Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

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Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Earl » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:21 pm

I got my GSP started on live birds very early, 9 weeks. He comes from a good pedigree and could find the birds without issue. I’m having an issue with him diving in, so I’ve been focusing more on “whoa.”

I actually began barrel work around 7 weeks. I can get him to freeze, I mark the behavior (yes!) and reward. Fast forward to present time, he is now 8 months old. I can’t get him to stay on a barrel, so I’ve been placing him on top of a tall trash can. He essentially does the exact same thing as when he was a very young puppy. He freezes for me, I mark and reward. I can’t get him to freeze for extended periods of time.

The problem: I’m stuck in a rut and not progressing past this? Should I place him on the ground now ?
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Densa44 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:11 am

Try Rick Smith's whoa post, worked like a charm for me. For the dogs too.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Willie T » Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:39 pm

Has he caught one or has anyone shot one he busted?
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:38 pm

Perfection Kennels approach to Whoa could not be more simple. No gadgets required. Google their website and check out their DVDs.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Kiger2 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:20 pm

Dechase first. If you have access to homers, go to as big a field as you can find, Tease him with the bird in your hand and then toss and let him figure out he cant catch them. Usually only takes a few.May take a bunch. Right now whether he has caught one or not he, thinks he can.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Earl » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:18 pm

Thank you. He has caught one quail I had planted. He has also caught a pheasant wing on a fishing line once.

Will Google Perfection Kennels. Also, great advice on the pigeons
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Dmog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:06 am

It might not hurt to back up a bit. While you are researching Perfection kennels, take a look at “Perfect Start”. I do believe they cover “whoa” in it and it is set up to blend well with the other bird exposure methods. Another resource if you have access to pigeons is Standing Stone Kennel method. Quail and sometimes Chukar are unpredictable about how well they’ll fly. That is why I prefer pigeons in remote traps that I control the flush. Just a part of it and no substitute for getting out on wild birds letting the dog figure it out with basic expectations developed with field work. If you are going to dechase at some point then let the dog chase the $#*! out of the wild birds and pigeons, safely of course. Dog will stop chases less farther each time and come back to you ready for another. Then you are ready for “whoa” with birds but only if “whoa” is understood off birds first. It sounds to me you are trying to develop steadiness on point and I would be popping pigeons on the dog every time it hit the scent cone.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:29 pm

fear not - your puppy is doing what 8 month old puppies do. Whoa training is important but not the end all, be all and should be used as an adjunct alongside other methods . Get help from the sources mentioned above and you'll get it worked out.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:20 pm

I'm adverse to letting a dog "beat" me. Put him on a barrel under a tree with a leash running to a limb. If he jumps off, he'll dangle a while. He won't jump off often.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby reader4 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:41 pm

Good advice above. I think there are two issues, though, right? One is the tendency to jump in on the bird, which is expected. The resources above will help. A launcher can do wonders in helping teach that encroaching leads to lost birds. Make sure that a chase doesn't become the reward. Wild birds teach this very well too.

The "whoa" issue sounds more like an obedience question, and it sounds like you need to back up, or possibly to work on generalizing. I was a little confused about what you wrote -- you mentioned marking and rewarding but not for extended periods. If you are using a mark-reward method then really you should be extending the time to the mark-reward. Will the dog whoa waiting for a door, food, etc.? Those are useful, practical ways to reinforce and generalize the command.

I don't have access to pigeons like some of the above resources but I do have 10-15min a few times a day for yard work. I used a place board and a mark-reward technique. The progression was gradual and methodical. After getting the behavior taught on the board, I moved outdoors to the ground to add whistle and hand signals, extend the duration, add distractions, and increase distance. Then we got moving, so heel-to-whoa (we both stop), then heel-to-whoa (step out in front and add hand signal to reinforce), working toward heel-to-whoa while I continue walking. After that we moved to whoa on the checkcord while running, then off-lead running, eventually to off-lead without eye contact. Again, at each stage, add distractions and duration once the base concept is established.

I'm assuming gonehuntin's reply was just trolling... yikes.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Willie T » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:54 am

I’m in agreement with reader. Two separate issues.

Whoa is addressed in obedience. In reading your original post, you are about 1/3 of the way there on whoa if I understand your post. When you give your dog a command, after it knows the command, it should be given only once and then the handler ensures compliance until the handler releases the dog. It takes negative reinforcement to get there. That is 2/3 of the way there. It takes training through the introduction of serious distractions with behavior altering correction before whoa will be reliable. Not until your command is proofed is it reliable.

Flash pointing and jumping in on pointed birds is what most all pups do. Your job as the handler is to teach your dog that the birds come through you and the dog can’t catch them on it’s own. Catching the bird is self rewarding for the dog and feeds itself. When it happens it sets the dog back in its steadiness. As the handler you need to anticipate that happening. It is why time and time again you hear the advice not to train with pen raised quail. It takes birds to make a bird dog. Lots of birds. If you have access to wild birds, get after them and don’t shoot any till the dog allows you to flush them. When it allows you to flush, shoot the bird for the dog and don’t miss. If you want to train with birds and a launcher, use pigeons and launch them at the first step the dog makes into the scent cone toward the bird. Allow no creeping. Your pup needs a steady diet of birds. A commonality among every single bird dog I would consider to be good is ample opportunity. It takes birds to make a bird dog.
To borrow a post of Forrest’s:
Keep that pups nose in birds and make it a dog.
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Re: Whoa issues (8 month old GSP)

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:31 pm

If you live where you can have a pigeon loft , get 1 started now , they are your friend.
Get young homers if you can.
You didn't say where you live, if you are close to N.C. I could help you out with birds or with the pup I have 4 launchers and plenty of birds. Forrest
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