Less force?

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Less force?

Postby Densa44 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:48 am

I've noticed that the older I get the less force I use on my dogs. Now to be fair it never was a whole lot to begin with. But in the days before e-collars some of the methods where way over the top (I trained a BLF) and I would use some of them on my dog.

Now with an e-collar, heel, steady, whoa are easy to teach and need very little stimulation. I'm now teaching sight blinds and although I've been taught "force to the pile" I'm using, as one member here calls it " The Amish method" I think it means no force. I'm getting great results, the dogs think that it is great fun, so I see no reason to change.

I'm a better trainer now than I was 50 years ago (wow that is a long time) the equipment is better, the instruction is better, and I think I'm in less of a hurry.

The biggest change in me is; I teach now and not test. I think the dogs are about the same.

Do others notice this or is it just me?
Pine Ridges Ginnieve NA 112 UT pz 1 200
Camridge's Sienna NA 112 UT pz 1 204
Foothill Joce NA 112
Czarina Vom Oberland VJP 70 NA pz 112
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Re: Less force?

Postby 3drahthaars » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:29 pm

x2 on most all counts.

I believe in the testing systems, but I've tested this dog the least of any.

I've backed off of "training", bumped up my hunting and when this pup was younger her exposure in the field and socialization.

I think that 15 years of judging helped me "mature", take the leap of faith in the system and the breeding that I selected, and most important RELAX and watch my latest pup develop and mature.

I constantly hear from new owners the same questions about the tests... none about actually hunting. Everyone's so caught up in the tests, scores, and they seem to get that breeding bug on the drive home with the 7wk old puppy.

Conversely, unlike my other three DDs I decided to just hunt this time around, VJP, take a hunting trip instead of HZP, and I am toying with a VGP to see if I can repeat and pass without a FF dog.

I think that it takes some of these guys a few dogs to grow up themselves. Some of the breeders never will because they are shackled to the testing system for the marketing value.

In summary, I feel that I've enjoyed this particular pup more, shot more birds, and bonded more closely than with my original 3DDs.

Good post!
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Re: Less force?

Postby NC-DD » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:56 pm

I am currently training my first dog so I can't speak to having used force to achieve a trained retrieve. With that being said, I have had very good results teaching a trained retrieve WITHOUT force. I was running ladders and sending my pup to the pile (50 yards) at about 5 months old with zero ear pinching or toe pulling. She has been happy with tail wagging through the entire process and seems to enjoy it. I plan to overlay some some low level stimulation as we move forward to solidify/tidy-up things but probably not until Spring. I do plan to test, so I guess we will see how the lack of force works for [or against] us.

As a first time owner/handler, I am looking forward to (and have had a lot of questions about ) testing next year. I do think that given my inexperience in training, the test provides some much needed structure and goals for us to work toward. Yes there are some things that are exclusive to testing, but I do think this preparation will set us up well for hunting after we finish our HZP next fall. It's human nature to want to compete and score well (3ds knows I'm a little type A), but I know my pup and I will have just as much fun hunting together throughout her life despite the scores.
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Re: Less force?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:43 pm

I am with you Densa. I am way more relaxed and patient with my current pup than my first GWP 30 years ago.

I am hunting my current pup with a good recall command taught to voice, whistle and ecollar tone. 95% of the time I use the ecollar tone only. I am allowing him to break and chase the flying bird when I flush off his points, in this his first season and will steady him to flush/wing this spring/summer. I want to develop his bird lust and search to the fullest as our highest priority at the moment. After my Wife, he is my best buddy and hunts well around me with just about zero handling and adjusts his range well to the cover conditions. Daily walks in bird cover all summer trained him with out "training" to keep track of me and he hunts the direction I walk until he scents birds and then leads me to them using his nose. He races to the falling birds, hunts dead well when asked, has recovered several running cripples and retrieves most birds within a step of me with no force retrieve training as yet. This morning's limit of roosters puts our wild bird count for the season thus far at 94 so we seem to be doing well with the approach. To complete his development as a waterfowl dog and blood tracking will require some formal training this summer, but for upland bird work all he really needs is more of the same - Hunting wild birds.

Most important we have a lot of fun.
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Re: Less force?

Postby randomnut » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:18 pm

Hardly any information here, yet lots of information. Great post!
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Re: Less force?

Postby woodboro » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:51 pm

Densa44 wrote:I'm a better trainer now than I was 50 years ago (wow that is a long time) the equipment is better, the instruction is better, and I think I'm in less of a hurry.

The biggest change in me is; I teach now and not test. I think the dogs are about the same.

Do others notice this or is it just me?

Less in a hurry always has better results.

Please explain to us what you mean by "I teach now and not test"
does that mean you do not train to test a dog in a field test , or does that mean you train to not test the dog to see if it mucks up ??????
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Re: Less force?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:00 pm

There are certain things I will never change in training. Force is one of them. I do it the same way I always have and that means enough force to get the job reliably done. The entire purpose of force is to have a sound building block you can return to if a problem develops later on. That will never change. Some people don't believe in that and I don't have a problem with it. Some go through a lifetime of dog's with never a problem or they are blind to the problems. I have never been one to settle. I want things done the way I want them done. So in the basics, there is NO compromise. In the advanced training there is because I no longer run the circuits and compete so there is no need for it.

To break it down, on the basics I will never compromise; I've worked too many problem dog's in my lifetime. In the advanced stuff I've become a tolerant old wuss, but I ALWAYS have my basics to fall back on should the need ever arise.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Less force?

Postby Doc E » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:33 pm

My wife and I describe ourselves as "Benevolent Dictators".

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Re: Less force?

Postby 3drahthaars » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:38 pm

NC-DD wrote:I am currently training my first dog so I can't speak to having used force to achieve a trained retrieve. With that being said, I have had very good results teaching a trained retrieve WITHOUT force. I was running ladders and sending my pup to the pile (50 yards) at about 5 months old with zero ear pinching or toe pulling. She has been happy with tail wagging through the entire process and seems to enjoy it. I plan to overlay some some low level stimulation as we move forward to solidify/tidy-up things but probably not until Spring. I do plan to test, so I guess we will see how the lack of force works for [or against] us.

As a first time owner/handler, I am looking forward to (and have had a lot of questions about ) testing next year. I do think that given my inexperience in training, the test provides some much needed structure and goals for us to work toward. Yes there are some things that are exclusive to testing, but I do think this preparation will set us up well for hunting after we finish our HZP next fall. It's human nature to want to compete and score well (3ds knows I'm a little type A), but I know my pup and I will have just as much fun hunting together throughout her life despite the scores.


I've seen tested dogs with less game shot over them than Bree... you're/she's doing great.

And, a "little type A" you say? :wink:
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Re: Less force?

Postby hicntry » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:40 am

One of the better discussions. Doc has an interesting way of putting it....benevolent dictators. I like that. I am more of a partner with Tucco. He challenges me at every turn to maintain the position that he values....but he also knows when it isn't a good idea. I don't expect perfection out of him....but.....I expect to know him well enough to also know when I am not going to get it. Someone posted a thread on that recently.
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