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..... is hard - very hard I think, unless you are of a certain mindset and very focussed on a end-goal.

I've been trying with Mouse, but the 'don't do's' are starting to get me tied up in knots and are making me question everything I do when interacting with her and so I've decided to step aside of Khaki-ism and do pretty much the same with her as I have done my other pups and then see what I have at the end of it all.

I have enjoyed the training/play-games side with her very much. The whole gundog-aspect has given me lots of new ideas for training which Mouse and I have enjoyed. It's handy (and very satisfying!) if I drop something when out walking I can send her back to find it for me, and any sort of steadiness is always a good thing, but I'm really not getting on with 'The Rules'. Mouse spends half her day carrying things she finds around with her (mostly socks and shoes thanks to living with 3 blokes who seem to have to let their feet go naked everytime they step indoors) and I'm always in a dither now as to whether I should call her to me, make her come to me, take them off her,not take it off her, praise her, give it her back, swop it for something else, make her walk to heel with it, ask her to pluck it and make it into a nice cassarole, or what ! :roll:

Last night, for example, I was doing some gardening. Mouse was feeling perky and I hadn't done any training with her yesterday as she has a class today and I wanted her to be buzzing for it. But after doing some wrestling with her over the trowel, I started throwing some toys into the flowerbeds for her to retrieve. And she liked it. So I threw some more, and then I started agonising about if I should have thrown 4 toys in a row, or if she'd hate retrieving forever if I 'burnt her out' in one easy session, or should I be sitting her to be steady whilst I fetched them, and was I using 'the right commands', and should I be making her come directly back to me each time and presenting them properly, and how bad was it that she'd done a circuit with squeeky-penguin before she bought him to me, and should she even have a squeeky penguin, and how dreadful was it that the other dogs came into the garden to join in, and oh my life- Mouse was ambushing Flo to rob her of her tennis ball and bu$$er it..........I need a large G&T to contemplate the errors of my Ol' Gundogging ways! 8O

So I'm not sure that Pet-Doggery and Gundog-Doggery are that compatible. I don't want to wait and be patient in training. I don't want to ignore my pup for most of the time so that training-times become the be all and end all. I want my dogs to socialise and run about having free-time with the dogs we meet down the park every day. I want my pup to have a cuddle on my bed at night, and to rip the odd sock and shoe that my men-folk leave lying around because it teaches them to be more careful!

So for other people who have pet-working dogs, where do you draw the line? How much does Khaki-ism impinge on your day to day life with your dogs? Does it get on your nerves at all? Does it alter the way you live with your dogs?

I love the time I spend doing gundogging-type stuff, but I'm not keen on living The Khaki-Dream the other 23 1/2 hours in the day!

Becs and The Gang
 

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I absolutely hear where you're coming from Becs!

I've previously got myself all tied up in knots.... more because I was kicking myself that I'd actually instilled some fundamental bad habits from the get-go.... like teaching Bracken to 'drop' and letting her sniff on-lead etc. So I was working against the tide to undo some of that.

For me, khaki isn't the b all and end all. Much as I thoroughly enjoy it and want to do as well with my dogs as I can; they are first and foremost my pets. I enjoy nothing more than going for a long walk where they get lots of free-running. Nothing more than seeing them 'be dogs' and hooly around with other dogs that we meet, or at GTs. I consider myself a 'khaki-enthusiast' rather than a 'khaki-hardcore' :lol: :lol:

The 'rules' I follow, are generally the same principles that I think most folk do if trying to raise a well-mannered dog. So, I aim for consistency - waiting for food, to get in/out car, sitting calmly to get lead on/off, not barging through doors etc. Nothing khaki-specific there.

In terms of khaki-specific - the only thing I've done, and stick to religiously, is to limit the amount of retrieves I give (but that doesn't mean that I don't take the chuck-it out now and then just for some fun), and insist that I get the ball in my hand.

I don't limit the amount of time the dogs get on the sofa etc, or minimise the amount of contact they have with me to try and maximise their training etc. When Bracken was being an absolute sod, I did find that re-establishing the boundaries and kicking her off the sofa for a while really worked wonders.... but this was a temporary measure.
 

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I feel pretty much the same as you Becs. I do really enjoy our gundog training but I don't want to live it 24/7! I want my dogs to have fun, fool around if they want to, play retrieval games without worrying about applying the "gundoggy" rules etc., etc.

Saying that though I do find that so far with Rusti & also Sunni, that they know the difference between "playtime", mucking around etc. compared to when I actually want them to "work" for me. They seem to "switch on" when its time for gundog training and knows its time to work and act proper! :D
 

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Oh Becs I totally feel for you and know that whatever you do you'll just enjoy Mouse.

