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    1. #1
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      Calling all Dog Trainers... what would you do?

      I'm not trying to plow an old old field about punishment per se, or e-collars, or field vrs obedience or any of that stuff. I'm actually asking for a more "thoughty" conceptual kind of answer.

      First, in the event some newbies to these issues are following this thread, a little background. Field work requires that dogs respond to their handlers even if they are hundreds of yards distant. Since this is not within range of any leash/clicker/cookie/whatever, e-collars were invented and have revolutionized the way hunting dogs are trained. You may have heard these called "shock collars", but that is a mischaracterization and (naturally) pejorative term.

      So, with that said... there is a somewhat famous video of arguably the world's best field trial trainer doing a seminar. A Field Champion labrador (very elite, elite title) and his handler go to the line and watch some birds go down (marks) in predetermined places. The dog is sent, picks up the first... brings it back, is sent for the second bird. (It's being narrated by the famous trainer.) This very elite retriever goes out to where the second bird went down... does a quick, but cursory hunt, and then goes back to where the first bird was picked up. (A switch.) This is a cardinal sin for field events. The fact that this dog carries a FC title, is evidence that he knows to hunt the area of the fall and not give up no matter what. Nuts and bolts retriever work.

      Narrating the replay of this... Mike Lardy says "RIGHT THERE. That's where the dog shows he knows the bird is in the cover, and he abandons the hunt." and tells the audience that THIS is the moment to deliver a correction (with the e-collar.)

      Long set up to my question:

      If you do NOT have a "distance tool" with which to train a dog in the field... how can you train in the field? Remember, this dog has without a doubt been trained not to leave the area of the fall. It's not teaching. It's maintaining a standard.

      I think the envelope on non-e-collar training is currently being pushed and may emerge in the near future as a viable means of field training. But this distance behavior is the sort of thing that makes me wonder how it will work.

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    3. #2
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      You can't, not at least w/o being supernatural w/ regard to running or swimming REALLY fast (speed of lightning, or er... ecollar!) and I can do neither!!! But otoh, w/o the underlying FF training, the correction would be unfair and probably scary to the dog. Of course Lardy would not do that...

      I personally had 2 different scenarios yesterday on water w/ my dogs. #1 (Kanzi, 3yo, almost thru CDX obed and fully force fetched, but very sensitive...) started to cheat the return (shocker as she NEVER cheats!!!) and hit the cattails which were far worse to deal w/ than just swimming water. Because she DOES know what not only COME (whistle) means, but also understands an acceptable collar correction (she is soft, so a low 2 is really about "it"!), I gave her a collar correction. She was surprised (never got one on water before, holy cow!) but recovered just fine when we repeated a simplified version of the mark. All is well.

      #2 (Ruby. 2yo, not completely FF'd but is collar conditioned and gets the underlying message of a collar correction) did the same. I could not w/ any conscience, give her a collar correction for cheating the bank because she didn't have the full picture presented yet (my fault.. she's been kind of spoiled since I lost her mom and bottle fed the litter!). Had to hope the cattails and my harsher commands to COME NOW were enough of a deterrent for future sins. We also simplified (overly!) the mark so she could be rewarded for doing the right thing.

      Here is the funniest part... When I had gotten ready to run Ruby initially (my very very green JH dog), 3 fishermen came waltzing in who didn't speak that great of English from what I get. One started casting his rod for big mouth bass RIGHT IN FRONT of the far winger (the one both cheated on). I can hear the giggles now from TuMicks... I tried to tell them to move back. No habla... I did set the other winger off first and ran that one just so they didn't crap their pants over the gun shot and flying soggy duck that may have hit him in the back of the head... Hehehehehe.

      Bottom line, you know what trainers say. Take home the positive part from the lesson. Ruby did NOT go try to visit the "gunners" (the fishermen!) and I was *so* happy. That has really been my biggest concern for her because we don't have enough group training sessions available and she LOVES men. LOL.

