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    1. #1
      Best Friend Retriever
      Anna Scott's Avatar
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      training yesterday

      Yesterday we had a fairly large group out to train and they were somewhat disorganized as the person who was supposed to bring the birds and equipment was an hour and a half late. To fill in the time one of the field trialers in the group ( there were 4 of us ) set out an all age open blind at 440 yds. Of course because it was there everyone thought they should try it. I know it was training but I am not sure what any of the 8 hunt test dogs got from the experience other than frustration and some very bad habits. There were a great many factors in this blind that dogs at the senior level needed to be helped with. Not one of them did so. The first obstacle was a patch of heavy cover along a fence line, once through it the dog either faded to right into a bushy area or left into the wide open spaces. If they got them through the cover and back on line the dog then had to pass a rock stone pile which pushed them left and then cross a road ( some once they hit the road wanted to run down it) . Once across the road the line carried between two more rock piles and then into a wide open area. I know dogs need to be advanced but they also need to be taught certain skills. The number of cast refusals and slipped whistles was high. Many of the dogs once they managed to get across the road total ignored the handlers and simply hunted their way back to the blind. One handler having trouble with momentum refused any help from some very experienced people and completely confused her dog with ill timed nicks. One comment I heard from the wife of a handler made me take note. She does not run a dog and her wisdom came through when she said are these people here to train or are they just trying to show off.
      I am as guilty as the next of thinking my dog is ready for a challenge when perhaps more teaching is needed. I did keep my ego in check and only ran my old girl. The young one needs decheating and much more before she will run a blind of that length with that many factors, including a raw wind and great fluffy snow flakes.

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
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      What an excellent post.

      You bring up so many good points. First: Why do people push their dogs? I think ego is part of it and impatience the other. Everyone wants to have the youngest dog getting an orange ribbon in the Masters Stake. (Maybe if Entry Express did not list the dog's birth date, that would abate somewhat. Maybe not.)

      Second: People have to understand their game and respect it. I believe my 7 year old dog couldn't do a 400 yard blind on her best day and it would have been stupid to try to train her to do it. I think Rocket Dog would LOVE, LOVE LOVE to work on long blinds. Hoo-HAH!!! By that I mean, I think I could begin stretching her out and slowly introducing more and more factors. She would be a lining fool, given the chance.

      But therein lies the secret. Rocket Dog is in the HT game and lining is less of a big deal, whereas quick, exquisitely precise handling is absolutely necessary at the highest levels (Master National quality.) All the factors, all the suction and sudden-death-long-walk-of-shame dangers are going to be within 200 (maybe 250) or so yards of the line. So, that's how we roll.

      But wow... putting pressure on the dog to do something you have not worked on with him/her... not good. I don't know if you've ever watched Mike Lardy's Total Retriever Training, but he has an excellent segment of it where he ran a FC on a triple with two retired guns. The dog went for the memory bird, gave a cursory hunt and turned toward the bird he'd just picked up. I think Lardy called it a "flagrant violation" or something like that. He came down hard on the dog with a big whistle, and some burn, and explained to the camera that for THIS DOG such a switch was a major felony. The dog knew exactly what he was getting burned for. Then I think he handled the dog to the bird.

      On the other hand, another dog went for the bird he'd just picked up because the roll of the ground was such that by giving in to the factor (downhill slope) it pushed him into the old fall. That was confusion. No burn. Just handled to the mark.

      Then there is the issue of letting the dogs get away with stuff (ignoring a whistle) and NOT dealing with it appropriately. But their dogs shouldn't have been put in a position where they where this was a near certainty. It's like refusing to allow your dog a chance to succeed. We ran a blind yesterday that was totally counter-intuitive for Rocket Dog. She had just picked up some blinds in the field on one side of the road. Then I turned her around, had her run up the embankment and onto the road, to cross it on an angle (ideally) and then take an acute angle to the blind some 100 yds away. Well... she got in the middle of the road and you could tell she was totally perplexed. I'm sure she thought I'd lost my mind. But I just moved up on her and helped her. I didn't try to burn her across the road, down the embankment and into the next field.

      I concur with what you did with your youngster. You had nothing to gain leaving her on the truck, and a lot to lose.

    3. #3
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      We have the Lardy tapes and the training we do is based on his methods. When we first started with Bill and Don they made us leave the transmitter on a chair behind the line. Bill made us stop and think about what we saw the dog do that was wrong and then why the dog acted in that manner. Many times it was because the dog had not been taught what the expected behaviour was. We then had to decide how to correct the problem through teaching. Boy he could be tough on us but the dogs were the winners.
      Learning to give that correction at the exact right time is not easy. The dog in the first instance on the Lardy tape had been taught don't return to an area of an old fall or you will pay the price. You can't just light him up for making a mistake if he hasn't been taught as with the young dog in the second instance. We have very steep hills in one field and I know why the dogs want to square them going up or fall down them running across them.
      Roads are another tricky factor. I have seen young dogs come to a road and stop dead, as if they have hit a wall. What do we teach them, don't go near the road for safety's sake and now we expect them to cross a road in training or a test. One of the areas we hold a field trial in is a large dyked marsh. A judge wanted to do what he called a balanced blind. He put one blind in the water parallel to the right hand side of the dyke and another on land angling down the road on the dyke. The dogs did a good job on the water blind but the land blind ate them up. They had been taught not to run down a road and that is what the first part of this land blind ask them to do. Most wanted to get into the water on the left side of the dyke and so handlers were in the situation of short stop whistles or having to handle out of the water and back onto the road. I guess he got his answers but there were a lot of cranky handlers.

