Retriever Training

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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:28 pm

Spent yesterday with a Retriever training group at a really nice location setup for the purpose. Really enjoyed it and plan to do more. Had a Flatcoat, Poodle, GSP, DD, GWP and 4 Labs.

Youth handlers came up in another thread. This little fellow was there with Grandfather. Really nice to see.

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The highly organized group had cloth screen blinds on metal stakes and zingers for launching dead ducks, walkie talkies, buckets of banded dead ducks... The aluminum frame zingers were excellent training tools. Got the duck high and far enough for dogs to see them a some good distances and had a primer report when they went off. I am going to get a couple of them.

The run through for all the dogs in the morning included a mark on land of about 120 yards and another land mark of about 100 yards which required a land to water crossing and another 40 yards on land on the other side. The cover was low/mowed to tall natural cover to low/mowed in both cases. In both of those setups it appeared my dog had the mark but when he hit the low cover on the far side where the duck landed he turned back to hunt in the thick cover he had just come through. He was towards the back of the order in running and there had been alot of retrieves of dead ducks through the taller cover leaving scent and I believe it had some role in our struggles. We succeeded in running both but not the first time on either.

The afternoon setups was a water mark of about 80 yards andand a land mark at 90 yards. My dog did well on both and the biggest part of his improvement was he had more focus on the cloth screen blind and duck call before the bird was launched, yielding better marks.

What is your thought on the duck call que coming ahead of the bird launch? Is that a crutch which will have a downside down the road?

Do the AKC Hunt Tests use the duck call ahead of launching the Mark? HRC? At all levels?
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:53 pm

In HRC the wingers are hidden as much as possible and there are no quacks. The wingers make a sound that can sometimes be heard but you are shooting the marks from a seated stool and the Dogs are expected to mark off your gun barrel. Can’t remember protocol for AKC
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Spent yesterday with a Retriever training group at a really nice location setup for the purpose. Really enjoyed it and plan to do more. Had a Flatcoat, Poodle, GSP, DD, GWP and 4 Labs.

Youth handlers came up in another thread. This little fellow was there with Grandfather. Really nice to see.

Image

The highly organized group had cloth screen blinds on metal stakes and zingers for launching dead ducks, walkie talkies, buckets of banded dead ducks... The aluminum frame zingers were excellent training tools. Got the duck high and far enough for dogs to see them a some good distances and had a primer report when they went off. I am going to get a couple of them.

The run through for all the dogs in the morning included a mark on land of about 120 yards and another land mark of about 100 yards which required a land to water crossing and another 40 yards on land on the other side. The cover was low/mowed to tall natural cover to low/mowed in both cases. In both of those setups it appeared my dog had the mark but when he hit the low cover on the far side where the duck landed he turned back to hunt in the thick cover he had just come through. He was towards the back of the order in running and there had been alot of retrieves of dead ducks through the taller cover leaving scent and I believe it had some role in our struggles. We succeeded in running both but not the first time on either.

The afternoon setups was a water mark of about 80 yards andand a land mark at 90 yards. My dog did well on both and the biggest part of his improvement was he had more focus on the cloth screen blind and duck call before the bird was launched, yielding better marks.

What is your thought on the duck call que coming ahead of the bird launch? Is that a crutch which will have a downside down the road?

Do the AKC Hunt Tests use the duck call ahead of launching the Mark? HRC? At all levels?


When teaching a dog new marking concepts it's helpful to first run them as singles in the exact order they'll be shot, then as a multiple once the dog understands the mark. It keeps their excitement very high and their interest up. When a dog sours on multiples, run singles in multiple configurations.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Kiger2 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:32 pm

Average Guy,
Gonehuntins last post on this subject was good.

As far as the shot for a cue. HRC marks seem to be short enough that they can get away with marking off the gun. I have found that when hunting the dogs dont pay any attention to the gun, they are watching the birds. (you do have the dog where he can see correct?). So its not really very realistic to have the bird thrown from a launcher.t It also doesnt help if the dog is hunting from a remote location from the shooter.

AKC hunt tests and trials the marks are so long you need a cue to help the dog focus on the gunner. We are evaluating the dogs marking, if he doesnt see the bird he cant mark it. And we dont shoot at birds that are 100 yards away. They may LAND that far away.
So dont worry about cues. If you are going to run AKC use them. HRC use the gun for what its worth.

Im not being critical, but I am curious, what did you learn from the session about marking and retrieving?

Good you had fun! Did Pup?
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:16 am

Thanks for the responses.

Some of the same group and few others got together again last evening and Spud and I made the 5 hour round trip to get some more work in. Hit the sheets at 11:30 last night after showering off the gallon of bug repellant it takes to keep the clouds of mosquitos off for a moment or two when training around swamps. (I am one of those "lazy ecollar trainers").

