance especially sit.
 

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Separate the "Yard" from the "Field", and keep them separate until you are done with yardwork.

Once you are into Transition, you merge the two different "Worlds" and insist on maintaining the same standard of performance that you established in each.

The Yard is everything that is trained, that also involves enforcement with applied pressure.
Obedience, FF, collar conditioning, pile work, and water force/swim-by are all Yardwork.

Everything that is up to the dog, is Fieldwork.
Basically, anything involving marks, or marking progression, is Fieldwork for a Retriever.
You NEVER introduce new pressure during Fieldwork. That's a no-no.

New pressure is introduced in the Yard, the dog is taught to understand it, and the correct behaviours are thoroughly reinforced with it. Only then, can the same forms of pressure be used in the field to enforce commands and behaviours.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You need to take a mean pill. I don't mean you should abuse you dog but it sounds like he needs a firm hand and some discipline. For instance, what do you do when he jumps on you? I would buy a heeling stick and a pinch collar. Then set a high standard for ob and require compliance with the tools I mentioned.

Lots of trainers deal with high rollers but it always begins with ob compliance especially sit.
I had been using a prong collar, when she sees that bumper all bets are off. I snap the collar and say no or tell her to sit. Nothing. Even when I up the pressure she seems to shut down and doesn't sit AT ALL. She begins to whimper and very often breaks the sit. I had been thinking about a heeling stick but I'm not sure how to use it so I would need to look into that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Separate the "Yard" from the "Field", and keep them separate until you are done with yardwork.

The Yard is everything that is trained, that also involves enforcement with applied pressure.
Obedience, FF, collar conditioning, pile work, and water force/swim-by are all Yardwork.
my only limitations to this is I live in a city type area, so I don't have a large amount of land. She does well in my yard with obedience. That is true in the areas I take her for water/long retrieves she doesn't cooperate. Even in my yard with a bumper that excitement is still there.

Should I stop taking her to the trails and focus on obedience in my backyard ?
 

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As a rule of thumb ob needs to be done in four or so different places. TRT is a great training program but it may not help your immediate need. Using a heeling stick is easy to learn. Is there an accomplished amateur around that can give you a couple of lessons?
Can you post a picture of the prong collar you are using? And how you put it on the dog? Sounds like it may have too many links in it.
Also, it would be beneficial to see a video of dog's behavior.
PS. You shouldn't snap a pinch collar.
PSS. You will need to go to the test forum soon and do six or so posts to get the minimum of 10 for private messages.
 

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my only limitations to this is I live in a city type area, so I don't have a large amount of land. She does well in my yard with obedience. That is true in the areas I take her for water/long retrieves she doesn't cooperate. Even in my yard with a bumper that excitement is still there.

Should I stop taking her to the trails and focus on obedience in my backyard ?
You need to keep the two "Worlds" separate.

Not geographically, but rather situationaly.

Dogs are situational.
They easily distinguish situational differences.

At 5 months of age, your dog has not yet begun to start Yardwork. But, you are trying to mix Yardwork into your Fieldwork sessions. And that doesn't work.

You need to first establish, enforce, and reinforce the obedience, fetch, and handling standard in the yard, until the dog literally cannot screw it up. There's a big difference between getting it right, and not ever getting it wrong.

Only after you have achieved that standard in the Yard, can you begin to think about enforcing it in the Field.
That distinction is HUGE. It makes all the difference.

Don't mix the Yard with the Field, or the Field with the Yard. Ever.

It's fine if a dog is a "nut" about birds/bumpers in the Field at 5 months.
In fact, it's actually exactly what you want at this point.

You can establish obedience/control/training in the Yard, develop drive/desire/marking in the Field, and later merge the two together when the dog is ready to put it all together.

If you try to mix them together right now, you will ultimately diminish both.
 

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"I need help and advice to correct a problem I created with my 5 month old lab pup"

It's a good thing that you have kind of figured out what the mistake was. We all make them. The key is to recognize that recovering from a mistake is often not simple.

Here is a link to some thoughts about mistakes.

