Lab whining while waiting in line

Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by Christoph W, May 27, 2019.

  1. Christoph W

    Christoph W Registered Users

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    Hey guys I need you're thoughts on that little issue I'm having with my dog Brösel. As you already know he's a very keen retriever with a lot of drive. He wants to work 24/7 and never gets tired or anything. As nice as this kind of drive is there are a few problems that come with it.

    My biggest problem is that he tends to start whining while we work out of a line. He's never running in or anything just sits there and starts to get vocal. He's building up so much tension that he sometimes ever cries out when he's finally send for a dummy.

    Has anyone got experience with such things? How do you try to cure this? How do i tell him that waiting nice and quiet is what I want him to do?
     
  2. Debs

    Debs Registered Users

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    I feel your pain, my older dog used to be very noisy, whining and crying in excitement when we were training and also when picking up. I introduced her to gundog work at the age of two and by that time I'd allowed her to free hunt when out on walks. She had little steadiness but a huge hunt drive. It took two years, but I did manage to reduce her noise level, but not completely. For her the key was no reward for noise, no retrieve, nothing. I rewarded her for quiet and concentration on me. Lots of steadiness exercises and no more free hunting. Walks became training sessions and eventually I could see a degree of control start to happen.
     
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  3. Christoph W

    Christoph W Registered Users

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    I’m trying to not reward him for being noisy too but it’s hard to get youre timing right i think. How long/many retrieves by other dogs did you ask him to remain silent before he got a reward/retrieve?
     
  4. Debs

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    If she became over stimulated I did not allow the reward. However, I think if you can capture a moment of calmness and focus on you then allow the retrieve. Everything needs to be low key, reward and try and keep him calm after the retrieve.

    Interestingly there is a dog at my training class that was very over the threshold with everything. It was suggested that a change of food would help and it certainly has. She is now on raw food and is starting to be a much calmer dog.
     
  5. Christoph W

    Christoph W Registered Users

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    That is interesting! never heard that a change in diet could affect you’re dogs WT performance! But that shows how complex these things are! I’m quite sure it’s all my fault because I made dummys wwwwwaaaayy to interesting and rewarding for him when he was a puppy since i was used to my not so keen retriever Odin. I hope more group trainings will help him become more relaxed in these situations. We train alone most of the time so a group is .....well not new but not everyday business either for him.
     
  6. Debs

    Debs Registered Users

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    Yes, I also changed my older labs diet to a lower protein kibble and it made a huge difference. My young lab has been on raw since a 10 weeks and the difference in her behaviour is amazing and she has a huge hunt drive and yet is calm and controlled. something to think about!

    Also a group situation creates competition and excitement. You need to help him by remaining calm, giving clear commands and taking him away from the stimulation before he becomes too excited.
     
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  7. Jo Laurens

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    There are a few things you can try.

    Firstly, dogs whine in this situation due to frustration - they want the retrieve or the thing out in front and they are perceiving that as the reinforcer. They also don't get it very often, and they have to watch other dogs getting it. So the frustration stakes are high. In order to help the behaviour, you need to work on the reason behind the behaviour - which is that frustration. Giving food reinforcers more frequently enables you to use a higher ratio of reinforcement and makes the whole thing not just about the one big reinforcer in front of you.

    Second, the exercise which works best is 'Close Your Mouth'. (A whole chapter on this one, in my book, if it ever comes out....!) Start by getting your dog panting lightly by doing something a bit physical (as you can't teach a dog to close their mouth if it is already open).

    Then, ask the dog to sit. The dog must already have had their sit stay proofed to the point where you can waft food around in front of them and they won't move. If not, work on that first.

    Then take a treat and move it around in the air about 1 foot away from the dog, rolling it around in your fingers temptingly. Watch your dog's mouth as you do this.

    Your dog will get mesmerised by the treat and their mouth will close (at least partially). You can then click this and give the treat.

    Repeat until the dog really understands that closing their mouth is what is causing the click and treat. Now you can use it any time your dog makes noise.... It will not only stop the noise (momentarily) - you can repeat over and over - it will also have a calming effect on the dog, so they are less likely to make noise in general.
     
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  8. Christoph W

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    The close your mouth exercise sound very interesting! I think i’ll try that out. Don’t know if it helps with my whinig problem but it sounds like a fun thing to train
     
  9. Christoph W

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    I'm generally not against giving using food while training your dog. The only issue i have with that is that i often see dogs standing in a line only staring at their owner waiting for the treat instead of paying attention to what is going on infront of them. Or they give their owner the "look how nice and steady I am" look waiting for food after the first dummy/bird went down and miss all the others because they only focus on the handler. How do you prefent this when you use food treats while working with dummys?
     
  10. 5labs

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    I think a lot of it will depend on your own situation.
    If group training is readily available to you, I would walk him away from the line every time he makes a noise and seriously reduce (or ideally stop) the number of retrives he gets. Remember that you are there to train, and if you need to spend a few weeks training him to be quiet then so be it. You can spend a lot of time training your dog to do all sorts of complex handling excercises, but if he makes a noise, you can't complete with him and he can become less than pleasurable to even work with.
     
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  11. Christoph W

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    Hit the nail on the head! I just need to bite the bullet and really try to get the whining under controll before everything else! Thanks for your thoughts on the issue!:fistbump:
     
  12. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

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    you are welcome!
     
  13. Jo Laurens

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    That's the same kind of question as 'doesn't using food teach the dog to drop the dummy?'. It's never about using food full stop - it's about how you use it, how good your training skills are, what behaviour you are marking and what you are reinforcing.

    My dog understands the word 'mark' means - 'look out in front for the reinforcer'. If she were looking at me, I would just quietly say 'mark' and she would look forwards. If I can't speak, I would just put a hand down next to her head and she would understand that to mean to look forwards.

    Equally, food isn't the only reinforcer. If the dog looks at you, and you send the dog for the dummy, you are reinforcing the dog for looking at you.

    A retriever has to learn how to mark and be aware of the reinforcers in front of them, and yet to maintain heel position and steadiness. You can do the exact same exercise approaching food bowls with food in and the dog maintaining heel to be released to the bowl.

    Dogs will look to where the perceived reinforcers are. If you reinforce too much using food on your person, they will look at you. It needs to be balanced with reinforcers in front - whether food or retrieves.

    You get what you reinforce. If you keep reinforcing the dog for looking at you, then that's what you'll get. If you teach a dog to mark and not to take their eyes off the dummy until told to look away (with verbal cue or subtle body language), then you'll get a dog that stares at marks until told to look away. If you reinforce them for looking away before you have cued this, then you are rewarding them for looking away by themselves and uncued.

    It is all about what is happening at the moment you mark with clicker or verbally. You need to be precise and clear to the dog about what is wanted, when, in response to which cues...
     
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  14. Christoph W

    Christoph W Registered Users

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    [QUOTE="It is all about what is happening at the moment you mark with clicker or verbally. You need to be precise and clear to the dog about what is wanted, when, in response to which cues...[/QUOTE]

    Very true and yes i understand that the dog does what i reinforce while training him. I also understand that timing is most important. All I was trying to say is, that it's very easy for anyone who is not a professional dogtrainer or someone who owned and trained dogs for the last 50 years to reinforce the wrong behaviour when using food treats while training because of not having perfect timing. That is of course also true for wrongly timed verbal cues. (even though food is much more rewarding for a Lab imo lol)
     

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