Basils not long finished his grade 3 and that will be as far as I go with him outside of us just having fun on our walks. This morning I played reckless fetch with him and as he pirouetted up on his back 2 legs to catch the ball and revelled in delight at catching his frisbee mid air I realised we've been missing out a bit.

Last night we had a horrendous rain downpour and so I sat in the warmth and dryness of my lounge and sent him back in turn for each of the soft toys Nellie had left out oat the bottom of the lawn - if nothing else i am thrilled I now have a dog who can clear up toys in the rain without me being there :lol:
 

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Becs said:
So for other people who have pet-working dogs, where do you draw the line? How much does Khaki-ism impinge on your day to day life with your dogs? Does it get on your nerves at all? Does it alter the way you live with your dogs?

I love the time I spend doing gundogging-type stuff, but I'm not keen on living The Khaki-Dream the other 23 1/2 hours in the day!
I want a dog that is a pleasure to live with. To me that means that they are well behaved, know the boundaries and enjoy life. A by product of Gun dog work means you have a dog that has a good level of obediance. When I started out with barney, I thought at the very least I'd do two things 1) increase the bond between us, and 2) get a well mannered dog out of it. Both happened.

I don't expect any of my dogs in their 'time off' not to run round like hooligans, or play tug with the staffy (she is such a bad influence!) and generally have a good romp. I do expect, when I ask, that they take note and tow the line. OK so my experience is limited compared to others, but it seems to me that dogs can learn the difference between play and work and switch between the two easilly.

I don't think anything I have done with my dogs on their time off has been of any detriment. That includes long walks offlead; playing hide and seek in the woods; lobbing a few tennis balls etc etc. I really don't. Every game or walk though has boundaries. For example I still expect a dog to recall immediately or deliver to hand a tennis ball or toy, or like Mo says, to sit for dinner or wait for me to go through a gate first etc. I would expect all of these regardless of whether I was into gundog training or not. So it doesn't feel like 24/7 khaki training to me.

I have goals and ambitions. My dogs know when to step up to the mark. If they underperform it is usually the Handler and not the dog or anything I have done with them on their time off that is at fault.

I am increasingly of the opinion that genetics play a huge part on whether the dog will go on to be successful, regardless of the Handler and what games or home life you have. Yes these will have a bearing too but I currently think, genetics often wins through in the end.

Just enjoy your dog, I think we can often over complicate things. You want a dog to be proud of and enjoy living with, that means training and all the other things that make a dog happy i.e. food, fun and companionship. That alone will stand you in good stead whether you go onto do other things in the gundog world or not.
 

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Becs, I have the same problem as i have always had pet dogs, whether they were labs, springers or terriers. Richard started saying do'nt do this and don't do that and in the end I said sod this, I'm the one who is with them all day, hoovering up hairs and dealing with all the dust, it's me they bring their toys, bones socks, empty toilet rolls and i just get on and play with them. I can even play tuggy with them, but dear Jay bless her heart always lets go. The one thing I do NOT do is play with dummies. They are in the car or in Richards pocket for when he is doing the little bit of training he does.

The most important thing is getting a well-balanced and well mannered pup and I expect this from any dog or pony even.

But when the girls see the flasks, sandwich box and shooting gear coming out, Mum is all forgotten about and they only have eyes for Dad.
 

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I must say I decided some years ago how far I was prepared to go down the gundog route, and the line that I would draw because I want to continue enjoying my dogs as pets as well.

I tread my own path on all this and I am known as a "soft" handler, which I think is mean't to be an insult, but I take it as a compliment :D . I have not changed my views and I will continue to do things my way. Can I hear you all starting to singalong....................... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: .
 

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Becs, Are you aiming at a Field Trials champion, a hooligan or some point in between? We all have a compromise to make and exactly where we place that compromise is something only the individual can decide. My dogs are first and formost my friends and companions. My position on the line might be slightly closer to a FT Ch than some, but it's not at the dedicated, stop at nothing end. I know what I would need to do, but stop short of that end of the line. I want a dog I can enjoy living with, can take picking up and know that both her and I are going to have a fun day, can handle her onto retrieves which defeat some of the others, but am not concerned if some dogs do better. I am simply not competitive any more. Been there, done that in other sports so now is the time to relax. Thats my position along that line.

Regards, John
 

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Related to this, I have had my eyes opened good and proper recently, and I guess this relates to the genetics part of my post above.

I am helping out, as I posted elsewhere in this section, on the training of a little black girl, all working bred. For 22 months of her life she has (and still is) been spoilt rotten. Pretty much everything some people say you shouldn't do with your gundog has been done with her i.e. long walks off lead; loads and loads of tennis chuckits; tug games; letting her drop all articles on the floor instead of to hand. Generally, whatever she has wants.

