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I just got my DVD field training videos & I'm kind of not happy at the obedience training I'm seeing on it. Now I'm not going to name the trainer, so please don"t ask.

But, this is what I'm seeing:

The command SIT is given, the dog sits immediately, then the trainer jerks the choke chain (over & over I might add).

That is not how I was taught.
I was taught, give command Buddy, Sit! Dog doesn't obey, so then you say No in conjunction WITH the snap on the chain choke, then say Buddy, Sit again. Once. If no response, repeat the sequence.

Not nagging the dog: snap-sitsitsitsitdogsits-snap. How is the dog supposed to know its doing things right, when its getting a snap (correction) when or after it sits like its supposed to?

Now, I have only done AKC obedience, not field training, but is there a reason for what the trainer is doing in field obedience training?

And, a better question: who of the fancy DVD field trainers doesn't do this during the obedience part? Just name names on the thread here, or please PM me.

Thanks
 

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I found most of the obedience training (sit - heel - here) to be appalling on all of the retriever training DVDs I have seen. Both in terms of trainer mechanics and the dog's attitude. I literally cannot figure out how the dog puts up with it. As far as I can tell, the only reason the dogs learn anything is because they're Labradors and are actively making up for the trainer's shortcomings.
 

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My take is that there is a whole lot of personal preference involved in how one articulates to the dog, the obedience training mechanics. My first obedience foray involved the input and instruction of a traditional competitive obedience instructor. Personally, I value that stuff and utilize much of it to this day.

An example of what I utilize is: Always step with the near leg first for "heel", versus the far leg first for "stay" or "sit". I have found that this simple obedience concept speaks volumes to a dog. I rarely see a retriever training video incorporate this in the material. However, despite my personal preference, I also don't see the lack of this technique's use negatively impacting the performance of good trainers' dogs.


Some of the retriever video that I've watched definitely leaves a great deal to be desired, in terms of how the obedience instructor does the lesson, versus how I first learned. On the other hand, you can't argue with success! The dogs still do wonderful work in the field, have reasonable obedience in the holding blind and the line, and get the job done.

I think some of this falls into the area of the notion that there is more than one way to get from point A to point B.

If the end result is purely an obedience title, that is quite different from the end result being a field performance/field title. Could the student and/or trainer gain more by implementing more finesse at the line in the obedience? Maybe......

Then again, maybe there is value in minimizing the handler intrusion at the line and empowering the dog to be responsible for his own actions and location, while focusing on what's going on out in the field at a distance.

I believe Mike Lardy touches on this in video and in print. He references the "traditional obedience" dog looking up and back at the handler at the line. He also references the "field trained" retriever sitting obediently in proper position, but clearly looking out in the field, gazing intently, for what he/she thinks is about to happen at a distance - where the birds will fall.

It will never be a "one size fits all" for all dogs, all trainers, etc.

Raegan, your signature line and your post above intrigue me a bit. In the signature line, it leads me to believe that your opinion is that a tolling dog (non Labrador) is more prone to natural training and the non-necessity of pro training. Yet in the post itself, I get the idea that the message delivered is that labradors are more "forgiving" of training errors and more likely to still put in a nice performance despite less than ideal training technique.

Anyhow, my suggestion on the retriever videos, regardless of the trainer in question, is to try and filter out the non-value, and find the little flakes of gold. There probably is a little something of value, despite the preference for different technique at the line.

In my role here on RTF, I have lots and lots of instructional material on the shelf. I review it all. I tend to mentally file some away for later. I don't train dozens of dogs in a short period of time. So I realize that some things that worked/work for someone today, may not work for me. But maybe they will in the future, or with a different dog that I'm currently not training.

Enjoy!

Chris
 

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There is a guy who puts out a training DVD called Total Retriever Training. Click the link at the top of the forum page, read his credentials, philosophy, ask for references, etc. and if you like what you see buy it.

There is another guy also with a link at top of page named Bill Hillman. Do the same.

