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Thread: training inside due to a cold interior

  1. #1

    Default training inside due to a cold interior

    Last week I was able to dodge the cold weather by heading to the hills to do some training but right now we're going to hang out in the house for a couple retrieves since it's 35 below at the house. For the folks who are in the same boat as I am how is the training coming along...and for the folks who have been doing this a while what would you recommend? I believe the clubs start training in Feb but how do you keep the training interesting in the mean time? Here are a couple pictures of banks...




  2. #2

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    You can still go out. Mostly parking lot work unless you have an area that gets blown clear of snow with wind. Just have to make sure the lots aren't too icy. For the most part parking lots are great.
    When I go out I set up what I'm going to train on while the dogs are toasty warm in the dog truck. They are out 5 to 10 minutes each to run the setup and then back in the truck and on to the next dog.
    Pups too are fine for short durations. Again just have in mind what you want to do so the pup isn't exposed while you are trying to figure out what to train on. At those temps keep them moving so the pads on their feet aren't exposed to the ground for very long. Also at those temps don't get them winded. Your dog will inhale the cold air and wind up coughing for an hour or so afterwards.

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    Richie,

    During these times of bitter cold you can also work on getting pup to take hand signals while indoors. I'll try and explain what I do...what works for me and my pups.

    You need a long hallway with a door leading into a room or closet about midway down the hallway. Cut up some hotdogs or other easy to deal with treat. I back into the room/closet and get down on my knees. Have pup sit in front of you in the hallway. With both hands held up in front of you, and one hand holding a piece of the hotdog/treat, get the pup's attention, and then toss the treat to one end of the hallway while giving the command "Over!" Work it from one side to the other and pup will eventually learn to move right or left when you say "Over" while taking direction from the hand you use to send him off in one direction or another. You can also use that hallway to have pup sit in front of you and you toss a treat over and behind pup and command "Back."

    Works for me.

    Jim

  4. #4

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    Baron and Jim, thanks for the replies and tips on keeping training interesting. Baron, I'm working on getting some sage grass to set up in the house and putting up the ole mojo in order to get those pictures you were asking about...haha. Jim now all I have to do is break out the tools and start reconstructing my house. Are you available to talk to once my wife wakes up and wonders what in the world is going on...?

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    Richie,

    Just tell her you've been hearing these voices that say something like "If I build it he will cast."

    Just find an office building or some place to do this. It's all about the hunt man.

    Jim

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    Default Cold wx is good

    A year ago I posted about training my then 7 month old on the river at -50. My daughter and I went out w/ her and accomplished several things. We were able to introduce her to the starter pistol, and we were able to run extended singles.
    Training sessions are limited to about 10 minutes. That is good for a pup anyway. Sometimes we need to be forced to keep sessions short, impactful, to the point. Training in these temps makes that happen.
    I was fortunate to have birds to use. Even though frozen, the feathers do not cause the bird to freeze the dogs mouth. I would find that after a few sessions the birds would go in the garage so the outer saliva/slobber ice could be thawed out a bit.
    I am fortunate to live on the lower Chena. The ice is solid, the snow is packed from snowmobile traffic, and in cold temps we have zero interference. Parking lots tend to get slick. Look for snow dumps or areas that are bladed off but don't have enough traffic to glaze the snow. Check Growden park, behind the Carlson center, Pioneer park in the front parking lot off to the side, the old K-mart parking lot on Airport road. I like the big parking lots that are not slick as the lights make night training a breeze.

  7. #7

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    Jim, I like it...and I'll find a way to make it work. The kitchen seems open enough to where we can get some training in. Ak RR: thanks for mentioning the places where we can get some training in. You're right, the cold weather is more of a forcing function to get straight to the point during training. How is your dog coming along?

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    to get him really using his nose try this....Have your wife hold him in another room or in the hallway while you show him something enticing (food at this age is probably best)..then go out of his sight, just a short ways around the corner (few feet) and place the treat on the floor...come back to him and tell him 'find it'..and let him go..even if you have to 'guide' him (not physically but verbally) to it, that is fine...he will eventually learn to hunt for the treats when you say 'find it'...When he is old enough you can use bumpers or toys and then when it gets warm outside, you can really get the 'hunt' going....

