Shore-Breaking Drill Question
I was reading about some shore breaking drills because it is something that I want to work on with my lab this spring. I came across something that I didn't quite understand though. http://www.gundogsonline.com/Article...ever-Page1.htm is the article I was reading. If you go down to the trimming corners section and the 8th paragraph it talks about using momentary stimulation when it reaches the apex of the land route. I am confused about what it means about the apex. Does this mean when the dog reaches the corner of the pond when it no longer needs to go into the water to take a direct route to you? Let me know what you think.
The apex they are talking of is allowing the dog to make it to the end of the channel or water point when cheating the land before making the correction and calling the dog back. Basically allowing the dog to fully commit. Doing so also creates in the dogs mind a hot spot at the point of correction. When running it again the dog we hope will not want to around by land again making the water entry the logical choice to reach the bumper.
There are lots of different drills and methods to decheat a dog. I'll give some examples later. Gotta go for now dogs are getting restless.
That's usually called the Dobbs method. I call it hot spot training and don't think a lot of it. Basically, you nick them at the place where the ! mark is on the corner of the pond they are running around. It's a good idea, if you're doing this, to throw a bumper fat into the water after a repetition when they got a nick. Do it a couple times, it helps getting them to realize that being in water is good and running around earns them a nick. After a couple of short fat in the water retrieves, repeat the cheaty mark.
It'll work but I don't feel dogs generalize that well from it. By that I mean they'll learn not to cheat that corner and if you train it on other corners they'll eventually get the picture not to cheat other corners. But, they don't have the tools built into them to seek water when the picture is different.
I really think you're better off just going through an entire retriever basics program during the winter and then do water force and swim by next spring. You'll have a very nice retriever next fall. The Fairbanks Retriever Club could be a source of help.
Thanks Howard. Good info. You said what I wanted to say when I didn't have time to say it earlier.
I too wanted to emphasize following a retriever training program. Like Mike Lardys flow chart which is available at his website. Totalretriever.com if I remember right. There are steps that must be completed before doing this type of drill and having the dog understand what you are asking.
Could you explain to us what training you have put into your retriever. Then we can help you move forward.
I use more attrition based training methods. I find it develops a good working attitude. Plus the retrievers learn easier and understand quicker what I am asking. In my yard basics I use a lot of drills designed into taking an initial line and holding it. These mechanics are vital and will carry through to helping the dog learn and operate efficiently whether it's a blind or a mark.
Last spring I went through the basic obedience/retrieving class that FRC put on. Ruckus does really well on the land marks. He takes nice straight lines and brings the bird back to hand. He knows sit, heel, and down. We are working on his steadiness to and from the line however, when he is there he is very focused. His drive is incredible. As of right now he only heels on the left side because I am right handed. He received his started title from HRC in the hunt test this summer. Although, he cheated the water marks at every test. Being in Fairbanks it is hard to get him into the water until late because it is so cold and so I want to make the most of the time I can get him in the water. Right now I am force fetching him and he has taken really well to it. He has a basic understanding of fetch and hold. When he is in the water though, he does not listen to commands I give him. He knows that he needs to get the bird and bring it back which is what he does, he just runs the shore. I know his obedience will be better once we finish his force fetching and that will help but I still have to figure out how to break him of cheating on his water marks. Any other advice you have would be great.
It is good that you have had some success with him in HRC. Great group of folks.
I am glad that you are enthusiastic in furthering his training. In order to train for the next level you will need to follow a training program. The FRC club and IAGDA are a great local resource for you. I would contact them and keep reaching out to them til you find a training group able to help you.
There are some video resources available as well to help.
You are welcome to call or contact me for some help when ever you need. I can give you some tips and I know quite a few folks in the retriever clubs up there to refer you.
Someone in the FRC or the IAGDA should have the Lardy, "Total Retriever Training," tapes you can borrow and view. It's the gold standard of retriever training programs.
If you continue w/ force fetch and collar conditioning, by next summer you should be ready to force to water and complete swim bys. Until then I'd suggest setting up water work that is difficult to cheat on. With young dogs, I try to keep everything as square as I can until my other work is finished and I have options for corrections.
I am also not an advocate of indirect training, or developing hot spots for a dog to avoid. I have not seen the Dobbs method mentioned, but have watched similar processes and each handler ended up with a myriad of other issues later.
