I screwed up

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

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I screwed up

Postby roosterbrews » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:30 am

We were all set for our UPT test in August so I figured why not try to get to the UT level by then. Well it resulted in too much pressure and my dog shut down in the field. She has pointed every bird she has ever come across until now. It has been about 3 weeks and she has shown some improvement but is still basically walking up to the bird and standing or just blinking it entirely. She has no problems with any other part of the test so my plan is to keep working on those and just let any field work I do just be fun no pressure no steadiness. If she points she gets the bird if she doesn't she doesn't.
Went back to yard work on whoa which is where I should have been focusing instead of trying to steady totally in the field.
Any other suggestions would be great.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby orhunter » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:28 am

Stop training. The dog is bored, isn’t having fun. Too much of the same old stuff, dog has lost interest.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:35 am

Take the pressure completely off and make it fun again is what I would do. If you have places to get your dog into wild birds do that and require the dog to do nothing but have fun when it finds and works them. Once the dog is happy around birds again I would use a different training area when I went back to planted birds.

My dog and I are working on Blind Retrieve Handling and it can get boring as well as put pressure on the dog in a hurry. Yesterday I introduced the bottom half of a kennel crate as the pitchers mound, teaching my dog to go to it and sit in it facing and watching me for a blind retrieve signal. Went well. Moved to the cover where we had been working handling on blind retrieves and did the same. The dog started to clearly indicate he was bored and not having fun. Would not give me good eye contact. He was telling me he was past his limit for that day. I ended the session on a simple tossed mark retrieve at that point.

This morning we loaded up and went to an open area I use specifically to give the dog a mental break. He will find some sort of wild game there pretty much every time we go there and the cover is open enough I let him roll as he pleases requiring very little of him in the way of discipline or instruction from me.

He found what I am sure was a pheasant although we never saw it. I said nothing.
Image

The bird moved and the dog relocated. I said nothing.
Image

The bird ran some more and gave him the slip. He started looping trying to relocate the bird. I said nothing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAMmWjPDl0o

This dog and likely yours, understands when we are hunting and when we are not. I let him have some leeway when I want to take the pressure off of him. We all need it including our dogs. Until your dog is showing this sort of drive/fun around birds again, I would not require any steadiness of him around birds. The long run hunting with your dog is worth far more than a Hunt Test looming in a couple of months. If you have to drop out and run a different test later, no big deal in the long run is how I would approach it.

Perhaps some will have something more structured to offer but I would take the pressure off and try to get your dog some fun around birds before you go back to structure around birds. I hope this is helpful and we hear from you soon that your dog is back at it having fun again.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby Meridiandave » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:57 pm

orhunter wrote:Stop training. The dog is bored, isn’t having fun. Too much of the same old stuff, dog has lost interest.


Completely agree.

I also agree with average guy.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:30 pm

RoosterBrew, I don't know the steps or program you have been using to steady your dog, but steadiness does not start with pointed birds. Rather you train Whoa completely away from birds and then proof it many settings but still having nothing to do with birds. Then when you combine it with birds and have to apply pressure the dog is far less apt to think it is the birds causing the pressure and instead will be much more likely to understand it is just another situation where Whoa means Whoa.

When I start combining Whoa with birds, I whoa the dog and have an assistant walk in plain sight down wind of the dog so no scent is involved and the assistant is carrying a bag of homing pigeons. They release them and I require the dog to comply with the Whoa. If the dog moves I apply the lowest level of stimulation needed to make the dog comply with the Whoa as it has in many other tempting situations before. Then the assistant will gradually move closer to the dog but still down wind so no scent in involved. You will want to get to where birds can be thrown all around the dog with no movement before you go to working pointed birds on the ground. If the dog is not handling the thrown birds you will not want to work any pointed birds. I learned this method from Jon Hann at Perfection Kennel.

This post is intended to be helpful as to how I would approach it once the dog is happy and bold around birds in general before proceeding back into steadiness. I would take whatever time is necessary to get the dog happy again before going back to steadiness work. Hope you find this helpful.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby 3drahthaars » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:51 pm

Happens a lot...

Steadiness varies with individual's maturity, experience and temperament.

Check out Hillman's "Traffic Cop" video... works great for Whoa, too....

... did the right thing by backing off.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby Densa44 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:21 am

You're getting good advice, move to water and let her swim, retrieve dead birds, chase ducks, the whole bit (its fun) and remember don't overdo it. The UT is earned in the water.

