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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 4 year old female that has been a different case since she was a puppy. She has never responed well to pressure and as a result never accepted force very well and shuts down fairly easily. She went through juniors and I thought that was as far as she would go. Using some unconventional methods and alot of confidence building excercises. She now has a Senior title and 1 master pass. She has always had a minor popping problem. As we started running masters I knew we would have to find a way to curb the popping. After going back over alot of training material I decided to revisit the force concept. As I expected the popping has become worse. I am now sure pressure- force is not the answer for this particular dog. So I am on the hunt for ideas for curbing a popping problem without using force. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 

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So I am on the hunt for ideas for curbing a popping problem without using force.
Popping it seems to me is always a man made thing brought about by excessive use of the stop whistle or other forms of correction causing a lack of confidence on the dog's part. He expresses that lack of confidence by stopping and then looking back to the handler for reassurance; hence "popping".

So, the simple answer is drop the corrections at least pro tem, and build up the dog's confidence to the point where popping disappears.

One way would be to run a graduated series of cued "memory retrieves", then transition into very easy, but nonetheless genuine, cold blinds.

I'm sure you know this, but for them as don't ...

With the dog at heel, drop a dummy into a very easily identified spot; might be at the foot of a tree, by a fence post, bit of tussocky grass, traffic cone, whatever. Walk on a few yards and send him. Over time build up the distance. When he's running with confidence do the same dodge, but from a different angle. Then from all sorts of angles.

When that's down, unseen by the dog, salt the spot and run him from a couple of feet. Continue but progressively add distance and angular variation. Then in a bit of fresh cover send him on a genuine un-cued cold blind from a few feet. Make sure he'll find something by planting multiple retrieves, up wind; if you've got a few fresh shot birds so much the better. At this point you'll hopefully have run a full monty, albeit simple, cold blind without a pop. Just build up from there.

Best I can do from this remove,

Eug
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What are you doing when she pops?
Well most recently it has been back nick back. but before that I would try to run at her at close distance pops with a loud back. backs without the cast. and I tried to keep the whistle blows to a minimum. The week was spent trying to build confidence and then we found that at the hunt test on the weekend complex blinds with more whistles would bring the popping back and by the 3rd series it would be difficult to complete if it included a blind.
 

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A couple things you can do. Go back to doing pattern blinds and get her in a from here to there non stop frame of mind.

Also you may want to preempt the pop with verbal back commands while enroute.
At this point you may want to sacrifice a tight line standard for some momentum until she is driving with more confidence.

This is a common problem folks who hunt a lot have when they go back to training after the hunting season ends.

Bert
 

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Well most recently it has been back nick back. but before that I would try to run at her at close distance pops with a loud back. backs without the cast. and I tried to keep the whistle blows to a minimum. The week was spent trying to build confidence and then we found that at the hunt test on the weekend complex blinds with more whistles would bring the popping back and by the 3rd series it would be difficult to complete if it included a blind.

Unfortunately when this happens in a test the behavior becomes more ingrained and the whole week's training is blown up. Be aware of that before you enter the next test.

Bert
 

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Justin
I had one of the softest dogs ever and now he is a blind running fool. Not sure this will work for you, but much like Eugene said - go back and don't let her fail.

We did a TON of taught blinds - same ones every other day for a long time, did a TON of 9 point drills too. Eventually, he learned that if I pointed him in a direction, there would be something out there. The issue with popping is lack of confidence, IHO. So give her lots of confidence. Once she is running every one of them without popping for a few weeks, I would try some very easy cold blinds again. Then work up a bit on difficulty. And then STRETCH her out to very long distances on the taught blinds. then back to cold blinds
Also, Teach only one new concept at a time on a taught blind first, then when running any cold blind.

Make it real simple for her and don't rush.

Best of luck - Don't give up.
 

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Every now and again I get this problem with both dogs usually after serious training up for big trials which involve a lot of tight work resulting in corrections. So agree the problem is generally lack of confidence and/or confusion on the part of the dog. Carol Cassidy has an exercise she calls 'swish blinds' which has fixed the problem every time. Easy to do and the dogs love it.
 

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Lots of pattern blinds as mentioned, along w/ sight blinds. I have always found chinese drills (several short cold blinds done together) to be good for confidence building. The swish drill would be good too. On occasion I will use pop-up blinds for confidence/momentum too. Experiment and see what works best. Dogs are creatures of habit so the more times you can send her on 'back' with no popping the better - in order to establish a new habit. And don't forget to give her lots of praise when she gets somewhere w/ no pops!
 

