E-collar and duck search

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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby booger » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:30 am

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:She's not having fun. Why should she search for something for no reward? Make it fun. Let her GET THE DUCKS. Once she's a duck-a-holic you can start long searches. Do it too soon and you'll take the desire out of her. I've given you the two things she needs: Love of water and love of birds. You instill that, she'll pretty much do the rest.


She likes the water just fine and loves birds. I typically have dead ducks for situations like this, but just didn't this time. She's probably retrieved somewhere close to 50 ducks (training and wild) and likes them so much that if you leave the ducks near her in the boat and stop paying attention she'll start eating them.

Out in the kayak I was probably only 15 yards from both ducks, she just wouldn't try and find them any more than a very short distance, and that was with no pressure, all kinds of encouragement. And she was sniffing around a bunch, just close.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby ryanr » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:32 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:She's not having fun. Why should she search for something for no reward? Make it fun. Let her GET THE DUCKS. Once she's a duck-a-holic you can start long searches. Do it too soon and you'll take the desire out of her. I've given you the two things she needs: Love of water and love of birds. You instill that, she'll pretty much do the rest.


Exactly. We may have different methods of reaching it but I think with the exception of one or two commenting here, we all agree that the dog needs to find success every time. It has to believe that every time it goes out, there is a duck to find. And you don't instill that belief by having the dog occasionally come up empty-handed.

Booger, how far out, approximately are your ducks from the send point? And how far apart are they? Also I don't know if you did this but consider dragging one or both of the ducks from the send point to the release point to give your dog a scent trail to follow across the water. Try to make sure too that at least one of the ducks is released somewhere so the dog is likely to come across it downwind, hopefully it will then use its nose to find the duck. You might want to start closer to ensure success then build from there once you know you've lit the fire.

And if she gets into a chase DO NOT let her lose the duck, get in your kayak and go shoot the duck for her. Reward that effort, it's important and she'll get fired up.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby booger » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:51 pm

ryanr wrote:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote:She's not having fun. Why should she search for something for no reward? Make it fun. Let her GET THE DUCKS. Once she's a duck-a-holic you can start long searches. Do it too soon and you'll take the desire out of her. I've given you the two things she needs: Love of water and love of birds. You instill that, she'll pretty much do the rest.


Exactly. We may have different methods of reaching it but I think with the exception of one or two commenting here, we all agree that the dog needs to find success every time. It has to believe that every time it goes out, there is a duck to find. And you don't instill that belief by having the dog occasionally come up empty-handed.

Booger, how far out, approximately are your ducks from the send point? And how far apart are they? Also I don't know if you did this but consider dragging one or both of the ducks from the send point to the release point to give your dog a scent trail to follow across the water. Try to make sure too that at least one of the ducks is released somewhere so the dog is likely to come across it downwind, hopefully it will then use its nose to find the duck. You might want to start closer to ensure success then build from there once you know you've lit the fire.

And if she gets into a chase DO NOT let her lose the duck, get in your kayak and go shoot the duck for her. Reward that effort, it's important and she'll get fired up.


I REALLY did not think she'd end up without a bird, I had a lot of confidence in her. She's found birds in those spots before.

The ducks were about 90 and 110 yards from shore, very close to the other side of the pond. Like I said she went to the other side last time and came close this time. Last year we did most of our duck searches at this pond where she was doing pretty good (we started short and worked out further which she was progressing really well at). The birds were about 30 yards apart on both sides of a narrowing channel, when I went in with my kayak I was in the channel and the birds were likely 15 yards away from me. She just wasn't looking good enough.

I'll likely back up with about 6-12 ducks out next time at varying ranges and a guy in a kayak about 120 yards away at a different pond with a throw duck.

We've had her chase and shot ducks for her before and will again if that situation arises, but she's done that before. We've dragged ducks from shore before and might again. I'm considering sending her with a shot, but she usually does fine without one.

I'm not testing this year, so I might just stop with duck search and go harder with hand signals.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:11 pm

Simplify, simplify, simplify. 100 yards is a long was for a dog to go that's having trouble. Halve the distance.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby booger » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:49 pm

Yeah its that time of year where my dog is feeling the effects of the heat. Out doing field work today she sprinted out today like normal and then slowed down to a walk with her tongue out the rest of the time. This really confirms my belief that she got gassed doing duck search. Happened to another draht today in the field that's in better shape too. And the same day I did that last duck search a dog who's done very well did the worst he's done in over a year according to his owner (at duck search).

I'll still simplify, but I do think that was the issue.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:44 am

A duck search is taxing on any dog and particularly so for one that's not engaged. Doesn't sound like yours is engaged. You build confidence by having the dog succeed and best way for success is by throwing short marks, dead or alive ducks or pigeons or such. Might benefit if you put the dog up for awhile and do some yard play. Too much pressure is demoralizing for your dog!
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Densa44 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:26 am

I had no idea when I started this post that it would go 7 pages. I'll try to help. Keep it short and simple;
Don't handle your dog on a search, ever.
Use marks to get them across big water
Take off all the collars for water work.
Don't bore your dog, when she gets it quit.
After the UT do what ever you want.

Listen to Bruce

FUN for you and the dog!
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Kiger2 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:43 pm

Ryan,
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Wanted you to have some feeling of success. But the fact is my comments on your post were exactly right. You made no mention of giving a known command. Remember lots of people following along , you shouldn't be giving unclear advice.

