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Thread: lack of drive for blind retrieves

  1. #1
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    Default lack of drive for blind retrieves

    My lab displays a lot more enthusiasm for marks than she does for blinds. She will sprint to a mark but jog to a blind. Anyone here have any past luck getting equal reaction between the two?
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  2. #2

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    First I would have to ask hold old your dog is?
    How far along are you in your dogs blind training?
    It depends also on your dogs temperament and how things went during force to pile. Some dogs don't care if its a mark or a blind. To them its just another retrieve. Other dogs tend not to like the word "BACK". I say this because it takes knowing your dog or experience in running many different dogs to understand how to build up your dogs blind attitude.
    There are many drills that help build confidence in blind running. Advancing too quickly will actually cause such problems as popping and no going. Also if you stop them too often with the whistle while in the learning phases it ruins momentum. Confidence builds momentum. So each works hand in hand.
    Please explain what drills you have done.

    T
    TT
    disciplined casting
    pattern blinds
    blind drills
    sight blinds

  3. #3
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    Default stops early on in blind training

    Wetlands, I think you just described the problem. When I first started her blind training I would build just one pile in front of her and send her back to it. She picked this up really fast so I increased the distance until she was running around 150-200 yards for a blind. After she got use to the long distance and got very proficient on them I decided to start working on hand signals. Once she grasped left and right overs I decided to see if she would take them on a blind. So I would send her back, when she got even with 2 bumpers I had placed on the right and left side of the path she was running I would whistle sit her and send her over for the side bumpers. I did this a lot when she was young (about a year old).

    Our usual blind training is a variation of T drills. I normally have a few bumpers leading her out to about 150-200 yards with a few over bumpers as well out to about the same distances. I am pleased with her work. Yesterday she held a line for about 200 yards and sometimes when I work with her at longer distances (which is very rare) she will hold a line even longer. When I sent her on overs left and right she held that line for about the same distance. I do change up the training quite a bit. She will probably see the same drill maybe once every 2 to 3 weeks. That is just an example of some of the blind work we do. One thing I forgot to say is that her enthusiasm picks up as the drills go on. Her first few backs are usually at a trot and by the time we finish (usually about 12 blind retrieves total) she is running at about 75% effort. Marks are always at a flat out sprint. Thanks for anything you can make of this.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

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    Default one more thing

    Her enthusiasm level is the same no matter what distance the blinds are at. Even when I have blinds at only 30 or 40 yards, her first trip or 2 is at a slow trot, then as the drill goes she gets a little faster.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

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    Default

    There are lots of pitfalls in running blinds, or training rather. The tendency is to get in too deep too fast. A handler tends to stop the dog too often, killing drive, and ends up with too much correction.
    We've said it before, and we'll keep saying it. Force fetch is an integral part of blind work. Blinds can be taught without it, but corrections needed often can't be done correctly or timely.
    We build drive into everything a dog does, then train them to stop. Then go. Then stop. If not done well, we get dogs that run slowly. They get nervous about being told to stop, as it happens too often and/or at the wrong time.
    I can use the same pile for "back" or "over" depending on where I place myself in relation to the pile. I can do a lot of driving work toward the pile to help keep up momentum.
    I teach "sit" in other venues. I want the dog well schooled before I get anywhere near a "t" or "tt". I do not want sit to become part of the problem that requires correction. Not that we won't need correction, but I try to eliminate the need as best I can.
    Years ago I was tougher and stauncher with training. Today I am much more relaxed. The results show in that I have a young dog that loves to go. Happy voices, lots of praise, lots of success all help the dogs to enjoy the work. "baby talk" is not a bad thing. High pitched tones encourage dogs in a positive way.
    Make a game out of "finding" the pile. Encourage her. Whoop it up. If she is slow to go, stop hitting the whistle for her to take overs. Just let her roll. Let her build back momentum.
    Birds will make a big difference too. I used to used clipped wing pigeons that would flutter when a dog would get near. Banty Roosters make a lot of noise that my dogs just loved. Even dead birds were opportunities to pick up the intensity. Before you go to birds try other ways to build momentum.
    In a nutshell, forget running "t" patterns. I would simplify the work. I would build momentum. When that happened, I would add in the "over" piles so she could see them, but not stop her and cast her.
    To train on overs leave her on the line, move off to the side and face her and the line, and give the appropriate over cast to the pile.
    Again, focus on what you want. What is important. From your notes it appear you want a dog that runs hard, now figure out how that is going to happen. Everything else set on the back burner for now.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Thank you for the advice River Rat. I did some work with her tonight. I set a pile and started her at about 100 yards. She went back like she was supposed to do all the way to the pile and picked up the bumper (at her same pace as always). However, from her second bumper on out she was running the whole time. Every time I would send her to the pile I would back up about 30 yards to increase the distance she was covering in a straight line and kept getting back until I was at about 200 yards. She made a total of about 5 trips to the pile before I threw her a few fun bumpers and started some distraction training. I have to say I was happy with her enthusiasm for trips 2 through 5. It is that first one though that she is slow about. In hind sight, I think she did pick up her pace the closer she got to the pile. I did not stop her at all in the retrieves and I think that contributed a bit to her confidence.

