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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      IRISHWISTLER's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2014
      Thanked: 2540

      Team Allie - Progress Made

      Aye Mates,
      So we have been working 6 month old yellow female British Labrador ALLIE MAE on HOLD conditioning for near two weeks and have firmly entrenched the HOLD behavior upon verbal command issued to do so. We have incorporated the chained behavior of "GIVE" as a release into the hand of the handler of any item presently being held upon issue of that verbal command, The HOLD - GIVE exchange has been entrenched through numerous repetitions stretched out across a number of short sessions and has been generalized across a number of items to date including a 1" dowel wrapped in black duct tape, a small paint roller, a regular canvas bumper, an Avery Hex bumper, a training buck, and a Dokken foam bird bumper. We recently introduced a bumper to which is held fast two fresh pheasant wings by means of several elastic bands, the HOLD - GIVE exchange being continued with the new feathered and scented bumper. It was great to watch Miss ALLIE "HOLD" her new "special bumper" with a palpable increase in the level of enthusiasm brought on by scent and feathers.

      We have started ALLIE moving with "WALKING HOLD" drills and she has done exceptionally well on retaining the bumper throughout said exercises. "STOP and GO', 90 degree turns both left and right, FIGURE 8's, quick changes of direction and tempo of pace are drilled with ALLIE maintaining HOLD on the bumper (the duration of HOLD is randomly stretched for varying but elongating lengths of time before the issue of the command "GIVE" ( the only time it is acceptable for ALLIE to release the bumper from her mouth to the hand of her handler).

      With now nicely established mechanics of proper delivery to hand, we have once again continued the chaining of said delivery to hand into the mechanics of the retrieve sequence (K9 marks the fall of a single bumper tossed while momentarily steadied on the "PLACE BOARD PLATFORM", the K9 is sent on her name "ALLIE" as the release / send command, straight line is taken out to the bumper and the dog is given the recall command or whistle as she picks up the bumper and she makes a straight return back to the PLACE BOARD on which she SITS and HOLDS the bumper until the command GIVE is issued and completes delivery to hand. All said established, this sequence will be drilled with an eye toward continuing refinement. Once ALLIE has met the level of refinement I require, retrieves will cease and we will move onward to FORCE FETCH condition recruit ALLIE to retrieve by compulsion and without question or any hesitation.

      Early work conducted with ALLIE since her training has become more formalized has all been implemented using a success based model of training methods, this by design results in a trainee that has learned to love training and has developed a level of self confidence that I find makes conditioning to HOLD and FORCE FETCH significantly less stressful for the dog and much more efficient as well as enjoyable for the trainer.

      PHOTO #1
      ALLIE'S owner / handler Bill has her undivided attention with an Avery Hex Bumper with fastened pheasant wings fresh out o' the freezer. The scent and feathers integrated into this drill further entrenches bird drive and bolsters enthusiasm for the work at hand.

      PHOTO #2
      The HOLD of the bumper is commanded whilst ALLIE is on the PLACE BOARD PLATFORM and at this stage of training most all drills commence and terminate at said location. ALLIE has been conditioned in the sequence of HOLD and GIVE and exhibits said behaviors appropriately upon said commands. In this photo, ALLIE is seen properly HOLDING the bumper whilst at the SIT position and will do so throughout WALKING HOLD DRILLS until returning to the platform and being issued the command sequence to HOLD, SIT, and GIVE. Attention to refinement of the mechanics of the delivery to hand sequence is fostered by the handler.

      PHOTO #3
      ALLIE is brought through a number of drills whilst performing the "WALKING HOLD" exercises with changes of direction and tempo of pace being continually presented to her, that requiring her undivided attention on the handler. ALLIE is expected to HOLD the bumper throughout said drills unless issued the GIVE command. Diligence in training in foundational obedience is paramount to success and should be well entrenched prior to starting these conditioning drills, this setting up the K9 recruit for success - not failure.

      As is generally the case, it is a thing of beauty to see a young gun dog recruit progressively and continually gaining skills through diligence in applied training. ALL reward during these conditioning drills are delivered in the form of praise and physical contact betwixt handler and the retriever. Edible rewards at this point have largely been phased out and those prior mentioned phased in. Eventually the retrieve itself will become a self sustaining reward of the highest value.

      Our wee lass ALLIE MAE continues to thrive and to love working and training. Multiple short sessions each day are the schedule of choice in keeping with the developmental abilities of a young pup.

      As always, enjoy every moment spent with ye gun dog.

      Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -dsc00840resized-jpg   -dsc00844-jpg   -dsc00843resized-jpg  

      Joanie Madden, Mary Bergin, Adrea Coor, and Nuala Kennedy, each an Irish whistle goddess in her own right.

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