Labradors Forums banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kaya is almost 18 months and I've been doing gundog training with her since about 1 yr old. She came out of a working dam (or rather, more correctly, a dual purpose one)

background
We passed Grade 1 (with merit smug :) ) back in April. We go to monthly training sessions, and we've been on one weekend 'intensive' course the aim of which was to train me how to train her, rather than being too intense in 2 days if you are following me. (Yes?)

I have taken on board the idea that if the basics aren't right then forget anything more advanced, so am happy with being quite slow. I don't have a lot of time to invest on a daily basis but do reinforce sit / wait / recall / good heelwork on a daily basis.

[Pertinent fact? - since May, I haven't been out for regular daily walks with her due to ill health though I have a dog walker so she gets her exercise. When I am at work, she now has the run of the conservatory & garden whereas she used to be confined to her crate.]

Problem
I have noticed her less keen to retrieve than other dogs - they can hardly contain themselves with excitement and have to be virtually held back until sent. She doesn't really have this 'bursting to be sent' characteristic. We were at the monthly training session on Sunday, and she did well but not keen as mustard. So yesterday, feeling like I had been 'neglecting'progress with training, I went out with her for some retrieves - simple memory stuff along a track...and twice she went fairly enthusiastically but twice didn't retrieve! I wondered if that was because we had done some on sunday and she wasn't interested? So we went back home...

My theory(s)
Is the solution to forget 'formal' training for a period of time (if so, how long?) and just enjoy walks together, without expecting any more than usual obedience from her?
Perhaps because I haven't walked with her for 3 months we have lost that 'bond'? (although she doesn't seem to be unattached to me as she follows me everywhere round the house.)
Perhaps I am too accessible? Should there be time when I am in the house but she has to be apart from me, so that training with me is real boost and she wants to work for me? (actually I do do this if I am at home all day there is always a time when she is on her own, so I'm not convinced that this is a factor))

Or is there something else I should be doing?

Going back to treats? Not sure if that is the right answer - but basically I need some way of making her want to work for me don't I?

(I had a 121 booked for tomorrow as it happens but unfortunately it was cancelled!)

well - thanks if you're still reading - I've tried to be as succinct as possible but probably as usual this has come out all muddled and defys understanding! :lol:

Open to suggestions from those who know about these things!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,913 Posts
She's not coming in to season or anything like that??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,913 Posts
Is the dog walker throwing lots of retrieves?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,534 Posts
Just bumping this for you.

I'm not much help - Bracken turns into rocket propelled jet when she thinks a retrieve is on the cards. Had problems getting her to bring it back, but think that's maybe (touching wood) back on track now.

From my v limited and inexperienced opinion, I'd say it might be due to a) her getting lots of free time with the dog walker and in the garden at home and b) maybe getting too many retrieves so it's not so special/rewarding as it once was. I notice a difference in how Bracken performs at training when she's been with me all week vs when she's been with my dog walker all week (who throws sticks and encourages her to drop things etc).

Sounds like Bracken is a very different dog from yours, but some of the best advice I got when I was having problems was to lead walk her for a week or so - no free running at all, and to cut back temporarily on fussing her. I'm not meaning no fuss at all.... but I was guilty of jibbering away to her and giving her lots of fuss and attention for her 'just being there' and not because she'd worked her socks off to please me..... so why should she then want to please me when we're out training, when she can get the same amount of fuss for just keeping me company on the sofa of an evening. So I toned things down at home, and upped the praise when out training (although for that week or so of lead walking, I did no training - other than everyday good manners). Worked wonders.

I've seen similar posts recently and some of the replies have given advice like putting the fun back into things - getting out with the chuckit and tennis balls and making it a bit less serious.... lob the ball and send her as soon as it bounces to gee her up a bit maybe???

Others will be along who actually know what they're talking about :wink: :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,504 Posts
First question, you mention her dam is dual purpose - how strongly does she lean on the working side? How much show, proportionately, roughly only, is there in her? And her Sire? How is he bred in terms of show/working mix? (Just to get a feel for her genetically).

Great idea to find out about the dog walker and retrieving.

But I will wait for your response on her breeding before making any further serious comment or suggestion but yes, I have been very strongly advising these 'flat' dogs, be they show, working or however bred, are taken back to running in after tennis balls. Not many. Just a couple a day to make it REALLY special, and a chucker or a racket is fine, but make it exciting - get the drive and the desire back in and absolutely completely forget the steadiness - especially if the steadiness has already been drilled in - it will come back very quickly indeed when you slowly change tack again - but get the want there before telling her she can't have - if you get my drift. leave her wanting every session, so wind her up to fever picth then put the ball away, give her a good pat and say 'right, lead on - lets go home'....

