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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Give me your interpretation.

      I wasn't sure where to post this, but figured I'd get a variety of thoughts on this forum:

      Brief review: Rocket Dog is a high-rolling field dog. Has had a conventional FT/HT basic ed using e-collar. Steadiness really never achieved in a solid manner. Took her out of all competition. Over the Fall and Winter, began a simple zero tolerance, waiting her out until she's quiet and in proper heel position before she gets ANYthing in life. Just upped her standards hugely. No slack. No e-collar either.

      This has done the trick and has transferred over into field work. She is steady and doing pretty advanced stuff. Very happy.

      Here's where she lost her mind:

      The other day, the set up was very advanced, requiring huge amounts of control. In retrospect I should have run it differently. But it required her to run past several marks (thrown ducks with gunshot) and pick up blinds (plastic bumpers placed where she can't see them). She can do this once... maybe twice. But in this case, there were 4 marks and 6 blinds and it just fried her brain.

      She so desperately wanted the ducks. Oh, she wanted them so passionately. Clearly she was having none of the other stuff. What happened was she got vocal. Yipping and barking and whining. Didn't creep (not a total train-wreck.)

      The questions are:

      Was the vocalization about her tuning me out (or in the vernacular, "messing with me")? Or was this just a pure tension relief? Or... is it both? Or is it something different altogether? (BTW: Heretofore, her typical response to confusion or stress would be laying down.)

      I've posted this question elsewhere and I'm going to hear from FT people. It will be interesting to see how Ob people view the issue. I'd appreciate your feedback.

    2. #2
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      What correction were you using (attrition or nick). We have a friend who has had to very vocal chessies. The noise came through high prey drive and being controlled (not getting the mark they wanted). The more the pressure the higher the noise.
      Do you do a "blind drill?. I have found that this drill really cements the concept of pulling off a mark to run blind, poison birds and getting passed a gunner in the field. M is due for a refresher on it.

    3. #3
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      Well, when my dog fails, I either handled poorly in some way or another or I asked too much of him. It sounds to me like the dog was over-faced.

    4. #4
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      From your description (but you know your dog best) I would say the vocalization was an expression of excitement and frustration from not doing what she really, really wanted to do.

      I don’t know how much vocalizing is allowed in field trials, but in the Obedience ring it would be penalized, so I would treat it similar to the creeping - zero tolerance - no going anywhere until you are (relatively!) calm and quiet. You’d probably need to teach a “quiet” command if she doesn’t already have one so she knows what you are asking for.

      Chloe isn’t particularly vocal - when she is in a similar situation (has to get something she doesn’t want as much as something she is supposed to ignore but really wants) she tends to try and avoid the situation entirely. My trainer says it’s because she knows she is “having bad thoughts” and is afraid she won’t be able to control herself so tries to avoid it. For example, we were working on the directed retrieve yesterday. In this exercise there are three gloves spread across the back of the ring - one in each corner and one in the middle. The handler and dog stand with their backs to the gloves until the judge tells you which glove, at which point you and the dog pivot towards the glove and the dog is sent to retrieve it. All parts of the exercise (the pivot must maintain perfect heel position, the speed and accuracy of the retrieve, whether the dog returns to perfect front, and returns to heel on command) are of course scored. Chloe sometimes likes to go out and get the glove, but then take a quick look/sniff of her surrounding before coming back, which if it is too long of a sniff/look can cost her points. We’re trying to get her to spin around as soon as the glove is in her mouth and ignore anything else that might be out there, so I put a treat just on the other side of the ring gates from her glove and her job was to go get the glove and ignore the treat. Once she realized there was a treat nearby, she kept trying to bring me a different glove so as to avoid getting the one near the treat. We worked through it fairly quickly as she’s been through this before, just not recently. Honestly the exercise would have been harder on her had it been a bumper or Dokken on the other side of the gate, but I wanted her to be successful - we’ll work up to that, LOL.
      Last edited by Annette47; 04-16-2017 at 11:32 AM.
      Annette

      Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde, BN) 6/4/2015
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      Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
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    5. #5
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      You can have maybe a little squeek, no one would dock you for it. But... if it starts with a squeek, by the time the next series comes along, it could be a loud whine. Then, in Senior... you'd still get away with it. But it would be death in the Master. I have to stop it.

      Guess what the FT community says. Are you ready? Obedience, obedience, obedience.

      Yep.

    6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to TuMicks For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (04-16-2017), barry581 (04-16-2017), Scoutpout (04-18-2017)

    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      You can have maybe a little squeek, no one would dock you for it. But... if it starts with a squeek, by the time the next series comes along, it could be a loud whine. Then, in Senior... you'd still get away with it. But it would be death in the Master. I have to stop it.