Someone who has made the transition from competitive obedience to field training may have more insight, but I would think Hillman would be a good approach. For a field dog, it is important to get the retrieving going before the obedience. Hillman emphasizes this in his training.

I will say that the way you were taught is wrong for field training. I say this for two reasons. 1. Neither Lardy nor Hillman do it that way, and 2. We release dogs to retrieve on their name, so if we say (in the field) "Spot, SIT", well Sopt should be half way to the bird by the time you get "SIT" out of your mouth.
 

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Agreed. I did basic obedience more in line with Michael Ellis's methods (marker training). With that being said after I was taught I did incorporate some jerk up on the leash. That is just compulsion training which transitions well into collar conditioning and a force based program like lardy.

Hillman does the repeating commands with tiny nicks and although I don't understand the theory behind it he says it is a reinforcement. Well I used hillman and my dog is rock steady because of or despite the reinforcement nicks. Denis voigt bad an interesting article may June 2010 retrievers online about obedience in field trail dogs. I believe hillmann said something like retriever trainers are behind the curve when it comes to ob training and we have a lit to learn from ob trainers.

Here's an interesting thought. Is is that retrievers really need to get the retrieving desire built up before they start ob or is it that they need to get the desire up before starting ob taught with pressure (i.e the way its done in the videos ...pull up on the leash push down on the butt)? I think it's the latter.
 

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"If the end result is purely an obedience title, that is quite different from the end result being a field performance/field title. Could the student and/or trainer gain more by implementing more finesse at the line in the obedience? Maybe......

Then again, maybe there is value in minimizing the handler intrusion at the line and empowering the dog to be responsible for his own actions and location, while focusing on what's going on out in the field at a distance.

I believe Mike Lardy touches on this in video and in print. He references the "traditional obedience" dog looking up and back at the handler at the line. He also references the "field trained" retriever sitting obediently in proper position, but clearly looking out in the field, gazing intently, for what he/she thinks is about to happen at a distance - where the birds will fall."


Yes, Grasshopper this makes sense. I too started with the "obedience ring" type of training.

Joe Letta once asked me why my dog "always looked back at me" when on the line..... Go figure
 

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When I was looking for a Basic obedience class for my 7 month old, I ended up going to the most expensive obedience instructor around only because no one else had a class when I needed it. This woman had a top-notch resume (which I didn't know at the time), it was one of the best investments I ever made. What I learned from her has stuck with me. We did not always see eye to eye on somethings but I knew I was training a retriever for field work. She taught COME for recall, I said HERE. She taught arm straight up by the ear for remote down, I taught arm straight out in front. I knew what I wanted for the end result of the class and achieved it by being consistent. I ended up with the same quality results as the other students.
That instructor was into competition obedience, I was not going down that road but I understood the value of an obedient dog for hunting and hunt tests, and who better to learn those skills from? I recommend new pup owners take an obedience class from an experienced and qualified individual. It's good for pup and a quality instructor can aid you, the Handler, in pointing out your Handler Errors. You can't get that feedback from a DVD, no matter who produced it.
 

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the program im following teaches to say sit and pull up on choke chain while tapping the rear with a heeling stick and when he sits you release. pressure on, pressure off. when u do come you pull till he comes then release. heel same thing pull collar till he corrects his walk to your stride then release

this is all after a solid background of treat training that introduces the dog to these commands. no punishment here. just praise and treat when he obeys and no praise no treat if he doesnt.

walk. crawl. run. slow steps and building confidence while suring up obedience
 

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I found most of the obedience training (sit - heel - here) to be appalling on all of the retriever training DVDs I have seen. Both in terms of trainer mechanics and the dog's attitude. I literally cannot figure out how the dog puts up with it. As far as I can tell, the only reason the dogs learn anything is because they're Labradors and are actively making up for the trainer's shortcomings.
I agree with one thing: Labradors and indeed some of the other retriever breeds are so wonderful because they "assume the guilt".