Winding a dog up involves jumping about yourself, taunting and teasing 'you want it? YOU WANT IT????' then wham! Out goes the ball.... usually on flat grass or concrete so you don't waste it by them not seeing it go! ;-)

And always give her the training sessions BEFORE she is walked. So don't have her walked, then come home of an evening and train her. If you are training her make the training (or quick bit of ball chasing) all she has that day - the absolute highlight of the day. Days you don't do anything in that direction she can be walked.

This doesn't have to be forever but in a dog not overly keen or driven its pretty much the only way to make the working part the best bit EVER of 24 hours! ;-)

Di
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just popping in to say I'm not ignoring you - will come back later when can get on the computer instead of my piddly iPhone screen!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
right back now and on the 'puter.

Di - as usual you are most kind to spend all that time at your keyboard! :D
Re her breeding - all I know is that her dam is a Poolehall (bought in sometime back) and they breed dual purpose (she has Mars of Manymills as her Great Grandfather I think), and the breeder said he used to work her, though his main interest was breeding & working cockers. I'm not sure about her sire's background - their website (Maplespring) wasn't the most useful in giving background. I don't know whether that is of any help to you? Her build though is definitely working - from what I have seen of working lines as I go around the clubs and a couple of tests.

I have noted your advice about the winding up etc - but I must admit to a slight confusion because I'm not sure how lobbing tennis balls is different to dummies? I know she will run like crazy after a ball, and probably retrieve it - so is it that it is fun rather than the dummies she may see as dull? And aren't I teaching her that I will throw it again when she brings it back? which I thought was a no-no...I'm not questioning your advice by any means - I just need the light over my head turned on ! :lol:

I've been praising her like mad (but calmly) whenever she walks around the house with something in her mouth, especially when she comes to me with it (without being asked I mean), and not immediately taking it away (sometimes taking and giving it back, sometimes taking it away). My motive for this was that she was spitting the dummy, or going round me with it rather than bringing it straight in, certainly not presenting it so prettily as I see other gundogs doing.
So I have tried to work on her return to me and letting me take the dummy (along tracks, back to a fence etc to stop her going round me). It's almost as if, having got her to understand that I expect her to come to me with the dummy, she now thinks 'well! if you're just going to take it off me then I shan't fetch it!'

She used to come back to me like a rocket - she almost knocked off my feet with her speed - but now she pootles back, head down. I praised her LARGE on Sunday when she, for the first time ever, came straight to me with the dummy (albeit slowly) rather than going past me. And it was the very next day she went out well but didn't pick it and wandered off to sniff about instead...which was when I put her lead on & went home.

Have I broken my dog? :roll: :oops:

Really not sure where I have gone astray you see. There's something I've not grasped somewhere along the line - is it not enough / too much training? (can't believe it's too much) Is it inconsistency somewhere?

:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,504 Posts
Hi Liz,

Its so hard to judge by internet of course so can only pick at the bones of the case. Certainly sometimes in working on one part of the 'job' you can set 'another part' back. So in working rather hard on her delivery, you have lost the desire to return. It does sound like you have been doing that all right, and this is where dogs all differ. Sort of regardless of 'lineage' BUT most especially dogs with a high degree of show blood don't quite tend to have the overwhelming desire to carry on regardless if there starts to be less and less in it for 'them' as they see it.

So there is a fine line between playing into her slightly sulky paws because you are asking for compliance on delivery and making the whole 'thing' of training a joy for her again. Its perfectly possible to get a dog compliant - but to get them there willingly, almost making them believe they called the shots to get there in the first place is a real, and slowly learnt, art.

There is no difference between balls and dummies, just that something needs to now make this fun again for her. Personally with this dog, i would absolutely forget her delivery for the time being in favour of her regaining the joy of doing the work.

The problem with most or many showbred dogs (and why they tend to get a plod plod reputation) is because they tend to be trained like field bred dogs. And they simply can't be to the same end result using the same methods. The need a few tweeks here and there - some small - some huge!

With a dog screaming with desire you *could* work on delivery and still get that fast inrun. On a dog with slightly less genetic drive to keep on trucking, you can't for any great period without them saying 'sod you, I'll just come back slower and slower then...' Some working lines would have the same reaction of course, but you would have the odds stacked against it happening a little higher.

So right now, I would get this dog out four times a week with a tennis racket or a chucker as detailed above. Get her screaming about and loving it. Turn it back into a game. have her charge back in because she desperately wants the next 'chuck' but keep those 'chucks' very very sparking, with a lot more winding up than actual throwing. Finish when she is most excited. Her delivery will become non existant. She may even start throwing the ball at you from ten foot away... but this is a short term measure to get some desire back.

