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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. My Name is Lewis Macneill i am 19 and i am a labrador trainer from Scotland.

I compete in trials and tests and have recently won my first field trial.
I was wondering what your method is to start your dogs running out on blinds and keep going to 100+ yards in one cast?
Are there any DVD's out there that anyone on here would reccomend to cover this?

Thanks
Lewis
 

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Congratulations on having a Field Trial Winner at 19, that's pretty good.
There is a lot of published info available, both printed and on video, on the methods we use over here. The terminology used is quite different than what you're used to so will require some work on your part to understand it all. We certainly train dogs much differently than you're used to and most methods include using the e-collar to apply corrections (not teaching) so this could be a problem.
Running blinds here is all about control and a dog is not permitted to "hunt it up" since we always know the exact location of the bird. I don't think that's the case in the UK.
Anyway, there are many things you could incorporate into your training that will have your dogs running very good blinds. Casting Drills, Lining Drills, Sight Blinds or Taught Blinds, Picture Blinds where a dog looking out will identify "a picture" such as 2 hay bales they must go between or running close to a standing gunner. There's a training method called a "3-Peat" meaning you train on 3 different blinds, one after the other, that all include the same concept like angling a road or ditch, shouldering a stiff crosswind, holding a side hill or holding a cast for a good distance.
A friend put together a chart ("Dogs Hard Wired" pdf attached here View attachment 7446 ) which shows a training progression in two charts. One using "handling" only and one also using the e-collar. You may find it interesting.
Trainer Mike Lardy's "Flow Chart" outlines his generally accepted training methods from "Basics" (starts at about 5 months) through "Advanced" (to about age 2 or 3 depending). Here is link to the chart on his site. http://www.totalretriever.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=102
These will give you a general idea how we progress from a puppy to training a Field Champion.
I'm sure others will chime in to help you out.
 

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Welcome Lewis to the RTF..I can't decide whether I would want to play golf at the Old Course or Carnoustie or train dogs on them j/k .....

there are many ways to teach blinds but here is the way that I was taught to teach them, they are called sight blinds,and they come in many variations and are called different things by different trainers

1. I walk the dog at heel to a designated spot on the EXACT line you want them to take and have them sit...

2. I then toss a bumper or bird about five yds away and say "dead bird"

3. Heel the dog back to the line on the EXACT line that you took to the blind ...in essence, you have shown them the line TWICE..

4. Now line the dog up, making sure the dog's spine, head are all pointed on that line..give the command "dead bird, way back..BACK" (your command/release verbage may be different)..the attraction of the bird will pull the dog to the blind, the dog doesnt necessarily have to see the blind from the line (but you may want to mark it with surveyors tape so you can remember where you planted it)

There are other variations of this exercise like lengthening the time between when the blind is planted and when the dog is sent , i.e. : set the blind, put the dog in the truck and run the blind later, or set the blind in the morning and run the dog on that blind later in the afternoon

You can also incorporate this same sight blind to teach your dog to handle and take casts,but that comes later
 

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Lewis,
Not to your original question but thought you may be interested in seeing how we actually compete with our dogs.
If you want to get an idea what Field Trials are like in the US visit these links to past National Championships. As you page through the days of the event you will find short video clips I’m sure you’ll find interesting. There are not many places on the web that actually show videos of US Field Trials but there are several here. If I recall none of the videos actually show a dog doing an entire test due to time constraints so keep that in mind. There are descriptions, photos and artist drawings of each test so look at those to get an idea what is going on it the videos.
Please ask questions if you have any.
The US National is a weeklong event that includes 10 series to test the dogs. Around 100 dogs start and 12 to 15 are left at the end from which the winner is chosen. Only the past years Field Trial Winners who also had additional placements are qualified to enter. Generally 100 dogs. This years National Amateur starts on June 17th so be sure to come back and visit RTF that week for blow by blow commentary from the event.

