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Thread: Swim by

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    Default Swim by

    I am starting the hold work on the puppy and she is taking to it FAST-- I see force fetch just around the corner then collar conditioning. If all goes well she will be ready for swim by middle to end of June just in time for ice out and hopefully a little warmer water.

    Any ideas on where to accomplish swim by. I live in Eagle River--- was hoping to find a pond close so I could work on it more often than the weekends. i know of lots of lakes but none lend themselves to swim by training -- too much open water.

  2. #2

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    There is a small oblong pond in front and to the left of the square pond down on the hayflats as you head toward wasilla.

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    Thanks-- is there where most do their swim by teaching-- I am racking my brain for pond near or in eagle river. I know of a perfect on the southfork trail but it is a 6 mile hike-- might be a bit far for teaching swim by-- ha.

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    I've used the pond that Mary referred to. It's about the best pond for swim by within an easy drive. If you are in Anchorage, there's one at Cuddy Park in midtown. Not the big main pond there, but the little one over the hill towards the midtown Post Office. It's not as good as the one near the square pond but it's adequate and saves a trip for us city folks.

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    I have a few of places here in Knik but you can accomplish a lot in running (shallow) water , large puddles. Personally I donít start swim by until way after force fetch and basic handling but make every effort to avoid cheating. I donít use fear to keep them off of shore lines or points either until they are handling VERY well into water. Itís way to easy to make a huge mistake in water. Thatís why Lardy and the others developed all the hard force water entry drills, to fix what you just screwed up. The problem is that now, if you want that point, itís hot so more force to a point. I want to avoid those mistakes at all costs. The dog should have two places in mind. 1-Get to the bird the fastest straightest way, 2-get back to you the fastest straightest way. Keeping it clear and simple for a pup and keeping the angle back to you at 90 degrees. Avoid cheating opportunities, islands, and points. Entice them back with grand praise or another bumper, or use a long line. At this point with Jack I might use vibrate or low stim to get him back but not sure yet. He cheated the slot pond in the flats last year once on a return by 30 yards , seriously? It was 10 ft across, so I used the line and worked great. I hate working with long line in the water but it worked with this dog. Heís been working with the collar on overs and backs in yard work so we may be able to graduate and lose the rope.

    In Knik Lake we always threw with the boat between the shore and the dog. Thatís as far as we got in water work last year because it took about 15 trips to find his buoyancy and for him to love to float and swim but he was going well by October. We lost my best helper Lucy to a sudden heart tumor ! and still so sad. So Iím hoping to find some other eager swimmer friend to get us farther. Competition is a huge help. We were doing double dog singles, 2 dogs at a time,with staggered releases and his swimming just got better each time.

    We made friends with a neighbor behind us and found out an acre of natural pond with islands and shoreline is his tucked away in the woods behind us. Itís a Ĺ mile hike and bushwhack but itís shallow and should warm up soon. Hope I donít need my Lucy for pickup this year Ö
    I reuse a drill Dan and Gloria DeVos taught me . After the dog can do a nice big wagon wheel drill on land , say a bump every 30 degrees. Lay one out with water in front, shallow is fine so that you can walk the dog in if necessary. Start out with 1 bumper at 90 degrees in front, no trouble, add 2 at 45 degrees staying well within the edges of the cheating water line. They alternate with marks thrown off to dry land to ďblow dryĒ and keep warm. Make it successful but if the dog fouls up end with success on the 90 degree bumper and quit. Later you can add obstacles and enticements.

    Linda and Jack - longhaired Upik retriever

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    It's been MANY moons since I was in the training mode. Some of the terms you use now I am not aware of. What exactly does swim "by" mean?

    Thanks.....

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    Swim by anything keeping on a straight line on the way to a mark or blind. For the most part, depending on the terrain the dogs will want to beach at the closest shoreline or run around the entire pond to stay dry. Difficulty is in varying degrees. A bumper thrown straight out in wide open water 30 yards and back has little enticement to cheat. A bumper thrown 30 yards but 10 yards from a parallel shore line is enticing for the dog to turn, beach and run back on the shoreline. Same with an island, isthmus or point, you don't want the dog to veer off of the straight line out or back. Some hunters don't care about this. There are quite a few finer points in field trials that I don't care about but getting too far off line, especially on the outgoing retrieve can change the dogs perspective and lose the mark. Getting too far off line on the way back just looks sloppy. One exception I have is when we are hunting, it's cold, the dog has worked really hard to find a bird and the land is not only faster but warmer and safer. Usually that's been our last bird anyway. The danger in forcing swim by without balancing the dog to accept going over a point or island is that the dog may avoid those obstacles when they ARE on line to the mark or blind. It takes baby steps to teach it properly. ~Linda and Jack , Corded Chugach Retriever.

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    Whew, that was too much to read..............

    Basicly it is handling the dog on the water, overs...backs....etc and impressing on him that refusals are not acceptable. Should not be confused with angle entries, or teaching not to run the shore, etc. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Sorry to bore you Bud but depends who you pro-trained with. Regardless, if a dog is not handling on land or force fetched what your describing is way too advanced to start with the dog that was being asked about. . What I described is the beginning, not to be forgotten, as foundation. Hope that's not too much. :-)
    Linda and Jack , Wavy Goose Bay Retriever.

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    Ok.......I understand, basically its just making sure the dog takes a straight line in the water regardless of what it sees around.

