Silent commands?

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Silent commands?

Postby Densa44 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:28 pm

I started off as a duck hunter who couldn't retrieve the birds that I shot on lake Erie. A great BLF was my first hunting dog. I got into dog trailing through a side door, I needed help training my dog and these fine people were very good at it. One thing that I have never liked is the "respect the line" axiom that we see in the open test. Lots of whistles to stop and handle a dog. I know why they do it and how hard it is to make a test that is fair to all dogs and get done before dark.

I pretty much just hunt pheasants now and have an excellent PP. I have never liked to hear all those whistle blasts and I don't hunt her (the dog) with a collar anymore so I can't just give her a buzz. So little by little we use silent commands, pat thigh means come , extend arm in the direction I want her to hunt. No big deal really and she always complies. The reason I post this is because I was hunting this fall with another fellow my age who used to train a Golden, and he was both surprised and impressed that the dog would do this. I don't recall any difficulty teaching her what I wanted her to do.

As I said I never liked to hear whistles when out hunting, do any of you fellows teach your dogs to handle with just hand signals, so far, I have; back, come, left and right. thx
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Re: Silent commands?

Postby crackerd » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:38 pm

Our Bruce will be along shortly with his silent power-steering whistle premise - and it's a good 'un for hunting (and maybe hunt tests, but as you noted not for retriever field trials).

Anyhow, yes, emphatically - we use silent casts (and low-voiced casts, and gentle gutterally-elongated "permission back" casts, and no-hands casts, etc.), but as you will have seen from your association with FT trainers, they all spring from the dog's having been stopped by whistle command.

My current FT retrievers and I have got the precision cast thing down to a science by necessity - no range of motion in my shoulders from too much form tackling (good form tackling) over the years. So my go-to in "respecting the line" is a slight step in the direction of the cast I want the dog to take on a blind. The only hitch is if the dog doesn't stop on a dime at the whistle and loops around too far offline to get the precision to the blind I'm counting on. If not, alas...another whistle and stop, then cast. If not then, another whistle and stop, then cast...ad nauseam, "ad noisem"...

MG

PS The whistle also can be music for appreciation - when training a yearling on early blinds, and momentum in getting there is of greatest import. When home from my office for lunch, I ran my 8 month old FT prospect today on a triple blind of 400-450 yards. Set them up so the pup could not go wrong in getting to a blind, any blind, of the three. What I wanted to see was how she would take to a stop-whistle when 90% of the way to her destination. My intent was to see how she would work through that old retriever training truism, "Distance erodes control." Stopped beautifully, but was a little hesitant at taking my cast because she had the bumpers within sight and had to be thinking "What the h*ll is this stopping bidness all about, after all the forcing, forcing to pile, TT, and pattern blind stuff?" - that would be if FT Labs thought, as we all know versatiles do. :wink:


Densa44 wrote:I started off as a duck hunter who couldn't retrieve the birds that I shot on lake Erie. A great BLF was my first hunting dog. I got into dog trailing through a side door, I needed help training my dog and these fine people were very good at it. One thing that I have never liked is the "respect the line" axiom that we see in the open test. Lots of whistles to stop and handle a dog. I know why they do it and how hard it is to make a test that is fair to all dogs and get done before dark.

I pretty much just hunt pheasants now and have an excellent PP. I have never liked to hear all those whistle blasts and I don't hunt her (the dog) with a collar anymore so I can't just give her a buzz. So little by little we use silent commands, pat thigh means come , extend arm in the direction I want her to hunt. No big deal really and she always complies. The reason I post this is because I was hunting this fall with another fellow my age who used to train a Golden, and he was both surprised and impressed that the dog would do this. I don't recall any difficulty teaching her what I wanted her to do.

As I said I never liked to hear whistles when out hunting, do any of you fellows teach your dogs to handle with just hand signals, so far, I have; back, come, left and right. thx
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Re: Silent commands?

Postby Willie T » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:04 pm

Densa44 wrote:I started off as a duck hunter who couldn't retrieve the birds that I shot on lake Erie. A great BLF was my first hunting dog. I got into dog trailing through a side door, I needed help training my dog and these fine people were very good at it. One thing that I have never liked is the "respect the line" axiom that we see in the open test. Lots of whistles to stop and handle a dog. I know why they do it and how hard it is to make a test that is fair to all dogs and get done before dark.

I pretty much just hunt pheasants now and have an excellent PP. I have never liked to hear all those whistle blasts and I don't hunt her (the dog) with a collar anymore so I can't just give her a buzz. So little by little we use silent commands, pat thigh means come , extend arm in the direction I want her to hunt. No big deal really and she always complies. The reason I post this is because I was hunting this fall with another fellow my age who used to train a Golden, and he was both surprised and impressed that the dog would do this. I don't recall any difficulty teaching her what I wanted her to do.

As I said I never liked to hear whistles when out hunting, do any of you fellows teach your dogs to handle with just hand signals, so far, I have; back, come, left and right. thx


My current dog and I are in sync well enough that hunting upland birds we usually run silent. He responds to hand my signals but I hunt him with an e-collar. He has a less than stellar history with porkies....

When I work him as a dedicated retriever for waterfowl, we use a whistle on blinds. Come to think of it if I want him to change birds I stop him with a whistle to cast as well.

So in summary, upland hunting I very seldom use the whistle but for advanced retriever work we often use the whistle.

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