However, in many year's of training field trial retrievers at upper levels, I have consistently observed two things: 1. obedience in the super-charged field environment is always a challenge and often less than desired; 2. with 1-2 notable exceptions, the "obedience" trainers I have trained with have been among the worst in terms of achieving obedience with their OB dogs while doing field work with their dogs (assuming they could do the field work). This is not a critique-just an observation.

Regarding methods: Not a fan of the obedince style of saying dog's name before every command nor of the "look up at handler" for every command. However, I do believe in having a dog being very tuned into me and always having an eye or an attitude focused on me.

There are many effective methods of delivering negative and positive reinforcement and punishment. I mostly dislike the "no" and correction route as it doesn't tell the dog what to do. I prefer to try to increase good behaviour rather than just stop "bad" behaviour. Also some methods almost defy classical operant conditioning. Hillman's method of sit nick sit nick sit nick (all at very low levels) while the dog is sitting turns out to have a strong impact on the dog without diminishing attitude. I have to admit it works very well!

Personally, I would be very cautious about critiquing the succesful DVD trainers without a proven track record of superior performance!
 

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I agree with the OP; some of the DVDs published are very weak in basic obedience. I think I have the one Penner referenced and I've commented in this forum on the nagging and poor timing it displays. Most basic OB in our group is now initially taught via clicker, and reinforced with other marker type training, as per ....


Outside of the group in private work, I don't now even use a lead until the commands are known and performance is satisfactory. Dennis posted
I mostly dislike the "no" and correction route as it doesn't tell the dog what to do. I prefer to try to increase good behaviour rather than just stop "bad" behaviour.
I think that puts it in a nutshell.


 

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Just because you saw a handler give an obedience command different from the way you were taught or the way you do it doesn't mean that same handler always does it that way or he's doing it wrong. The video is a snapshot in time and may or may not be indicative of how the handler trains for obedience. The purpose of the retriever videos that I have watched are to illustrate retrieving instruction, not obedience instruction.

I've trained with hunt test groups and watched handlers with their dogs at hunt tests and most do a good job with basic obedience. I really don't have any criticism with their methods.

I have a three year old high-powered field lab and I just got the HR title on him and will have the UD (Utility Dog - AKC top level obedience title) on him this Fall. Obedience training and trialing him has been easy. He doesn't watch me as we heel like so many pure obedience dogs do because I don't want him watching me. I want him to be aware of me. I've also had to change a few obedience signals so as not to clash with field signals but other than that playing both games has been easy; the dog is smart enough to know the difference. Field people cringe at the idea of using treats and obedience people cringe at the idea of using a stick or e-collar. I use a mix of training methods; treats and prong collar for obedience, stick and e-collar for field.

One thing I need to do is change my idea of obedience during a hunt test. My dog gets so ramped up that he will not heel or sit or stand with his head at my leg as he does during training. He wants to be ahead of me so that his butt is at my leg. I need to relax my standard during a test and not get so frustrated by his lapse. Obedience training has definitely helped his field work and I'll continue to keep my standards high in training knowing that it will deteriorate in a test.

If you're looking for obedience instruction I highly recommend Connie Cleveland. She has a field lab, AFC-OTCH Candlewoods Brother Aaron so she is well versed in both games.
 

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Some of the retriever video that I've watched definitely leaves a great deal to be desired, in terms of how the obedience instructor does the lesson, versus how I first learned. On the other hand, you can't argue with success! The dogs still do wonderful work in the field, have reasonable obedience in the holding blind and the line, and get the job done.
I think you can argue with success, actually. How many threads here on RTF are ultimately questions on basic obedience? If you do a shoddy job in the beginning, it's going to show up later. The majority of advice given in threads on sit problems come down to some form of "whack his azz." If you're putting pressure on your dog for something YOU messed up on, I find that unethical.

I think some of this falls into the area of the notion that there is more than one way to get from point A to point B.

If the end result is purely an obedience title, that is quite different from the end result being a field performance/field title. Could the student and/or trainer gain more by implementing more finesse at the line in the obedience? Maybe......

