Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by cdinkel, Feb 15, 2017.
We all start as amateurs. A dog trainer just undertakes formal study to gain qualifications and tries to make a living fro their skills and knowledge and not all trainers are brilliant trainers while some are absolutely awesome. I know dog trainers who have reactive dogs or poor recall etc they just have a wider skill set to call upon to try and resolve or seek help from another professional for a second opinion. For me there is only one way to train, whether amateur or professional, and that's through positive reinforcement.
Are you a professional (gundog) trainer, @Jojo83 ?
Yeah thats what i am trying to do is use positive training its just hard sometimes especially when you are getting chewed on/ bitting at this stage. I need to get a treat holder or something to have easy access to treats cause diging in my pocket or caring them in my hand all the time isn't the best to try and reward him when he does something correct especially if i am trying to do stuff.
I find sweatshirts with a "pouch" pocket on front are most convenient for easy-access treats or toy
My male Lab Ruger is from a strong working line and had to be taught the retrieving process. I didn't think he was a natural at all. However my female Dixie who is a few months older from show line was retrieving the day I brought her home and was a complete natural. Should working lines in general be better retrievers or does that even have any thing to do with it? Just curious! The trainer said it was because Ruger was more fixated on the older lab Dixie. After I thought about that it is a possibility.
I think in general that dogs from working lines should naturally be better retrievers than dogs from show lines - that is what they are bred for after all, rather than for their physical beauty and conformation to the breed standard to showing level, which does not at all mean that dogs from show lines cannot be good workers, they definitely can! But it differs greatly from dog to dog. Certainly I have two dogs both from strong working lines, and both were mad keen retrievers from the moment I got them. I must say though, that there is of course much more to retrieving work than just picking up a dummy or bird and bringing it back - marking ability, a good nose, memory, will to please, a learnt or in-born ability to use the wind, determination, intelligence, a soft mouth, drive and style are all part and parcel of retrieving.
I agree with Karen. Field-bred dogs definite should have more of this built into them. But there will always be exceptions to the rule
Other than the get-it-and-bring-it-back, Shadow lacks confidence with his nose, although we're working on that. Willow and Shadow have lots of red in their pedigrees, and both parents used to work regularly throughout the season ("used to" because they used to live in Scotland, but are now living it up in France, where the opportunities aren't the same) but it didn't seem to be passed on to them. Having said that, I think, with good handling, Willow would make a brilliant working dog, if she could manage her anxiety.
And, as much as Luna is from show stock, I also have to keep in mind that she's been bred from a kennel who work their show dogs, so it's not just about having a pretty face, so it shouldn't be surprising that she has good instincts and drive.
Thanks all! ! I am still learning. Yes Dixie my show bred girl has amazing drive and has had since I brought her home, but I didn't get her for work. We are working with Ruger but he needs more confidence. I bet yours are beautiful! I actually really like the red tones.
When I said "they have lots of red in their pedigree", I meant that they have lots of Field Trial Champions; when you look at a dog's lineage, Champions are highlighted in red
Feeling like a idiot!! guess you can tell I am a newbie! Sorry! Wasn't meaning to insult your intelligence.
Haha, no harm done - you're not an idiot for not knowing something you've never come across before. There's plenty of stuff that would classify me as a idiot if that were the case.
To be honest, there's plenty that would classify me as an idiot anyhow
That's what surprises me on my dog remi he comes from working hunting dog pedigree he is now 8 months old, likes to play fetch but now have the issue of keep away, at what point do i need to consider taking him to a professional trainer on this issue as seems to not getting any better with me no matter what i do, and it is preventing further gun dog training in other areas as i want to make sure he has retrieving down decent. He is good on sit, stay, come and laydown with me just does not want to bring anything back to me that i throw, absolutely fustrating.
Have you tried back-chaining the retrieve? Teaching him to hold and then place an object in your hand when he's sat right by you (on a leash if necessary) and gradually increase the distance he has to travel to it and you?
Yes Red (from working lines) is like this. She's just 9 months. I bought one of those cloth wrappers that you put treats in and wrap around anything you want them to bring back to you. She just desperately tries to get at the treats. No attempt to pick up and return to me. I have taken it off her and shown her the treats in the hope she works out what she has to do. So far, no go. Yet in so many other areas she quickly works out what she needs to do .
