The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Pointing, retrieving, flushing, tracking, behavioral issues, puppy training, etc.

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby AlaskaMagnum » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:28 pm

PL_Guy wrote:
AverageGuy wrote:...
Jere, interesting comment. I am a newbie compared to some on using Marker/Treat training but one of the benefits I see with it is the ability to shape a puppy's behavior at an earlier age with no pressure. I wait until after a puppy's first hunting season to steady it to wing and shot on upland birds. And I do not undertake FF in the middle of hunting season so the practical of that is it most often has been done after the first hunting season as well. But I absolutely push my puppies ASAP in exposing them and hunting them on wild game. Doves open first where I live and their ages have ranged from 5 to 7 months, then teal, early duck, prairie grouse, quail, pheasants, waterfowl ... Having done proper introductions of gun, birds, water, decoys and daily exposure to terrain has allowed my puppies to have excellent first seasons as I just described.

Not sure how that relates to your observation of bringing them along too fast?

...


Allow me to wax hyperbolic for a moment (exaggerate that is) I'm thinking more of the folks who want an all-age dog at the age of 1 year, SWSF at 9 months etc. You're probably doing just fine. I especially like your approach to the first season - as long as your expectations don't exceed prior preparation. For upland, it is my firm belief that the dog learns more of value to future hunting success out there learning about birds, environment, etc. than any amount of time spent in the "yard" at the same period of life. A totally obedient dog that can't find birds is of little use to me!

Be careful with that Marker/Treat stuff. For me it wasn't as easy as it seems. I found it VERY easy to inadvertently Mark and then Treat an undesired behavior (though not especially noxious) which has been VERY VERY resilient - I mean it has lasted literally years w/o any further reinforcement (violating one tenant of OC theory). My timing has generally be praised by the pros I have worked with - but I Fxxed up!

If you live with your dogs as family members, maintain your standards in as gentle as possible a manner, I think you will come to appreciate what I said about the progress of the dog as it matures and be quite impressed by the final state.

Jere


Jere

Don't leave us hanging. What exactly DID you accidentally mark?

I'm envisioning peeing on your shoe or something :D
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:03 am

PL_Guy wrote:
AverageGuy wrote:...

Brad talks alot of letting the dog learn through free choice...


You might find something that resonates with your thinking in the West method. There is a lot of free will for the dog there.


Lot of free "excoriation" here for some folks, Jere - and very deserved excoriation...: https://karmaperformance.weebly.com/when-did-balance-become-a-dirty-word.html

MG
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby hicntry » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:21 am

Welll, I know what Brad is talking about when he talks about training through trust. I don't agree that y'all missed the point, I don't think you are even capable of understanding what he is saying because it is out of the realm of your core beliefs.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:09 am

RDJ wrote:This is beside the original topic, but I have dabbled a bit in "modern" dog training and find it too interesting to let it pass.

A very important difference between sport training (schutzhund or others) and hunting is that in sports you always have control over the dog's rewards. You can control its environment just as much as you need to in order to avoid that the dog self-rewards for the wrong behaviours. This way you can build up an entire program based on only "reward/non-reward" or positive reinforcement/negative punishment.

In hunting, you don't have that opportunity in most circumstances. You can't tell the wild birds not to flush if the dog isn't steady, you can't ask that hare to stop being so interesting if your dog doesn't come when you try to call him off. In order to train a hunting dog using only R+/P-, you would have to spend an enormous amount of time and energy on constructing all kinds of articifial scenarios in order to get a descent hunting dog. Not to mention the issues that arise from the fact that hunting is a whole lot more diverse than sports. When going into a sport event, you always have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen. With hunting you never know.

I do see people here in Norway training gun dogs using all positive methods. Some of them succeed as well, at least in part. But when you take into consideration the insane efforts being put into such a thing, I don't see how it can be worth it. Instead of doing like me ,putting a good "down" and a good recall on the dog and then let it develop as a hunting dog from the first season, they spend 2-3 years training in controlled environments to be somewhat on the same level. And throughout the dog's life they always have to strive to keep their rewards better than what the dog experiences in the field, or the obedience will start to suffer. Seems like a whole lot of unneccessary trouble to me.