Great question though, we rarely see people working toward this level. Good luck,
I thought I'd come back and give you a better idea of what we mean. A lot of folks don't realize the steps it takes to build up a retriever. Being able to run multiple marks and then able to operate with the handler to run a blind retrieve of course are the benefits of a finished retriever. It takes a major investment in time and patience to teach to that level.
For me, during "basics" it goes beyond just sitting, heeling and coming when called. A lot of it is developing confidence and an incentive to go. This gives us momentum. Through varying yard drills we teach and develop... establishing and maintaining a line. A "line" is simply the direction we want our retriever to go. A "line" can be used for running marks or blinds. A line is "go as sent training". Teaching lining ability starts with simple bumper drills in the yard. Then you take those skills and advance it in the field with more training. During the teaching phase you always want the dog confident on where they are going. If they don't know where they are going it is difficult to teach the line you want.
For me, yard basics include handling drills up through double T. Once yard drills are taught you have the tools to help you to teach a line. So then some simple factors such as throwing a mark behind a patch of cover or where the dog needs to go over a log to be successful are beginning things to start.
To properly teach taking a line into the water you need a dog confident on running lots of noncheaty water marks. Why? There again I want lots of momentum and confidence. Plus with lots of direct entries they naturally and over lots of repetition will be thinking "water" instead of thinking of ways around it. I also want a dog that has been through swimby. At that point simple cheating singles on the water can be taught.
Teaching a line involves the proper use of attrition and handling to teach the desired line. Remember, if they don't know where they are going it is difficult to teach the line.
Man, Baron said that well. Build confidence first. Build good habits first. Anybody training a dog, and getting results as described initially, i.e. cheating, is not training "smart". I've always said, it is way easier to build good habits than to try and break bad ones. I'd say that goes for testing too. Trainers need to be smart about where there dogs are at. Testing at events gives the handler no options for corrections. Put it this way. If you think a dog is trained well, and ready to "test", are you willing to lay $100 on the outcome being positive?
Again, I like the question. This is way above and beyond the norm that we see here. I'm hoping for more handlers to weigh in, either with suggestions or questions.
Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate it. I was able to get a couple of Evan Graham's books from a fellow FRC member which are great. I think I am going to spend the rest of the winter working on getting his basic obedience as more "formalized" rather than just "passive". Once he has that foundation, then I will finish with the force fetching. Like you all said, stick to a plan. Gotta go back a little now. See, he knows what the commands are and will do them but I think to finish force fetching and work into the other things I want from him he needs to have a more solid foundation with obedience to work on.
I do kind of have another question too. I was wondering how to get a quicker response to the sit command and how to transition from the heeling stick/e-collar to nothing. Again, he knows what sit is and what I want, however, I would like a quicker response. We have used the heeling stick, which I have had success with, but it only seems to work when I have the stick with me and is still not the crisp response I would like. When I don't, it is like he says, I know she doesn't have it so I don't have to do it. How do I carry that over from the heeling stick to no stick at all? Even just me having the stick will get a response out of him most of the time. It is kind of the same question with the e-collar. They know what it is so how do you instill it so that when the collar is no longer there you get the same result? Any suggestions would be awesome!
Are you carrying the stick hovering it above him? I carry it up and away in the same hand as the side the dog is heeling on. Dangling it above them or in front of them lets them know its there. It takes some practice to efficiently use the stick and the lead at the same time.
I put dogs through stick sit and have them good at it before i transition to collar sit. The sequence with collar sit : Sit followed by stick. At the same time as the stick a low nick from the collar. Repeat using various low level stimulation within that dogs sensitivity level.. All this done on lead or long line. After several lessons use less of the stick and use the collar primarily.
Evan has some good tapes. Watch how he uses various training equipment and pay attention to his timing on making corrections.
It's also simply a matter of consistency over time to make them reliable. For all my young dogs while training I have my heeling stick and the ecollar available. All the dogs on my truck go through the routine of putting on the collar before training. Whether I use it or not. I don't wait to put it on once a problem develops. Rather it's there when one does so I can correct it in a timely manner. After a while they can operate efficiently without it. But you don't want to get into a habit of putting the collar on only when problems develop. They will relate the putting of it on and off as a cue. Thus developing being collar wise. Putting it on as a routine before coming off the truck to run a setup has the dogs in an excited state of mind. So to them putting on the collar is a good experience related to fun things.