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Discussion Starter #1
I've just been writing up our training
Heel work on lead improving, good
Heel work off lead improving, fair.
Sit stay, two minutes in sight, 30 seconds out of sight
Stop to whistle on lead good, off lead good. At a distance improving.
Recall to whistle improving.
Retrieving terrible.
Since his ED diagnosis we don't do much retrieving. The bit we try has made him become very situational. If I do an obedience type retrieve, making him stay, throwing the dummy, sending him, he goes straight to the dummy picks it up and presents the dummy nicely. If I try dropping the dummy and then sending him back for it he seems to think its a game and mouths the dummy, runs round in circles before spitting it out a few feet away from me and going a bit loopy.
Anyone have any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
 

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The bit we try has made him become very situational. If I do an obedience type retrieve, making him stay, throwing the dummy, sending him, he goes straight to the dummy picks it up and presents the dummy nicely. If I try dropping the dummy and then sending him back for it he seems to think its a game and mouths the dummy, runs round in circles before spitting it out a few feet away from me and going a bit loopy.
You are not doing anything wrong. It's exactly what Tumack and I were chatting about at Crufts yesterday. Labradors are very "Context orientated." They learn to do something in a particular way or place yet seem to completely unrelate to it performed in a different place or way!

The secret is to try to develop an exercise using the smallest variations so the dog can always relate it to the original exercise. Or to try to arrange the exercise so it's impossible to go wrong.

For a "Go Back," why not find a narrow footpath edged by nice solid hedge or fence so the only direction the dog can go is out and back. I would position my pup within the "Corridor" (path) and sit it up, leave it and walk a few paces then place the dummy on the ground then continue walking on a bit further so the dummy is between me and my dog. I can then do a "Pickup on recall," recalling my dog and just before it gets to the dummy giving it me "Retrieve command." After doing this a few times I would change the exercise slightly by starting exactly the same except after placing the dummy I'd return to my dog and send it for the dummy from my side. Again after a few of those I'd start from the same place except I'd start by walking my dog at heel to the point where I place the dummy, then heel my dog back to the start then send it back for the dummy.

The thing here is that I'm keeping certain parts of the exercises constant. It always starts from the same place and the dummy is always in the same place so the dog can relate one exercise to the next. Once all the exercises are in place in the dog's mind so you can then change the place and it should not take so long for the dog to become confident in the new situation.

Blind retrieves can be started similar to a marked retrieve but with the dummy landing in a shallow depression so it is not visible from where the dog is starting from, but becomes visible shortly after it starts. A few retrieves there then do something else such as a simple mark in the opposite direction and as the dog is running out for it quietly toss another dummy back into the depression so the dog does not see you tossing it. You can now do a completely blind retrieve, but because it's in the direction where it has had success finding the dummy in the past the chances are it will happily go there again.

Do you see how I'm building the exercises up in such small degrees? No big changes but a slow steady progression, every time making success as easy as possible, because success breeds confidence.

Regards, John
 

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Thank you so much. That makes a lot of sense. I am changing to many variables at once. Now you've pointed it out I can see what I'm doing wrong.
I used the corridor method to teach him to recall and retrieve for obedience class so will go back to it. I'm still struggling to mix the two types and find myself getting confused never mind confusing the poor dog :oops:
 

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You have to remember, I started out in obedience so I bring a lot of the old obedience methods into gundog work. I only really got involved in the first place because I told my friend, who was into gundog work, that a good Obedience person could show those gundog people a thing or two, and was told to put my money where my mouth is!! :lol:

With all problems, analyse the problem. What is going wrong? Why can my dog not understand what I want? How can I make it easier for my dog to understand?

Regards, John
 

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Was a very pleasant lunch break Amanda. And after you left I ended up explaining the running of the Gamekeepers Classes to the two American ladies who were sitting on the other side of me.

John :)
 

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I think we saw you yesterday John, you were deep in conversation so didn't like to interrupt. I Could have got lots more useful tips if I hadn't been so shy.
 

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It was great to meet you in person John. I do appreciate the time that you spend answering, encouraging and supporting on LF. I like the way you compose your posts, they make it easy for me to understand. I'm training tomorrow so I'm going to ask about bumping the dummy along the ground and I shall let you know how Roxy reacts. :)




Amanda
 

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Don't ever feel too shy or embarrassed to speak Elaine. I really only go to Crufts for a good chat to old friends and new. I would have loved to have met you. Just step forward and say, "Are you John, I'm Elaine." and the ice is broken.

Next year. . . . . .

Regards, John
 

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Hmmmm... Was looking for you on Sunday John... Couldn't find you :(
A great big helium balloon tied on your chair next time please! :wink:
 
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