@Atemas, @cdinkel, Cassie was like your puppies, I was quite disappointed and thought she had no retrieving instinct or I had squashed it somehow. Then I did clicker retrieve following a link @snowbunny sent me. I enjoyed doing that with her, but she still didn't really want to retrieve in great outdoors. Then we had the wretched phantom pregnancy which made training anything difficult.
Last week I had a session with my local trainer -- she was very keen, retrieving dummys from quite rough terrain and loving it, which was good to see. Tonight she got really excited when I picked up a stick she thought I was going drop in a pool for her to fetch. She's 16 months now, I'm really hopeful that now she's getting it, it looks that way.
I'm no way experienced with this, but what I'm saying is perhaps it takes longer to come it some puppies/young dogs than others.
Not sure if that will work with this dog i have tried to give him something to hold but he always drops it out of his mouth immediately, before i can even say one word like hold especially if he knows i have treats, and i do have a 30 ft check cord but every time i use that it is pretty much like trying to hold onto a mini wild horse pulling him back to me so didn't figure that was working on teaching him to bring stuff to me. The other day i though i found the way to train him, i do have him trained on whistle commands with come and sit, so i tried using the whistle and it worked good with his play rope by blowing the whistle for the come comand, but this evening not so much i brought out another training dummy and first throw he went and got it and just ran in circles around the back yard would come within 1/2-1 ft of me and turn and run away seemed to get little better once his energy was down but not by much, about to call it quits on hoping he would be a pheasant hunting dog, or going to have to take him to a trainer for force fetch.
Take it slowly, your dog isn't even a year old yet!! For goodness sake, my puppy is coming up to six months old - all I do with him is basic obedience training and chuck a couple of mini-dummies around in the garden for him, and I am certain he will be a super dog to take shooting and to compete in dummy trials - in good time!! Patience and kindness is the way to go, slowly fanning the flames of his retrieving desire.
This forum promotes the use of force-free, positive training methods. Under no circumstances could we condone a member sending their puppy away for force-fetch training. It is outdated and barbaric.
I'll tell you what is working for Merlin and me - I use a variety of different retrieving aids - mini-dummy, bumper, cuddly toy, tennis ball - and I use the bottom of our garden, which is wild and unkempt, so he has to search a bit for the dummy. He is not interested in a short retrieve on a lawn; that is clearly boring for him, and at this early age he is already showing he likes to use his head and nose. I throw the dummy into the slightly longer grass, send him immediately with 'back' as my cue, and when he has found the dummy (or whatever it is we are using), I crouch down with my arms out, and encourage him in to me, giving him a big cuddle and telling him how clever he is. I don't stare at him when he comes in to me, as this can be a bit intimidating. Sometimes I don't take the toy from him; sometimes I let him hold it for a second or two, then I take it from him gently with the cue 'give', and I almost always give it back to him to hold. I never do more than three or four retrieves in one session.
The idea is to build up his confidence and trust in me. Retrieving should be hugely fun for your pup, and not a chore at this stage. He is probably playing keep-away because he thinks you'll take the dummy away. To begin with Merlin wouldn't hold a dummy in his mouth for long, but I slowly encouraged him to hold ANYTHING, and to run along with me in the garden. Now he holds the dummy nicely - but only as long as he isn't bored, so at the first sign of flagging enthusiasm -or even before - I end the session.
You see where I am going with this - make it fun, build up your relationship and teamwork, don't rush things and don't allow peer-pressure to bully you into ruining your puppy by going too fast. You're going to have this dog for many years, and if you do your job right, in the end he'll be a great hunting companion and friend for life. You owe it to him and to yourself to take the time to do this job properly.
Have you seen this video?
Fast forward to 2.29 to see the actual puppy retrieve training.
I understand that you want your puppy eventually to retrieve game, but I think that starting as a fun game could well be the way to go.
Backchaining the delivery does work, but is probably more suitable for a dog who is already keen to bring you things. I taught my adult dog to deliver a dumbbell, holding it in a sit until I was ready to take it, by backchaining and it took about three weeks of a few minutes each day, so not quick. But she is completely secure now. To start with I clicked and treated for just a nose touch, then opening her mouth, then briefest hold etc.
People on this forum like @Karen and @heidrun have success in working their dogs and in trials, and both train without adversive methods.