Memory retrieves

Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by Debs, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Training is going really well and we are making great progress with stop whistle, steadiness and working with other dogs, etc. What we're having a problem with at the moment are memory retrieves.

    Memory retrieves were going really well, but, over the last few weeks Maisie is struggling to stay at heel while we walk away from the dummy, ball, etc, and turns back to retrieve it. She is literally licking her lips at the thought of getting the retrieve:rolleyes: At training she can be stopped by the trainer, but on my own this is impossible! We were at the point of sending two dummies out, sending her for the first one and then the second, now she just tries to get to the second one straight away unless I walk out to the first one and back again. This seems to reset her excitement levels.

    I've gone back to basics....drop the retrieve, let her see it, walk on at heel on lead and then turn, sit and send back. Even on lead she is looking back and I can feel her determination to get the retrieve.

    Any tips, or do I just keep going with the basics?
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    At this point - based on a massive amount of experience with Charlie, although he is totally bonkers and not a normal dog - you want to reduce her excitement and anticipation. Do a hundred walk aways, walk back and pick it up yourself for every one she gets to retrieve.
     
  3. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    But that is what we love about Charlie!! :heart:

    Thanks Julie, I'll work on going and picking up the dummy. I'll report back!

    p.s. Going to observe a shoot either this week or next week, much excited!!
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Hmmmm.....believe me, you really have no idea just how bonkers he is!
     
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  5. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    Remember, licking her lips is a stress indicator... As Julie says, you need to get her excitement and stress levels down. Let her have fewer actual retrieves, so that her expectations are lowered! If she is breaking away from you and running back to get the memory retrieves, I would keep her on a lead for now. You really don't want her self-rewarding, and if you are on your own that's the only way I can think of to stop her.

    Also, from experience I would say never send her unless she is walking nicely and calmly to heel. Then you can turn, get her to sit, and send her.
     
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  6. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    @Karen Thank you, that all makes sense. I think on lead will be the way forward for the moment!
     
  7. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    Let us know how you get on :)
     
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  8. Samphire

    Samphire Registered Users

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    At our training sessions we use a collar with a loop handle attached, that way you don't have to fiddle around taking it off when sending the dog out, also aids with correct positioning. Of course they aren't used for retrieves that involve jumping or water.
     
  9. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I'm seeing some improvement on this problem! Keeping her on lead and not sending until she is calm has started to make a huge difference. Still work in progress though.

    Today at training, Maisie was so steady - stop at a distance with 3 other dogs and then sitting while other dogs work. Retrieving cold game and not running in. Why is the memory retrieve exercise so much harder!!!!
     
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  10. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    Glad things are going better on the memory retrieve front! The stopping at a distance and not running in sounds great. :)
     
  11. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Karen, I have to stop myself doing a little celebration dance every time we do the stop whistle!! :tail: It's amazing to watch dogs all stopped and sitting to the whistle. I can't believe how far we have come in such a short space of time.
     
  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It's about anticipation. Try changing very much the way you do memories. She may have learned the pattern - drop dummy, walk away, get sent for dummy. So if you really mix it up so it's never quite the same it might help. Anticipation is why it always goes wrong when you don't stop when you should!
     
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  13. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    How did you go about training the stop whistle, Debs? Picking your brains for any tips for my dummy beginner class...
     
  14. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    @JulieT , yes definitely to do with anticipation! I think that I probably as I creature of habit, so need to vary what we are doing. Thanks Julie.
     
  15. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    @Karen Well, first off was to go back to basics and do walking at heel, sit, reward, repeat. Then added in the stop whistle as her bottom hit the floor. Next the same exercise, but leave her in the sit and take a step forward and then go back and reinforce the stop whistle. Then increase the number of steps forward.

    The next stage was to use a tennis ball or dummy. I pretended to throw the ball and as Maisie ran out and then turned back to see where the ball was I blew the stop whistle while holding the my arm up in the air with the ball in my hand, like a police man!! I then asked her to sit and as she sat blew the whistle again. She then got the ball as a reward. This took lots of practice! If she didn't sit, but just stopped, I help my hand up and waited for a sit, sometimes taking a step forward would induce a sit. As she sat, I blew the stop whistle.

    Also, using the stop whistle while doing steadiness exercises has helped a lot too.

    Hope that makes sense!
     
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  16. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    Yes thanks @Debs, just what I've been doing too. I've also been using the 'stolen retrieve' but with more success with some of my students than others. I guess some dogs just catch on more quickly than others...
     
  17. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    @Karen Just looked up the Stolen retrieve, I like the one-man stolen retrieve idea, I'll give that a go tomorrow!
     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Betsy is not a fraction as keen on retrieving as Charlie. I do not think this is a bad thing, I think I could easily ramp up the excitement around retrieving for her if I wanted to do so and very well may do so later - but I don't want another dog that shows any obsession about retrieving.

    One of the downsides of this is that stop whistle is much, much harder to train. With Charlie it took zero time. Train the whistle means sit, then hold up a tennis ball, dog is still and fixated, blow stop and say sit, and throw the ball. Done.

    Betsy - no way this will work. She is not interested enough in the ball. She also is so focussed on food that she finds it very hard to move away from the food (which is with me).

    So I have my thinking cap on for Betsy....
     
  19. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    @JulieT. A gundog friend (won field trials) teachers her dog the stop whistle, firstly in the house, with food. use it as you would the tennis ball, but then throw it over her head so that she learns not to come forward. Progress into the garden :)
     
  20. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Yes, I've seen that technique in the files of positive gun dogs. Leanne Smith demonstrates it and Collette May teaches that in her class. So far, Betsy moves forward towards me throwing the food and doesn't stay still in the 'treat zone'.

    Charlie says it's because she's a dumb blonde and all those treats are wasted on her. :D:D:D
     

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