Then again, maybe there is value in minimizing the handler intrusion at the line and empowering the dog to be responsible for his own actions and location, while focusing on what's going on out in the field at a distance.
I don't think these two are at odds. I think good obedience training gives you both finesse AND minimized handler intrusion.

My objection is not on matters of methods or style. It's not about whether you use a choke chain or a prong, e-collar, clicker, heeling stick or magical fairy dust. It's not about heads up heeling or the words you use for commands. It's about good training vs. bad training. It's about training that makes it easy for the dog to learn what you want and training that makes it hard for the dog to learn what you want.

This video was actually posted here a while ago, and although it's more a demonstration of skills already trained than the training of the skills themselves, it is one of the best examples of GOOD training I have ever seen. Look how quiet the trainer's body language is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q6oZVgNvyo

I believe Mike Lardy touches on this in video and in print. He references the "traditional obedience" dog looking up and back at the handler at the line. He also references the "field trained" retriever sitting obediently in proper position, but clearly looking out in the field, gazing intently, for what he/she thinks is about to happen at a distance - where the birds will fall.

It will never be a "one size fits all" for all dogs, all trainers, etc.
That's just style. If you don't want the dog to look up at your face, don't teach him to look up at your face. Style is not an excuse for sloppy training. WHAT you train the dog to do is immaterial. HOW you train him to do so is what matters.

Direct pressure is not advised in the field. It creates undesirable consequences that indirect pressure does not. Yeah, some times you can probably get away with it, some dogs will take it alright, but is that an excuse to not adhere to the general best practices of training?

Raegan, your signature line and your post above intrigue me a bit. In the signature line, it leads me to believe that your opinion is that a tolling dog (non Labrador) is more prone to natural training and the non-necessity of pro training. Yet in the post itself, I get the idea that the message delivered is that labradors are more "forgiving" of training errors and more likely to still put in a nice performance despite less than ideal training technique.
Hahaha, well that is a rather poor juxtaposition, isn't it? It's from a poem in the Toller book, I must admit I just like it. I cannot speak for the breed, but my Toller is probably less forgiving than most Labradors. Although you have to remember, my other dog is a Schnauzer. Everything is more trainable than Gatsby. There's also a difference between a pro training a dog, and professional training. I am not a pro, but I can be professional in my training. I can (and do) strive to be the best, most efficient trainer I can be, be as fair to my dog as possible, to fulfill as much of my dog's potential as possible. That I will not always be perfect is not an excuse not to try to be. To me that is a very different mindset from "the dog needs to learn how to sit so I can force fetch him so we can get to the good stuff."

But my perspective is as a trainer first. I am more interested in the process than the product.

Anyhow, my suggestion on the retriever videos, regardless of the trainer in question, is to try and filter out the non-value, and find the little flakes of gold. There probably is a little something of value, despite the preference for different technique at the line.

In my role here on RTF, I have lots and lots of instructional material on the shelf. I review it all. I tend to mentally file some away for later. I don't train dozens of dogs in a short period of time. So I realize that some things that worked/work for someone today, may not work for me. But maybe they will in the future, or with a different dog that I'm currently not training.

Enjoy!

Chris
Ah, but what is the first question any new poster is asked?

"What program are you following?"

I am not arguing with that advice, and I agree with the reasoning behind it. My issue lies in the fact that newbies are being shown poor obedience as a model for their own training. Again, it's not a matter of method or style, it's one of best practices. If the dog is sitting, don't jerk him again. If the dog is heeling, don't drag him around by a tight leash. These are things that give you neither finesse at the line nor the dog responsibility for his own behavior.

