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  • Results 1 to 9 of 9
    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Define "steady".

      Is "STEADY" a dog that stays at your side, quietly? Or is it a motionless dog. I have the former, not the latter. I cannot stop her from flinching when the winger goes off. Everything else is going great.

    2. #2
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      Does she move her feet or just flinch? In Obedience only the foot motion would be a problem ... can’t speak for FT though.
      Annette

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    3. #3
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      Even in obedience Linus will twitch a little when I throw the dumb bell or before a go out or when he's getting ready for the broad jump. He does not move his feet. It's mostly muscle twitching. For field work, he definitely muscle twitches and jerks when things are happening, but no foot movement. I'm happy with all of this.

      I guess to answer your question, you'd have to see other dogs and what qualifies and then develop your own criteria. I know that, say, in practice I have to have strict criteria and in a trial or test situation, things are going to get loose because he is excited or stressed or feeding off my stress. So, if I can get perfect in practice and have at least 80% in test or trial, I am happy.

    4. #4
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      So, I hear what you're saying. She is naturally going to get way looser in the real HT.

      I have quite a long way to go. Right now, I am only having a winger throw a bumper, with as little other distractors as possible. No quack. No pop. No real duck, only plastic. For sure, no live flier. I'm not even setting the winger to have a long hang time. There are a lot of steps to go from here.

      I made a couple of videos tonight in the back yard.

      In this first one, you see her "flinch". She then takes a couple of steps back to her heel position. Is it "happy feet?" Or is it her awareness that she has jumped out of position? (The bumper is landing only 15-20 feet in front of her, so it's pretty tantalizing for her. But out backyard is not that big, so it is what it is.) You'll notice that after backing up, she's very still and focused.

      Flinch #1 - YouTube

      In this next one, she seems better.

      Flinch #2 - YouTube

      But in neither video does she seem (to me, anyhow) to show any intent to leave before she's sent.

      I know it would not be acceptable in the Ob ring, but as I understand it, judges in HT's are looking at line-manners and team work. So, if we are working as a team, and she's not acting crazy (IOW, if her behavior is worthy as a good hunting companion) then she'll be scored well in "trainability".

      But that's the issue, isn't it? Are we working as a team? Is this "flinch" something I need to work hard to suppress? I just don't know.

    5. #5
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      I volunteer for at least two hunt tests per year and am usually at the line and watching the dogs right up there with the judges as my role typically dictates this position. This is nothing compared to what I usually see in seniors and masters. To me this looks like she wants to go and is working hard not to, which I think is what happy feet are anyway, technically speaking.

    6. #6
      Senior Dog
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      In May, this dog was flat out breaking on me. Creeping out 6 feet on the first bird, then breaking on the second. I have video from May or June of her screaming, yipping, whining and yipping because she had to wait for the send.

      My sense is she's trying sooooo much harder and is really way more attuned to me than she was. But we have a long way to go. I'll be adding the quacker at some point. I'll be adding blanks. I'll be adding a real (dead) duck at some point. Either of these steps could easily take months. Then I gotta try live fliers again, and THEN maybe get back to doing multiples.

      She was handling for me very nicely in the park today. Which was a surprise because we've done very little of that.

      Appreciate any advice anyone can offer.

    7. #7
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      IRISHWISTLER's Avatar
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      I am a strong advocate of initiating training to steady a retriever starting early on, not so as to impede drive, but rather to build and to control it. So many inexperienced trainers throw numerous meaningless single marks while the dog is at their side and let them make retrieve after retrieve to near exhaustion, all the while demanding little in regard to the proper mechanics of the retrieve. Little emphasis is placed on steadiness, actual marking with marks thrown from remote locations, delaying before sending for random durations of time, and proper delivery to hand upon return. In essence, all of the elements that should be emphasized are ignored just to see the dog making meaningless and poorly constructed retrieves.

      Shortly after I have a pup interested in retrieving, I change the game and work begins on steadiness by allowing the dog to visualize marks from a place board whilst not being sent on the high percentage of them. Rather, the pup is steadied and may get to retrieve two or three of twenty marks thrown. The steadying process is designed to build both steadiness and desire simultaneously, beginning trainers often mistakenly view one being mutually exclusive of the other, NOT the case.

