Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby ryanr » Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:59 pm

Had an interesting little scenario during a my Hazel girl's duck search session yesterday. Had 4 live ducks, with one in a floating trap. I was hoping to save that to reinforce her on the resend but she got out there on the first send and ended up heading towards it so I launched it. She got it quickly and brought it back to hand, good job. Went back out and naturally headed to the same spot first, except there was another duck right there. It wasn't one we put out and seemed dead when she picked it up. Here's wherein got interesting/ funny. She picked it up and took a few steps onto shore and then put it down and immediately went into a back cove. At first I was confused a.d wasn't sure exactly what to do. My first thought was to correct her with an e-collar reinforced Fetch but something gave me pause. The duck was dead and not going anywhere and I started to think she realized immediately that her fun out there finding ducks would've been over way too quick so she went to have fun and find "a better duck." Still not sure if this was good or bad I let it go. She searched a bit more and then came back to the dead duck and I gave her a Fetch from across the lake although I think she was going to do it anyway. She picked it up and swam right back and delivered it.

A few of the folks I was training with thought the same thing: She looked across at us and realized her day was going go be over way too soon and she wanted to go find another, better duck than the dead one that was just laying right where the first one was.

I did confer with my one of the very experienced handlers I was training with that if she hadn't come back and picked it up my thought was to jump in the kayak and paddle over there and force her on it and make sure she completed thr retrieve. She agreed it would've been a good move. But I was equally happy my dog came back to it on her own to complete it. Maybe I'm wrong but that showed me another something in her and her training and made me smile (when at first I was like uh, oh what is this)
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby jlw034 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:58 am

ryanr wrote:Had an interesting little scenario during a my Hazel girl's duck search session yesterday. Had 4 live ducks, with one in a floating trap. I was hoping to save that to reinforce her on the resend but she got out there on the first send and ended up heading towards it so I launched it. She got it quickly and brought it back to hand, good job. Went back out and naturally headed to the same spot first, except there was another duck right there. It wasn't one we put out and seemed dead when she picked it up. Here's wherein got interesting/ funny. She picked it up and took a few steps onto shore and then put it down and immediately went into a back cove. At first I was confused a.d wasn't sure exactly what to do. My first thought was to correct her with an e-collar reinforced Fetch but something gave me pause. The duck was dead and not going anywhere and I started to think she realized immediately that her fun out there finding ducks would've been over way too quick so she went to have fun and find "a better duck." Still not sure if this was good or bad I let it go. She searched a bit more and then came back to the dead duck and I gave her a Fetch from across the lake although I think she was going to do it anyway. She picked it up and swam right back and delivered it.

A few of the folks I was training with thought the same thing: She looked across at us and realized her day was going go be over way too soon and she wanted to go find another, better duck than the dead one that was just laying right where the first one was.

I did confer with my one of the very experienced handlers I was training with that if she hadn't come back and picked it up my thought was to jump in the kayak and paddle over there and force her on it and make sure she completed thr retrieve. She agreed it would've been a good move. But I was equally happy my dog came back to it on her own to complete it. Maybe I'm wrong but that showed me another something in her and her training and made me smile (when at first I was like uh, oh what is this)


It's good that she ended up bringing it back, but that's something I would nip in the bud right away. Probably find a shorter cover field, plant several dead ducks in it, mark the spots, let the dog free run the field, and be ready to correct at the slightest hesitation at the retrieve. This is only if you really care about a prize 1. If not, then it sounds like you have a dog that willing to do the job, just her own way.

A dog the picks up game, then puts it down and continues on (for however short of a time) will not be looked favorably upon by the judges. Luckily we can get points back on retrieve at other points of the test.
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby ryanr » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:39 am

Yeah, this is the first time she's ever done that. Previously she hadn't even dropped a (live) duck to go after another live one that had squirted out from cover directly in front of her. If it happens again I'll correct it immediately. Interesting thing is that since this was a dead duck (I only use live ducks) it might not have affected her score since she completed thr retrieve. Last year I asked several judges the question of what happens if a dog finds a duck and then drops it to catch another duck it sees. That's a severe penalty, right? The judges said typically yes but a couple of them added that a dog that drops a dead game to go after a live "cripple" shouldn't be penalized... as long as it goes back and completes the retrieve of the dead game. They further said, say the dog gets that other cripple it has to complete that retrieve and then go back out and complete the retrieve of the duck it dropped. Their feeling was how do you penalize a dog that completes the retrieve of both?

