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Thoughts on training

Old 03-14-2008, 01:26 AM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default Thoughts on training

I've been reading alot on bird dog training lately. A few books I like and a few which can arguebly be improved. I have read some instances where the author says to avoid this type of equipment and others use. I have read about the thoughts on certain breeds by the authors. I'm currently reading Bill Tarrant's book on training. It's basically, a compilation of interviews of various professional trainers and their outlook.

This is what I've concluded so far (after 5 books, 3 more to read).

It's not really which method you use but if you use common sense into your training,you'll get a nice hunting dog.Its the common sense in which makes the method you use work. For example, instead of asking, 'how do I make my dog better to impress friends?' common sense would ask 'do I really need to train my dog to do this?' and 'how do I make it fun?'.

Alot of this came about because I'm currently trying to train my dog to be steady on wing and shot. She'swell woah trained in the yard (using the Smith method woah post), ie. I can woah her, step away, circle her, bend down pick a rock up, then call her to me. And while she's comming to me woah her again. All well and fine? Nope, she's lost her enthusiasm for training even when I cut back her training to 15 mins/week and before that once a month for the last year. She's been pre-conditioned (pre-trained) in alot of ways, wellsocialized, etc. For woah pre-conditioning, before feeding, set down the bowl with her alittle back then woah her. Then release her with a load 'GO!'.

Do I really need her to be steady? Yes, because I often ask people who don't have dogs to join my friend and I and for safety she should be steady. How do I make it fun? Now, that's the million dollar question. Adapt her pre-conditioning but use a crippled bird and introduce fetch?

I want to hear yourthoughts on general training and/or methods I should try.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:02 PM
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Default RE: Thoughts on training

Big ? number one.... how old is your dog? Both now and when she started giving you the cold shoulder?

I'm no bird dog trainer, I'm a waterdog guy, but the similarites are there.

I've found that the hardest part about training from a trainer standpoint is stooping to a dogs intellect level. Most people try and overcomplicate things. Dogs are very simple animals, but they have the ability to learn quickly. The best advice I ever got on training was this: Obedience drills are critical.. having a dog that knows you run the show will stop a lot of problems before they start. The other thing is that all dog training is crawl, walk, run. Gotta start it easy.

From a dog standpoint, the hardest thing is holding the dogs attention on short training runs. When the dog has been locked up all day, it wants to go out and stretch, goof off, pee on everything in sight. I learned not to expect decent training conditions until after 5 or 10 minutes of sniffing around and stretching. The dog knows when its time to get with it.

Common sense does have a lot to do with it, thats for sure. The other big key is consistancy.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:42 AM
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I started training at around 6 months of age. There was no hitting just leash work with heel and woah. You know the drill, 'heel' walk alittle then 'woah' then 'heel' again. Early sessions was perhaps doing that twice. At nine months, it got a little more complicated with walking in differing directions and also introduced thechain gang (actually only 3 sessions overall - she stopped fighting it). But usually, 5-10 mins. At one year of age, I made sure she did the routine perfectly twice before ending. This could be anywhere from a couple of minutes to 20. I started the woah post due her reluctance to follow the 'woah' command. I would 'heel' her then 'woah' and she would stop briefly then come to me on her own. Spent the next 6 months on 'woah' specifically but she started to show signs of frustration - whining then jumping on me after spending too much time in a training session.

For the longest time she would reluctantly come to me after woah. That is, goes into 1/2 speed. I originally thought that's her cop-out but not entirely sure now. I'm trying to evaluate if I put too much training. She's now three and just started get back into training but only a weekly session. I noticed that the moment I tell her a command, she goes into 1/2 speed hence trying to find another way to make it fun again or atleast tolerable.

I do have an idea I want to try, an adaptation of Buddy's barrel method. Once long ago, someone showed me how to take a dog and place him on an unsteady surface to see how they will look on point. It was on a piece of plywood resting on a metal garbage can. The dogs went rigid. But it is more stable then the barrel and there's no chance of slipage. I figure couple of times on the garbage can then place it on a sturdy bucket then evenually just the ground. But this will only be done at a friends house who has pigeons visits (they feed them). I figured if I can't get birds where I live, I have to go where the birds are. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:52 AM
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Default RE: Thoughts on training

One of the things that helped me alot was watching a dvd on training, I know there has to be several out there, the one I used was Training Your Pointing Dog by Scott Miller. It was pretty good for what I had wanted and helped alot. What I am hereing you say is your pup might be getting to much of the whoaing and it needs to get a little running in to go with it. I am not sure if you are near a place where you can let your pup run and try and find a few birds on it's own or not. That is something I would throw into the mix when I was training mine. I had also taken mine to a bird farm a couple of times so I could have better control and watch what he was doing. After coming home I would take him to a field up in back of here and through a chuckar around and tel him to retrieve. Sometimes I had to tease him with it to get him interested in it. Then have someone hold the my setter until I was ready to get him to retrieve it. I also tried to make it as much fun for my dog as I could and for me it worked out good.
Good Luck with your pup Mite..
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:01 AM
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Default RE: Thoughts on training

Is your dog ecollar conditioned? (ie, do you use an ecollar?)


.
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:21 AM
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Hey Phil,
She's not a pup as she is already three years old with three seasons behind her. Last season was good. She pointed a few pheasants and I shot a few. We averaged 2 times a week, sometimes 3 times. I also take her to the dog park daily which is heavily wooded and alot of standing water around. She has fun hunting the ducks there. As for drive, she's very birdy to the point of stubborn.

Unfortuneately, there's isn't a game farm nearby. The closest one would be in Ellensburg which would most likely require an overnight stay as the drive there is around 2-2.5 hrs one way. Plus, it would require driving thru the pass which is snowed at the moment. But we are planning to go there this summer.

