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I have an 18 month old male that goes absolutely nuts at hunt tests and I really need some advice on how to deal with it......

We got 2 passes in Seasoned this past weekend but I was terrified that the judges would fail him before I even picked up the gun. I could not get him to sit still in the holding blind and at one point he tried to go over and around the blind (it was like he was possessed wanting to get to the line). He sits there and whines and even barked twice when I called him back to heel. The only thing that saved us was that fact that he stayed steady and did pretty solid on all the marks and blinds. However, there is no way we can (or should) move up to Finished with him acting that way.

I know I need to figure out a way to replicate the situation but I just don't have the means to do it 99% of the time. We live in a large suburban area and do almost all our training alone. I belong to 3 HRC clubs in the state but due their distance (atleast an hour and half away) and the over lap in the club's training days I can't attend them on a regular enough basis to give him any consistant exposure (maybe 1 a month at best) and deny him retrieves when he acts that way. I've tried taking him to the local dog parks but they just don't have the same effect.

We spend a lot of time on obedience and like I said he is normal and calm during all our day-to-day training. Hunt tests just seem to overload his brain, he's pretty hard charging and I think the fact that he has to be restrained just compounds the problem.

I know this isn't "normal" because I don't see any of the other dogs acting the way he does. I guess my question is if it's "manageable" and, if so, how do I go about working on it?

I'm pretty new to HRC and would really like to keep going. However, if I can't get this under control there won't be any point because neither one of us will be having any fun. Any advice would be greatly appreaciated.

Thanks,
 

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What part of the state you live in. We have a good group of dogs that train together that might could help having him work behind a holding blind while we run our dogs. And work on honoring.
 

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Get a Gunz Up CD, play it when you are training.

Set up a holding blind, if you have wingers have them set up with electronics making noises. Make corrections to reinforce your sit command. Sit means "sit" no noise, no movement. I am in the same situation, training alone a lot. I have manged to calm her down a lot, still working on the whine in the holding blind. I was told if you make the dog lie down it helps with the vocal. Haven't been able to try it yet at a test or training. Definitely would stop them from going around the blind.

Right now she is recovering from a puncture wound between the pads on her foot so we are restricted from hard running and the water. I set up the holding blind in the yard, Gunz up CD playing and have worked with her sitting and lying down in the blind. Believe it or not, when she heels out of the blind she's looking for the guns, excited. I hope we are making progress.

Good luck with yours!
 

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Look up Dakota Mealor. He is on here a bit. Dmealor is his user name I think. Tell him I told you to get in touch with you. He can help you. He is 30 mins north of you. You're always welcome to come see me in Lavonia....
 

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Look up Dakota Mealor. He is on here a bit. Dmealor is his user name I think. Tell him I told you to get in touch with you. He can help you. He is 30 mins north of you. You're always welcome to come see me in Lavonia....
Yes he has helped me a good bit. Good people...just don't feed his dog enough.
 

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Break down the entire set up for going to the line. Train in simple forms at first then add different elements as you go but increase slowly to work on setting a standard the whole way to the line from the holding blinds. Once you have that accomplished the add in blowing a duck call, then add tossing a bumper then add shooting a 209 blank, then add ducks, people, dogs etc
If the dog is struggling work on that topic. All will start to chain together
It becomes a strategy to reprogram. Lots of time and patience.

hope ya work it all out
 

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something nobody has mentioned, STOP RUNNING TESTS! until you get the dog squared away i would not even think about running a test. youre not able to make corrections and bringing a dog to the line that has just been out of control only reinforces that behavior and leads to bad habits
 

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I think I will second what fishnfetch just posted, I have had all four holding blinds knocked down before , went over , under, laid on the side and pushed through, you name it ,so I feel your pain, stop all tests for about a year , and changed my idea of training ( if there is no strong correction there is no learning) The most important part is having a training group, you can see the improvement in all parts , line manners, marking, honoring, all parts can be improved. There is no better way to get where your tring to go without being able to make the correction at the time needed .
 

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something nobody has mentioned, STOP RUNNING TESTS! until you get the dog squared away i would not even think about running a test. youre not able to make corrections and bringing a dog to the line that has just been out of control only reinforces that behavior and leads to bad habits
Ditto or you may have worse problems with control. Your dog is young so stop testing and put the work into him. Don't run tests back to back either! Try to get into a group training session and it appears you have 2 offers. Set the standard high. Good luck to you and congrats on your 2 passes.
 

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I agree, I have a hard charger that was the same as pup. I ran two jr. Tests and stopped running her for a year till we could get her under control. She is now six and line manners are still a problem. Stop running tests and work on the obedience problems.
 

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Like said above, stop running until you get it under control. I have one just like you are describing and had to learn the hard way. I ran her and with each test, it got worse.

Definitely look Dakota up. I am just north of Gainesville if you ever get over this way.
 

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I could have wrote this. The more pressure put on my dog only perpetuated the anxiety. What is the pedigree?
 

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I have had the same problems. Took mine out of running tests for some time.. really focused on heeling to line and blind manners for a long time.. really paid attention to it..
We get caught up in marks and blinds and let the other stuff slip.
For a long time, the only thing she ever got nicked for was heeling and blind manners..zero tolerance in training.. not even a whine..
Also, from what you described, the main problems were when the leash was on... are you training walking up and in the blind with the leash on?
 

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Sean,
call me this morning 404-273-4410. I am packing my up to go run land and water at kennessaw and then office park before it gets too hot. it is 8;32 sunday morning. left a msg with dakota to train this morning . if he calls before i leave in 30 mins i will divert north to adairsville . if able you should come as well.
look forward to hearing from you.
Ernie
 

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Geez, I slept in this morning and finally got up to sit down in front of "the screen" (while eating a bowl of raisin bran) and) read that first post thinking I don't remember writing it but it sure sounded like mine from about five years ago. I apologize for the run on sentence, but it certainly appeared like deja vu. ;)

The responses you have received are excellent!

Here's the link to my personal conclusion. Much of it will probably feel all too familiar.

The Hunt Test Wise Dog (link)
 
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