Had she found another duck, I would have made sure she completed that retrieve and then I'd have sent her to go retrieve the dead one she dropped, even if I had to take her across the lake to it. Also If that duck had been alive she'd have been corrected immediately.

And thanks for the dry land drill you suggested, I'm going go do that. I'm not "prize 1 or bust" but I definitely would like to earn one because I think she has the ability.
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby Densa44 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:39 am

My 2 cents worth. You have have some very good advice here about the dry land drills. On your behalf, you did a lot of things right too, no button on the e-collar, and you let her do her job.

I think that she is a bit smarter than we are giving her credit for. The dry land drill will show if I'm right.

Just a tip, I always drop dead birds when she brings them back, more of a fumble and now she grabs them as soon as they hit the ground and gives them back to me. It is fun for her, but it also keeps her in the game of handing me the dead bird.

When you try the dry land drill, try dropping a bird on the exchange and see what happens, if she won't pick it up, get on her, if she does, make a game of it and you won't have any worries.

Please tell us what happens.
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby Willie T » Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:37 am

Ryanr, I am firmly in the camp of once the dog has the bird in its mouth it stays there till I call for it or tell it to leave it. I condition the dog to operate that way from the start. What you described has the potential to play out in multiple scenarios. Just a few examples would be:
1 A live bird landing and your dog spitting what it has and going after it.
2 Putting down a cripple to pursue a second mark on a multiple.
3 Having the bird out of your sight and dropping it to go check out a prior fall.

The list goes on and the dog quitting a retrieve to go AWOL is below the standard I want my dog trained to perform at. Ultimately if you are good with that level of performance then go with it because that is what you are shaping. In the end it is your dog and you will own what you condone.

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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby ryanr » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:22 pm

Willie, I agree with you. She just caught me off guard that 1) she did it and 2) then I hesitated as to what to do and in that moment I could see she was searching for another duck so I decided to let it play out and see what she did. If it had been an actual refusal of a retrieve it would've been corrected immediately! She came back to the duck on her own after only a minute and picked it up and completed the retrieve right to me. It's not something I plan to allow again but she last year in training passed an extremely tempting "test" where she had a live "cripple" and was entering the water to retrieve it back to me when another live cripple scooted out of the cover right below her. She looked at it but never dropped the live duck she had and swam across the water to complete the retrieve- even with this other duck swimming in front of her for about another 20 feet. I mean I was impressed as hell with that and what she had done there entered my thoughts in letting this one play out.

Believe me I'm not going to start allowing her to do this sort of thing because of the possibilities you brought up. But because she's been so good on her searches and retrieves I gave her a little benefit of the doubt in this instance.

I brought it up here mainly as an interesting scenario that happened during training and to provide some more discussion on duck search training.
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby jlw034 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:38 pm

Ryan, I just reread your post and realize you never actually asked for advice. Sorry for jumping in.

I think you've shared what a smart dog can do. They know what they are out there to do, but they also know how much they can't get away with in regards to their handler.

Who's training who...that's the game we are all playing!!!
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby ryanr » Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:27 pm

jlw034 wrote:Ryan, I just reread your post and realize you never actually asked for advice. Sorry for jumping in.

I think you've shared what a smart dog can do. They know what they are out there to do, but they also know how much they can't get away with in regards to their handler.

Who's training who...that's the game we are all playing!!!


Well no I didn't specifically ask for it but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate the feedback and you gave me a good drill so I do appreciate it.
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Re: Sight blinds and the UT Duck Search.

Postby Willie T » Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:48 pm

Ryan, if I was caught off guard I would have handled the same way. Timing is everything to avoid confusion on the dogs part. About the only thing you can do after that window closed is set up the same scenario, be ready, and see how it plays out. Jlw brings up a really good point about knowing what they can get away with, and the really smart ones seem to recognize a set up. The performance of the good ones sometimes lulls us to sleep. Unfortunately, when they catch we as handlers flat footed, it can be the start of tendencies we may or may not like down the road.

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