at the links below you'll see videos of land marks, land blinds, water blinds and water marks take by our Kennel Club.
Should keep you busy. Enjoy.
You’ll need Flash installed and a zippy connection to see the video clips.
2005 National Championship
http://www.akc.org/events/field_trials/retrievers/nrc/2005/index.cfm
2006 National Amateur Championship
http://www.akc.org/events/field_trials/retrievers/narc/2006/index.cfm
2006 National Championship
http://www.akc.org/events/field_trials/retrievers/nrc/2006/index.cfm
2007 National Amateur Championship
http://www.akc.org/events/field_trials/retrievers/narc/2007/index.cfm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Breck and BonMallari,
I am very impressed on how you can send your dogs out so far on a single cast... especially on a cold blind.
Your training methods sound rather complicated! What Dvd would you reccomend me to buy to show me the ropes? Is Mike Lardys dvd's any good?

Thanks
Lewis
 

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Thanks Breck and BonMallari,
I am very impressed on how you can send your dogs out so far on a single cast... especially on a cold blind.
Your training methods sound rather complicated! What Dvd would you reccomend me to buy to show me the ropes? Is Mike Lardys dvd's any good?

Thanks
Lewis
The Lardy Total Retriever Training DVD would be an excellent place to start getting a feel for an "American" training approach to retriever training.
 

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you might want to remember that in Scotland he MAY not be able to use an E Collar
 

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you might want to remember that in Scotland he MAY not be able to use an E Collar
I think we can get him doing quite a bit with No No, Lining, Pattern and Yard Drill sort of stuff without a collar.
???
 

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It might be hard to separate the blind running from the rest of the training in one of the common programs. You might want to take a look at some bitesport training, Schutzhund and I think French Ring both have a send away exercise where the dog is sent from heel position until commanded to stop, then return. The distances can be quite long. There is no retrieve at the end, but once you have the "go straight away from me until I tell you otherwise" behavior adding the retrieve in should not be unduly difficult for an otherwise trained retriever.

I've played a bit with platforms, but I haven't had the time to really take it any where.
 

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OK Lewis, I feel like writing stuff so here you go. Hope things aren't lost in the translation from English to English. LOL
Here are a few things you can do to get your dog to go far and straight on the initial cast.

When you say "go out so far on a single cast" I think you mean from the initial send, correct. Technically when you send the dog on a blind it is a cast but we use the term "send" and any subsequent handles required to stay on line (the path) are what we call “casts”. When we handle and cast the dog at a distance we also expect them to carry or go on that cast for a long distance as well. Most here teach their dogs to "go as sent". That is to take "the line" (direction) I give you and keep going until I stop you and tell you different. Of course no dog is going to stay on "a line" all the way to the bird due to the "factors" that may be present. (distance, wind, terrain, cover, water, drag back scent, etc). So, much of our training involves teaching the dog to take our initial cast (send) on a precise line and to fight the factors along the way to the bird. Keep in mind our blinds can be any distance from 25 to 400 yards give or take.