  11. #11

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    Swimby..... is simply an extension of the skills taught in the double T. In double T the mechanics of going, stopping, left and right back and casting to the overs are trained. It is the beginning phase of teaching a dog not to avoid the water. Before I start swimby I like making the dogs go through the motions of it on land first. I use definitive casting where they cast with a bumper in the mouth and make them exit at the overs or cast from one over pile to the other. Makes things go much easier once in the water. Needless to say there are MANY chronological steps to building a dog to this point. If you have one step missing your efforts are wasted.
    In the program I teach..... When you get into this you better know how to problem solve. Knowing what to do when things go well but also knowing what to do when things go wrong are vitally important. If you find yourself going through the same lesson or the dog does the same thing wrong three days in a row..... You are doing something wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linda View Post
    Sorry to bore you Bud but depends who you pro-trained with. Regardless, if a dog is not handling on land or force fetched what your describing is way too advanced to start with the dog that was being asked about. . What I described is the beginning, not to be forgotten, as foundation. Hope that's not too much. :-)
    Linda and Jack , Wavy Goose Bay Retriever.

    Linda if a dog is not handling on land, it shouldn't be doing swim by. Swim by is an advance from handling on land, it is handling as well as straight line entry. Bud
    Wasilla

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    I teach water handling at the same time, if possible, at the same level as ion land if I can but keep it so short and shallow, so I can use a 50 ft rope. Different strokes, Bud. I'm not looking to burn off of land with this dog. He'd freak. Make it all a good reason to go where you want not a bad reason to avoid it. There is just too much to fix later with a softish dog.

    Baron's ideal is great if you have a super motivated dog. Most high end labs have been bred to take a lot of pressure. It's the throw-aways I find need the nearly all positive motivation or they lose their minds. I know mine would never do more than a few overs or backs with a bumper in his mouth without leaning on the heat and then he would wonder "what the heck", but I'm not making a field trial dog, just a retrieving buddy. I haven't even tried it yet still working on chaining the fetch and retrieve to heel cleanly. I'll maybe add the nuances when he feels like it. :-)
    Linda and Jack, Stringy-coated Mudflat Retriever

  14. #14

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    It's not what you do. It's how you do it.
    I'll be the first to say and others to follow "That a lot of the dogs I work are not high end field trial candidates.". Most are hunting companions that play the hunt test games during the summer.
    Conditioning.... When done properly.... Actually builds retrieve drive. It will take a nonchalant dog and build there desire. Yes, if done wrong it ruins dogs. I have seen this from other trainers just as Linda mentions. The problem about adding pressure is you can't take it back. Good trainers know how to problem solve. Adding "heat" is not always the answer. If you're not experienced at it you can create more problems than you're trying to fix.

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    Hey I don't mean to thread jack, but since you're talking about swimming...

    I've read in a few books, journal articles, etc, that one should not do water training with dogs in water that's less than...60-65 degrees...(that's from memory so it may have been a little higher/lower) because it's hard on the dog-save that for the real hunting. But in AK, the average summertime temperature of a freshwater lake is 40 or 45 (got that from a cold water immersion class) so, what do you guys make of that? What precautions should one take working a dog in cold water up here?

    Also, Baron, I'm glad to hear you're coming back. When will you start making appointments for summer training sessions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Hey I don't mean to thread jack, but since you're talking about swimming...

    I've read in a few books, journal articles, etc, that one should not do water training with dogs in water that's less than...60-65 degrees...(that's from memory so it may have been a little higher/lower) because it's hard on the dog-save that for the real hunting. But in AK, the average summertime temperature of a freshwater lake is 40 or 45 (got that from a cold water immersion class) so, what do you guys make of that? What precautions should one take working a dog in cold water up here?

    Also, Baron, I'm glad to hear you're coming back. When will you start making appointments for summer training sessions?
    HaHa, your book must have been written in Florida. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Haha. You go to Texas for the winter. Water isn't so hard down here. Lol
    I try to get my advanced dogs tuned up and my young dogs that are in basics through a lot of the initial water work down here before heading back up for the summer.
    Should be back end of May
    Shallower ponds and bodies of water warm up quicker and will reach 55 to 60 degrees. Bigger bodies of water stay colder. If cold exposure due to repeated water drill work I may put a vest on the dog. Most are pretty resilient about it. I do tend to keep sessions short when it's cooler water.

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    The small ponds around Anchorage are about 45 degrees just a few days after ice out. It's hard to believe that what is ice covered one weekend can be 45 degrees the next but it's true. I have literally been training in 45 degree water a week or two after ice out in the midst of a snow squall. The water temp was warmer than the air temp. Give lots of hand thrown warm up marks on land when working cold water.

    I vest up my older dogs and revisit water force and swim by the first week or so after ice out. Watch the smaller ponds they break up earlier.

    I have a 12 month old right now. She has done the double T and run by but hasn't done water force or swim by yet. Right after ice out, I'll vest her up and throw several hand thrown, square into the water marks every day for ~a week. Then I'll start her on water force and swim by with the vest on her. I'll keep the first couple of sessions shortish but they will become normal 10 maybe up to 15 minute sessions by the time we're done. My dogs have normally gone into the water the 20 something of April. I keep them vested until into June. I wonder when I'll be working water this spring. I expect not until we're into May. I'm sure all this snow will upset the equation this year.

    Their water attitude is much better in warmer water but we do what we can do.

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