What happened?

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What happened?

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:23 am

Back in March I started the FF process with my then 17 month female SM, started with hold, then moved to walk and hold, ear pinch with the fetch command and dummy in front of her, then ear pinch fetch command and slowly moving the item towards the floor, then to ear pinch with with fetch command and e-collar, to e-collar and fetch command with the dummy in front of her, to placing the dummy on the table, and then moving it to the end of the table, to frozen birds, to thawed birds, and finally to places birds on the ground along a fence and giving the fetch command with the e-collar. At every step along the way she has fought the process but she knows what she's supposed to do because if I put a bird in front of her face she reaches for it or if I put the birds out on the ground and line her up she starts going without giving the fetch command, but she won't take a straight line to the birds or sometimes ignores them completely unless I use the e-collar.

Three weeks ago I took her to a quail hunt and she was pointing (but not steady yet) and retrieving shot birds without a problem, then yesterday I brought her back to the trainer that I've been working with and she would point for a few seconds and then it was as she got bored and she'd just wonder away, plus anything we did shoot she wouldn't retrieve or fetch unless we used the e-collar and even then she would chase the bird a bit and then turn away from it. At one point she ran out of the field just taking the jolts from the e-collar. At the end the trainer decided to try it with no pressure at all so we took off the e-collar, planted a bird not in a trap, and she pointed the bird, we flushed the bird but missed the shot, she chased it for about 75 yards before stopping, so we through out a wing clipped bird while firing the gun and she just stayed where she was looking at us, wouldn't even respond to verbal commands to come. She left the field again, ran around a creek and then finally came back to us.

The trainer basically wants to stop all training and just go back to planting kill birds in the field with no pressure to see if we can return the fun. I just don't understand what happened in the 3 weeks since the quail hunt, I feel like we are starting back at square one.
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Re: What happened?

Postby booger » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:37 pm

Someone will come along with some better advice than I can give. But I'm curious - what experience do you have training dogs? Did the dog hunt during the season last year?

Other than the quail hunt how much exposure to birds has she had?

What is her demeanor like when on point and after?
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Re: What happened?

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:52 pm

booger wrote:Someone will come along with some better advice than I can give. But I'm curious - what experience do you have training dogs? Did the dog hunt during the season last year?

Other than the quail hunt how much exposure to birds has she had?

What is her demeanor like when on point and after?


Sorry I left that out, this is my first dog so no prior experience to training. Gun and bird intro was done last March by the trainer at which point she was pointing a little and retrieving the birds though not to hand but instead prancing around a bit, she had another month of training in August of last year which at the end she was holding her point a little more steady and retrieving to about a 5 foot circle around me before dropping the bird, I hunted ducks each weekend with her from October through November and she was out for pheasants about 5 times. The force fetch training has been done in conjunction with the trainer, going up every Saturday to work with the trainer and then working on it at home during the week, plus the trainer had the dog for two weeks in March while I was out of town.

She doesn't have a very intense point, when she does hold it she still looks around a little, looks back/over at me, and has started creeping.
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Re: What happened?

Postby orhunter » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:11 pm

First thing I see is going too fast and introducing birds before FF was complete with inert objects. With limited information it sort of sounds like you may be using the e-collar inappropriately. I think your dog is way behind where you think or hope it should be. But, I wasn't there to see it.
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Re: What happened?

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:25 pm

orhunter wrote:First thing I see is going too fast and introducing birds before FF was complete with inert objects. With limited information it sort of sounds like you may be using the e-collar inappropriately. I think your dog is way behind where you think or hope it should be. But, I wasn't there to see it.


As directed by the trainer, I give the fetch command and hold continuous until she picks up the object/bird, the times I've tried it without using the ecollar she heads towards the birds and it's about 50/50 if she'll veer off or continue to the bird but if she does go to the birds there's a 90% chance she sniffs at it and then keeps moving. How do you tell if the dog does not understand vs. is trying to manipulate you? This was a concern I voiced and the trainer believed my dog was being manipulative, and I can see her reasoning for it. The trainer handled the transition from the dummy to the birds as I was out of town when the switch was made.

I've been doing this right along side someone whose male SM was 10 when we started the process and while he initially had trouble with hold, the dog now does 50 yard partial blind fetches with no use of the e-collar.
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Re: What happened?

Postby ryanr » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:57 pm

2 different people (you and the trainer) have taken extended turns training the dog during the FF process? Your timeline seems like you moved pretty quickly through it and it without seeing it but reading your posts it doesn't appear that your dog knew the tasks as well as you may have thought. And just a thought but if the dog is not remaining steady of focusing on the birds as much anymore and even blinking birds or running off why shoot more birds for it? Maybe consider just using pigeons, no gun, no retrieving and just get a ton of bird contacts in front of this dog for a while until it's stable enough to begin handling the other stuff.
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Re: What happened?

Postby booger » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:09 pm

To me it sounds like too much pressure. Full disclosure I'm on my first dog but attend a training group and ask for advice from many different people constantly.

Reading the dog or understanding vs manipulation are hard to tell. I thought mine was trying to manipulate me, but I'm certain now that I was wrong.

Another thing I learned is that dogs learn at different rates. It takes as long as it takes. Comparing timelines to other dogs is pointless.