    My dog LOVES doing this game..I sit him in one room and show him a bumper or toy...I then leave and put the bumper in a conspicuos location..sometimes he hunts for better than 5 minutes before finding it (depending on how hard I make it to find....) I just sit on the couch or chair and let him do the work..if he hunts for very long I might go to the general area and tell him to 'find it'......During this game he will even leave food and other toys that he comes across in his search...He wants only the object I showed him.... He'd make a really good drug or bomb dog, I think....LOL

    Juli
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  9. #9

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    Julie, thats a great idea. I have a couple tennis balls sitting in a bag of ptarmigan feathers so I'll probably bust those out in about a week or so and start the game off using treats. Banks sure does get fired up once he sees a ptarmigan! I'm all ears so please continue to give ideas...

    thanks,

    Richie

  10. #10

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    Obedience ideas. Teach these things in the order I have them.
    Teach him to sit on a small rug and stay on it. In the long run you want to be able to walk around in your house from room to room and have him stay put. I say "place" or "kennel" as a command depedning on the dog. If he comes off you just put him back on it. With enough repetition the rug itself will teach him that if he comes off he will get into trouble.
    Later, once he has learned this you then can challenge him further by requiring him to be steady on the rug while you twirl or toss a bumper around him. He then is learning to be steady and to retrieve when told to do so. As he progresses with this I then can take this same idea outside and sit him on a rubber mat.
    Also once the dog is steady on the mat. I can start teaching casting. But to teach that requires a whole other thread.
    Teach him the difference of heel and here. Heel turns the dog left(pushes the dog)..Here pulls the dog. I or others can give you tips on this.
    Teach him to come to a whistle. toot, toot, toot
    Teach him to sit to a whistle. single toot
    While walking at your side, then while coming towards you, then while going away from you.
    Keep things fun. Don't expect perfection. He is going to make mistakes and that is how they learn. Making mistakes is how we teach them. Don't come down on him "HARD" when he does make a mistake. If you do he will be so far in a hole that it will take a lot of confidence building to get him out of it. You don't want to create a dog afraid to make mistakes or able to make decisions on his own.
    Remember to balance your training with some marks.

  11. #11

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    so far so good. Banks knows sit, down, stay and come really good and he is doing alright with heel. I can tell him to sit and I can walk around the house and talk a lot with the wife (similar to duck hunting) and he'll stay put. He understands the whistle and knows to sit on a long whistle blast and understands multiple short blasts means come. I tell him to sit...then I throw a bumper and go get it myself and continue to walk away from him about 50 yards or so. I then give him the "come" whistle and when he is about 25 yards out I'll give him a long whistle blast with a hand signal and he'll sit. I use my older dog, "Winston" to teach him to be steady by sending him to get bumpers so that he doesn't think everything is his (Banks).

    He loves his kennel. We can be upstairs in the room and I'll say kennel and he'll run down the stairs and jump in his kennel. Its pretty funny to watch.

    using a small rug is a great idea and I'll start using that. I'm sure that comes in to play later on if hunting in flooded timber and the dog is up on a stand.

    not sure I understand that heel pushes the dog left. Can you explain this one for me. I understand heel as a positional command by wanting the dog to be next to your knee on the side that you choose.

    Thanks again for all the tips...

    Richie

  12. #12

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    It deals with a matter of lining. Lining is the function of retriever training that enables you to be able to send a dog on a blind retrieve. A blind retrieve is a bird that is down that the dog did not see. You must be able to line your dog up in that direction and communicate with your dog that that is the correct direction to go and then send them on their way. The mechanics of this are initially taught using here and heel during obedience.

