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Discussion Starter #1
Been working with Z on her pile work. We are out to about 85 yards. From the side, she runs a perfect line with great momentum. Sending her from front finish is a different story. At the full distance, I get one of three results on my cast. She will either no-go, drive straight to the pile, or take off on another crazy line. On a no-go, I get right on top of her and give her another stern cast, at which point she drives probably 80% of the time, the rest being her going off line and hunting. When she goes off line and starts hunting, whether on the initial cast or on a resend, I always bring her back and recast until she gets it right. I try to avoid using pressure when this happens as she seems to be confused as to what I am asking.

Also, I have 8 bumpers out, each 5-8 feet apart and she likes to pile shop. When she does this, I get on her hard with the whistle and that usually works. When it doesn't, a "fetch" always works.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

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A couple of questions. Does she know the command for back fully? If not you can send with her name and back, then eventually you can phase out the name on the send. Have you taught her to run a straight line to marks? I like to use a fence or some type of barrier for teaching the dog to run straight. Decrease the distance to the back pile and make sure you have it down before extending the retrieve. You can decrease the number of bumpers in the pile to help with the shopping problem, but I view shopping as minor problem as in a test there is only going to be one bird for the dog to retrieve so no shopping can take place. A true hunting situation would be different story though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She seems to struggle at times with the back command. I introduced it as the back pile in mini-T from front finish. She did fine with that until I added the rest of the T, then the confusion started.
When she knows where she is headed, such as marks or the pile, her lines are near-perfect.
 

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Been working with Z on her pile work. We are out to about 85 yards. From the side, she runs a perfect line with great momentum. Sending her from front finish is a different story. At the full distance, I get one of three results on my cast. She will either no-go, drive straight to the pile, or take off on another crazy line. On a no-go, I get right on top of her and give her another stern cast, at which point she drives probably 80% of the time, the rest being her going off line and hunting. When she goes off line and starts hunting, whether on the initial cast or on a resend, I always bring her back and recast until she gets it right. I try to avoid using pressure when this happens as she seems to be confused as to what I am asking.

Also, I have 8 bumpers out, each 5-8 feet apart and she likes to pile shop. When she does this, I get on her hard with the whistle and that usually works. When it doesn't, a "fetch" always works.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
How long have you been running FTP? Did you start up close on a rope? Do you actually force, or are you merely doing "Run-to-pile"?

Your bumpers should only need to be a foot or so apart if you developed this skill set correctly.

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Evan, I am forcing. That said, I am reluctant to apply pressure when she seems completely confused. When she turns and begins to head back, then shows apprehension I will give her back-nick-back, and then she goes fine. We have been doing FTP for about 10 days now. The pile was established using a line of bumpers leading to the pile.

We started about 20 yards away. When she shops, she will immediately dive in after one then decide she likes a different one better. Some of the bumpers are knobby and others are hex. I don't have problems with her switching on marks or any issues with her dropping bumpers at other times.
 

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How old is Z? She sounds young or she has been "rushed" in training progression. I would back up and break it down again when you first saw an issue. Picking her favorite dummy sounds like a young pup. FTP and FF should have resolved that. Evan is the real pro, so I will back out. I'm sure you will get it worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She is young, a year on Wednesday. I am trying to let her enthusiasm dictate the pace of the training. Enthusiasm and effort are not lacking, there just seems to be confusion on what a "back" from a front send means. The shopping is not nearly as big of a concern to me as the confusion. Oh, she's also in heat right now and has been picking up EVERYTHING in her way. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not, but at least she hasn't shut down on me like some do.
 

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Thanks for the information. So, why do you think she is quitting on this? What method or program have you followed to get to this point?

Evan
 

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She is confused. My guess is you started force to pile from your side and advanced pile distance before introducing back casting. This is ok , it just means that you will have to introduce back casting up close and work it out to distance just like you did with side casting.

