Question About Retrieving

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Question About Retrieving

Postby flitecontrol » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:13 am

I have a question I'm sure someone here can answer. Why do some trainers insist that once a dog is sent to retrieve, that it return the same way it went out? For example, a duck is dropped near the far side of a pond. The dog must go straight to it, and straight back, even if getting out of the water and running back on land would be quicker.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby Doc E » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:38 am

For a good old hunting dog, the fastest way is usually the best way.
For competition dogs, straight out / straight back shows control.
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:45 am

I have been training on handling and sharing video with some more experienced retriever trainers on this board. They have commented when my dog ran the bank back around on the return trip. The concern they have raised is if the dog is allowed to make that decision on the return trip it is likely to start doing the same on the send. In which case running an indirect route on the send is more likely for the dog to loose the mark. And on blinds, letting the dog make too many decisions on indirect routes makes handling the dog with efficient precision more difficult.

When hunting I do not ever plan to hassle my dog on the route of its return trip as long as it is the fastest route. Waterfowling is best when it is cold and the good days provide more retrieves than I do in training so conserving energy and getting back into the blind so we can works some more birds is the best fit for my hunting objectives.
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby crackerd » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:09 am

Doc E wrote:For a good old hunting dog, the fastest way is usually the best way.
For competition dogs, straight out / straight back shows control.


For a good young hunting dog, too.

For a good ol' huntin' dog of any age, likewise.

"Some trainers" in the OP would entail trainers of competitive retrievers - for good ol' (or good old) duck dog trainers, fastest is the bestest.

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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby flitecontrol » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:16 am

Thank you for your responses. I haven't stressed the finer points of retriever training in the past, because most of my dogs were naturals and retrieved well enough to satisfy me. But inspired by this site, and with retrieving being the easiest (on both of us!) training to do in the brutally hot weather here, my DD has been making good progress. He always swims directly to the dummy, but will return on land if that is faster, which is OK with me.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby crackerd » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:55 am

Sounds good. But if you ever want at least partly to establish the control that old Doc - OK, that not-so-young Doc - alluded to on the water, you need to make it an attractive option for the dog. Old saying in retrievers: Dogs do what works for them. If you want them working for you, you also have to create a situation that works for them at the same time.

For hand-thrown water retrieves, with bumpers, it would go like this: You're throwing into a pond that's 40 yards wide. Your first throw goes 20 yards - so that the dog "understands" it's more trouble than it's worth for the dog to swim the other 20 yards toward shore and then get out and run all the way around the pond back to you. You of course are blowing your come-in whistle as soon as the dog snatches the bumper. Your second throw goes 22 yards, come-in whistle instantly blown and dog turns to swim back to you. Third 24 yards, same sequence for the dog's return - shorter distance (and maybe faster) to swim back to you than continue to the far shore and then run around back to you. Fourth throw, 27 yards, and come-in whistle blown as retrieve is made. Eventually you'll get the dog out to 30-35-maybe even 39 1/2 yards and the come-in whistle's been ingrained enough, the dog won't exit the water at all, but will turn back swimming to you with the retrieve. You just need to know the parameters you're playing with and as I said, convince the dog that this is working for it, too. That would be praise and more praise for the straight-back water return, which most dogs will take too as they acquiesce to creature of habit mode like the rest of us.

Good luck,

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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:49 pm

I work my dog as Crackerd advises, to build the turn and swim straight back behavior, and to re-enforce it when running the bank crops up enough to concern me. If he never leaves the water he is very consistent on turning and swimming straight back.

But the challenge that comes up in my training with my current dog is when the bird/bumper is on the opposite bank and the fastest route back is running around. Once this dog has his feet under him, hitting the whistle just speeds him up and I am very hesitant to pick a battle over it as long as he hustles all the way back. I do not want set my dog's enthusiasm back for the sake of something where his way is mostly better while hunting anyway. Case in point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHvZwvzNVcs
Last edited by AverageGuy on Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:38 pm

Crackered: I've been doing a lot of water work this summer and so this issue of cheating is timely. Although my dog is doing well, on tight marks/blinds she often wants to bend to the most shallow water on return and doesn't like to be handled away from it. If the route TO the dummy isn't exactly straight I can call her back and re-send, but what about the return? Is it permissible to do some very low nicks to discourage the curved route home? I've done that on occasion, but wonder if there's a consensus on "heating the bank" - or is there another fix?
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:31 am

flitecontrol,

Continuing along the lines of Crackerd's post. A couple of simple things I do to up the odds of a good swimming line on the return vs running the bank around, is to work the retrieve in an area where running the bank around is less tempting. In the first video I posted, having sent him on a blind near the corner/dam, and placed the blind retrieve bumper so close to land such that he had his feet under him when he got it, gave him more incentive to run the bank around than I could override at that distance with a whistle. I have at times bumped him with the ecollar when that occurred, but it has sometimes surprised him enough when I did that he dropped the bumper. Yelling No followed by Fetch I was able to correct it at a long distance but I did not like it none the less. And I was/am concerned as to what it might do to his overall drive to do this work particularly with plastic bumpers as the degree of control increases. (He is a GWP not a Lab)

I set this water blind up to increase distance and reduce the draw of running the bank on the return. I did that by tossing the dolken just slightly further out from the edge of the bank so the dog would still be swimming in the water when he grabbed it, AND the location is far enough from either end of that body of water with heavy enough cover all around it such that running the bank around was not the obvious and most tempting route vs swimming back. I was ready to hit the whistle the moment he got the Dolken in his mouth and did.

