Greetings, and "whoa"

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Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby reader4 » Wed May 13, 2020 1:13 pm

Just wanted to pop-in and say hello after joining this board. I'm not a new dog owner -- I've owned and trained labs and goldens for waterfowl and upland work -- but I am new to versatile breeds. Here is our new small munsterlander (shortly after spitting out the pile of mowed grass that led to an epic night of #2).

I'm hoping to get some feedback from time to time on aspects of training unique to pointers and versatile breeds. For example, he is definitely the most prey-driven and ambitious dog I've owned. Every moving pant leg is an opportunity to test out his "hunting skills;" every kid is a ladder in the family hierarchy to try climbing :)

I'm curious -- we use clickers for most foundational training and he's taken to it well. I like that the kids can get involved very easily without overstimulating him with praise, etc. How many others use a similar approach?

I'm also curious about introducing "whoa." I know there are endless philosophies on this... We've been introducing "whoa" during convenient times on walks, around the house, and working on keeping a stand (rather than sitting) on the place board (he's been very keen to learn "kennel" in different contexts). Anything else to be considering with "whoa?"

Thank you. Nice to "meet" you all!
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby AverageGuy » Thu May 14, 2020 9:25 am

There are many methods of training whoa and disciples of each.

I use the method I learned from Jon Hann at Perfection Kennel and his Perfect Start and Perfect Finish DVDs. It is simple, effective and straightforward and requires the least amount of transition to the field. No pulleys, boards, barrels. Just walk the dog at heel and teach whoa. I teach Whoa to my puppies while young (but I do not associate the command with birds until after the pup's first hunting season). You can see some of that work in my Meet Tess thread on this Forum.

Every day at noon Perfection Kennel is broadcasting free training sessions on their FB page. He has been in the process of updating his Perfect Start and Perfect Finish DVDs and is breaking them into distinct parts e.g. Perfect Here, Perfect Bird Introduction, Perfect Gun Acclimation (already available and well worth the money). As part of that effort he is rolling out a DVD specific to teaching Whoa and will be available shortly. I recommend you buy and follow that.

I have used a clicker on my now adult dog and my current puppy. Works well for teaching commands in controlled settings but other methods are needed as the dog becomes bold and in the field has been my experience thus far. I know of people who have completely trained their gun dogs using Treats and Markers but I sure have not been able to do so.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby orhunter » Thu May 14, 2020 9:48 am

I do what AG does. It'll take a while for the youngster to associate the sound with the action (or lack of) so be patient. I use the sound when ever appropriate so the pup get used to hearing it. I live in town so there's lots of opportunity to train during walks around the 'hood.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby Kiger2 » Thu May 14, 2020 4:04 pm

Reader4 welcome!

Fixing the biting pants and jumping is one of the easiest things to cure.

When pup bites your pants or jumps, just knock him away with your leg. But don't say a word. I don't want you to injure pup, your not kicking a field goal. But you have to make it uncomfortable. By not saying anything you are depriving pup of any reward for interacting with you and teaching pup that its a natural thing that you do when pup jumps. If your kids are too small to handle the task, have friends come over and explain what you want them to do. Have wife do it also.

If Im ready for it, a dog wont jump on me more than twice.

Dogs are actually very selfish, if you take away the reward they quit doing it.

Have fun!!!!
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu May 14, 2020 9:51 pm

For the youngster, whoa is very easy to teach and very easy to practice. I have always done it along with heel, using a simple pinch collar for the older pup, just a flat collar on a smaller pup. You can practice it all the time at home. Before you let him eat, whoa him then let him go to the dish. Going outside, always whoa him at the door before going out. Treats interspersed with mild correction (tug on a leash) work wonders at a young age. Instill it young, it'll be easier when he's older to whoa at a distance. Whoa on a pointing dog is no different really that sit for a retriever. I do teach them both commands though. You are further ahead teaching whoa when very young, sit and down when a little older. Have fun and don't forget the bag of treats!
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby reader4 » Fri May 15, 2020 9:29 am

Thanks for the feedback! I don't intend to clicker train everything -- I use that for teaching concepts and proofing them for the first few months at least. The dog determines the amount of pressure required for other training. For example, my previous lab needed very little additional work on retrieving and searching/flushing, but was very distractible and benefited from e-collar work at a distance.