One way we teach a young dog to "go as sent" is through handling drills. To start with it helps to teach your dog (at heel) to pivot with you while looking out into the field at a particular spot in the distance. Like a bush 200 yards away for example. One school of thought (not the only one) is that wherever your “dog side foot” is pointing it’s the dogs job to reposition himself so his spine is lined up with the outside edge of your shoe. This in turn tells him where his eyes are to be looking without you asking him to do so. Get it?
With dog at heel and sitting teach dog to pivot with you using "heel" to pivot left and "here" to pivot right or vice versa if dog is on your right side. Handler essentially stays in one spot and simply pivots on his feet with little other movement. Dog is to move with you using your left foot as his cue. While pivoting the dog should not get up but stay in the sit position while moving with you to any point on the compass. You should keep your physical movement to an absolute minimum and speak quietly to your dog. You must be able to look straight down on dogs head and see his eyes so the best heel position is with dogs collar at your leg and his front feet even with your front feet. Whatever it takes so you can see his eyes and know exactly where he is looking. This is sometimes different than where his nose is pointed. LOL
Hope you got that idea.
We’ll start with a wagon wheel drill to work your dog on moving with you using heel and here. Think of a "Wagon Wheel" 25 yards in diameter with 12 spokes and you and dog sitting at center of the wheel. You're going to use just 1/2 of the wheel and place several white dummies at 9 o’clock, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3 o'clock 25 yards out on closely cropped grass.
Now, with dog heeling on your left side facing 12 o'clock pivot your left foot to point at 9 o'clock. Dog should move with you and his spine should line up with and eyes should be looking at the dummy sitting at 9 o'clock. Not looking at the one at 10 o'clock but at 9 o'clock. OK? When he is looking at the right one, cue him "good" and send him to pick it up. If he flares and goes to a different one, stop him, "No", call him back and try again. Receive dog, take dummy and line him up for the next dummy, repeat. This drill helps teach the dog to move with your body cues and look precisely where you want him to look and is the start for getting your dog to go a great distance on the initial cast. Once dog has this down you can make things more difficult with another drill.
Go buy about 10 plastic traffic cones about 16" tall and paint them all white. (you can make due with something else white about the same size but the traffic cones are convenient) You're going to start this drill on short grass like a football pitch or golf course. Place cones randomly in the field at various distances and spread well enough apart so not to cause problems but have some close enough to make dog think. Distances will be from 25 to 100 yards to start with. Once dog learns the game the long one could be out 300 yards or whatever as long as he can see it. Running to these targets is going to help you teach your dog to go as sent. Be sure to use a “cue” word to let dog know he’s looking where you want. This will come in handy at the trial.
Now, place at least 2 white dummies about 1 yard in front of each white traffic cone. With dog at heel pick a cone to line the dog up on like you did in the wagon wheel and send him. This is a low pressure type of drill so if dog does something wrong, stop him, call him back and try again. Remember that this drill is also meant for you to fine tune how the dog works with you at your side at heel. If you can teach a dog at heel/sit to line his spine up with where your left foot is pointed you’ll be ahead of the game.
These two drills are fairly simple and if you want your dog to take and hold your initial cast this is one way to get there.
 

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If buy dvd's from here in the U.S. make sure to check about the region codes on the dvd's and players. I'm pretty sure that a dvd bought in Japan can't play on my player here due to this. Just double check is all I'm saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you very much for writing that out Breck, it makes a lot of sense. (Runs out to van to nick a couple of road cones)
I will have a good watch of Mike Lardys training and no doubt be back with a couple more questions!

Thanks
Lewis
 

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Hello Lewis, that is a fine looking dog you have, Welcome!
 

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Sure Lewis have fun


For your Lining Skills training basically follow this sequence:

· Line to visible bumper/ pile (your wagon wheel and other drills)
· Line to marker known to dog (like the white cones)
· Line to your choice of markers (like a tree, rock, clump of flowers, etc.)
· Relativity to markers (i.e. line between/ past chairs, trees, rocks, etc.) / slots between bushes, hay bales trees etc)
· Line tight past marker (past chair, tree, etc.) (teach dog to shoulder close to a chair or bush etc as they pass by)
· Dogs general acceptance of wherever you point/line them they will go there!!!!
· 3 peat lining progression drills
 

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Lewis,

Drop me your postal address via PM and I'll send you my set of the "Fowl Dawgs" DVDs by Rick Strawski, and "Training and Campaigning Retrievers" written by Jack Gwaltney which is devoted to accurate long distance lining. No charge; if you like them order your own from the States and send them back to me.

Fowl Dawgs gives you an idea of what Force Fetch, e-collar training and US methods generally are all about, the Gwaltney book is a much superior product and I think you'll get a lot out of it. I'm based in Mid Wales near Powys Castle and Vaynor Park. If you ever come this way Trialling give me a bell.

Eug
 
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