This dog has now started training. I am gobsmacked by her. Within five sessions she now delivers to hand everytime; is steady to thrown dummies; can jump on command; hunts beautifully; heels offlead wonderfully with no nose on the ground (that took one session); stops on the whistle and has the fastest run out and return I have ever seen, she even does blinds no problem and completely self taught. OK so none of this at any great distance at this stage. She is, in fact, a dream dog. Her owners have asked if I would consider competing her in the future (next year obviously) and I am sorely tempted.

My point is nothing that they have done to this dog for those first 22 months has done any damage at all. Genetics have put a HUGE stamp on her. You can't create a dog like that, it just 'is'. I feel pretty sure that I could kennel that dog tomorrow, do nothing but gun dog training and she would still be enormously happy with her lot. So with the best will in the World you could try going by the book and worry and sweat about it all, but at the end of the day, it's up to the dog.
 

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In spite of or because of?

But if you are setting out to "Create" a working gundog could you be sure "In spite of" would work every time? Or would you be prepared to "Throw away" all the "In spite of" failures? No, we use "Because of" to try to eliminate these failures.

Regards, John
 

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JohnW said:
But if you are setting out to "Create" a working gundog could you be sure "In spite of" would work every time? Or would you be prepared to "Throw away" all the "In spite of" failures? No, we use "Because of" to try to eliminate these failures.

Regards, John
Agreed. Of course those that start out with a FTch in mind, would of course approach things a lot differently to my friends and their bitch. She is suceeding "in spite of" her upbringing I guess. A less naturally talented dog, perhaps wouldn't? or would they? But if one is serious, it's not worth the risk I'm sure :wink:

Remember though Becs the word 'enjoyment' - both you and your dog/s, that is what has driven many into this sport and keeps them going. It is certainly what made me go further than I anticipated.
 
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Becs said:
I've been trying with Mouse, but the 'don't do's' are starting to get me tied up in knots and are making me question everything I do when interacting with her and so I've decided to step aside of Khaki-ism and do pretty much the same with her as I have done my other pups and then see what I have at the end of it all.
And thank goodness for that. :wink:

Ever since Mouse's arrival and even before that, you have been getting your knickers in a twist about what you should and shouldn't do. You have worried, analysed, worried, fought with yourself and worried some more and all the while you should just be enjoying her. After all you're not likely to get another pup in a hurry, so relax and make the most of her. If she turns out to be a great "Ol' Gundawg" then so be it....but if she doesn't, does it REALLY matter, eh, she'll still be your Best Mouse. :wink:
 

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Interesting topic Becs as I have been looking into the whole Gundog thing and decided that we are going to do the training and have fun (CB has toooo many toys already........) and thats all.

I'm not looking for a FTch as he is my 'buddy' first and the training will not do him any harm?!?!?
 

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Well said Jules ;-)

Becs. Mallie started life not in a gundoggery style. She is showbred. She is chocolate. She was a pet. She had things lobbed for her. She spat them and ran backwards, she shook toys like they were rats, she towed on the lead, she had no recall and she was very nervous.

Last year she nearly sneeked a card on a couple of occasions in a novice field trial. She has won a Novice test and an intermediate test and has multiple open test awards. yeah, yeah Di so what? And the band played, girl...

....what I am trying to say is there are many roads which lead to Rome. IDEALLY you follow 'the rules' (of which you can tweek to please yourself if you feel the need) if you plan to take the competition world by storm... but you don't....so why worry about the smallprint? mallies start was not IDEAL, but its a million miles from Mouses', so what more could Mouse achieve in time? Who knows....

You know I worry about Mouse burning out. But the minute you told me actually you don't think you really want to compete to any great extent, then i say 'go with the flow!'. If you want to do 8 toy tosses rather than 4, do it! Whats the worst that could happen? She will blank you on the 8th or pick it, smell something and bugger off. The world won't fall down. it just might make you only do 7 next time ;-)

What will happen Becs is this. You probably will find that as a general good trainer you will get Mouse to a nice standard in time of gundog work. You will get a bit of a bug and do some competitions. Then one of two things will happen. You will either hit a ceiling and get fustrated. It might be Mouses personal ceiling she would of hit in the hands of Ricky Moloney, or it might be because of some of your less orthodox training ideas, but a ceiling all the same. You will then either be content to potter at that level enjoying yourself and improving bits and pieces as you go along... or you will throw your hands up in horror and bring up your next pup in a slightly less free spirit kind of a way.

Either way thats absolutely fine and YOU will of made the decision based on what you find further down the line with Mouse.

What did my siggy line used to say? -"Hold your own, know your name, go your own way...." And with a realistic end goal that you have, you can do that so stop fretting yourself silly! If you had a different end target then the above post would be different.... but you don't!