    To start off in the simplest form...
    With a long line (of course) have your dog walking at heel. You will turn 180 to the right. A second before you do so you will say "here". Thus pulling the dog in your direction.
    Now...the other. You are walking at heel and then want to turn 180 to the left. Command "heel". Thus you are turning into the dog...pushing the dog in the direction you want to go. You will have to use some leash correction to tug them (not pull or drag) to comply with your direction change.
    As the dog learns and starts to follow your lead more you then can start turning without saying a command. If they are paying attention you won't need to use any leash correction to get them to turn with you.
    Start then to turn 90 on your walks.
    Then as he catches on even more....try turning him 360 while standing in the same place. You will have to practice your timing on making corrections to be successful at this, but it can be done.
    Next step after the mechanics have been taught you can then start wagon wheel which is a drill that refines what has been previously taught.
    I start young dogs on a 4 bumper wagon wheel. To get started you have 5 bumpers(white or white and black depending on background)(You want the dog to see them unquestionably). Stand in an open area with no features. Sit your dog. Then toss one bumper out about 20 ft or so then turn 180 and toss another. Then turn 90 and toss another then turn 180 and toss another. With your other bumper you will then face and throw at (mark) one of the other bumpers. Then que your dog(I say deadbird, line the direction I want him to go with my hand and send on "back") You may need to use a long line to make sure he doesn't try to run over to one of the other bumpers. While still facing the one he just picked up get him sitting at your side again then turn towards one of the other bumpers. Maybe turn 180 to the one behind you. But you will use the mechanics of turning that you have taught. Either choose to pull him using "here" or push him using "heel" to the next bumper you want him to pick up. Be ready to use some leash correction to get the mechanics right. During this drill the bumpers help to get your dog focused on the direction you want your dog to go.
    Now toss out the bumper again marking the one you want your dog to go to. Then que and send. Take delivery, get your dog at heel and then turn again to another.
    For the first round mark each destination. Later, once he is proficient. Put your 5th bumper in your pocket and try queing him and lining him without marking the destination. Any issues just pull out your 5th bumper and remark the destination.
    There are other drills and mechanics to be taught but this is a starting point on being able to line your dog. The building blocks of being able to run cold blinds.

  13. #13
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richie View Post
    Julie, thats a great idea. I have a couple tennis balls sitting in a bag of ptarmigan feathers so I'll probably bust those out in about a week or so and start the game off using treats. Banks sure does get fired up once he sees a ptarmigan! I'm all ears so please continue to give ideas...

    thanks,

    Richie
    It is a lot of fun too....

    one thing to do is try to do it two to three times, but in different parts of the house (so he doesn't go back to 'an old fall'....It shows smarts that they remember where they found something, but you don't want them thinking they will get rewarded for going to the same spot....)

    Oh, and I should have used the word 'inconspicuous'...not conspicuous...LOL!

    Juli
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  14. #14

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    Baron, you said once the dog is steady on the mat then that allows you to start teaching the dog how to cast. Do you mind sharing with us how you teach the dog to cast? So far I've been working with Banks on back casting...I'll start by walking him at heel then toss out a bumper (he'll mark the bumper). I'll then turn 180 degrees and sit the dog (he'll be facing me). I'll have one hand in air and command "back" as I cast my hand.

    Richie

  15. #15

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    Well you are close in your theory.
    Let me make a side note before we get started. Please make sure you have solid obedience. If you advance too quickly you will inevitably leave holes in your training or battle obedience issues while you are trying to teach something new.. Also these are simple casting drills and won't become formal until force fetch is complete and the dog is started on the back pile on my version of double T. At this stage I will also use a long line to prevent the pup from going in the wrong direction. I also want to teach wagon wheel lining previously so that the dog understands and has an infomal introduction to the command "back". After all he is a pup and has not been forced yet.

    I start with rotational casting.
    Rotational casting: With the dog sitting in front of you....when you cast with your right arm(straight up) your dog should rotate to his left. When you cast with your left arm your dog should rotate to his right.

    Here's how to get started:
    You have two bumpers. One in your pocket in case you need it.
    With the pup on your mat have him front sit in front of you about 6 to 10ft away. You then will step to one side of the pup. The idea is to throw over the shoulder of the dog that you want the dog to rotate on. Throwing over the shoulder encourages the dog to rotate that direction. After your throw you may need to blow a sit whistle in order to get the dog to look at you for the cast. I send on "back". Receive your dog on the mat and repeat a couple of times on the same side. Then switch to the other side.
    After a couple of individual lessons you then can set a bumper behind your dog ...throw your second bumper at that bumper and cast. Receive your dog at the mat and then put the second bumper back in your pocket and try simply casting your dog without throwing a bumper. If there is confusion just pull out the second bumper and remark it.
    Remember to step to the side each time to help your dog rotate the correct way. Use a firm command of "Back".....voice will drive a dog.
    Use your long line to stop the dog if he breaks or rotates the wrong way. Take him back to the mat... collect your bumper and retoss. I never let a dog make a successful retrieve if they break.

