Steadiness and Clicker Training

Discussion in 'Clicker Training' started by Catherine, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    I need amongst lots of other things, to work on steadying Flora, my ESS (sorry not a lab and she is 31/2 :-[! )She is a mad keen on chasing and hunting... I take her beating and she is not steady to the flush...embarrassing....:-[ ....Other than game, thrown tennis balls are the one big thing that motivates her, food she can take or leave. She is perfectly happy to sit and wait looking bored when I chuck dummies around her and really doesn't want to retrieve them...her face says "why bother it's not likely to run or fly"..but not balls, she will retrieve them whether as marked or blinds so I thought they would make the good reward as part of clicker training her to control her impulse to chase.... So if I tell her to wait, throw the ball a short distance and click for the wait then send her out for the ball as the reward gradually building up the distance...should that work? If she goes for ithe ball when not sent and brings it back do I just take it with no acknowledgement and then repeat till she does the correct behaviour and then always finish the exercise on a correct behaviour too?Am I barking up the wrong tree and would there be a better way to approach his altogether?
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    The spaniel people will be along in a minute, I'm sure...I'll "chat" while we wait though.... ;D ;D ;D

    I think it's two very different things though, steadiness to balls and an automatic sit to flush.

    I'm teaching my lab a sort of sit to flush with a whipit stick (flirt pole), well, sit to a rabbit skin ball whizzing into the air anyway - just for fun, it is a lot of fun!

    Steadiness to balls is on a placeboard and rewarding the wait either with food or with a cue to get the ball. If he runs in, I do nothing but I have someone pick up the ball, as getting the ball is a massive reward. If I don't have a helper, I don't do the exercise. Breaking and running (even without getting the ball) is also a moderate reward for him so I also try to stay within the limits of what he can do.
     
  3. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Going in baby steps and preventing uncued access to the ball are both very important.

    Agree that steadiness (not moving) and sitting to flush are both different, but working on both will only help.

    With the steadiness, start with the ball being placed on the ground, not moving. Work up to movement of the ball gradually.

    You can use access to a second ball or moving toy (eg. whipit) as a reward for ignoring the ball that's put on the ground or that is thrown or for sitting to movement. The idea is that if she stays put or sits something better might happen.
     
  4. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Catherine, you must stop apologising for having a Spaniel!!
     
  5. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    I haven't got much time to answer this morning, going beating today. :) But I will write later on. You will have to do a lot of 'going back to basics' though. ;)
     
  6. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    [quote author=JulieT link=topic=9461.msg136334#msg136334 date=1420982531]
    The spaniel people will be along in a minute, I'm sure...I'll "chat" while we wait though.... ;D ;D ;D

    I think it's two very different things though, steadiness to balls and an automatic sit to flush.

    I'm teaching my lab a sort of sit to flush with a whipit stick (flirt pole), well, sit to a rabbit skin ball whizzing into the air anyway - just for fun, it is a lot of fun!

    Steadiness to balls is on a placeboard and rewarding the wait either with food or with a cue to get the ball. If he runs in, I do nothing but I have someone pick up the ball, as getting the ball is a massive reward. If I don't have a helper, I don't do the exercise. Breaking and running (even without getting the ball) is also a moderate reward for him so I also try to stay within the limits of what he can do.
    [/quote] Thank you for this food for thought...yes I agree that steadiness and sitting to flush are different...I think I'm just trying to communicate how poor her impulse control can be in exciting environments! I had never thought of using a whipit...bunny balls are also a big motivator for her too...back to the drawing board for us I think :)
     
  7. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    [quote author=drjs@5 link=topic=9461.msg136449#msg136449 date=1421013900]
    Catherine, you must stop apologising for having a Spaniel!!
    [/quote]Will do!!!! :D :D :D
     
  8. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    [quote author=Oberon link=topic=9461.msg136422#msg136422 date=1421008730]
    Going in baby steps and preventing uncued access to the ball are both very important.
    [/quote]im sure that's right....Uncued access to the ball is a bit of an issue ..... :)
     