    4. #4
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      Cool... so you know the segment of TRT that I was referring to. Too bad the people who were sitting on the burn-button hadn't bought and watched the DVD's!

      Oh, yeah. You can tell when you have an evil () judge because he'll have that test where the dog that swims past the point (like a good young dog who learned his swim-by lessons and has been de-cheated) gets into bad suction or swims off into no-man's-land... and the dog that gets up on the point avoids all the bad stuff and runs straight to the mark/blind. (Ergh! You want to take out a contract on those judges, don't you!??)

      Do you think that obedience trainers have the same type of evil judges? Or are their trials more stereotypical? I sort of think they operate in a different world. Competitive, but still against a strict standard. (Same sized ring each time, retrieve over high bar, over low, directed to one of three objects... similar heeling patterns each time...) For the field sports, you never know what you'll see.

    5. #5
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      I concur with what you did with your youngster. You had nothing to gain leaving her on the truck, and a lot to lose.


      ​I think I said the exact opposite of what I meant.

    6. #6
      Best Friend Retriever
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      I only know one obedience judge that did things a little differently. She was notorious for setting the high jump and the broad jump on a diagonal. There were a few dogs that found this intimidating as usually these were against a curtain or wall without a great deal of space on either side. I don't know the AKC rules but the CKC rules now are that the judges can start with any exercise and any order of exercises. They wanted to get away from the dogs knowing the routine order.
      We haven't been in the obedience ring in awhile. Chant used to kill me. She would do really well on the exercises and I would think we were in the clear and she would then go down on the long out of sight sits. We may try again now that she can compete as a senior but it is trying to find the time to get the practice in . We also go nailed for the come in as she always wanted to do an automatic finish.

      I knew what you meant nothing to gain by trying to make her do something that was over her head but a lot to lose by getting into to ping pong and struggles that I saw others having.

    7. #7
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      Ah, yes. The automatic finish. I put CD's on 3 dogs long ago, one had Open AA points, the other 2 were MH's. We scraped by without those points in the Ob. ring.

      I find I'm consumed by just training regularly for HT's. I don't think I could do more than the one sport. Now, however, I'm retired and perhaps the Ob. ring would be fun to do if we ever got a severe Sierra winter. HA!!! I can just see Rocket Dog trying to contain her energy to the confines of the ring. It would be amusing.

    8. #8
      Best Friend Retriever
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      Today was finally a nice one even if the wind was still a little cold. It was busy around here. When we bought the property it was with the clear intentions to make the "dog people " welcome. Spring is here and they are starting to come out to play. Today we had a fellow with a 5 month old pudelpointer that he is just starting to steady on point. He brought some chucars and did his thing. Another friend wants to turkey hunt so he brought his son in law out to pattern their shot guns. They had a field. The other group were field trailers getting ready to go to a trial in Michigan so they wanted to run the hills. I was supposed to join them but had an afternoon commitment introducing a group to WC work. I did get to watch and visit for a while. They set up what I would consider to be contrary marks. They started with an indented retired that was thrown up hill (Left to right), then a long mark that the dog had to run through the valley to (down hill right to left) and the third was the shorter go bird which was thrown to collapse against the retired ( right to left). It was a challenging set up with the dogs falling down hill or splitting the go bird and the retired gun. They tended to get high on the hill and then have to hunt their way back to the retired gun, getting behind it and then down low on the hill and hunting back up. We may try the same set up tomorrow for the older dogs but I hate hiking up those hills. That is for the young folks, which our group aren't.

    9. #9
      Best Friend Retriever
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      Rocket dog sounds like M. I took her into the obedience club today and she was so hyped. You knew exactly where she had walked (run) because her feet were sweating and she left tracks. It was her first time in the building and she wanted to see everything!

    10. #10
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      Were the trial dogs ready for that set up? Were they training or testing? Maybe they had those concepts down and were just proofing their dogs prior to a FT?

      When you go train with the Ob. people, do they let you have your e-collar on your dog? It's been 20 years since I tried to play with the dog training club in our town and I'm sure I'd have to resuscitate them if I had walked my dog in with her e-collar on. They didn't even like people snapping a lead or raising their voice. Heck... I don't think I could get more than 5 feet if I had treats on my person. RD would have me on the ground going through my pockets before we could get in the building.

      It would be amusing to try, however.

      BTW: RD taught herself to sit up on her hind legs and beg for a treat. I told to NEVER do that around my HT buddies. I'd be laughed off the grounds.

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