Good post. PR is useful for shaping behavior quickly (teaching e.g. the dog to "sit" on command), but alone is not very helpful unless the dog knows and understands the consequences of refusing to comply with that command. And that's the premise of https://karmaperformance.weebly.com/whe ... -word.html. Unfortunately there are those who refuse to accept PR for it's strengths and only deride it for it's weaknesses. I know Michael Ellis' methods teach the dog to turn off pressure (negative reinforcement) as a tool.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:20 am

hicntry wrote:Welll, I know what Brad is talking about when he talks about training through trust. I don't agree that y'all missed the point, I don't think you are even capable of understanding what he is saying because it is out of the realm of your core beliefs.


Sounds like you're primed for patenting the "hicntry Method of Misunderstanding Gundogs and Their Trainers" - but hey, maybe my core beliefs are just disbelieving by nature?

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby TruAblePup » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:41 pm

crackerd wrote:
hicntry wrote:Welll, I know what Brad is talking about when he talks about training through trust. I don't agree that y'all missed the point, I don't think you are even capable of understanding what he is saying because it is out of the realm of your core beliefs.


Sounds like you're primed for patenting the "hicntry Method of Misunderstanding Gundogs and Their Trainers" - but hey, maybe my core beliefs are just disbelieving by nature?

MG



I have watched many of the Higgins videos, and frankly would LOVE to buy in fully to training through trust. But his methods or at least his explanations give too few details. Some videos say almost nothing at all. How exactly does this process happen? My high driven pup is not going to give me the game willing through some "magical idea of trust", no matter how much praise I give him. (See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhlYgCwfFCg)

Please give me details to understand how this is supposed to work. What are the steps to take? What do I do if the pup is not responding? What are the common pitfalls? etc, etc.

Currently I am using a combination of the Leerburg and Clicker/marker training for teaching the hold, delivery to hand. Soon we will be adding distractions. This is working partly because there is enough material out there to help me through the tough parts.

If I fail to produce a reliable retriever in this manner, I will FF him.

I concur with the idea that we can be too attached to our past methods and not be open to understanding innovations in training, but with sincere respect to Mr. Higgins (he is far more accomplished in training than will ever be) I simply do have enough details about the process to attempted it.

I take hunting very seriously and my dog has a job to do. He has to do it. Therefore, I am willing to ditch what I have to do something better. I just don't see it yet.

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:05 pm

TP, funny you mention Leerburg - I've said this before just not here that Michael Ellis told a friend of mine with working GSPs a few years back, "If you want to see training innovation, catch up to retriever trainers and how they use the e-collar." "Trust" (in and by dogs) and magic postulations ain't got nothing to do with it. Did you read the article at the link I posted above for my friend Professor Jere? An array of "heritage sports" are invoked, but hunting (by way of gundog training) isn't one of them. Compared to the actual training imparted to our working retrievers, versatile breeds and certain retrieving spaniels, obedience, herding, agility, etc. is like shooting fish in a kettle...

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby TruAblePup » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:34 pm

crackerd wrote:TP, funny you mention Leerburg - I've said this before just not here that Michael Ellis told a friend of mine with working GSPs a few years back, "If you want to see training innovation, catch up to retriever trainers and how they use the e-collar." "Trust" (in and by dogs) and magic postulations ain't got nothing to do with it. Did you read the article at the link I posted above for my friend Professor Jere? An array of "heritage sports" are invoked, but hunting (by way of gundog training) isn't one of them. Compared to the actual training imparted to our working retrievers, versatile breeds and certain retrieving spaniels, obedience, herding, agility, etc. is like shooting fish in a kettle...

MG


Thank you for sharing the article. I fully agree with it, even though it does not address the Higgins question.

What method of retreiver training do you think Ellis was refering to? Most North American training still uses FF. I know the Europeans don't.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:59 pm

Ours - and more of "theirs" than you might think, especially in Germany, are practitioners of force fetch.