What did I learn? On the completely new front I learned quite a bit as to what to expect on the setups and judging in the various levels and different venues of the Retrieve Hunt Test scene. Learned how to operate a couple of different brands of wingers and the protocol for throwing marks for others in the training and tests.

What I mostly did was re-enforce what I already knew. Dogs learn through repetition. It was nice to see how quickly my dog picked up on the duck call que and his marking improved rapidly. He nailed all of his marks last night which were singles on land and water.

His breed makes him more apt to trust his nose and his search than his eyes so more reps are needed to build more reliance/balance on his marking skills is my assessment. He, and numerous other dogs, had a tendency to return to the thicker tall natural cover vs search the low mowed cover on marks which passed through tall natural cover. This was particularly true as scent built up in the taller cover as dogs retrieving back through the cover using the same lines as subsequent dogs used going out to their marks. When he does not find the mark right off he can quickly resort to a fast bird dog type search and swings over a bigger area than a Retriever HT judge is going to want to see. His persistence is good.

He has already improved in just the two sessions with this group on Sat and last night.

He was the first dog to run the water marks last night so that we could begin our 2.5 hour drive home (dodging deer in the dark all the way). The vegetation was extremely thick the entire way across the water to the first mark which was thrown on the land on the far side. Being the first dog it was plowing all the way for him. Same for the second mark which landed in water. The angle on the second mark was extreme and through the same type extremely thick vegetation in the water and my dog started to run the bank instead of taking the line, then acted up some when I corrected him. We got it done but it was training day ugly and we would not have passed on that mark. (Without FF I would have had no way to address the situation) I have not had him in that degree of vegetation for quite awhile and I learned I need to go to some and train there. So that is what we will do.

I asked for and got opinions from numerous folks that the less bulk and weight of the mini-zingers are what they favored for launchers.

How far I can take this dog in Retriever Hunt Tests is uncertain. I am committed to doing work while keeping in mind he is my hunting dog and best buddy. Everything I do needs to keep his drive and skills intact for that purpose and so I am cautious in how I approach some of this. I am not looking to take away his independent search and replace it with complete handler control and precision. I do not think either of us has the skills to do that.

Did the dog enjoy it?

He had nice drive on his marks out and back, sat and looked right at me proudly delivering the bird to me as I praised him. Being the only dog living on a remote farm he has more interest in all the dog smells as we heel around than is productive. We did some work with a Wonder lead on heeling and sitting while waiting to run that would not have been his choice if I gave him one on that aspect of what we worked on.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:50 am

AverageGuy wrote: Hit the sheets at 11:30 last night after showering off the gallon of bug repellant it takes to keep the clouds of mosquitos off for a moment or two when training around swamps.


Get a Thermacell. Works great and keeps the bugs far enough away you can't even hear them buzz. It made turkey hunting in the Louisiana swamps fun for me again, and no need for DEET. WalMart sells them. https://www.thermacell.com/collections/ ... -repellers
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Willie T » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:50 am

X2 on the thermacell! Spud will likely surprise you with how he progresses with a steady diet of marking. I would not be overly concerned that you will inhibit his independent search. That is hard wired by now. He will simply add more tools and shift gears when it is asked of him. Good luck training with the retriever guys, I think you will both enjoy it.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Doc E » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:30 am

Kiger2 wrote:. HRC use the gun for what its worth.


Train "Push - Pull",,,,,,,,,,,,, That's all it takes.
.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:01 pm

Doc E wrote:
Kiger2 wrote:. HRC use the gun for what its worth.


Train "Push - Pull",,,,,,,,,,,,, That's all it takes.
.


I don't know what that is. Please educate me and Thank You.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:30 pm

I actually own a Thermacell which I have never used. Have not gotten comfortable with inhaling whatever it is that repeals the insects, but of course a lifetime of dousing my head, neck, arms, legs with Deet may prove not for the best in the alternative.

This training requires mobility. How do you carry yours on your person?

I also have some concerns about how that cloud of chemicals would affect the poor dog beside me ultra sensitive nose membranes. Any thoughts on that?
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:51 pm

The pads on a Thermacell are infused with pyrethroid, a synthetic pyrethrin, the natural insect repellent found in chrysthanums. As the pad heats up, it causes the pyrethroid to vaporize. Pretty safe stuff: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi091 But so is DEET: https://www.consumerreports.org/insect- ... nt-safety/ But pyrethroids won't take the finish off a gunstock or stink like DEET.

I carry my Thermacell in a OD holster that attaches to a belt, vest, or similar strap.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Doc E » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:01 pm

AverageGuy wrote:
Doc E wrote:
Kiger2 wrote:. HRC use the gun for what its worth.


Train "Push - Pull",,,,,,,,,,,,, That's all it takes.
.


I don't know what that is. Please educate me and Thank You.