Here's an interesting thought. Is is that retrievers really need to get the retrieving desire built up before they start ob or is it that they need to get the desire up before starting ob taught with pressure (i.e the way its done in the videos ...pull up on the leash push down on the butt)? I think it's the latter.
It is my personal opinion that the need to build desire is because there is so much pressure in obedience, and poorly applied pressure at that since we're on the topic. I do not have the personal experience to be definitive on the subject, but that is my suspicion. You see the same in bitesport dogs. It is my opinion that creating so much drive before the installation of control (both by the trainer and the dog's own self control) ultimately creates the need for more pressure to be put on the dog in the long run.

I leave this video for your thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loGC6OZXum0

I agree with one thing: Labradors and indeed some of the other retriever breeds are so wonderful because they "assume the guilt".

However, in many year's of training field trial retrievers at upper levels, I have consistently observed two things: 1. obedience in the super-charged field environment is always a challenge and often less than desired; 2. with 1-2 notable exceptions, the "obedience" trainers I have trained with have been among the worst in terms of achieving obedience with their OB dogs while doing field work with their dogs (assuming they could do the field work). This is not a critique-just an observation.
One reason I don't own a labrador. :D I agree that this is a laudable trait for the Labrador breed. But I cannot stand it, because I am process driven. I am the human, I have the great big primate brain and the opposable thumbs, the dog's failure is my failure.

I'm intrigued by your observation. Is it that the obedience dog is out of control, disconnected, not interested, what?

There are many effective methods of delivering negative and positive reinforcement and punishment. I mostly dislike the "no" and correction route as it doesn't tell the dog what to do. I prefer to try to increase good behaviour rather than just stop "bad" behaviour. Also some methods almost defy classical operant conditioning. Hillman's method of sit nick sit nick sit nick (all at very low levels) while the dog is sitting turns out to have a strong impact on the dog without diminishing attitude. I have to admit it works very well!

Personally, I would be very cautious about critiquing the succesful DVD trainers without a proven track record of superior performance!
I agree that some of it defies operant conditioning. That is the background of how I was trained to train, so it's a little like going from Newtonian physics to relativity. It blows my mind! There's no way that could work! For me, it is not enough to say "it works," and move on. I have to understand WHY it works. That's what keeps me on this board. :D

Although I will disagree with you on diminishing attitude. In videos I have seen, there is an instant and noticeable difference in attitude the second the trainer gives an obedience command.
 

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It doesn't sound like it from the description given, but could this be a leash tug designed to proof "sit"?
 

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the "obedience" trainers I have trained with have been among the worst in terms of achieving obedience with their OB dogs while doing field work with their dogs (assuming they could do the field work). This is not a critique-just an observation.
This has been my observation also.

I'm intrigued by your observation. Is it that the obedience dog is out of control, disconnected, not interested, what?
I could never understand it either but the dogs seem to not respond to the simplest commands and their togetherness as team work is lacking. The only thing I can think of is once the owners are out of their element in the field they are flustered and it carries over to the dog. They really have to practice and concentrate to look smooth in the field.
 

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I could never understand it either but the dogs seem to not respond to the simplest commands and their togetherness as team work is lacking. The only thing I can think of is once the owners are out of their element in the field they are flustered and it carries over to the dog. They really have to practice and concentrate to look smooth in the field.

This is because the prey object is under the arm or food in the mouth. In Field training the prey is foward ,,out in the field somewhere. Also the context is different and also in obedience competition prey drive is not much of a factor because it is not initiated very often on a horizontal level , rather a it is straight up at the handler.

I have known many OB people over the years who when starting to play gun dog games,,the dogs totally unraveled. I agree with Dennis and Nancy. Obedience for the field is absolutely nothing like obedience for the ring. No such thing as precision heeling from the last holding blind to the line. However I can get it if you let me come to the line with a bumper under my arm pit and continually reminding to keep his eyes on me and not the flyer station. You may start out the same teaching and developing but once the dogs are well on their way then a nick sit while they are sitting , just could be what the dog needs.

