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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Back from Field Training Seminar in California

      Just got back from a two-day +R field training seminar down in California with Cassia Turcotte. I have trained with Cassia online and it was great seeing her and working with her in person. Her Chessies range from soft to insane and they all hunt in real life. They literally hunt for their meals and the dogs eat what they retrieve, so really, they have to be able to hunt early on and do it well. She also competes in hunt tests to the Master level with some of her dogs. She was so much fun to train with, a really great teacher and worked hard to instill confidence in everyone she worked with. She also encouraged us to push our dogs a little further than we were used to if she felt certain the dog could handle it.

      Dogs ranged from soft to fire breathing dragons and everything in between. We did a fun exercise that the trainer does at the beginning of all of her group training sessions, which was getting a small group together and then adding a few people with dokens, starter pistols and duck calls. They randomly throw a doken in the water to make a splash, fire the gun, use the duck call, etc. and we condition our dogs to sit during each of these occurrences and reinforce with whatever is most valuable to the dog. The more impulse control the dog has, the closer he was to the "chaos" and the less impulse control, the further away he was, with the goal being to be able to move closer and closer over time. She suggests that people take their dogs to hunt tests and do the same thing (obviously only if you can maintain control of your dog). I'm pretty sure that everyone had line manners issues to some degree, but by the second day, most of the dogs were under control. I had Linus off leash as he'd learned to hit the end of the leash and then bounce back to heel, so we just took the leash off and maintained connection. His heel was fine for Juniors so I never held him to strict criteria since I didn't think we'd try for Seniors until we were done with Juniors and, as we all know, line manners are boring and a total PIA to teach. Lesson learned. By the second day, I had a beautiful heel and attention to the water, which is HUGE for us since Linus is aroused by water retrieves.

      I haven't done much field work since we got our JH about a year ago. I meant to warm us both up in the months before the seminar, but it just didn't happen like I wanted it to. I was lucky enough to be able to get him back in decent shape after a long and unproductive winder. Despite hot rusty he was -- or rather, how rusty we both were -- we ran our first double at SH distance, well, second if you include the one time I did it with bumpers a couple months ago. This time, there were blinds, gun shots, duck calls and birds. He did them on land and water though he needed a little help with the memory bird on the water; it was a tough one. She ensured me that my dog was capable, and, what do you know, she was right. No breaking, nothing bad, just performed it like it was a totally normal every day thing that we do. I attribute it to the foundation work we have done and continue to do, especially in obedience. Another dog performed his first cold blind. And, there were a few other success stories as well. All in all, every dog performed well and had fun. Lots of really happy handlers and dogs this weekend. We had a good time and while it was hot, it was really a beautiful field out there in Suisun City.

      Linus wasn't the fanciest dog out there, but he's a straightforward, honest hard worker with a great balance of drive and composure plus a natural retrieve. He was not bothered by the heat or the completely different terrain and cover (pickle weed - never heard of it until this weekend!). I used Musher's Secret on his paws, which must've helped because his feet are sensitive and he never complained and his pads are in good shape. I was careful, of course, but this was a big change and I expected him to at least be bothered by it all. He had a great attitude all weekend and was super happy and did well in the hotel even though his doggie roommate was a snarky, bossy little bitch (and I mean bitch in both ways!).

      I highly recommend Cassia for anyone who is interested in alternative methods for teaching field work. I'll post photos and videos when I get them.

    2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Labradorks For This Useful Post:

      awackywabbit (07-19-2017), Tanya (07-19-2017), TuMicks (07-20-2017)

    3. #2
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      I will have to check out her training program. Thanks for sharing!
      Deep Run Traveling "Takoda" (12/05/12)

      Deep Run Easygoing Ezekiel "Zeke" (04/17/17)

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    4. #3
      Senior Dog
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      "His heel was fine for Juniors so I never held him to strict criteria since I didn't think we'd try for Seniors until we were done with Juniors and, as we all know, line manners are boring and a total PIA to teach."


      Tell me about it!! I'm doing 9 months of penance for not getting it done in the beginning.

      I'm interested in knowing how Cassie goes about teaching the dog to go out on blinds, stop on the whistle and handle using R+ methods. I am so glad I have Ram Jet Rocket Dog because she is so crazy to retrieve that once she's got the "dead bird" cue, she's revved up and ready to go. But she's not your usual dog. She loves doing yard drills that my other dog hated and just pigged her way through.

    5. #4
      Senior Dog
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      "His heel was fine for Juniors so I never held him to strict criteria since I didn't think we'd try for Seniors until we were done with Juniors and, as we all know, line manners are boring and a total PIA to teach."


      Tell me about it!! I'm doing 9 months of penance for not getting it done in the beginning.
      I think many of us are in the same boat to some degree. Linus' MO is just to walk to the line by himself and sit until released ("I can do it myself! I don't need you!"). So, I think I have it easier than you do!

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