The command HEEL will bring your dog's butt in .... If you command HERE, it will bring
the dog's front end in.
.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Kiger2 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:39 pm

Doc,
Sorry I think I misled you. What I meant was in HRC train the dog to use the gun to focus on where the bird is going to be, not that it wasnt useful for that. In AKC events the handler is not allowed to have any thing in their hands. Nor collars on the dog. Nothing that could be used as a training aid. I could have an extremely steady dog at an event if I could have a forcing stick.. I mean a shotgun in my hand. Doc , dont think for a second they havent been used that way.

Averageguy, Ill let doc correct me on this one since I havent heard those exacts terms, but heres my thoughts. In AKC events we know where the birds are coming from, the dog may not. So as the birds are thrown/slash shot I can change my body position to get the dog look where the next bird will come from. So if the next birs is to the left with the dog on m left side, I can "push" him with my knee by moving it forward , I can "pull" him by pulling my knee back. I place this in the line manners category and when you get to this point you are really becoming a team. It is also very useful for lining pup up your blinds. If you see pup is focused on the wrong spot and you can "push' his eyes with a bit of your knee, its really beneficial.

Gonehuntin, would love to hear your thoughts??

Average guy, Back to what you learned. Very good for you! Lots of good stuff. Good that you are able to be critical of the dogs performance.

1) Dont worry about losing drive. Ive been telling you guys this for years. Balance your training. Have you had pup out for just a walk or "hunt"?

2) Ret dont naturally trust their eyes over their nose, we have to train that. I was curious if you could apply what your dog did by hunting where previous scent was would equat to hunting.so imagine you are duck hunting and you shoot 3 or 4 birds and they land fairly close. Then you hit one that sails out. As the dog goes to the mark he has to cross areas where he already retrieved a bird and has all the associated smells. Thats why we tarin them to trust their eyes. In order to get the nose to where it can be put to use.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:29 pm

Kiger2 wrote:Doc,
Sorry I think I misled you. What I meant was in HRC train the dog to use the gun to focus on where the bird is going to be, not that it wasnt useful for that. In AKC events the handler is not allowed to have any thing in their hands. Nor collars on the dog. Nothing that could be used as a training aid. I could have an extremely steady dog at an event if I could have a forcing stick.. I mean a shotgun in my hand. Doc , dont think for a second they havent been used that way.

Averageguy, Ill let doc correct me on this one since I havent heard those exacts terms, but heres my thoughts. In AKC events we know where the birds are coming from, the dog may not. So as the birds are thrown/slash shot I can change my body position to get the dog look where the next bird will come from. So if the next birs is to the left with the dog on m left side, I can "push" him with my knee by moving it forward , I can "pull" him by pulling my knee back. I place this in the line manners category and when you get to this point you are really becoming a team. It is also very useful for lining pup up your blinds. If you see pup is focused on the wrong spot and you can "push' his eyes with a bit of your knee, its really beneficial.

Gonehuntin, would love to hear your thoughts??

Average guy, Back to what you learned. Very good for you! Lots of good stuff. Good that you are able to be critical of the dogs performance.

1) Dont worry about losing drive. Ive been telling you guys this for years. Balance your training. Have you had pup out for just a walk or "hunt"?

2) Ret dont naturally trust their eyes over their nose, we have to train that. I was curious if you could apply what your dog did by hunting where previous scent was would equat to hunting.so imagine you are duck hunting and you shoot 3 or 4 birds and they land fairly close. Then you hit one that sails out. As the dog goes to the mark he has to cross areas where he already retrieved a bird and has all the associated smells. Thats why we tarin them to trust their eyes. In order to get the nose to where it can be put to use.


That is exactly correct Kiger. Extremely important.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:09 am

We have been hitting the retrieve work pretty steady and Spud was overdue for the mental break of stretching his legs, so that is what we did yesterday. I dropped him in a spot where the birds are sparse but he found one anyway and handled it as a trained dog should. He enjoys searching for and working game far more than we when we shift to the high degree of control involved in Retriever Hunt Test work and needs a mental break of a free run periodically.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDPjUep ... e=youtu.be

While making a loop I dropped a dolken and ran this blind. It was mid 70s and Spud have been hitting it on a run for awhile. You can hear his panting. He drifted the line to the right a little and missed the dolken on the upwind side. I did not have perfect recall on where I dropped in that varied cover was but got him downwind and his nose took over which is what I would do while hunting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXMWalXcHFg

The video setups up a couple of questions. Our handling work on land has been around the baseball drills and walking baseball with sight blinds, known blinds and blinds worked to see how well it holds up in actual practice. The lower the cover the better it looks. The higher the cover the more he looks like a bird dog. On land blinds he often does not take the overs on a 90 degree angle and instead angles back towards me especially as the distances increase and cover gets higher.

How would you address his tendency to angle back towards me vs taking a clean line 90 degree angle on a longer distance over in cover?

Would this level of work on a land blind pass in an HRC or NARHA Hunt Test? AKC?
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