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amts
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15-09-2005, 07:26 AM

Training yesterday (Training gundog to find dummies)

Time to share myself wouldnt you say

Went out yesterday to test Ally a bit and of course do a bit of training.

Found a field we havent been on before and started out by throwing 5 dummies over a rather big area. Wanted to test her memory and of course her obedience.
She did very well. All collected pretty fast, without hesitation and any help from me. As soon as I send her out she started searching and covered the area very well. Returned as soon as she had picked one up and off she went again. I was very pleased with her

Now being a cruel dog owner and everything also means testing your dog so I thought I would take it to the next level and make that blond lab work a bit
I walked the whole field and hid 8 dummies. Not placed them but hid them under the long grass, bushes, what I could find. A rather large area as I used the whole field.

I then send her off to search again. The first 5-6 went just as before. High speed search and immediate return also in high speed when picked up. She did a good search and seemed very confident that when I send her there was more to collect.
Then we were down to two dummies and she seemed a bit insecure if I knew what I was doing when I send her again. But she went and also found one she returned with.

When i wanted to send her the last time, it was quite clear she was sure there was no more out there. She ran out, stopped and looked at me. I told her to go further back and search some more which she did, but then she stopped and had that "give it up - theres nothing out here" look on her face. I had to force her to go further back and keep searching and after what seemed like forever, she finally found it and brought it back.

Need I say I was both proud, happy and also glad she found it and trusted me even though she questioned me a couple of times

All the time she responded very well to my commands and yesterday taught me that success is so important to her. Her reaction showed me she can not handle too many unsuccessful yet and that we might wanna work on this a bit more. But over all Im happy with her performance

Comments are welcomed
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Shadowboxer
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15-09-2005, 08:02 AM
Comment .... Very well done Ally

I have done obedience 'finds' on multiple articles - but that relies on the dog's ability to scent & follow my track in various directions. Presumably you do not walk up to downed game and then back to your dog and command 'seek' So I find it impressive that gundogs will search on the faith in their handler's word that something is there to be retrieved, rather than following a handler track.
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bellaluna
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15-09-2005, 09:16 AM
Wow I'm impressed!!!!!!!!!!!! (as always)

Good girl Ally and WTG AM
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Natasha
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15-09-2005, 02:43 PM
Thats great AM Ally is brill and so clever you have every reason to be proud of her. Weldone to the both of you, just shows how much of a team you are
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amts
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16-09-2005, 05:38 AM
Thank you all three

You know it would have been ok if you had commented that I maybe should have stopped at the 6th or 7 th dummy and stop being cruel to my dog

But this isnt everyday training. Its just testing her once and a while. Hopefully this weekend will be a lot more training as us girls are home alone
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Natasha
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16-09-2005, 09:25 AM
Lol I didnt comment that you were being 'cruel' to your dog as you wasnt, like you said yourself its not like you do it all the time, you know what your doing so I have no reason to doubt you
Enjoy your selfs this weekend then (that poor dog )
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lollippy
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16-09-2005, 04:30 PM
I'm not sure I'd go as far as 8 dummies one after another, I'm not that brave, your a braver and better trainer them me any way although having said that a working dog may be expected to pick up more then that on a big shoot, so it is good that she will do it.

Not sure exactly how you "sowed" the dummies, I assume you did it in view as you said to "test her memory", not trying to whip the wind from your sails but I would suspect the dog relied more on her nose then actually pin-pointing each dummy, especially as there were so many dummies, she probably used her memory for the area and then followed your scent in on to the dummy.

For a memory test I would be more inclined to throw out a couple or may be three marks, then leave them for a few minutes, walk away from the area and back and then send your dog out, with initial memory training its a good idea to pick some where with features, bushes, clumps of long grass that kind of thing to throw dummies against.

The only time I would use so many dummies at once would be for blinds, I have a field where I can hide dummies the night before on my own with out the dog, rather then actually hiding them I throw them a few yards from where I'm standing so my scent has no chance of connecting me to the spot they've fallen in, if your memories bad draw your self a little map, over night all trace of your smell should have gone so you'll be doing a true "blind" with the dog.

SB brings up an important point when doing blinds in the initial stages of training, when you direct your dog to a blind, you must be absolutely certain you are directing her on to a dummy if your not and she fails to pick up, then your are planting a seed of doubt in her mind to your abilities to show her where things are, thats when it can start to go wrong and she'll start relying on her own nose to find things instead of watching you. If you think your dog is having trouble finding a blind you can walk nearer to it, and guide her to it that way, of course when she finds it make a huge fuss of her for doing so, the trick is building her confidence in you and her self to find dummies.
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amts
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16-09-2005, 06:22 PM
Lolli your reply both made me laugh and
First of all lets settle the debate on whos better than who on best DW manners: You win

Secondly, Im a cruel owner remember so what i wanted was to both test Allys memory and her obedience
I knew shes pretty good at remembering as we trained that a lot but just how many can she do and will I be able to break her from her search if she thinks she remembers but I want her elsewhere
Also, to send her out despite her obviose belief that the area was cleared was also to test if she has faith enough in me and will obey despite..


What i did was with the first 5 I throw them so they landed randomly. Some visible, some not - depending on where they landed.
The other 8 I tried my best to cover under the long grass, under bushes, etc.
I know they will carry my scent my the idea was as mentioned above, to test her memory and ob. The area is about 1 hk = 10.000 m2 and she was able to (if she really stretched her neck and payed attention to me all the time) to get an idea on where I placed them. I stamped them with my shoes as I believe it has an effect :smt102 Maybe you can verify or kill that legend?