      But yes, one can only correct w/ good timing if the dog has truly been trained in the foundations for such. It wasn't totally fair in Ruby's case so I held my "fire"... went back to attrition w/ her. Can you train that way? Yes, I've done it before. Not my favored way however, but in this case, I just haven't finished my work and so will take my lumps should they come.
      Last edited by windycanyon; 04-27-2017 at 03:20 AM.
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    5. #3
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      So, attrition would certainly be something remaining in the bag for the R+ training. I don't want to say "non-e-collar" training, because before there were e-collars, there was training, and it was not positive.

      But, then again, I am not sure attrition meets the definition of R+. I mean, for the dog... it's tedious. Which is the whole point. (Do it again... or do it my way!) I continue to try to wrap my head around it. It's sort of like dog calculus to me. As soon as I think I understand it, I think... "well, what about if..." and then lose my grip on it.

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    7. #4
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      There are as many different levels of attrition training as anything else. If you are a softer/ more R+ trainer, I'm sure you can do it... it may take 20x longer but wth...

      I can't say my potty training w/ puppies is very R+ but hey, it seems to be a lot more effective than most folks' experiences on this board. I do tell them when it's a "No" spot (house). Take them out to where it's a "Yes" spot (outside). It becomes more negative the older they get. Nothing horrible of course but I get pretty gruff! My 12 wk old was in the house tonite and was as close to fitting in like a normal dog (other than playing w her much older cousin??? non stop) as it gets. I was chatting w/ a friend on the phone and just had to laugh a few times. No potty accidents at all despite some hard play. So, she obviously has gotten the hint of where is acceptable by now.

      Had another pup in the litter who I dubbed the "pit bull". She LOVED to grab onto my jeans and just PULL!!! I tried to pry her jaws open the first time (because I really don't think it's cute...) and holy cow.... wouldn't budge. Ended up grabbing her ear. Oye, that got her attention! Good puppy!!!!!! So correction and reward, they just have to go hand in hand at times here. Sorry to anyone offended but not all Labs are considered equal! I could have looked sideways at Kanzi and shamed her for doing the same but this one, naaaaaaaaaaaaa. Use the amount of pressure needed and no more. Then on w/ life.

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    9. #5
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      I don't think there is enough information here. My first thought is this: The dog is very accomplished and he made a mistake. So what? He is a dog, not a robot. Am I always perfect? Do I, in a job that I am well-trained for and have been doing successfully for over a decade, never make mistakes? And let's say I do make a mistake (one that does not burn the place down or put the company out of business) should HR come stomping to my desk and hand me a warning for making one lousy mistake in many years of excellent performance?

      For a dog this accomplished, I'd probably stop the dog as soon as I see he is going off course. Call him back in. Do it over. And yet another option would be to stop the dog as soon as you see he is going off course. Call him back in. Do it over making it a little easier for him somehow. If the dog goes to make a mistake a second time, I would call him back and redo it making it so easy the dog cannot fail. Regardless, I would use this as information. Is this a one off? Or is this an issue? Sometimes things break, even at higher levels. Sometimes our foundations aren't very strong and they crack further under pressure. When something is weak, as soon as you add distraction, distance, duration and/or pressure, the holes in our training and the handler's and dog's achilles become obvious, then go back to foundation training and work it from the ground up.

      To do +R you really have to give a dog the benefit of the doubt that he is doing what he believes is the right thing to do based on your training or he is over-faced and unable to make the right choice because he wasn't ready to work in whatever situation you put him in. If the dog is trained correctly and enjoys the work and the rewards why would he purposefully make a poor choice, especially if it might mean foregoing the reinforcement (in the case of -P)? Why would a dog with an e-collar purposefully make a wrong choice knowing what the consequences are? Dogs make mistakes because of our training (or sometimes they are having a bad day -- possibly in the case of weird, one-off mistakes). The issue is usually "too much too soon" or we skipped over something in foundations or we did not proof well enough or we added duration or distance too soon or we lumped behaviors or it's our crappy handling -- the list goes on. Yet dogs do well in spite of us humans!
      Last edited by Labradorks; 04-27-2017 at 04:25 AM.

    10. #6
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      Why would the dog (an already Field Champion) make this sort of mistake (a switch).