      Guess what the FT community says. Are you ready? Obedience, obedience, obedience.

      Yep.
      Good luck! I find vocalizing is one of the hardest things to get rid of because much of the time they don’t even realize they are doing it. Your best bet is to work on her being calm yet focused on the line and not let her get so excited that she starts talking about it. Probably easier to teach her what state of mind she needs to be in to be allowed to get the bird rather than focus specifically on the vocalizing.

    8. #7
      Senior Dog
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      EXACTLY!! What I'm getting from comments (yours is totally validating what others are saying...) it's conditioning. Getting out of the crate without getting wound up. Moving to the ground from the bed of the truck and still being calm. Walking towards the field without getting anxious. Getting in a holding blind... and on and on.

      I think 90% of this (maybe 99%) I can do here at the house. I have my own holding blinds. We'll just start there.

      There is one other element in the equation Annette. I know you've been doing high end obedience for a long time. How do you contain your tension? Is it a matter that you've played this concerto so many times you no longer have to think about the notes, but can just feel the music? How do you deal with OMG!!! We're at the competition!!! Look at the people watching!!!! Oh, no... the judge looks testy!!!! Shit, look at all the distractions by the ring and why don't they corral the 3 year old with the box of skittles????

      This is going to be months and months. Probably won't actually run a Senior until fall if then.

    9. #8
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      I agree with Annette; you can't really train the noise out of the dog when it is an emotional state. You have to manage the dog's emotions. And, I think that acclimation is key. Can the dog calmly leave the crate in your house? Driveway? Local field? Trainer's field? Can your dog calmly walk to the line in your backyard? In the school field up the street? In your trainer's field? At a picnic test? When I said your dog seemed overfaced, it wasn't necessarily the task, but the task with those distractions or in different conditions, because asking the dog to do something at home is not the same as asking the dog to do something elsewhere, especially when your handling or confidence changes, which does affect your dog.

    10. #9
      Senior Dog
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post

      There is one other element in the equation Annette. I know you've been doing high end obedience for a long time. How do you contain your tension? Is it a matter that you've played this concerto so many times you no longer have to think about the notes, but can just feel the music? How do you deal with OMG!!! We're at the competition!!! Look at the people watching!!!! Oh, no... the judge looks testy!!!! Shit, look at all the distractions by the ring and why don't they corral the 3 year old with the box of skittles????
      I hadn’t thought about it, but now that you ask, no, I no longer think about stuff like “we are at a show, people are watching, etc., etc.). I do get a bit keyed up (adrenaline) more than I do in practice, so it is definitely different, but I mostly try to concentrate on my job as a handler and how I can best help my partner to be successful. That does sometimes include noticing potential distractions outside the ring and having a plan for how to deal with it, as well as other things. For example, on the drop on recall (you call the dog and on the judges signal you drop the dog, then call front), I’ve learned that if I look at Chloe’s eyes while she is coming in, she will drop on her own. So I make a point of looking above her head until the moment I give her the drop signal at which point I meet her gaze. Concentrating on things like that keep me from having enough mental space for nerves, LOL.

      That said, it took years of competing before I could get to this point as a handler. I think what really did it was going out there, failing, and realizing that the world didn’t end and there is always another dog show.

      Good luck!!

    11. #10
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      I think we'll go back to heeling and sitting, maybe heeling around a holding blind in the backyard. Tighten that up a lot, get it precise.

      Then same around the food dish (my closest approximation to the excitement of a HT)

      We may move in to the park and two holding blinds.

      I'm hoping that the work we did over the winter will help this go reasonably fast. But if not... it takes as long as it takes.

      Every step getting to the holding blind and then to the line and then calling for the birds, then waiting to be sent... has to be conditioned to be calm and attentive. Seriously, I thought my standards had gone up by orders of magnitude. And they did. But not nearly enough.

      Some of the FT/HT contributors have said the audio back-ground you can buy of an event... with ducks quacking and shotguns going off and people yelling "Dog to the line" and "What's your number please" "Guns up" etc. is very helpful as well.

      I doubt we're going to title this spring. Depending upon how well she picks up on this, maybe I'll be ready to try Rose City later in the summer. Alas, I may have to drive to Portland anyhow. But we might not be ready then, either. I don't know. I'll just have to do all of this before I send her on another retrieve.

      But again, that will be only part of the solution. I'm going to have to condition myself as well.

    12. The Following User Says Thank You to TuMicks For This Useful Post:

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