I partly asked about hunting because I was wondering how she did for you while hunting. Was she happy and picking up birds and pointing then? Did she hunt with you - was she cooperative?
And I asked about her demeanor because it almost sounds like your dog is blinking birds or avoiding them out of fear of getting stimmed. Does she have a tucked tail on birds when pointing?
It almost sounds like she's soft but I can't really tell from the info given.
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Re: What happened?

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:28 pm

ryanr wrote:2 different people (you and the trainer) have taken extended turns training the dog during the FF process? Your timeline seems like you moved pretty quickly through it and it without seeing it but reading your posts it doesn't appear that your dog knew the tasks as well as you may have thought. And just a thought but if the dog is not remaining steady of focusing on the birds as much anymore and even blinking birds or running off why shoot more birds for it? Maybe consider just using pigeons, no gun, no retrieving and just get a ton of bird contacts in front of this dog for a while until it's stable enough to begin handling the other stuff.


The FF training has been done in conjunction with one another other then when I was out of town, I would go to the trainers on Saturday with the dog and we would work on something, i.e. hold, and then the trainer would send us home with a task to work on for that week, and then we would go back up on Saturday and depending on progress we would either work more on what we had worked on previously or we would move onto the next step.

I believe the trainer was planning to use kill pigeons and wants to remove all pressure and just go back to shooting birds to try and return the fun to training, to get her excited about it all again.
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Re: What happened?

Postby Densa44 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:45 pm

Ah yes my first dog, 55 years ago and the mistakes I made would fill a very large book!

"see if we can return the fun"

Lets not forget that, take much more time and don't bore the dog.

The reason you are getting some of the behaviour that is described here, is that she is expecting a shock!

Why not start again and try to do more yourself. Nothing wrong with the pro but the dog is smart and you are 2 different people. Don't use pressure unless it is necessary. Believe it or not, all dogs do not have to be FF, it came from the field trailers but in the old days not all the dogs went through the FF process.

Remember to make it fun for both of you.

BTW don't worry too much about the mistakes we all made/make them and it is part of dog training. Try to let the dog show you what she can do. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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Re: What happened?

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:04 pm

Nicely said Densa44
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Re: What happened?

Postby orhunter » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:05 pm

+2
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Re: What happened?

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:26 pm

I hate these posts because I can't see the dog and only have your description of events. First, the KEY to FF is to get the dog in and out as quickly as possible. I would NEVER take the dog in to the field and shoot birds for it while it was in FF. In fact, I never take the dog's to the field during FF other than for running and bird finding. Nothing about retrieving though.

Second, I usually never works well telling what to do one weekend, doing that one thing for the entire week, then going back the next week. It's too slow and boring for the dog. In and out of FF and obedience in six weeks.

Third, I'd dump the continuous stimulation. With continuous, the dog NEVER gets a chance to beat the command. Try giving the command "fetch", momentary Nick, then "fetch" again. If the dog doesn't do it, "fetch", Nick, fetch again. You have to give a dog the chance to comply. I would far, far, rather use for pressure of shorter duration than nag a dog forever.

That's my two cents and that's about what it's worth without seeing the pooch. Good luck.
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Re: What happened?

Postby booger » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:04 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:
Third, I'd dump the continuous stimulation. With continuous, the dog NEVER gets a chance to beat the command. Try giving the command "fetch", momentary Nick, then "fetch" again. If the dog doesn't do it, "fetch", Nick, fetch again. You have to give a dog the chance to comply. I would far, far, rather use for pressure of shorter duration than nag a dog forever.



I was going to mention this too. I tried the constant stim with my soft dog and it was a bad experience. If I would have kept up with it, I would've turned my dog into a basket case pretty quickly.

I tried about everything I could think of to expand my dog's range on retrieves, it wasn't pretty. Eventually what worked for me was lots of encouragement, praise, treats and a clicker. My dog went from not liking it to doing it happily.

I had it in my head that you have to force your dog to do the task or it is a refusal. After spending a lot of time training my dog, I learned that was not the right way to go with my dog. Dogs are individuals, they don't all learn the same way or what might work with one might not with another. So IMO you have to tailor the training to your dog. I swear I taught my dog how to do things 3 or more ways before I thought she really started to get it.

When the OP said his dog fought him every step of the way, it reminded me of my dog. It needs to be her idea or her getting bribed with treats otherwise she doesn't like it.

I also discovered by spending a lot of time trying to train and read my dog, that I know my dog better than anyone else does. So if you put in the time, trust yourself and be willing to change.
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Re: What happened?

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:06 pm

booger wrote:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote:When the OP said his dog fought him every step of the way, it reminded me of my dog. It needs to be her idea or her getting bribed with treats otherwise she doesn't like it.


Unfortunately unlike sit, come and kennel, I have found no way to bribe her during this process, she refuses to take treats, even treats she normally goes crazy about.
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Re: What happened?

Postby orhunter » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:49 am

"even treats she normally goes crazy about." Wow! Sounds like she's so cautious of the e-collar she doesn't want to do anything out of fear she may get a reprimand? I'm sticking with inappropriate use of the thing. Dog's focus is on the e-collar and not the task. Take away the collar for 6 months and then start over from day one. Try to put some fun back in fetch.

When you start over, do it, "by the book." Use a good book. Forget the, "trainer" who's been, "helping." You may not be getting the help you need?
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