      Based upon my memory of the event (I gotta get the video off the shelf and watch it again) the dog went to the AOF (area of the fall), meaning he marked it. To abandon the hunt he has had to have given up on his eyes and his handler, both of which are fatal flaws. (In a FT, he's dismissed and going home. If this were permitted to happen in training, he will be "learning" bad stuff.)

      For a dog this accomplished, I'd probably stop the dog as soon as I see he is going off course. Call him back in. Do it over.

      Remember, the dog was actually on course, got to the AOF then gave up. I will have to get the video off the shelf and watch it again. I think the handler blew the whistle and handled the dog back to the AOF he had left.

      Do it over making it a little easier for him somehow. If the dog goes to make a mistake a second time, I would call him back and redo it making it so easy the dog cannot fail.


      That's an option. But I have a question. I have been told that to call a dog back in is a very negative consequence for a dog. Now sometimes, they deserve negative consequences... you line them up for a blind and they leave your side 45 degrees off from the line you gave them. Obviously you'd stop him immediately and call him back and line him up again. When you call a dog all the way back in... the further away he got... you'll see the ears and tail in the "Oh, MOM. Do I HAVE to?" position.

      I don't have the right answer. But I know as the R+ field training advances, these are the sorts of things they will have to figure out.
      Last edited by TuMicks; 04-27-2017 at 10:18 AM.

    11. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post

      Do it over making it a little easier for him somehow. If the dog goes to make a mistake a second time, I would call him back and redo it making it so easy the dog cannot fail.


      That's an option. But I have a question. I have been told that to call a dog back in is a very negative consequence for a dog. Now sometimes, they deserve negative consequences... you line them up for a blind and they leave your side 45 degrees off from the line you gave them. Obviously you'd stop him immediately and call him back and line him up again. When you call a dog all the way back in... the further away he got... you'll see the ears and tail in the "Oh, MOM. Do I HAVE to?" position.

      I don't have the right answer. But I know as the R+ field training advances, these are the sorts of things they will have to figure out.
      Remember, +R training does include -P! But...it depends on the dog's temperament and where they are in their training. If the dog is trained to the highest levels, it shouldn't be an issue. If the dog is resilient, it shouldn't be an issue. If a dog is not well-trained for that exercise or not resilient, then maybe you don't stop them and you just tell yourself that your dog wasn't ready for what you just did and it's back to the drawing board (foundations, exposure, etc.).

      If you are a great handler, you can stop the dog with perfect timing -- as soon as they are off their mark, call them in, get them repositioned and send quickly and efficiently without emotion and it's usually not that big of a deal to the dog. It's the handlers that tentatively stop the dog or stop the dog too late, call them in, make a big deal about it, throw their hands in the air, yell or ask the dog why he is being so stupid that day, look back at their training partner and talk about how the dog never does this or whatever, stand there wondering what to do (dead time - not good), take a long time to reposition and then send the dog. It should be a drama-free situation, quick, efficient, no emotion and maintaining connection with the dog, which is easier said than done! Personally, I think doing this correctly -- great timing, efficiency, thinking on your feet -- is the hardest part of training regardless of the method you are using and one of the things that separates good from great trainers (I'm definitely not in the 'great trainer' camp, but I recognize this when I see it).

    12. #8
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      Sit nick sit, OVER. Vic

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    14. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by ZEKESMAN View Post
      Sit nick sit, OVER. Vic
      I think that was the gist of what Lardy said in the narration. Only, (because the dog was an FC, and because it was so horribly BLATANTLY egregious... ) I think he said something like... "if there was EVER a reason to correct a dog... that was it." (That's why it has stuck in my mind.)

      Personally, I think doing this correctly -- great timing, efficiency, thinking on your feet -- is the hardest part of training regardless of the method you are using and one of the things that separates good from great trainers

      Ugh! That's why I come home from training almost every time thinking... "I shoulda done this, or I'll never do that."

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    16. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      Ugh! That's why I come home from training almost every time thinking... "I shoulda done this, or I'll never do that."
      I'm telling you...video.

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