      Steadiness work is often conducted by meself with the pup is on a place board and on a check cord. Bumpers and / or birds are thrown remotely at a moderate distance whilst the pup is steadied and verbally reinforced for remaining so. Several marks thrown and picked up by the thrower, the pup gets rewarded by a retrieve at random intervals with proper mechanics of retrieve stressed - proper return to the place board to sit at heel and delivery to hand after some delay upon return. HOLD of bird is expected until the GIVE command is issued. The retrieve, verbal praise, and physical touch are all used as rewards for steadiness and a proper retrieve executed.

      I often have an assistant restrain the pup on the place board with a check cord and throw retrieves directly toward the retriever pup with them landing mere feet in front of of him / her. Again, the retriever is allowed to pick up ONLY those sent on at random intervals.

      I can put my gun dog TRAD at remote stay and throw numerous bumpers landing inches away from him, recall him without him attempting to pick up any, and send him back to pick up every bumper in the resulting pile one at a time. I still repeat this drill frequently with him as frequent drill on good habits builds dependability.

      I was topside on a ferry boat on return from a hunt test with TRAD sitting on bench at my side as a live pigeon walked by us on the deck within two feet of TRAD as he visually tracked every step the bird made. Several people on board were watching and expecting him to pounce on the bird which he did not. I stated to the onlookers "ye have no idea how badly he wants to make a retrieve of that bird right now - but he will NOT do so unless commanded to. They were amazed. THAT in me own book is what I consider steadiness. T'is also a building block for a retriever to HONOR another dog's work.

      I conduct lots of work with the use of live birds.

      Just food for thought.

      Cheers,
      Irishwhistler
      Last edited by IRISHWISTLER; 09-11-2017 at 10:48 AM.
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    9. #8
      Real Retriever
      Anna Scott's Avatar
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      Canadian hunt test rules define Steadiness the following way " Dogs on the line sometimes make various types of movement when game is in the air (and/or when it is shot). These movements may be interpreted as efforts by the dogs to improve their view of the fall, and some occur through sheer excitement. Except for an occasional change in position in order to see a fall, all such movement could be viewed as unsteadiness - with trainability scored depending on the test being judged and the extent and frequency of the unsteadiness. The requirement of steadiness is a very important factor in evaluating the trainability of a retriever.
      The field trial rules and the working certificate rules give little more latitude but in all cases the dog is assessed a penalty.

    10. #9
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      I think you would like Cassia Turcotte a lot. She is a wonderful person and a successful and supportive trainer who sincerely cares for and advocates for the dogs. She is not like the dog school in Denver at all (I have been to their seminar) just so you know. Not that there is anything wrong with them, just not at her level as a trainer. She does hunt in real life -- her dogs eat what they retrieve (she and her family are farmers) so she depends on their success -- but she also trains to the master level. In the classes I have taken with her, there have been plenty of high roller black Labs with novice trainers, much less experienced than you are, who have succeeded under her direction. Until I went to her seminar in CA this summer and learned more about her, I thought she was training and titling dogs just at the JH level using new techniques but I was wrong as she competes in masters as do her clients. She doesn't really talk about what she's done and what she's doing, which I think is unfortunate, but from spending time with her, I believe that she just doesn't give a sh!t about the ego game. Oh, and she is pretty funny, too. I had such a great time working with her this summer. At one point, I was on the line for a double water retrieve and my dog wasn't sitting quite right. What I didn't realize is that he was sitting on a stick, or trying to. She said, "There is literally a stick up your dog's ass right now, so let's go ahead and move him up a little." I might have it on video. We were all DYING laughing except for my dog who wanted to get the show on the road.

      She is running a new class next month called INSTINCT GAMES - LEADERSHIP IN DRIVE. Here is the link. It might be of interest to you. Here is the course write-up.

      This course is designed to offer a unique look at how to harness our dogs’ innate tendencies. Natural instincts and drives are necessary for success in both dog sports and surviving life in general.

      However, how do we maintain a significant connection in a high state of arousal when competing with instinctual abilities? And conversely, how do we bring forth and expand upon a softer dogs’ natural skills? How do we teach them when to listen to us and when to listen to themselves?

      ‘Instinct Games - Leadership in Drive’ is a course designed to teach connection in action, in the disguise of fun games. These games can be adjusted across a wide range of difficulty to meet the needs of various levels of teams. Let’s make sports feel like the ‘play’ they should be.

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