Also think you might re-evaluate the definition of force. I learned that there is a difference between actually "forcing" and as Evan said "run to pile". My pup ran to pile for a couple weeks before I realized that she hadn't really been asked to do it under pressure. Once I turned up the collar her attitude changed liked night and day. Now the problem is holding her back.
 

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She is confused. My guess is you started force to pile from your side and advanced pile distance before introducing back casting. This is ok , it just means that you will have to introduce back casting up close and work it out to distance just like you did with side casting.

Also think you might re-evaluate the definition of force. I learned that there is a difference between actually "forcing" and as Evan said "run to pile". My pup ran to pile for a couple weeks before I realized that she hadn't really been asked to do it under pressure. Once I turned up the collar her attitude changed liked night and day. Now the problem is holding her back.
That's a great problem to have, but it's one that should be a result of your efforts!

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I plan on trying to scoot back up and send 80-90% from front for a while. I typically only give her 20-25% freebies without collar pressure. At 85 yards I can typically only get one good back-nick-back before she hits the pile. As I previously stated, plenty of drive and enthusiasm.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
She is getting force on about 80% of sends. At her current distance, I have a hard time beating her. I will move back up and try sending from front a whole lot. What distance do you recommend?
 

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She is getting force on about 80% of sends. At her current distance, I have a hard time beating her. I will move back up and try sending from front a whole lot. What distance do you recommend?
IMO 80% of the time is too much. Another thing that I would point out is that you really have to understand the basis of certain methods to utilize them properly. For example, some methods use front finish when forcing to the pile. The reason that this is used is so that the dog will not associate pressure with being at the handlers side. In most cases it is used to prevent bugging, which BTW, will most likely show up at some time or another anyway, if only in a mild form. So, I said all that to say this... if your dog was not having a problem being sent from your side then continue sending from your side. That is the ultimate goal anyway. You will do plenty of teaching of the back cast(s) later when you move on to three handed casting, mini T and so on. I would not reinvent the wheel on this one. Keep sending from your side, get out of the drill and move on.
 

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The only things I can add is. I too think 80% is to much and if she is doing fine from the side and she is not giving no goes stick with it for FTP to the back pile. I do not go past 50 yards, until after min T's and T work. Remember !!!!! Force work is not about doing the trick ( Backs and overs ) It about working through pressure. Make sure she can see the piles every time. ( Bare ground )

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We moved up last night to about 40 yards and I sent 5 of 7 from the front. She was good on all but one of them. I then resat her and sent again and she did fine. I did dial her collar up a few notches and she definitely shifted in to a gear I didn't even know she had. I also moved the bumpers closer (1-2ft apart) and that stopped the shopping.

I'm going to spend another day or two cleaning things up and move on to T work.
 

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It sounds to me like you're training by experimentation. Is there any path of progression, training program or method...anything in particular you're following to achieve your goals? Do you have any specific goals for your work?

Evan
 

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We moved up last night to about 40 yards and I sent 5 of 7 from the front. She was good on all but one of them. I then resat her and sent again and she did fine. I did dial her collar up a few notches and she definitely shifted in to a gear I didn't even know she had. I also moved the bumpers closer (1-2ft apart) and that stopped the shopping.

I'm going to spend another day or two cleaning things up and move on to T work.
Why did you dial the collar up??? I missed the reasoning>
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Evan, I foolishly believed, before this, that I was early enough on that there wouldn't be many variations between programs. I am following the same general path that most programs seem to take, but I also try to modify my training to what my pup responds best to. We will be spending the remainder of the week on singles in prep for her last JH pass. In that time, I will be evaluating and committing to a program. I am narrowed down to either yours or TRT. As for goals, the best I can say is that I have an extremely high drive, naturally talented dog that I would like to see go as far as she can. If I can get her through Master with my current circumstances, that would be ideal.

Mary Lynn, my girl can be a baby with her collar when she isn't amped up. During normal yard work and small drills, I keep her collar at 2/16. For FTP, I realized last night that the nick wasn't doing anything noticeable, so I moved to 4/16 and she cranked it into gear.
 
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