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I would like to hear more on what a swish blind is.
Would that be a blind that Shayne has run or is running?

Sorry Justin, I'm not any help here. I don't know how to teach blind running without pressure.
 

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Hi Justin

My avatar dog had a popping problem with blinds and his was due to confidence issues as well. He was a non-collar trained dog so I had to be creative in what I did with him. These are a few of the things I did that helped.

1) Set out 10-12 white bumpers in a semi circle in front of me about 70 yds out. Then I would send him 3-4 times. Pretty much anywhere he went, he found a bumper, so I did not have to handle him right away. This was something I did a few times because he used to leave the line looking back over his shoulder at me and I wanted him to think that whereever he went, he would run into a bumper, so just take off and go.

2) Set out stakes with ribbons on them where the blind was, maybe 100 yds at first, then longer. He could not always see them as he left the line, but could as he got closer and this would make him build up speed. It was also helpful if I had to cast him because when he took the correct cast he would see the stake and be rewarded for taking the correct cast.

3) This was probably the most helpful thing. I would take live pigeons and tie their feet together, leaving their wings free. I would put the pigeon out at a blind stake and send him for the blind. Once he got near enough he would see the pigeon and then it would start jumping around, which really got him pumped up. I would usually run 3 blinds in a row with live pigeons. I would try to get out twice a week and do this with him. This really is what turned his attitude around with blinds. Once he realized there were live birds out there, he got VERY excited about running blinds.

The only other suggestion I have is simplify your marks when you are having a tough time with blinds. I went back to doing lots of singles or wide open multiples and using clipped wing pigeons as often as possible for marks.

Good luck
Dawn
 

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I would like to hear more on what a swish blind is.
Basically envision a large circle with the blind being placed in the middle of the circle.
You will run the dog to the blind from various points of the "circle." Add in as many or as few factors as you wish along the way. Since the dog "kind of" knows where he is going he should run with confidence getting better each time.
Mark the pile for a young/inexperienced dog if you would like using a colored stake or whatever you use.
 

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Justin
I had one of the softest dogs ever and now he is a blind running fool. Not sure this will work for you, but much like Eugene said - go back and don't let her fail.

We did a TON of taught blinds - same ones every other day for a long time, did a TON of 9 point drills too. Eventually, he learned that if I pointed him in a direction, there would be something out there. The issue with popping is lack of confidence, IHO. So give her lots of confidence. Once she is running every one of them without popping for a few weeks, I would try some very easy cold blinds again. Then work up a bit on difficulty. And then STRETCH her out to very long distances on the taught blinds. then back to cold blinds
Also, Teach only one new concept at a time on a taught blind first, then when running any cold blind.

Make it real simple for her and don't rush.

Best of luck - Don't give up.

Okay what is a 9 point drill?
 

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Stop doing cold blinds!
I don't use an e-collar to train. I only use teaching methods.

Have you ever done connect the dots?

Go to the pond where your dog has some confidence and place a few bumpers where the blind is going to be. Have the dog sit next to the blind while you walk back to the other side of the pond. Call the dog to you. It is important that the dog swim straight back to you. No cheating. If the dog does cheat just take her back to the other side and sit her next to the bumpers. As soon as the dog swims to you turn her around and send her on the blind. Make sure you use the blind command not a fetch command. Do this for weeks to build up confidence. Find places to make the blind longer or more difficult as her confidence builds.

Another method:
Have water where the blind is always in the same place. I like to have ponds that when we go there all we do is one memory blind and leave.

Another method:
You may also try having a helper if the dog pops they can get the dogs attention from the side of the water where the blind is, then throw a confidence mark to get the dog to break pass that mental barrier.

Another method:
Take the dog to the starting point have someone throw the bumper to where the blind will be. Take the dog back to the truck and wait a minute or two. Bring her back to the line and send her on the blind.

It will take time to build back her confidence.
 

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Brandy, sounds like he's having issues on land not water. Correcting this on land is easier and should transfer his confidence to water work.


Sight blinds should help build his confidence back up along with what the others have mentioned. Leave your whistle in your pocket until he's ready to come back in. He's lost trust in you some where along the line my girl started popping because I was over whistling on every blind I ran to teach control, quit using the whistle till she became trusting of me that I was sending her to a bird.
 

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America, the land who teaches how to simplify!!

Dog:

Not "paid" frequently or highly enough.
 
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