    After your dog is rotating correctly on back then you can start teaching the overs. I start my lesson by tossing a few back. Then I toss one to the side. I cast silently but if the dog won't take the silent cast I may whisper "fetch" or whatever, just not back, to get them to start moving to pick up the over bumper. I will do several lesson of backs and overs and then do overs on the other side.
    Several lessons later as the pup will do single bumpers I will then start using multiple bumpers. Start off with the back.....I will at some point rethrow the back bumper in place and then throw out one of the over bumpers and then cast the dog to it. Once I receive the over bumper I will toss it over in place again and then cast the dog to the back bumper. Once again stepping to the side I want the dog to rotate. Initially I will rotate the dog away from the over bumper. For example...if I have the left over bumper out I will cast with my right arm to get the dog to turn left ...AWAY from the over bumper to reach the back bumper. With more practice you will want your dog to rotate through the over bumper but it is easier to get your to cast away.
    Now several lessons later you can start with the back bumper and then toss out both over bumpers as your dog starts to learn the mechanics of the drill.
    Make it fun, but maintain your obedience standards. Again expect mistakes....let him make them without you pummeling him for it. You want a dog to make decisions on his own without being afraid of making a mistake. If you come down too hard you will make a dog afraid of failure and is unwilling to work with the handler.

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    Default Is anybody else getting confused but me?

    Every trainer does things a bit different. I am not about to say anybody is wrong on anything said in this thread so far, I just do different things.

    First off Richie, so I have a better idea about where you might be in training, how old is your pup? I might have missed that info.

    A comment on the hide n go seek game. I teach young dogs to mark, not hunt. I want them using their eyes before I teach them to use their nose. I like a dog to be able to run to a fall, keep their head up, and use their eyes to find the mark. Dogs that drop their head to the grass can not see birds hidden just downwind from them. Most dogs instinctively use their nose over their eyes.
    I find that as you progress in training, the dog will learn to trail or use its nose naturally. Sure, training can help that, and you can guide their instincts. My experience is that a dog taught to track early rarely uses its eyes fully.
    I run marks that are easy to find. I'll start short and extend the lines over time until I am running distances I feel the dog is ready for. As I change locations, I'll shorten up my marks again. Every time I change a "theme", i.e. busting through cover, running downhill or uphill, holding a sidehill, holding angles, etc. I start short and extend my lines. Through this process I try to never hide the bumper.
    I think in part it depends on what a trainer wants the end result to be, and what their background and experience are. Again, not a negative comment, just a different view.
    WR, we've been reading each other for quite a while now. The pup looks young to me. If I were a new trainer with a pup I think I might be a tad lost as to what to expect. Again, just me thinking outloud. Pipe in here as needed. As always I look forward to a discourse with you.
    Healing- I teach my dogs to walk at my left side. The command is HEAL. If they walk out front, I turn right 180, stop their momentum, and make the command/correction as I walk the other way. If they lag, I pep them up and encourage them on.
    Once they get the hang of walking beside me, i start teaching them to turn with me. I normally use 90 degree square turns. I "walk a box". I like WRs idea, "HEAL" right, "HERE" left. We can use those terms later when we are working on getting a dog lined for a retrieve.
    On my right hand turns, I use the lead to encourage the dog to "HERE". I don't pull, I don't tow. I use a quick firm jerk, a snap. Not harsh! I continue to do right hand turns until I see the dog looking to make the turn before the command. PERFECT! Remember though, because he starts getting the idea does NOT mean he knows the command. You'll have to go back to square one all the time to ensure repeatability.

    Watch his ears, eyes, stance! Look to see if he is confused, scared, uncertain. If so, back off, go easy, use a "happy" voice. Use treats. Get creative on keeping the dogs energy and excitement up!!!!!!!