I was just wondering about any opinions on Buddy Smith's barrel method adaptation. A 55 gal drum would be too unwieldy.

On of the trainers Bill Tarrant's Gun Dog Training - New Strategies from Today's Top Trainers is Bob Spouse. He was a red setter man and once editor of The Flushing Whip. He talks about back in the '30s, his grandfather owned red setters with Campbell blood. This is the same line of red setters started by George and Milton Campbell in which back in 1884, Joe Junior (mixed red setter) beat the famous Llewellin setter Gladstone in a one-to-one competition. It goes on about how the red setter was saved by outcrossing. Very interesting story.


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Old 03-15-2008, 09:41 AM
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Default RE: Thoughts on training

Mine has been e-collared but I use it very little. I only put it on him to make sure he doesn't try to run a moose or bear on me. He has already been around deer and showed no sign of interest in them. However i still want to play it safe with him.

As for drive, she's very birdy to the point of stubborn.

Mine will get that way from time to time that is when I break out the check cord or over hereI can take them on a dirt road and just let them run some of the energy out so I can work them better. That normally solves the problems for me.

I have never heard tell of the barrel method and it may work out alright for you. It wouldn't work very well for me though as picking up the 70 lb setter just to have him jump down would get to be a pain.

On of the trainers Bill Tarrant's Gun Dog Training - New Strategies from Today's Top Trainers is Bob Spouse. He was a red setter man and once editor of The Flushing Whip. He talks about back in the '30s, his grandfather owned red setters with Campbell blood. This is the same line of red setters started by George and Milton Campbell in which back in 1884, Joe Junior (mixed red setter) beat the famous Llewellin setter Gladstone in a one-to-one competition. It goes on about how the red setter was saved by outcrossing. Very interesting story.

Alot of folks have been doing this that is for sure, mine is a cross with the irish Red and White setter and the Irish Red setters and are very smart hunting dogs.. I enjoy hunting with them but, I have noticed after letting them run some of the energy off helps them do a better hunt for me.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:27 PM
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Mite:
I have had this same issue with several dogs, they all whoa wonderful in training, but you get them in the field and its a new animal... Been there done that believe me.

The only way I have been able to get a dog to be steady to wing and shot is tostay on their butts like a rat on a cheeto... You need to use an ecollar, and I use "careful" when the dogs are just on point and starting to creep, then "whoa", when I am flushing, 10 out of 10 times your dog is going to ignore this "whoa", well, ecollar.... Everytime he breaks, he is corrected. Put them between my legs and grab their chest with a firm "whoa". Meaning to the dog that the correction was for breaking on the whoa... This takes persistence like with all training, but more so just for the fact that its a force break of sorts. Gradually you will see some progress.Just make sure you release the dog for the retrieve or to continue hunting, I use "lets go" or "dead bird" depending on a kill or not.

Also** When dogs go on point they are given whoa, which is basically stay. They are not allowed to move unless I say so. So when I get runners (birds that sneak off) I will walk ahead 5 steps or so and try to flush, if the bird ran, then I give a "lets go" to sort of let the dog workit out and reset his point on the new location... Makes sense I hope. Its important you dont leave the dog frozen on point for too long tring to flush before you let him reset, then the dog isnt really gettting to hunt... If you dont flush right away, step back and release the dog to reset. Let the sniffer find the bird.

Good luck.
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:30 AM
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Typical Buck
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Doc E, yes, she's collar conditioned. Like Phil, I do not use it alot. I only use it when absolutely necessary and I've used it only for recall. Last year, only 2-3 times. Once forwhen she went off to 'hunt' for another party. That could have ended badly if the other party didn't want my dog hunting for them. I have yet to apply it around the belly for point of contact training, ie. I normally use a check chord around the belly for point of contact 'woah' training.

Phil, this dog I don't really know about exercising before training. The moment I start giving a command is when she goes 1/2 speed, no matter the situation. Running for us is checking out the woods for ducks, squirrels, etc. During socialization time, she could really care less of the other dogs most of the time. If the other dog initiates play then she will play. But taking walks with other dogs, she'll just follow along. When we are alone, she's more hunting and running which she enjoys. During those times, I can woah her to pick brambles off her coat with no problems. Come to think of it, she does exceptionally well listening in the field, like she wants to listen. Like calling her off chasing shorebirds to get back to real hunting she'll come running. Strange. I'm more confused then ever. She listens better in the field then the yard? Am I reading her wrong? Could her reluctance be that she's just bored with training?

Sorry for rambling but this has been bugging me for the past year. She use to stand briefly then go to me in the heeling position. For months, I've been trying to correct herof it. 1/2 the time she'd do it the other she won't. But,recently she'sbeen doing it perfectly so we stopped.Now, I wonder if making her do it perfectly twice was causing her NOT to know when training was at anend.She known the command long before the woah post but got tired and bored? I wondering boredom because of excitement level. In the field, say 'woah' and she'll just do it. In training, I have to be firm then calling her,have to wait while she slowly drags her feet.

EODLT, this summer I'll be training her on birds for sure. In the meantime, I've been looking for ways to get birds. When this weather breaks, I'll dig up my old pigeon trap and try to trap some pigeons. But I have to ask my friend first as they feed them and think of them aspets. Leave it anywhere else and it will be stolen by the next day.

p.s. Sorry for jumping all over but this post took well over an hourwritting because I've been seriously thinking about why she's been doing what she's been doing. I wanted her woah yard work to go perfectly in order to overlay it in the field. But thinking of all the times in the field I've used it and how well she listened kinda gave me an epiphany.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:36 AM
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Default RE: Thoughts on training

mite if you really want some help with that contact me via email at [email protected]
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