AG: Thanks for the recommendations. I'll check those out. It was interesting to see your pup in development -- thanks for posting the videos.

We also had a little time with a pheasant wing early on. He figured out very quickly that he needed to "whoa" on point so the wing didn't fly away. I didn't introduce any verbal cues or anything then. We were just having a bit of fun with the kids and showing how pointers work.

His manners are fine with me; we just need to generalize to other kids and strangers. Harder to teach the kids how to stand like a statue when he's nipping at their butts... This pup feels the need to test everyone in his own way. He's very resilient and a bit excitable -- bumping knees and feet are great fun :) For him it has to be a total shutdown of attention/activity, preferably an activity he's enjoying. It takes a big contrast in "fun" vs. "nothing" for him to see the value in appropriate behavior.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby Willie T » Fri May 15, 2020 11:50 am

Reader4, welcome. It is a good group of versatile dog owners on this board. I also have a background with retrievers. Like others posted, I teach whoa early. I start it in the yard on a leash away from birds. As the dog matures I progress to a pinch collar. A couple observations: the versatile dogs as a group are not as mentally tough as the retrievers. They do not hold up to the same level of pressure as the retrievers. They also do not do as well at repetition. Handling a retriever at a high level requires a lot of control. To get the most out of a pointing dog, it must be given much more independence. They are wired differently. Many retriever guys initially struggle with giving up enough control for a pointing dog to be at its most effective. Adjust accordingly. Enjoy the ride. If you are like me, you will embrace the skill set of the versatile dog.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby Kiger2 » Sat May 16, 2020 12:52 am

Reader4,
It may sound harsh, but its one of the most effective cures in the training world. Your kids standing like a statue will not stop the jumping/ nipping. Knocking pup on his kiester will.
Ive been doing it for 30 years. My dogs, friends dogs, a strangers dog. I go someplace and their dogs tries to jump on me, they get a solid knee and no comment. Wont do it again.
Im going to tell you something very valuable that no one else here will tell you. Dogs do not do things to please you, they do things to please themselves. Dogs are actually very selfish. Until you can convince pup there's no pleasure in jumping on you or your kids, pup will continue to jump and nip till he decides he doesnt like it.

I had friends over the other day, dog gets all wound up because someone new is here. Dog runs out and jumps twice in front of each of them. But DOES NOT touch them. If you want to deal with the dog the rest of its life jumping on friends when they come over dressed to go out for the evening, use the clicker. If not , use your leg!

Dogs love and respond to discipline. Remember this.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby Densa44 » Tue May 19, 2020 11:53 pm

Welcome to our world. I too am an old retriever/field trial guy. I still miss the weekly tests but not the driving.
I recommend Rick Smith's whoa post and method without reservation, but as others have said, decide for yourself.

I don't tolerate dogs jumping on any one! I grab the paws and squeeze as hard as I can, I let go when I get a yelp. That has been the end of it.

Welcome and let us know how you make out.

BTW I know there are a few other retriever guys on here, I can't resist the desire to train once spring comes. I ran her on an angle entry and a blind between two marks last Saturday, and she aced them both. I then quit, something I'd never have done 30 years ago. These dogs are smart as you have already found out.
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Re: Greetings, and "whoa"

Postby reader4 » Thu May 21, 2020 5:01 pm

Thanks all for the input. Training is progressing well. Took a little while for "whoa = stand still" to click, but we just removed other sit/down training, focused on reinforcing stillness on the place board, and generalized to daily situations. After a day or two he "got it" and providing sessions with contrast (sit - down - whoa) has helped him start to solidify understanding.
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