Perhaps some useful thoughts for you in your work. Won't say it eliminates the issue in all situations, but it does provide a successful rep of the most desired behavior vs the alternative along the lines of engraining it as Crackerd posts. Not wanting to overstate my expertise here, but rather sharing that I have learned through error and conversations with experts, that how we setup our retrieve work makes a huge difference in how we make it more easy or difficult for the dog to do what we are asking of them. The more thought I put into my setups the better things go in general.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvLq_8O5gL4
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby Doc E » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:38 am

Two things need to be done.
One is called "Swim By" and the other is called "De-cheating", both of which
are covered in Evan Graham's "Smartwork" books and DVDs.

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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby crackerd » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:38 am

Bruce, I wouldn't worry about it - even the best field trial dogs, when they feel the water "shallowing" by their paws touching bottom as they swim back to you, are apt to move toward shore, and that's on a return with a retrieve or especially on a "cheaty" mark.

Just know that you can make a retriever "watery" with consistent training as AverageGuy alludes to, but also be aware there's a thin line between watery and water-obsessed as I almost in hindsight caused my older British FT Lab to become.

The third possibility is a great marking dog that seizes any opportunity to cheat the water to show off those marking skills - only to have the cheaty route throw off the internal GPS when other factors - cover, terrain, wind - figure into the mark should the dog do the cheating thing. Just watched that happen at training this morning with a dog that, for a change, wasn't one of mine. And once the dog picked speed (running) around the water, not a chance the handler, a veteran field trialer, was going to get her back in and on-line to the bird.

But in your situation, I would do as AG says and set the dog up for success rather than for failure in the first place, without cheaty marks or returns, if you can help it.

MG

Bruce Schwartz wrote:Crackered: I've been doing a lot of water work this summer and so this issue of cheating is timely. Although my dog is doing well, on tight marks/blinds she often wants to bend to the most shallow water on return and doesn't like to be handled away from it. If the route TO the dummy isn't exactly straight I can call her back and re-send, but what about the return? Is it permissible to do some very low nicks to discourage the curved route home? I've done that on occasion, but wonder if there's a consensus on "heating the bank" - or is there another fix?
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:59 pm

Doc E wrote:Two things need to be done.
One is called "Swim By" and the other is called "De-cheating", both of which
are covered in Evan Graham's "Smartwork" books and DVDs..


Thanks Doc. We've done swim-by, and you're right - it helps a lot. I can't find anything in Graham's Smarkwork (Vol 1,2ed edition) about how to de-cheat. Cheating is mentioned but he doesn't say anything about how to deal with it, except mentioning running multiple marks. I don't have his video. Hillman address cheating by handling, or having the mark more in the water.

crackerd wrote:Bruce, I wouldn't worry about it - even the best field trial dogs, when they feel the water "shallowing" by their paws touching bottom as they swim back to you, are apt to move toward shore, and that's on a return with a retrieve or especially on a "cheaty" mark.

I would do as AG says and set the dog up for success rather than for failure in the first place, without cheaty marks or returns, if you can help it.
MG


Thanks. At tests on blinds they always set up the entry as an angle to the water, so to keep the dog wet (and to challenge "the line") one's first whistle usually ends up about 20 feet away. So I work on angled entries and exits hoping that if the dog gets the "principle" we'll be better off.

At a recent test my dog started to run the bank so I gave a "steer to the right" on my shepherd's whistle and she entered the water nicely, and then, swimming en route, I gave another steer right whistle and she got the bird. I was ecstatic because she didn't have to stop any momentum and was making progress to the blind at all times. More importantly, it showed me that my steering ideas will work in test conditions as well as in hunting! Well, the judges said that I didn't "challenge the line" and so we flunked. When I pointed out what had actually happened they said they weren't set up to deal with that technology. In the land test earlier that day (a 60 yard straight forward blind ) I curved her with one left turn correction and she lined it. You just wait - steering is going to change everything in dog training!
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby flitecontrol » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:10 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:At a recent test my dog started to run the bank so I gave a "steer to the right" on my shepherd's whistle and she entered the water nicely, and then, swimming en route, I gave another steer right whistle and she got the bird. I was ecstatic because she didn't have to stop any momentum and was making progress to the blind at all times. More importantly, it showed me that my steering ideas will work in test conditions as well as in hunting! Well, the judges said that I didn't "challenge the line" and so we flunked. When I pointed out what had actually happened they said they weren't set up to deal with that technology. In the land test earlier that day (a 60 yard straight forward blind ) I curved her with one left turn correction and she lined it. You just wait - steering is going to change everything in dog training!


What kind of test was this? Sounds more like a competition. :?

Technology? Hardly, just training the judges weren't familiar with, and they didn't know how to deal with it/think outside the box. :crazyeyes:
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby ryanr » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:03 pm

flitecontrol wrote:I have a question I'm sure someone here can answer. Why do some trainers insist that once a dog is sent to retrieve, that it return the same way it went out? For example, a duck is dropped near the far side of a pond. The dog must go straight to it, and straight back, even if getting out of the water and running back on land would be quicker.


I believe that's the case in retrieve trials but not so in versatile breeding hunting tests, er at least in NAVHDA tests.
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Re: Question About Retrieving

Postby ryanr » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:04 pm

flitecontrol wrote:I have a question I'm sure someone here can answer. Why do some trainers insist that once a dog is sent to retrieve, that it return the same way it went out? For example, a duck is dropped near the far side of a pond. The dog must go straight to it, and straight back, even if getting out of the water and running back on land would be quicker.


I believe that's the case in retrieve trials but not so in versatile breeding hunting tests, er at least in NAVHDA tests.
Schwarzwald's Hazel, NA 105 Prize 2
Quade vom Buffeltaler, NA 112 Prize 1
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