  9. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    [quote author=heidrun link=topic=9461.msg136465#msg136465 date=1421047129]
    I haven't got much time to answer this morning, going beating today. :) But I will write later on. You will have to do a lot of 'going back to basics' though. ;)
    [/quote]Hope you have a good day's beating and don't get drowned or blown away! Meantime Flora will be an immaculately behaved office :( dog...We know what we would rather be doing though.... But needs must...:)
     
  10. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    My plan of action would depend on what it is you want your dog to do. If she is purely a beating dog then I feel it is not necessary to teach her a stop to flush. Murffi my cocker goes beating and it would be impossible and impractical for him to sit to every flush until I give the cue to hunt on. We encounter so many birds on our driven shoot that that sort of detail would be totally impossible. Instead I have taught him to flush and turn and hunt back towards me and the direction I indicate. To achieve this you will need the dog to have a good understanding of the turn whistle which you can teach away from game maybe with the help of a long line and a harness and a rabbit fur ball or food as a reward. I didn't use those rewards with Murffi, his biggest reward is to be able to hunt on. Eventually you will have to introduce game back into your training and I would definitely keep the long line attached at that time to prevent any chasing. And after that it is just practice, practice, practice until the flush and not necessarily the turn whistle becomes the cue to turn and hunt away from the direction of the bird.
    My other three spaniels do a fair bit of rough shooting and they need to sit to flush. So their training is a bit different and involves stop whistle, sitting to thrown dummies, bolting rabbits and tennis balls whizzing past them to steady them to movement.
     
  11. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    So Heidrun - Poppy is steady to thrown dummies, bolting rabbits (even real live bolting rabbits and hares :D ) - but the combination of guns going off and birds falling from the sky proved too much for her at one time on Saturday. My response was to keep her really close to me, and even on the lead if I thought she was looking over-excited. Seeing that we don't really go shooting very often, I have no idea how to improve this kind of steadiness - any ideas? I am sure if we were able to go out once or twice a week during the season, that she would soon get the idea. As the day went on she did calm down greatly.

    Catherine, sorry about the hijack, but maybe this will be helpful for both of us.
     
  12. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Did it happen when she was hunting, Karen, or was she at heel when she broke?
     
  13. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Heidrun You are right I need to identify what we hope to achieve! We have very modest ambitions , all I want is to go beating with Flora and aquit ourselves well. We are very fortunate to be invited to go beating on the small family shoot on our local estate and are made very welcome. Flora is well and truly over threshold :( much of the time and I'm so conscious of not wanting to disrupt a drive totally that I err on the side of caution when it comes to letting her off the lead which makes it all very exhausting as you can imagine!

    So this is where we are at.....We do lots of hunting practice on a long line on our local Common which is on the edge of the estate, and have built up a nice hunting pattern, she turns on the whistle and she checks in with a glance and is responsive to a flick from my hand to change direction. Even off the line she'll be good for a while but then I'll get "The Look", her back legs go down and she's off at a rate of knots. She charges like a thing possessed through the bracken for a couple of minutes usually in a big 100 yard loop, doing a flyby for another loop and then as she returns will stop on the whistle.

    Much of this training is out of the window on a shoot day...even walking on a loose lead seems too much...but despite all this it is always the best day out with my lovely dog...the really nice thing is how lovely my fellow beaters are to her and the gamekeeper who has three immaculately behaved ESS wants a puppy from her!

    On the plus side when she's on a lead she doesn't go bonkers at the sight of pheasants and will sit and watch them fly if I tell her to " Leave" but off lead she will chase anything that moves...

    Karen not a hijack at all :) ....we may be in the same territory to some extent
     
  14. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Maybe you have ditched the long line too quickly. Once the shooting season is over you could go back to hunting her on the line. Then in the summer you could offer to do a little bit of dogging in on your shoot still with the line attached. Trying to keep her on a lead during a drive must be a nightmare.
     
  15. Catherine

    Catherine Registered Users

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    Re: Steadiness and Clicker Training

    Nightmare is an understatement!

    Yes back on to the line all the time I think... I find it pretty tricky in woodland and even in the bracken and heather it gets snagged which is why I was hoping to phase it out...but I think there is no real alternative!

    As I try and write this the rocket fuelled hunting machine is sitting on the sofa as close as she can get, pushing her head under my chin for soppy cuddles...such contacting behaviours...a fabulous breed..rufty tufty working spaniel...mmmmm?
     

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