    As far as live and dead birds go you are right about that. She gets really pumped up to go after birds! She always goes after them at warp speed. I just built an incubator and am in the process of getting the temperature right, after that I am going to put some quail eggs in it and try to keep a supply of live birds here at home to work with her. She is a hunting dog and I should use birds more. I save all the duck and grouse wings that I kill in the fall to train with but those never seem to last the whole year. Once again I really appreciate everyone's advice.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

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    Default having fun

    I am glad you both are having fun. I am by getting a chance to share and talk training. What you describe seems to make sense about her waiting to be stopped. She is worrying, either about pleasing you, or corrections.
    Keep the pressure off as best you can. Decide too how far you want her to run. You can set up multi leg patterns of different lengths. You've already got one long one established. Now you can turn (terrain permitting) and establish another at 90 degrees. Then you can run both back to back. Then you can add in a 3rd, and so forth.
    When she gets the hang of it, you can add in different challenges on each line. One runs over a point, one runs past a point, one runs up a hill, one runs side hill. I know, pretty hard to get all that in one area.
    Keep up the good work and keep us in touch.

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    Default

    Once again thanks River Ratt. I am on Elmendorf AFB and lucky me there is a nice soccer/baseball field area that joins up to a hill with some cover on it, there is also a lake on the back of base that has a nice peninsula sticking out for water work so I am lucky enough to have the terrain to try the drills you suggest. I took her out to the Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association picnic hunt test today and ran her in the hunter catagory. She did great on the double and the single but I also need to work on her heeling. She makes a circle around me everytime to heel and it was pointed out to me that the more advanced drills I try to run her in the easier it will be for her to loose a mark by doing that. Any ideas on how to break that habbit? I am taking her out tomorrow to work again and will try some of the drills you suggested and I'll post the results.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  9. #9

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    I would use that soccer field first. Have her running multiple legs as AK R R mentioned. That is where you will get the most momentum and confidence in running beginning stages of blind running.

    Once confident then move to another area where cover is just a little taller and establish another pattern field. Don't worry too much about fine lining right now. If she is running in the direction of the blind just let her roll. At this stage we are wanting momentum. Handling too much and too early creates dogs that will pop, no go, or will ping pong from one side to the other with out really gaining momentum towards the blind.

    Have you been through wagon wheel drills?
    Rotational casting drills?
    How about casting drills other than the T ?

    I too was at the MSGDA picnic. Sorry I missed you.
    This time of year I'm busy running dogs and getting ready for the hunt test and field trial season. That's why I'm not on here as much.
    I'll be at this weekends picnic as well. Afterwards I'll be training in Fairbanks for the next week prepping for the HRC hunt test held up there.
    Hope to see you and watch you run your girl.
    Throw a duck at me if you need to get my attention. LOL

  10. #10

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    To break walking around you after the retrieve.
    Stick your leg out to block her or step out in front of her and signal with your hand as to which side to come to.
    In certain cases you may have to use a heeling stick or similiar to stick out to block her from going to your back side.

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    Default running behind to heel

    years ago, I taught dogs to heel from my left. No running behind me. Reason being that behind me took too long, and there could be distractions. Think about how she is heeling. If she is like a barrel racer, and tucking in right behind your legs, why change it? Really, what more could you expect?
    If she is just covering extra ground to be "proud" of her retrieve, then cut her off. By "proud" I mean the little bit of show off, look what I have, really don't want to give it back, retrieve. My pup does that with some toys and bones.
    When it comes time to work, then work. No lolly gagging. Like WL said, step in front of her, use your leg, use a heeling stick, and to add, use a barrier. Remember what I was saying about using a fence to stop a dog from going behind? Think about he same thing for your dog.
    But, be careful. Are you testing her, or does she know the route because you trained it? NO TESTING! Not on heel, on a retrieve, that you are trying to accomplish something else. Show her what you want in the yard. On lead. In a controlled setting. TEACH, TRAIN, TEST. Make sense?

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