    Then I change to the left. I command "HEEL", use the lead and a jerk/snap and I'll add in my right knee to their shoulder as needed. I pivot on my left foot, raise my right leg for the step left. If they hesitate, I force them that way with my knee. Again, I am not saying kick the dog. All I do is show them physically what I want. Now it is all left hand turns. I want to see them wanting to go left. I want to not have to use the leash snap/jerk or knee.
    Now I have shown them both directions. Keep in mind that depending on age, trainability, temperment this might take days for the concept to sink in. Never be in a hurry. Take your time, build confidence. Build on positives.
    As they improve, I'll start to do square figure "8" or just random squares. The dogs will get used to patterns very quickly. The more random you are, the less likely the dogs will be trying to beat you at your own game. As for the size of the box? I make the turns as quickly or as slowly as needed.
    Sometimes my turns are so quick my square is only a few feet, other times I might need to walk further to watch the dog and the square might be 10 yards. I read the dog. I try to feel where it is at. I keep it interested, focused, but not scared or "beat down".
    As for the wagon wheel, to me that is more advanced, at least the way WR describes it. I'll talk about my ideas later as I think both other points should bring out some good positive discussion from hopefully a wide variety of trainers.

  17. #17
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wetland Retrievers View Post

    Here's how to get started:
    You have two bumpers. One in your pocket in case you need it.
    With the pup on your mat have him front sit in front of you about 6 to 10ft away. You then will step to one side of the pup. The idea is to throw over the shoulder of the dog that you want the dog to rotate on. Throwing over the shoulder encourages the dog to rotate that direction. After your throw you may need to blow a sit whistle in order to get the dog to look at you for the cast. I send on "back". Receive your dog on the mat and repeat a couple of times on the same side. Then switch to the other side.

    wow WR!..thanks for the bit of insight...I've been trying to gently teach my pup 'back'....he figured out 'over' pretty easily but he absolutely didn't know what I meant by 'back'....he just sat there confused...I didn't want to be hard on him so I figured I'd worry about it at a later time...by the sound of it, I may have been trying to get Murdock to do some things too soon....

    after reading your post, I took Murdock to the living room and tried what you suggested....he got it from the first try....I was really surprised.....we even got to the point where I'd sit him at the edge of the room and throw one behind him, and then another 90deg from him down the hall....I could send him back or over to the one down the hall.....I'm just tickled about it right now....now I have something different to do with Murdock in the evenings for a while, he's wearing out the carpet in the hall lately...

    he did seem a bit confused about having more than one bumper thrown...He kept trying to get the 2nd one on his way back to me....a simple 'here' brought him to me but he really wanted to get the other one too....he looked at me like "what's your problem?...I can bring them both back".....lol

    any rate...Murdock is 5 months today, 49.2 lbs....little turkey is growing fast...



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  18. #18

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    Akriverrat. No problem....sounds like we are on the same page. I think. LOL I have already emphasized the need to be sharp on obedience. His pup is still pretty young and yes his pup should learn to mark as well. But I'm just giving ideas he can do somewhat indoors due to the cold he mentioned. His pup is doing quite well from what he explains. It is good on Richie that he has his dog this far along.
    I do play simple lining and casting games with young dogs. As soon as they are through obedience. As young as 6 months. A dog I ran in Masters last year at a year and a half was learning to run blinds at 8 months. It really depends on the dog.
    Nothing at this stage is formal mainly because the dog is not forced. He will have to decide when he will force fetch.
    I use wagon wheel mainly because it is fun for the dog andit gives the dog a destination to look at which helps the dog to line properly. I find this drill helps proof here and heel which were previously taught in obedience.
    Yes his dog is not ready for a lot of this but he asked me through pm on how to do these things.

  19. #19

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    Hey Tjm just saw your post. Good for you. Quite engenious to use the hall as an over.
    So did he rotate the right way?
    How does your wife feel about you using the house as a doggy jungle gym? LOL

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    good looking pup tjm...

    49.2 lbs... half way there

    ours is turned into such a goof with me. really great dog.. still wants to be a lap dog though.. UUGG!!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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