1. WELCOME

    To join the conversation, please register. It only takes a minute!

Harv's return to gundog training

Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by UncleBob, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. UncleBob

    UncleBob Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,535
    As I mentioned in another thread, we first took Harv gundog training when he was quite young (around 6 months old). We were still quite inexperienced with dog training generally (Harv being our first dog) and Harv was, well, Harv - racing around like the lovechild of RoadRunner and Taz of Tasmania :) Frankly, it was a bit of a disaster!

    Fastforward to the present - Harv is now 4 and (a bit!) calmer than he was and we have a bit more experience with this dog training mallarky. So, we thought we'd re-visit gundog training. We found a dog training school that was having a guest gundog trainer to run a few courses (8 weekly classes of a little over an hour and at various levels).

    When we filled-in the pre-class questionnaire we were asked to fill-in details of all the things that we were most interested in working on. Our classmates entered long lists of all things gundoggy. We entered but one thing - steadiness! The trainer actually confided to the class that this had caused her to pause and gulp as this signified that she may have a bit of a task on her hands ;) You see, even at the 6 month stage, we'd never had any problems getting Harv to race off after a dummy at Mach 1 with his hair on fire and then collect the dummy and return at the same speed. The problems were - getting him to wait to be released to fetch the dummy and getting him not to 'buzz the tower' (ie head straight for us and then veer off at the last second) on his return!

    In the Beginner class we covered walking to heel and being able to turn either to the left or right with the dog following closely, sit/stays with distractions (ie dummies and balls being thrown around) - this was fantastic practice for Harv's steadiness and he did it all brilliantly, hunting to the whistle, heel and sit/stop using the whistle, seen and blind retrieves (in a retrieving alley), recalls to the whistle, recalls and stops to the whistle, sending dog to left and right seen retrieves.

    In the Intermediate class we've done more heel work (including off-lead and being able to turn 360 degrees on the spot with the dog staying at heel all the time - both to the left and to the right - Harv excelled at this for some reason), more sit/stop to the whistle, sit/stays, more steadiness with lots of dummies and balls thrown and then collected by handlers (not dogs) - again, to my amazement (and, I'll confess, with some pride), Harv impressed everybody by not racing off after every distraction :) , seen, blind, back, and memory retrieves (in the open), more stop whistle work (*), recalls with distractions.

    It was the last class yesterday and we finished with some retrieves through a hedge. This was not something that we had ever done before and Harv was a little bemused initially but he got there in the end and found a gap big enough to get through. All of his classmates were much smaller (all bitches) and seemed to find adequate gaps in lots of places and went through the hedge, got the dummy, and came back through the nearest gap. Having spent a while finding an appropriately sized gap Harv insisted on going back and using the same gap for his return! :)

    * We thoroughly enjoyed both classes but the real standout moment for me was some Stop work. We've always struggled with this cue for some reason and it's the only thing that has prevented us from doing the Gold Good Citizen test. Harv is so, erm, 'enthusiastic' on his recall that by the time I've given a Stop cue he is virtually back with me! I'd tried doing this at greater and greater distances and even giving the Stop cue a split second after the Recall cue but it never really got any better. What the trainer got us to do was rather than extend the distance we shortened it - less time for me to give cues but, crucially, less time for Harv to get up to full speed! In addition to the classwork we practised between classes too and Harv gradually got better and better.

    In one of the classes we had our dogs in a sit/stay facing us while we threw one dummy to the left and one to the right. We were then to move to a poiint roughly halfway between the left dummy and the dog, send them for the left dummy, stop them, and re-direct them to retrieve the right dummy. To say that I was not optimistic was an understatement (and I am, normally, pretty optimistic about most things). However, Harv shocked me, the trainer, and everybody in the class by stopping instantly when I blew the Stop whistle and being happily re-directed to the other dummy. I was so pleased with, and for, the little chap! :) :) :)

    Anyway, if you've ever tried gundog training (or any other area of training for that matter) and thought it might not be for you and your dog and that was some time ago - maybe think about giving it another go. You and your dog may have progressed to the stage where it may now be a viable choice. Go on! Don't just make excuses - do it! ;)
     
  2. selina27

    selina27 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Messages:
    3,195
    Location:
    Herefordshire UK
    Brilliant ! What a great post to read, good on you and the handsome Harvey.

    I love this bit --
     
  3. Beanwood

    Beanwood Moderator Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    7,196
    Wow! What a great post to read..absolutely agree with giving it another go when the dog is a bit older. I know that training is on-going with gundogs, but I do wonder how much they retain after a gap of a year or so, and being older, do you think Harvey was able to think things through a bit? Stopping and redirecting is a big ask..so the boy did good!

    We were working on a similar exercise today, in the advanced class, so kudos to Harvey! :celebrate::celebrate:
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    11,190
    Fantastic!! Good boy Harvey!! Sounds like you had a ball - there's nothing like the feeling of teamwork brought on by a successful bout of gundogeryyness!
     
    Beanwood likes this.
  5. UncleBob

    UncleBob Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,535
    Yes, I do. He still quivers with excitement and anticipation but there is certainly more thinking taking place than previously.
     
  6. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    15,789
    Location:
    Andorra and Spain
    Lovely read, what a superstar. I’ve done a little with Shadow and Squidge this evening. The first time either of them have seen a dummy since December. I kept it very simple; Shadow is my little rock star that is held back just by my lack of experience. Luna was ... predictably bonkers. We all had fun, which was - and always is - the most important thing.
    I think we need to see some more photos and/or video of Harvey!
     
  7. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Messages:
    6,923
    Location:
    Malvern UK
    That was a great read, very well done Harvey, sounded quite advanced and he made rapid progress.
     
  8. UncleBob

    UncleBob Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,535
    I have notified the official photographer that she has been slacking in her duties ... I'm off to look up some of the words in her response as I wasn't familiar with all of them! ;)
     
    SwampDonkey, selina27 and snowbunny like this.
  9. SteffiS

    SteffiS Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,450
    Location:
    Fife, Scotland
    Fantastic to read @UncleBob. Well done to you and Harvey :clap:.
     
  10. Anne123

    Anne123 Registered Users

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Messages:
    648
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    This is a story of recognition! Finn is also 4 years and a bit and now I am doing gundogsclasses with him! I had to laugh that steadiness is what you want to work at, so do i. Finn has no problems with getting the dummy, over water apport or find a lost apport. Finn is too eager to work and won’t wait for his turn....If it is for Finn, he would go for all the other 5 and take their turn. If he can’t he starts barking, and I can’t hold him. That is why I walk around as others takes their turn. I have to walk quite some distance and do some steadiness excersises. He loves gundogtraing and so do I!
     
    Stacia, SwampDonkey and UncleBob like this.
  11. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    3,965
    Location:
    Regensburg, Germany (Bavaria)
    Well done, Handsome Harvey (and that goes for your humans, too)! :)
     

Share This Page