Work on her delivery around the house as you have been in a low key, low adrenaline way....

Be exciting to be around when doing these short, ten minute bursts. Then slowly bring the steadiness back in. have her jump at you for a ball, quietly ask for a sit, throw, wait two seconds then send. never bollock her for running in. Just say nothing and take the excitment level down one quick notch and have another go. But always end on an exciting one.

This balance between swapping a dog between steadiness and running in/excitement is a tricky one. If you don't feel you can do it, just have alternate days of excitment and steadiness, but work on the steadiness as obedience exercises rather than have it linked right now to retrieving.

Most good working bred dogs spend most of their lives on a knifeedge between running in and sitting up steady when working. That has to be 'created' in a showbred dog sometimes artifically (and from your lines you quote regardless of whether her mu was worked she is majority by a long way showlines). Even a showdog that runs in often has to be treated this way to increase their desire to please so they happily and keenly return to hand, don't pick the item then sniff and cock their leg on the way back etc etc.

So its just more awkward to do the winding up with a dummy. Its much easier with a ball and the ball can bobble as you chuck it and create lots of bounding and puppy bounces onto it... something you REALLY want back.

You do have to create the desire for the NEXT retrieve to create a speedy return run and the actual desire to get out there, find and pick fast and get the devil back to mum so we can GET the next one.... dogs almost always like the OUTWARDS bit.... regardless of breeding, its the rest of it that needs encouraging.

So get out, and make yourself really fun in tiny short bursts for a week to ten days. Then gradually work some steadiness back in before sending.... I need to make clear you are allowing her to run IN after these retrieves on these sessions, you aren't sending her. Use her name as she runs in by all means, or 'back' or 'get on' or whatever you usually say, but get her screaming out and back before you go any further.

And find if the dog walker is playing fetch. If she is, then ask her immediately to cease....

The next stage is getting out working hopefully with other dogs when you have managed to start to get your excitmenet level and desire back.

IF you happen not to want to go this route thats fine, and you can help yourself by lots of clapping and running away as she comes back towards you... but that won't help the desire level, just maybe turn her trot to a slow canter on the way back....

Di
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Di that really all makes sense and very manageable. Interesting about the background.

I appreciate what you say about 'dropping' the steadiness for now. I can see what you're getting at. I'll work on the winding up and fun, bringing the steadiness back in once it seems right, and definitely make sure I get the walker to understand why I don't want her playing fetch. As I understand it the reason for this would be I only want her to get her fun from me at the moment.

8)

Let's see how we get on and report at the funday!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Liz,

I agree with the comments Di made.
You need to get her fired up and get her going.
I would even not put a timeframe on it, I would judge her reaction every training session and if necessary keep it up longer.

I would like to add that if you train your dog on a regular basis, there is no need for a dog walker. I understand you want your dog to have enough physical stimulation but in my opinion a walk with a dog walker and a training session on the same day is too much. Certainly if that training session is after the walk and she has the run of the conservatory and garden during the rest of the day.

Train your dog either first thing in the morning or after you have been seperated for at least 1 hour (put her in a bench or whatever) and confine the space she has for herself when alone.
My first lab was very much a house dog, but from working lines and hot as hell. However, after a few tries I realized that there was no point in training her when she had had the run of the garden for some time or when she had been around me an entire morning. I took her out training when she came out of her run when I got back from work or first thing in the morning during the weekend. And I never took her training if we did a long walk the day before.
Whatever people may say about a dog working for you, I don't believe any of it, a dog only works for himself. And, that is the case for any dog, no matter what the breeding is behind it. It is up to the trainer to make sure that what works for the dog is also what works for him.
However, there are dogs who have it in them to see immediately that the handler is able to provide them with what they need and they will pay attention to him/her and respond well to training. Likewise, there are dogs who require a lot of work to make them realize that the handler is really the best thing for them and require a lot of training to realize the smallest improvement.
This is the part where breeding comes into play. But, the most important thing is: A dog only does what works for him/her. A phrase I learned from Jeff Boston.

Regards

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kaya gone off the boil?Need advice UPDATED

Sooo - one week on and where are we?

...feeling really dispirited and frustrated actually! :(

I can't get her wound up AT ALL. I've been out with the chucker, she runs off to get the ball and sometimes comes back for more - but only once or twice..mostly she goes off to sniff around.

I'm so at my wits end. What can I do? Have I caused it to happen somehow?

She 's not recalling instantly either.