Also when doing a search (= sending them to empty an area) this will be the most realistic way to train this? Or so I believe anyway. Would love to hear views on it though Not sure we can write it here but you know where to catch me if you want to talk about this

SB brings up an important point when doing blinds in the initial stages of training, when you direct your dog to a blind, you must be absolutely certain you are directing her on to a dummy if your not and she fails to pick up, then your are planting a seed of doubt in her mind to your abilities to show her where things are, thats when it can start to go wrong and she'll start relying on her own nose to find things instead of watching you. If you think your dog is having trouble finding a blind you can walk nearer to it, and guide her to it that way, of course when she finds it make a huge fuss of her for doing so, the trick is building her confidence in you and her self to find dummies.
What you have written above I 100% agree with. Succes is so important and its much better to take one step back than destroying what you have spend ages on building up That said, you also have to "connect" what you have training and test if you have done your job good enough
I beleive that if you pay attention to the dog, you will be able to see any hesitation, despare, insecurity, etc and either support or change the exercise/task to where your dog has a chance to succed
Kind of reverse or save the situation if you will.


I think if I should have done something differently I should have stopped after the 7th dummy where she started to show signs of insecurity? But then I also wanted to test if she would work for me no matter and I was 100% the last was out there. Had it been a real **** she would have no choice and thats what I was testing.

Thank again for your reply. Good one - made me think

Btw, well take it slow this season. Only going to pick up where were certain of succes as this is her first season
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lollippy
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16-09-2005, 06:41 PM
Hi AMTS

I'm not going to disagree with you over who's best, I'll only say your wrong though

A
lso when doing a search (= sending them to empty an area) this will be the most realistic way to train this? Or so I believe anyway. Would love to hear views on it though Not sure we can write it here but you know where to catch me if you want to talk about this
I believe your right in saying its the most realistic way, I also send my dog in to an empy area to search, it serves to re-inforce control in the form of directions from you and also obediance, what I do though is only spend a short time searching before directing the dog in to another area where there is a blind waiting to be retreived. It should be noted here also that I train springers, ideally springers should be working a pattern that is tighter then a labradors i.e with in about 30 metres or so of the handler, this is because they are meant to be flushing game with in range where as a labrador or other retreiver may be asked to range out and pick game up flushed by springers that have moved on to another area, so my training methods are slightly different to a retrievers training methods.

That said, you also have to "connect" what you have training and test if you have done your job good enough
I've never really thought of it as testing, more of extending your dog, as you say if you've done your job right there shouldn't be a problem, the danger though is if you are a little to keen to push on and don't get the basics in place first, far better to work slower with the dog then you need to rather then move on too quickly and undo the previous work.

I beleive that if you pay attention to the dog, you will be able to see any hesitation, despare, insecurity, etc and either support or change the exercise/task to where your dog has a chance to succed
That has to be the absolute key to training, I think, maybe that too much emphasis is put on the training, especially at the start, I think equally as important if not more important is playing with your dog, by playing you can build up a bond which means your dog is more likely to want to please you, and with retiever training this is easier because many games we play, such as "fetch" is the natural thing for a retriever to do, get a puppy to bring an old sock back to you and its taught its self to retreive with out any fuss. Also by playing with your dog you get to know what makes it tick, when its more receptive, and when its not interested in working, that then makes it easier for you to "tread" your dog in all situations.

I stamped them with my shoes as I believe it has an effect Maybe you can verify or kill that legend?
I've heard it said that if you stamp on a dummy it can some how change the smell on it, I'm not sure it works, I can't really see how it would, dogs nose are so good at detecting smells even with other smells on them. I wouldn't like to say it doesn't work though, even when I use brand new dummies on blinds, the dogs still find them and they would ahve a very different smell to old ones.

Time escapes me yet again
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amts
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16-09-2005, 08:57 PM
PC acting up but will try again

Its getting really interesting now
Agree on the differences between the breeds and the way we work them.
I do train my dog to cover larger areas and also on searching without me butting in for a longer period of time I think. That said, I do have to able to "break" her off her search if I think its necessary
Also have to be able to change her "area" or direction if I know shes on the wrong "track" (not track track but you get it right )

I've never really thought of it as testing, more of extending your dog, as you say if you've done your job right there shouldn't be a problem, the danger though is if you are a little to keen to push on and don't get the basics in place first, far better to work slower with the dog then you need to rather then move on too quickly and undo the previous work.
Think I might have used the wrong word here when saying testing? :smt102
I wouldnt dare test anything I wasnt 99% sure my dog understand and is ready for. And I couldnt agree more on people often hurries too much and even spoils dogs on this. We see that quite a lot here and is also why I personally have waited till now with bringing Ally on her first real hunt. She will be two in November and many her age was out there last year but I am in no hurry. My dog need to last for many years and I also believe in having everything in place before going and not take any chances.

Anyway, what i meant was, I will spend quite some time training something with her and when Im sure she gets it I will maybe take her a different place and test if she still will do as trained. I might change the object to retrieve or I might train her with a lot more distractions than useall.

When taking class I will also spend the week inbetween training at what stage we might be on and then in class I test if she still performs and understands whats expected of her.

And for the connecting try think back to when you taught your dog left for example. If you did it similar to the way i did you placed a visible dummy at the left and clearly made the signal for your dog to go combined with vocal command. When done that 1000000 times (or so ) you placed a blind one exactly the same place and did it again. Now thats testing
Your dog knows from previous experience that its outthere but will it respond to your command when it hasnt seen it?

Anyway, its getting late so enough confusing posts from me today
Will hopefully get some more training done this weekend and I promise I wont test her again this time

Btw; no hug back
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