Pete
 

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I think you can argue with success, actually. How many threads here on RTF are ultimately questions on basic obedience? If you do a shoddy job in the beginning, it's going to show up later. The majority of advice given in threads on sit problems come down to some form of "whack his azz." If you're putting pressure on your dog for something YOU messed up on, I find that unethical.
I find this illogical. 1st you're assuming someone posting on here that is having problems with basic obedience did a shoddy job. Maybe the dog is playing the handler or the handler isn't applying enough pressure to get the message across and is nagging the dog. I've seen a dog absolutely ignore and shrug off a 6 out of 6 tri-tronics continous correction for a sit by a pro trainer. Some dogs can just take it if they want to. I've caught myself nagging my dog and he built up a tolerance to some corrections so I had to fix that with more pressure. 2nd you're assuming someone that has done a shoddy job on basic obedience is having problems. I would think that some dogs are just straight up team players and can get by depending on what level someone wants out of thier dog. Also, you're assuming someone messed up if their dog has done something wrong. They're dogs and sometimes that tweety bird flying by is more interesting than what the handler is doing, and whoops fido just decided to ignore that sit whistle and go see what that bird is doing in the bush.
 

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I watched the first video of the obedience trainer doing the demonstration of trained responses with the puppy. They looked very impressive. I did not see any demonstration of the methods he used to train the dog to this level. I saw an obedience demonstration that was pretty heavy on the use of food treats.

I find it unfair to categorize that a "majority" of responses to a training problem discussed on RTF involving recommendations of hitting a dog.

I think the reader sees, to a certain extent, what he/she wants to see when reading the written word.

I my mind's eye, when I read the original post in this thread, I'm trying to imagine if you're referencing video of multiple-time National Champion trainers/winners, or if you're referencing some thug with a camcorder that put out a DVD.

I could be anywhere on the scale of totally agreeing that the trainer's doing it wrong, to feeling that the evaluation of poor obedience methods is unfair.

I'm not asking you to reveal whose DVD you didn't like or whose methods you didn't like. If you want to PM me, I'd love to know though. There's a good chance I own the DVD already.

One of RTF's formerly prominent self-proclaimed obedience training experts has made it perfectly clear in private dialogue that precise strict obedience can quickly turn into something much less than that in a retriever field trial environment. This trainer, the last I knew, was having less than ideal results in actual field work and was struggling to get a dog beyond intermediate level hunt test work, the last I knew. I won't put in print what he called "RTF" when he departed, but I assure you, he did not call it the "Retriever" training forum.

One thing I think one needs to do when evaluating training methods is look at the desired ultimate end-use. I will agree that the trainer in the video in Missouri does a very nice demonstration of obedience with a young dog in a very sterile environment. Some things about his body language I liked....some I did not personally care for. I definitely did not like the way he suddenly thrust out the treat and the dog was conditioned to break whatever position he/she was in to be allowed to lunge for the treat. I also did not care for the extremely loud release command used. Both of these things, I think, could translate to some problems in field work.

I'd be interested to see this same trainer, with this same dog doing field work with shot mallards in a field trial. We may see something very different.

Happy Sunday!

Chris
 

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I have several field books but only watched one set of DVDs - Lardy - and spent time with many of the local trainers when I ran hunt tests. Field obedience does seem to have its own set of rules, and dogs are allowed leeway on many commands that I'd never allow in training for the obedience ring. Personal preference.

That said: If the DVD shows the trainer teaching the dog by this route - it's a really poor example of dog training. Corrections have no place in teaching (other than correcting for lack of attention). If the DVD shows the trainer proofing, reinforcing, or correcting a dog that knows the sit command - it's still a really poor example of dog training. One command, if no response, one command + one simultaneous correction. And a heeling stick sure eliminates the need for most collar corrections, besides being physically easier on the dog. JMO.
 

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If you're looking for obedience instruction I highly recommend Connie Cleveland. She has a field lab, AFC-OTCH Candlewoods Brother Aaron so she is well versed in both games.
Connie is very good and has some videos on youtube and her website, dogtrainersworkshop.com, you might find useful and interesting. Her students do well in competitive obedience and her own dogs do well in obedience and field trials.
 
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