Probably 10 years ago now, Herr Christian won the European retriever championship with a Chessies trained by North American methods, including the e-collar. Couple years later, a lady named Petra Ford from New Jersey won the World Obedience championship at Crufts with her field trial Lab Tyler, which pretty much astonished the British who had never seen a working retriever or gundog for that matter in the obedience ring. Not to mention the "style" and crispness of Tyler's routine that was a byproduct of his training afield.

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:31 pm

I find it interesting, though very misleading, when people compare training Seaworld mammals to training hunting dog's. I want you to think about this: When training a hunting dog, we are training him to many times, SUPPRESS his natural instinct. Do you think there's a hunting dog in the world that would not break for a shot bird when he has never been trained to be steady? It's against every natural instinct in his body. Is there any dog that would in the world that would come when called if a distraction presented itself were he not trained? With Orca's and seals, they are being trained but none of the training is against a strong natural urge. Want to test them? Throw a bloody, flopping seal or fish in the water and command them not to touch it. Just don't get between predator and prey. When I see a Great White trained to let trainers ride his back I may modify my view. So please people, stop comparing the training of an animal where you are not changing or controlling instinctual behavior to an animal where every facet of it's life is under control.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby hicntry » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:51 pm

TruAble, the trainers mantra is about tools in the tool box and there is more than one way to arrive at the same conclusion. It is pretty obvious it is just talk but few actually believe it. You said that Brad didn't explain things in enough detail for people to really get an understanding of how the trust works. I don't know how Brad accomplishes trust, but, for me it starts from day one as pups. No socialization, no correction because at this stage in life they don't do anything wrong, and minimal handling and born and raised outside like dogs. Everything is on their terms. So, why does every pup in the yard run to me and follow me like the pied piper?, Why do they follow me into a house they have NEVER been in and follow me up stairs they have never climbed? Why does a whole litter stay isolated on a dog bed with a simple no? Trust is why? This builds the foundation. Probably different ways to build the trust I am sure. That trust makes training easy as they mature. I don't think Brad said that their was never a correction needed, but, the dog that trusts you above all else, doesn't see the correction, if done properly as a bad thing but as guidance.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:37 pm

Crackered: took this on my iPhone this morning. Trained via trust? Nope. Through Ecollar? nope. Aversive means? Nope. Dog wasn't FF'd by conventional means either. https://youtu.be/B433iME85F4
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:50 pm

Bruce, you and I (and GH and most everyone on here) know there are many ways to train many different gundogs, but "trust" ain't trained the first one yet of any breed or purpose.

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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby TruAblePup » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:28 pm

crackerd wrote:Ours - and more of "theirs" than you might think, especially in Germany, are practitioners of force fetch.

Probably 10 years ago now, Herr Christian won the European retriever championship with a Chessies trained by North American methods, including the e-collar. Couple years later, a lady named Petra Ford from New Jersey won the World Obedience championship at Crufts with her field trial Lab Tyler, which pretty much astonished the British who had never seen a working retriever or gundog for that matter in the obedience ring. Not to mention the "style" and crispness of Tyler's routine that was a byproduct of his training afield.

MG


Granted, but you are making a leap to suggest that FF is the reason for the crispness. It is a verifiable fact that you do NOT need to FF in order to have reliable retriever. Many trainers have titled champions who have been proven to work under distraction and stress every single time.

The FF vs PO debate is an unproductive one. Do what works for you and you dog. There are many tools in the tools in the box to get the job done. This coming from a guy who may FF his pup.

I would still love to know how the Higgins method actually works!? I understand the theory from his videos and comments here, but we need to hear more about it's practical application.
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Re: The Higgins Method, Falconry for Gun Dogs

Postby crackerd » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:45 pm

TruAblePup wrote:
...you are making a leap to suggest that FF is the reason for the crispness. It is a verifiable fact that you do NOT need to FF in order to have reliable retriever. Many trainers have titled champions who have been proven to work under distraction and stress every single time.


Are you that much of a naïf or are you "verifying" all this on another planet?

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