4yrs. old, to old?
I've a 4yr. old G.S.P., is she to old to train? I want to use her for grouse/ptarmigan. I've taken her out once on a long leash, she had her nose to the ground 98 percent of the time. The other 2 percent it was in the air. The main problem I have with her, is she wants to run, and I mean run. To the point I have to give chase. She eventually comes back; how do I brake her of this? She's been primarily a house dog, we do have a pen, but not enough room for her to run, run, run, etc.... All information is valuable and greatly appreciated.
Four years old is not too late to train. If memory serves me right I once had an 8 yr old here for gundog training.
I would start by getting obedience needs taken care of. Coming when called is a very vital part. Using the long line is a great start. I use a long line a lot during initial obedience.
Teach the dog to walk with you at heel in a straight forward motion. Left side or right or both your choice.
Then teach the dog to turn with you while at heel. The dog very quickly learns to follow your lead. They pay attention to which direction you are going to go instead of doing there own thing. This is a simple "push pull drill" using "here" and "heel". I'd be glad to explain it to you or show it to you some time. When you speed up they should. When you slow down they should as well. When you stop they stop. Ideally you are in charge of the walk. You get to choose how fast ,how slow and in which direction. It is the dogs job to follow your lead.
Teach the dog to come when called. Using a long rope works great. Simply have someone hold the dog while you walk the length of the rope and call the dog. Initially, you may have to tug the dog in your direction and you will have to pull the rope through as the dog comes toward you. Reward the dog by treat or with great praise when he/ she gets there. Then repeat. There are numerous set ups for training "coming when called" I actually have a pulley system that allows me to train by myself. It is one continous rope that loops through some pulleys and attaches to the dog at each end. I can still pull the dog to me and I can also stop other movement by simply applying friction to the rope.
You can also have one person manage the rope while you just call the dog to you. If you are by your self you can just loop the rope around a metal fence post as well. This will keep yor dog in one spot while you walk away. Once you call the dog then you can release the friction on the rope allowing the dog to come towards you.
Don't forget your gloves or you'll burn your hands.
Obedience gets the dog to start working for you. Once that is established then field training can begin. Force fetch if desired, introduction to birds,gunfire,marking concepts, water work and so forth.
There are many ways to teach depending on your dogs abilities, drive and personality.
I'd be glad to give you more info in detail just let me know. Right now I've got dogs to attend to.
Ditto Wetland Retrievers. I have a dog that didn't get into the swing of things until he was three. As soon as he saw tall cover he wanted to head for the SUV and his crate. At least I knew which way he was running. Once you get the basic obedience down a good e collar with tone or vibration makes a great l o n g leash. It will be more for your peace of mind and dogs pick up our moods a lot more than we pick up theirs. No need to use the electricity, but the tone or vibration can refocus them when they forget who they are working for. I don't think it's unusual for pooch to be really excited about wanting to go hunt and often when they first get out of the vehicle they want to warm up with a long run that scares the bejeebers out of you. As long as there isn't a traffic danger or you won't be interfering with other hunters it's sometimes good to let them burn off the excess adrenaline (as soon as you know their excitement is under control), and then get down to business. When you are hunting in a blind around lots of other guys impeccable manners are a must for the dog. Regardless, the command here or come in non-negotiable. A lost, dead or out of control dog is a needless tragedy.
Something WL and I will always agree on is basics. Can't add to what has been said there, but remember we do not know what the dog knows at this point, if the dog is a hard charger or soft, etc.
Sit, here, come is the place to start. Always on leash. Always under control. And something I can't stress enough, TEACH, TRAIN, TEST. The dog never comes off leash under any circumstance until the basics are so ingrained you would bet on the results in Vegas. Assuming at 4 years that the basics are not exceptional, you have the added burden of breaking the bad habits. That is done simply by building good habits, but the dogs often revert to their past when given the opportunity.
E-collars? Not my first choice for most people because the tendancy is to use them as a quick fix and not build the basics. Short leases, long leads. You got good advice and you know what? It was free from somebody that gets paid to train.
By the way, where are you living? Maybe somebody close by wants to make a new friend and spend time in the field.
Hey WL, all this dog training talk is giving me the hankering to start all over again. Geez is this contagious or what? In my view this is perhaps the best part of this whole forum. Now just where is that crate of old training gear? My wife is going to hate you guys.
I live out in Wasilla, off Church Rd. The dog is eager; and you're right, it seems that once she's run off the first boost of energy she comes home. I haven't tried to let her run in the woods, yet. I just let her walk ahead of me on a long leash. Like I said, nose to the ground the whole time, with a few exceptions to smell the air. She had a great time just doing that; we get home she flops down for the rest of the day. Thanks to everyone for the advice. She knows a few commands for home, don't know if they'd work in the woods.
Dogs are creatures of habit.
You might rethink your ways of burning off the excess energy. I am with you about unwinding a hyper or high energy dog. After all you can't talk to the mind until the body is tired. But you need to do it in a more contructive manner and of course away from your hunting area.
I use a tread mill here at the kennel. In the field I simply put them on a long line and run some long pile work or work them on some obedience drills. What ever you have to do to take the edge off and keep them focused on you.
The dogs I teach are under control from the time I let them out of the crate. They don't come out until I invite them. They don't walk out the door until I ask them to. If they lead the way out then you become the follower and the dog is pretty much in charge deciding when and if it comes back. You can beg and plead all you want, but they won't come back until they are ready. If you go first or you ask them to come out of the crate then you start off in a position of being in charge. It's just dog psychology. You always want to put yourself in a position to be the leader. Like I mentioned earlier, dogs are creatures of habit. I have seen folks letting there dogs out of the house or vehicle to where they had absolutely no control. The dog ran amuck for 5 or so minutes. These dogs become so conditioned to this that it will happen every time. That is why the rules need to change. Dogs need to be taught boundaries and manners just like children. A dogs mentality is that of a 3 or 4 yr old child. Some dogs seem to have less.
Burning off energy is fine. Just make sure that they follow your rules while doing it. Do it contructively.
Thanks for all the info. Wetland! I totally agree with you. Just wish I'd put more effort into her in the beginning. Didn't have alot of time to work with her. I work in Anchorage and don't get home until almost 7pm., so the weekends are the only real time I have with her. Appreciate all the advice!!!
You've got Time
I'm also a new guy to the gun dog side of this and I fall into the category of having limited time to go out and do field training. However, from my limited experience you don't need to have a lot of time to work on the basics. Even if you get home late in the evening, you should be able to find 5-10 minutes to do some training. Many short sessions are better than a long session anyhow.
When my time is too limited, I've been trying to use a portion of the dog's breakfast and dinner meals for quick training sessions. I'll measure out his kibble (which always gets him 101% focused on me). Then I'll start doing some basic commands like sit, down, stay, come, etc. I use the kibble as reward for each correct action. I will have him sit, then give a kibble, then toss a kibble across the room and say "find it" to get him up and away from me, then have him come, sit or lay down, work on stay a few times with very gradual increases in distance, etc. always mixing it up so he doesn't anticipate my next command (which I've noticed he will do if you try to follow the same routine over and over again).
We're just over 6 months old now, so he's getting 1 1/2 cups of food at each meal and I'll use 1/2 cup worth to do this kind of training in the living room. When that is gone, we'll go to the kitchen and give a final sit/stay command for the rest of his food bowl to be put down. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes. Anyone can find that much time a couple times a day.