The Mistake Lesson (link)

Your pup is young and there is plenty of time to "undue stuff". Just keep in mind it will take some time. A quick fix in dog training is often more like wishful thinking.

I'm sure it would be better for both you and the pup to have someone with experience watch what is going on. Good advice and a plan will give you more confidence in what you are about to take on. "Slapping" hardware on the pup or using some technique that isn't clear to you may not get you on the right track. The pup needs you to learn how to respond correctly to what is needed.

You asked what should I do?

The first step is often the most difficult...recognizing the mistake. You've got that out of the way. Find a mentor. You need help to improve your training skills before attempting to change the course of your pup. Decide on a plan and stick to it.

It is a challenge to have the teacher and pup trying to learn how to do new things together. From the way you wrote the original post, I think you'll do just fine. Challenges are fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You need to keep the two "Worlds" separate.

You need to first establish, enforce, and reinforce the obedience, fetch, and handling standard in the yard, until the dog literally cannot screw it up. There's a big difference between getting it right, and not ever getting it wrong.

Only after you have achieved that standard in the Yard, can you begin to think about enforcing it in the Field.
That distinction is HUGE. It makes all the difference.

It's fine if a dog is a "nut" about birds/bumpers in the Field at 5 months.
In fact, it's actually exactly what you want at this point.

.
So what I was doing wrong was throwing bumpers and getting her excited and then expecting her to do obedience and setting her up to fail more or less because her OB wasn't solid?

Correct me if I'm wrong but this means I can take her to the hills but only do obedience, I can throw bumpers in the backyard but only do bumpers and no OB? I apologize if I'm misunderstanding something.
 

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So what I was doing wrong was throwing bumpers and getting her excited and then expecting her to do obedience and setting her up to fail more or less because her OB wasn't solid?

Correct me if I'm wrong but this means I can take her to the hills but only do obedience, I can throw bumpers in the backyard but only do bumpers and no OB? I apologize if I'm misunderstanding something.
Here is the flow chart. The stuff on the left is Yardwork. The stuff on the right is Fieldwork.

You do both each day.
But don't mix them into the same session. Keep them separate.

http://www.totalretriever.com/images/FlowChartDownload.pdf
 

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Really??
Care to expound on that??
Yes really.
And if you don't understand it, my "expounding" on it isn't going to help.
 

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You have a 5 month old baby. There is nothing you have done or not done that will harm this pup as this point. Your obedience is not solid, so you need to work on it. You need to make sure it is solid before moving on to obedience with distractions. The bumper is too big of a distraction at this point, so put it away when you are working obedience. You want to make sure your sits and heels are solid in your back yard from close up, to at a distance. Then you have someone else come in the yard and sit far away. Work your dog the same way. Then move locations just you and her. Add in another distraction and so on. IF she is that wild as you describe, get your obedience really solid. You may want to consider using a place board with her.

Go to a field to throw her marks. A 5 month old is not solid at sitting on marks. So, don't expect her to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As a rule of thumb ob needs to be done in four or so different places. TRT is a great training program but it may not help your immediate need. Using a heeling stick is easy to learn. Is there an accomplished amateur around that can give you a couple of lessons?
Can you post a picture of the prong collar you are using? And how you put it on the dog? Sounds like it may have too many links in it.
Also, it would be beneficial to see a video of dog's behavior.
PS. You shouldn't snap a pinch collar.
PSS. You will need to go to the test forum soon and do six or so posts to get the minimum of 10 for private messages.
unfortunately there is only one professional somewhat close to my area "Sendero Retrievers", I've also tried contacting my local retriever club with no luck. The prong collar is the metal type medium size, it does grip around her neck but I will try to post pictures.

I will look into how to properly use the prong collar hopefully the dog trainers in my area can help me.
 

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You can do a search on rtf. There was several good threads on prong or pinch collars. I have been a rather recent convert to their use and learned about them here.
 

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I would say I agree with everyone and take her more places for OB and get more focus out of the pup. Or try going to a local OB training facility. They may not have much for retrieving breeds but they have some good tips and advice to help with focus and distractions.
 
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