At home she follows me everywhere, until I come into the office as she knows I won't reappear for a while..but as soon as she hears the computer shut down she's up and at my feet hoping I'l head for the front door. But when we go out she kind of switches off to me.

Do I bring back treats, for a while, big time?

Very stupidly (I know) I feel rejected because I can't get her excited and motivated. Now I know that is unreasonable, but obviously there is something I am doing / not doing that is contributing to her being so disinterested. Only a few weeks ago she was keen as mustard but different dog now.

(I did establish that the walker doesn't play fetch). I only got a walker because I felt she needed the company whilst I was out at work, to break up the day. Although I was a bit concerned about her becoming unfit without the regular walks with me. I am beginning to feel like I could get out in the early morning with her again as I am feeling much better. But will that have any effect on her being interested in fun with me?

Hoping someone can shed some light! :oops: :roll:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
UPDATED - :idea: moment ?

oh my word I think I may have just had a :idea: moment!!

I went into the garden with some treats to do a bit of chucking ball intending to treat her when she came back with it...she knew I had treats but didn't for some reason understand that she would get one by fetching. She seemed to think I was going to chuck the treat...odd I thought....

this where the :idea: came on...I suddenly realised that for some weeks now I have been taking my leave of her for the day in the following fashion...
1. go to drawer and get out 3 or 4 dogs biscuits
2. chuck biscuits out in the garden saying 'find it'
3 whilst she is happily occupied foraging, I say 'see you later' and lock the back door.

Does anyone else think I have managed to completely sidetrack her by doing this?

If so - how do I undo my misdeeds?

HELP!!!!

feel such a numpty
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,534 Posts
Maybe she's just used to the garden being her 'free time' to pootle and investigate, rather than to play with you or work for you?

What happens if you take the chuckit out to somewhere completely new, is she interested then, or still more interested in sniffing about?

What age is she? My experience is limited, but from reading your posts, it does remind me of a stage Bracken seems to have just come through, where she was more interested in singing to her own tune than mine.

What happens if you jazz things up with the ball? You know, squeaky voice, lobbing it up and down catching it yourself, chucking it side to side, catching it yourself. Is Kaya interested? If she is, some advice I was given (you know who you are :wink: ) was to do this for a few days, but not let her have it. Keep winding it up and then putting away. Then, one day, lob it and let her get it.

Looking forward to meeting you at the Charity Day. It'll be interesting to see how she is there. Sometimes at home, Bracken could take or leave training. If I threw a dummy for her in the garden, she wouldn't be fussed (so I don't train in the garden, ever), but at a training day, she suddenly 'switches on' and can't wait to get stuck in.

Will follow your thread with interest as I'm in no position to advise :wink: :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well Mo, if you could have seen me acting like a proper charlie on the field today :oops: you would know that despite me jumping up and down, playing with the ball, running around and squeaking - the only reaction I got was 'tut! do you HAVE to show me up in public? I'm going over here so people don't think I'm with you!'

:roll: and this happens ANYWHERE so it would seem. I haven't been anywhere new as such - but I'm sure that would mean even less likelihood of her paying attention - far too many new things to investigate!

she's just coming up to 18 months.

Hmm not sure if I'm looking forward to the Charity FunDay now! :lol:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
21,513 Posts
Mmm, I dont know of many Maplespring dogs to go on, but what I do know are CountrywaysXMansengreen, so it looks working to me Di.

Problem with using other people to exercise your dogs is that you never quite know what they have been at. We take great care that the time spent walking with our dogs is also spent moulding them in the direction we want them to go. Thoughts, has the dog walker thrown things and a dominant dog has told her off? Has she spent so much time chasing in company that she no longer want to run out after things? Has she got pleasure out of chasing more interesting things like rabbits and squirrels?

Just a couple of things.

Regards, John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,224 Posts
Awwwww Liz :( Please don't feel disheartened!!

How does she do with a bit of competition? Do you want to do a training session together one night this week?

Another thing to try might be to attempt to replicate what a "professional" trainer would do - they often kennel their dogs and say that it makes them far keener to impress when they get limited time with you. How about cancelling walks for a few days, or the rest of the week? And then on maybe Wed or Thurs when you do take her out for a short training session, make it somewhere new and exciting that she hasn't been before.

Or maybe she needs a complete break from training for a couple of weeks, that can sometimes flick a switch?

Either that, or (tongue firmly planted in my cheek here hun...) accept that you just can't work a chocolate, and go get yourself a real coloured one!! :D

I hope that the trainer on Saturday has loads of great ideas for you, but until then, if you want to meet up (maybe at the same grounds we used on Sun?) let me know!
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top