Setting the conditions for training

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Setting the conditions for training

Postby bigmike86 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:37 am

So my guy is still young, but when doing our general obedience training I wonder how I am going to best set up our training environment to let him know that we are now "training" and not playing. Do you guys have any tips for that? I am planning to start whoa pole in a month and want to make sure that I can clearly communicate to the dog that we are working. I guess to sum up my question I would say what behavior/actions could I exhibit/take before and during training to let Ollie know we are learning and to set him up for success, i.e. short walk before hand to burn energy, same place every time, same jacket/hat, etc.

Thanks for the help
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby DesertPP » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:06 am

To paraphrase Cindi Lauper; Dogs just want to have fun. They don't care about learning or working.

Stay up beat and keep your time in the field positive. Making sure that your dog is getting some of what he wants out of each session and finish on a positive never a negative. As long as your dog is having a good time he'll be excited about going. Don't worry about special cues, just the normal routine of loading up and getting ready will be enough to tell him that you are heading out to have fun.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
-Will Rogers
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby DK dreams » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:03 am

I wouldn't concentrate on this aspect - can make for unnecessary stress/pressure

Once you begin holding him responsible for his actions he will get the message
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby blue04 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:45 am

I don't think there's anything special that needs to be done in terms of cues. With very young dogs, I try to keep the distractions to a minimum. I usually start teaching new skills in my garage with the doors closed. This gets us in a situation where there's not much for the dog to focus on except me. Once I think the pup has a basic understanding of the particular skill I'm teaching, I'll move outside and start doing some repetitions.

Regardless of when/where I'm training, with very young dogs I think it's important to keep the training fun. If the dog thinks it's playing, it will learn faster and have a much better attitude toward the training.

Good luck!
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby Kiger2 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:52 pm

Different take for me,
I start them on what I call "catholic school" . Discipline. Does not mean hitting or abuse but school has started and the rules will be enforced. I like to keep things in the same place for basic obedience. Dogs are very place oriented and I dont need to have bad things happen in the field. We can learn our lessons in the yard and when we have several things we are performing correctly, transition to different locations such as parks or playgrounds and eventually the field. By that time if we make a correction they will understand why and what they are being corrected for. They still get their fun times in the field we just dont ask for something they are not performing in the yard.
Dogs love the structure and thrive on learning the rules.

Aspects of training can be fun for the dog but ultimately they have to perform regardless of whether its fun for them or not. Dogs do not do things to please us, they do things that please themselves. Training is conditioning the correct response so that performing what we want becomes fun for them and they get their reward. An excellent example is watching a retriever swim 300 yards on a blind like it was HIS idea and not yours.
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby blue04 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:27 pm

Kiger2: I don't disagree with your approach, but it depends on the age of the pup. Up to 6 or 7 months, I really don't do much correcting. I do teach obedience to pups under 6 months, but I don't generally use harsh corrections on pups that age. I believe too many corrections at too young an age can make dogs timid and unsure later in life. Up till about 6 months, I just try to let them be puppies as much as I can. I will correct for some things (jumping, biting, etc.), but it's usually not too harsh. After about 6 months of age, I start introducing real corrections.
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby Kiger2 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:09 pm

blue,

I mostly work retrievers so dont have to worry about pampering them. When they get to 4 to 5 months of age they generally figure out I cant catch them and start playing keep away etc... Its time for OB to start. It is not abusive at all, but it is firm and strict. In fact jumping on me delievers far more correction than they get with the e-collar.Work starts with leash and check cord and we transition to the e-collar at each command when they show understanding. Introduce distractions and continue repititions to condition the response. Start in the yard or driveway and work there until they respond appropriately then transfer to the field so they learn they have to comply everywhere.

By the time their teeth are in and they are ready fro FF they already have a good understanding of pressure and compliance which I believe leads to easier comprehension of FF. They still get happy time in the field during the process I am just careful about what we ask of them.

I have done a gsp or two and a few other pointer type dogs. They respond fine to the same treatment. Waiting until they are 6 or 7 months seems like wasting valuable time. With the weim I have (she was extremely shy) I did OB , FF and gun conditioning before we worked on birds. she actually was more confident and bold after the OB than before.And when we did shoot birds for her, I knew exactly what was going to happen when she went to retrieve and can correct her for any transgressions during the retrieve. Now I can comfortably and with confidence take her hunting and let her figure out the pointing thing. I dont need her to hunt or point, if she never does i dont really care, I have my golden for chukar hunting. But she is useful, she will retrieve and deliever to hand any thing she sees shot. If she gets enough exposure Im sure shell find her "point". The point is she learned all that early on and in the yard. when we had problems she did not associate them with the field.
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby blue04 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:57 pm

Kiger: I think we're more or less on the same page. Every dog is different, and I generally let the dog tell me they're ready for corrections. I don't want to give the impression that I'm watching a calendar and only do certain things at certain ages. The 6 to 7 months thing is just an estimate. I've had dogs that I started on the e-collar at 4 months, and I've had dogs that didn't get collar conditioned until 8 months. Some dogs do better with voice corrections, some do better with check-cord corrections, some do better with e-collar corrections. I try to match my timing and methods to what I think that specific dog needs at the time.
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Re: Setting the conditions for training

Postby bigmike86 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:08 pm

Thanks for the tips. Ollie is a very smart puppy and I have to keep reminding myself of how young he is! He has moments of genius and then moments of puppyness and its hard for me to not want to advance him quicker than I should...I am so eager for him to be the best gun dog ever.

Also it doesn't help that I am nervous about our DK Derby test in april. I feel like there are so many things to train for and so little time! But I will play it by ear, make sure we have fun, and try my best not to rush him.
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