Move back to the land without the collar after a week or so and see what you have.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby roosterbrews » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:04 pm

Densa44 wrote:You're getting good advice, move to water and let her swim, retrieve dead birds, chase ducks, the whole bit (its fun) and remember don't overdo it. The UT is earned in the water.

Move back to the land without the collar after a week or so and see what you have.


That's the plan
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Re: I screwed up

Postby ANick » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:42 pm

Rooster,
Good job recognizing a problem and getting the call for help out. That typically doesn't come naturally. I think for most of us, 'Please don't let me screw up this dog..', is in the mind somewhere.

To the prior responding souls, 'Nicely done.'

Keep the tails wagging and the smiles on..

Nick
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Re: I screwed up

Postby LongHammer » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:04 pm

it's your kids 2nd birthday party would you put a shock collar on his neck and Juice them until they blew the candles? Your dog has a long time to get a UT score what is the hurry. put away your ego put away the shock collar and just let your dog hunt. My dog never shined until I let go. These dogs are born with the tools it is our job not to f it up.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby marysburg » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:29 pm

The worst overtraining situations I ever got into were the years I was training for the deadline of a NAVHDA test day. I appreciate how tests can give us goals, and hold us to train to a standard. The problem comes when we overtrain and put too much pressure on ourselves and the dog. Twice, I caused a big problem which took months to overcome....all because I wanted it to go well on test day. I still train to high standards, but not to a test day timetable. It might be different for those who have multiple tests available to them in a year, but here, we only had one each year. NAVHDA is great, and I learned so much in those years, but I don't test anymore. I still help out at training days, and love to see new pups come along. Keep the long term goal in perspective, relax, and take your time with each dog.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby 3drahthaars » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:27 pm

I think that one problem is losing track of the fact that these are hunting dogs.

One old German wrote an article recommending letting pups mature before VGP i.e. utility testing in order to let them grow up and gain experience.

Sport handling has fed egos with the quest of passing younger and younger dogs.

A dog that simply passes VGP or UT is still a decent hunting dog... the scores are more for egos and selling pups.

After 4 DDs I finally ignored scores and worked to hunt more... I'm happier and enjoy/appreciate this pup more.

Slow down, enjoy, appreciate....

3ds
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Re: I screwed up

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:52 pm

I think it is a huge "It Depends". On the dog and on the Handler.

Good genetics combined with good early development and a lot of hunting can bring a young dog along quickly with very little pressure involved. The best forms of early development and training do not involve a lot of pressure.

I developed my current pup using the approach I laid out in Meridiandave's thread (and the pups that preceded him). We had an excellent first hunting season and went straight into training for Steadiness and then Trained Retrieve when it ended in March 2017. I had laid the proper groundwork for both starting as 9 week old puppy using all PR. My objective in the training was to steady my pup to Wing for safety purposes while hunting and to train him to hold a crippled live bird he delivered with a soft mouth until I took it from him.

The training went so smoothly I signed us up as First Alternate in a UT at the last minute. We got in, ran the test, and the pup had a good day.

Then we had an even better second hunting season, with the pup's search opening up even more on the prairies and his confidence retrieving big honkers from ice filled swift running river current coming way up.

I think I have a nice dog but think there are many more nice dogs around as well. How you develop and handle them from an early age on makes a huge difference.

Using the right methods You can absolutely push the good ones without really pushing them at all is my experience.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby ryanr » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:50 am

Absolutely agree with the last 3 commenters. Read your dog and make sure you're both having fun. Train to a high standard and don't deviate from that standard. However that doesn't mean you have to have a strict timetable for testing UT. Example, I just wrapped up our NA test, my pup is 1yr & 2 weeks old. With how I've laid out my training plan for her I believe we can run UT next September. However, that's not a hard and fast deadline, our training progress will determine exactly when we are truly ready.

You should definitely lay out a written chronological training plan for UT training. It will help you keep focused and give you a step by step progression of training to follow.

Don't forget though, in the middle of all of this is a hunting season and it will be important to your dog's development to just have fun and hunt during hunting season.
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Re: I screwed up

Postby Trailsend » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:37 am

3drahthaars wrote:I think that one problem is losing track of the fact that these are hunting dogs.

One old German wrote an article recommending letting pups mature before VGP i.e. utility testing in order to let them grow up and gain experience.

Sport handling has fed egos with the quest of passing younger and younger dogs.

A dog that simply passes VGP or UT is still a decent hunting dog... the scores are more for egos and selling pups.

After 4 DDs I finally ignored scores and worked to hunt more... I'm happier and enjoy/appreciate this pup more.

Slow down, enjoy, appreciate....

3ds


I completely agree.
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