Second, Unless you TRAINED the dog go back by grabbing its collar and forcing it out, it is likely also to have an adverse effect.

No one should be using force to get the dog to go back out without being very well conditioned through training on the command.

Third. Yes we want the dog to consistently find a bird or bumper when we send them. But once again, meridiandaves case, the objective was met. He sent the dog, and the dog found the bird. That is all thats required for the dog to understand the concept that I am the Zen master of hunting. IK sent you to a get a bird and sure enough there was a bird there. If the dog is getting the vast majority of birds when its sent. Thats the objective. Once again, if your hunting and your dog doesn't find then bird you sent him on, do you need a new dog????

Goonehuntin,
Good post. Simplify!!!!

And as you also said, teach the command and concept on land. Then move to water.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby ryanr » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:17 pm

Actually I did. Was the dog initially sent on a known command? Use the same friggin' command and make sure the dog goes back out, however you want to go about it. THAT is the important part. Every time the dog goes out it needs to find a duck, and if it doesn't it's your job as the handler to make sure it does. Otherwise, all you taught the dog is sometimes you don't find a duck doing this. The few times I do duck search I make darn sure that dog gets a duck, is resent and gets another duck. Anything less is half-assed and the results show.

I highly recommend this handler read the article in the June edition of Versatile Hunting Dog on planning to train for the UT and pay close attention to the author's comments on duck search. It gives an idea on how to best go about it.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Kiger2 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:58 pm

For those lurkers Ill give some additional input.

Use your brain.

We have to be careful about "absolutes". Retrievers cant hunt upland, dont throw marks while FF, and the dog always has to get a bird in its mouth, etc....

In general when teaching blinds and or search, yes we want the dog to be successful so it builds trust in what we are telling them. But do we ruin a dog if it doesn't get a bird in its mouth every time? The concept we are teaching is that we know theres a bird out there to be retrieved and the dog should trust us. Once again , in Meridiandaves case, the goal was accomplished. He sent the dog to find a bird and it found one.Case closed. the dog doesn't think well i didn't get a bird in m mount so Daves an idiot. It might actually have some benefit to teach the dog to keep hunting.

Second and really whats more important is that the dog will not be successful on every retrieve when hunting. If not getting ONE bird will ruin it for life then you have a bigger problem. So the goal is to be a good trainer. Try and make sure the dog is successful, but if it isn't, its not the end of the world. Be a trainer, look at what happened and evaluate. If your worried that the dog didn't find a bird, break it back down to something simpler and give it some easier finds.



Ryans come a long way but he's wrong on this one.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby booger » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:57 am

Just an update: I ended up doing duck search a couple more times and think I'm going to be done. We were doing a retrieving drill next to where some geese had been (I kicked them out). After we were done I gave her some freedom, she decided to go over to the goose scent and decided to swim across the pond to where the geese looked to have went. I let her go and she must have been at least 150 yards out, it was getting late and time to go so I called her back in, but I was impressed she'd go chase them that far.

One big difference from last year was not laying down scent from the kayak/shore to where the bird was.

The same situations happened as before (poor search) and we went out with the kayak to get her going and it helped, but I still think she should be past that. The last time out we had a launcher that made duck noises and launched live birds to help get the dogs out further, that seemed to help but lead to some chasing. On one particular chase the duck started diving and I feared we'd lose the duck, it came up 5 feet from the kayak and I decided to shoot it. Took the head clean off, it flew a few feet as well. To my surprise my dog went directly for the head. So I picked up the body and paddled back. :lol:

Also when the duck launched, she followed the duck but then winded the launcher and broke off chasing the duck to check out the launcher. These last 2 things make me think my dog is at least half retarded.


To be clear this whole not doing a thorough enough search was something that happened on land as well with thrown bumpers. It got better with a bunch of work but still pops up from time to time. I believe it to be a lack of drive/boldness/independence/resolve. I believe this to be related to her confidence issues and I believe this to be something she was born with. Perfect example: we'll be in the house, I let her have some freedom to walk around, she'll look at me and bow her head like she's done something wrong, I've done nothing to give her that impression. This isn't after any training or punishment, this is her natural reaction to....nothing.


Anyways, I'm going to work on retrieving drills and stop with duck search.
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:27 pm

Thanks for the update. Seems like now you get to concentrate on just having fun with your dog. Not a bad solution
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby booger » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:35 pm

She's actually been taking some hand signals in water pretty decent. I still have a lot of work and need to wean off the sight cue crutch on these.

Did a couple long marked retrieves in water. The first she wanted to turn around at about throwing bumper range, I gave a whistle and back and she went the rest of the way, must have been at least 100 yards. Did 2 more and the 2nd didn't need any command, the 3rd I started her from a set spot and gave her an over command and she did perfect.

Its funny in the NAVHDA world and the guys that don't duck hunt. "So is there a situation in which you'd be 100 yards away from your dog and you'd want to give them a command?" :lol: Um, yeah. Do you duck hunt? Typical answer is "not very much".
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Re: E-collar and duck search

Postby Densa44 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:06 am

Just an update folks. She is hitting the water with a splash on the search, no pressure but lots of practice. I'm using dead ducks now because I have lots and she doesn't seem to mind. I'll give her some live ones next week. I'll make sure that she'll pick up a live duck in the water. I'm pretty sure she will find the duck in the search and I don't want her blinking it.
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