We can only explain how we all bring up the dogs we work and the other many dogs we mix with in the working world. Its up to YOU to see what works for you giving and taking here there and everywhere. Then ASSESSING the results later on and seeing if you have any regrets. If you do, change it next time. If you don't go on just as you are!

Di
 

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Hi Becs,
A very good post again. I have made so many mistakes with Mildred and all my gundog friends shake their heads at her behavior. I used to get so self conscious of our failings and mistakes; I would try to work Mildred hard and put the time in to make her that future champion. I then realised that tracking dogs and many amateur gundogs don't live that way, what is the point?

These days we have obedience training, retrieving for fun because as a tracking dog there is no need to retrieve a 20 stone Red Stag! 8O And we play, we play and swim and laugh. :D Twice a week I lay a trail for her to follow, that is her favorite game. Generally we don't try too hard, we avoid the politics of the gundog and tracking worlds and we just enjoy being together. 8)

My point is...we are still getting there, but we are taking our time doing it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Diana said:
It might be Mouses personal ceiling she would of hit in the hands of Ricky Moloney,
Di
<<Just having a little 'me-time-moment' considering where my personal ceiling might be in Ricky Maloney's hands! 8O :oops: >>

Ermmmm...where were we?!!! Thanks for all your posts. All very thought provoking and reassuring, and I'll only tie myself in nice bows in future instead of Granny-Knots! Mouse is absolutely a family-fun dog first and always will be and secondly a 'research-model' for me to learn more about training and how dogs' learn. If that takes me deeper into Khaki World then great. If not, then I've learnt that all my thoughts to date about training and learning are flakey (which may very well be the case!)

I'm really interested in 2 things that have been mentioned in this post. The first being 'natural instincts' that Helen mentioned and the second about 'burning out' which Di mentioned. Not having had a 'proper' working dog, I don't know much about it, but I have so many questions and thoughts about the 'burning out' which people have mentioned a lot. But that's maybe a different thread!

Thank-you again for all your posts. Having just had very moral-boosting training classes with Zorro and Mouse this morning, I'm less 'down' about all things Khaki than I was when I wrote the post this morning.

Becs and The Gang
 

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Well Becs, on the 'burning out' subject. I've been musing on this lately.

If it's just me and Bracks out and about havin' a nice ol' time - she'll do a few retrieves, but quickly gets bored. I've learned to really limit the retrieves I give her when doing 1:1 training (and even when it's just fun tennis ball chuck-its).

Crank up a zillion gears at a GT or at a gundoggery training day and she'd zip out like lightening retrieve after retrieve after retrieve.

Excellent thought I. I know she has plenty of drive in the situations where it counts.

HOWEVER. Noticed some interesting things on my grand tour of England-shire earlier in the month. Charity Day, she was on form; the next day she was still on form; the next again day we went to see Sherry and Bracks was like a wet weekend. She sat steady off lead the whole time. This is unheard of for her. She had some mild interest in the retrieves, but really, would rather have snoozed in the car. I concluded that I had majorly over-done it with her. Then went to Jill's the next again day, and Bracks wasn't even very interested in hoolying with the Ettinsmoor clan. She made a token effort and then went to lie down.

Consequently I've done nothing with her training-wise since getting home, other than taking her to obedience class (an hour every Weds night).

So..... I'm left wondering. Is that it? Is she off the boil for good? Or will she be back on form tomorrow? I suspect she'll be back to her usual manic self, but I can now see what people mean when they forewarn of the dangers of burn-out.
 

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Mo - it may just be worth considering that Bracken could be having a bit of a phantom. Not a major full blown jobby just a bit. The timing would be about right.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Moj said:
but I can now see what people mean when they forewarn of the dangers of burn-out.
That's what I find so fascinating, and a really interesting example. What do people mean by 'burning out' and do we sometimes jump to that conclusion to quickly?

I mean, because Mo said Braken was sluggish after a couple of days of training, the assumption is naturally, that she'd done too much training, whereas there could be (and may well be) a hundred other reasons.

I'm also wondering how much dogs pick up from us too, and I think it might be far more than we realise, particularly if you consider how well they read our body language. I know that if I walk Zorro in a bad mood, then he is more subdued and tends not to stay as close to me (not that I take it out on him - he just 'knows' -infact, I wish my OH was as perceptive!) and is far less switched on to me, almost like he blocks me off from 'Zorro's World. Likewise if I'm feeling negative about his training, he is far less upbeat than if I'm feeling good or relaxed or even don't care much how he does. I wonder if, as we see dogs improving quickly, it's us that up the stakes, start caring far more than previously about the dog's training, and that's what makes the dog go off?

I'm just really interested to know what people mean by this, and if it is a common thing, and if it can be turned around, or if people have thought that the dog has burnt out but has come back again and why, or if not, why not?
Becs and The Gang
 
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