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Thread: Progress thus far

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Progress thus far

    Well like a few other forum members I too have a new chessie pup.

    Terra was born in October and is a week shy of 7 months. She's in the leggy phase and about 55 lbs. Her dam is a gorgeous deep chested, muscular dog who didn't fill out until she was nearly two, so I'm hoping Terra puts on another 12-15 pounds over the next year.

    Housebreaking was tough but about a month ago the light came on and no accidents since. I don't know, but I think her being a winter pup might have been a factor.

    On obedience: She's good on a leash but backslides off. I go back and review my books to make sure I'm not overlooking something or reinforcing the wrong thing but at this point I'm pretty sure I just need to stick with it.

    On retrieving: Like many dogs she fetches enthusiastically but is reluctant to return all the way back BUT this dog LOVES to retrieve and she has a good nose. I've thrown bumpers into the woods, not too far but out of her sight, and she casts back and forth, circles and doubles back until she finds them. Her persistence bodes well for a working retriever. Just recently she's been dropping the bumpers about 5 feet out instead of 10 to 15 feet. I've been tolerant of this because I wanted to enjoy fetching and in that regard 100% success. She gets intense when I get the bumpers out.

    On water: So far so good. She's not been swimming yet but she's otherwise oblivious to water. She stomps through mud and puddles without hesitation and a few weeks ago when the big shallow melt lake formed on the building site at C St and O'Malley I took her out to see how'd she do. After a few short tosses to test her reaction I was throwing the bumbers as far as I could and she rocketed after them. The water was nearly chest deep and she was unfazed, retrieving until she was shivering (about 30-40 fetches). I knocked it off and she pouted all the way back to the truck.

    She'll never be a field trialer but I would like to get her a Senior Hunter title but I have a lot more to learn.

    The Mrs accompanied us yesterday and took a little video on her phone. As soon as I figure out how to post it I'll add it here for you to critique.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Erik,

    Congratulations on the new pup! I'd be using a checkord on mz. pup for awhile if I were you. She must recall all the way back to you. I teach a "Hold" command that tells pup to keep hold of that bumper. Always keep your training time FUN!

    Best of luck to both of you!

    Jim

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    Definately a check cord. My little chena did the same thing. We walked on a check cord for a while and pretty soon after about 5-6 training sessions I let the check cord go and she drug in behind her for another 5-10 sessions and me stepping on it when she tried to bolt or picking it up to enforce the commands. She still uses the cord as there are times she still backslides but we are working on obiediance without a cord. Just be prepared to go back to it and do not lose your temper. As far as retreiving to had the cord is awesome for this-- I still at time throw the dummy and then reel her in giving praise and commands all the while-- this really helped with her returning the bird to hand. Off leash she brings it to me but in a round about manner so we are back on the cord trying to get a straight line back to me retrieve. Love working with her and she is my pride and joy.

    Have fun stay shane and keep after it. It is amazing how fast they learn

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Terra 7 May.jpg

    The video won't load but here's a pic of my girl from Saturday's bumper session.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  5. #5

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    Great to hear it. +1 on the "hold" command. I use it and once she got it, she rarely ever drops it until I hold the bumper and say "Give" for her to release. If she does drop it, I just command "Hold" and she picks it back up, usually remembering that she wasn't supposed to drop it.

    And not that you are looking for advice, but with the heeling, I put mine on leash for literally 10 minutes as a pup and just repeated "heel, heel, heel" over and over the whole time. When she was doing it well, I used a soft, happy tone. When I had to use the cord to correct her, I used a harsher tone. That is the only 10 minutes she has spent heeling on leash since she was 8 weeks old. She doesn't always obey when commanded, but she knows dang well what to do when I say "Come" and "Heel" LOL

    (May have to go back to the cord for working around distractions)

    Happy training!

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    Eric.

    Just curious how you posted that picture of your pup. I have a new Setter pup that I am trying to post pictures of on here but I am having difficulties. Great discussion about your pup and retrieving. I am working on getting my Setter (who is now 4.5 months old) to retrieve bumpers, but she rarely brings it back to me without huge amounts of praise and a good deal of encouragement from the check cord. Typically, she is very excited to have me throw something but when she gets to the object she will stand there with it in her mouth and play with it....only bringing it back to me once I give her a little tug and some verbal ques.
    Jason

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    Member sameyer's Avatar
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    That is one good looking dog!

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    Erik, I'd be happy to show you a nice beach in your area if your looking for training spots. I use it daily, it's always empty, and on sunny days you could train out there for hours. Congrats on the new pup, you and explorer should get together, dogs learn more from each other than we could ever hope to teach them!
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the encouragement guys!

    Terra's a good pup with good instincts. I have to do my part.

    Setters, before you hit the submit button scroll down to the manage attachments button. Click on that and follow the prompts to upload pictures.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    SettersAK,

    Be careful with the retrieving drills becoming boring or stressful for your pup. Afterall, pointing dogs aren't typically born with great retrieving genetics. I like to make the drills short and fun. Try doing three tosses and on the fourth just get all excited and tease with the bumper and make like you threw it but hide it behind you and end the session. Too much with some dogs is...well, too much.

    Jim

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reminder about the check cord!

    We made a lot of progress tonight. On the cord she did very well overall. She's not delivering to hand but she's dropping at my feet which is a big improvement. We worked for 10 minutes then I let her chase tennis balls with no rules for 5 and we worked another 10 on the cord. When we quit she was still raring to go but the pros all say leave 'em wanting more.

    I head to the slope Friday. While up there I'm going to re-read my copy of Water Dog, and when I get home I'm building a training platform for force fetching.

    edit* took her to a local pond on Tuesday night and after two short tosses and a tentative bit of excited whining...she took the plunge and never looked back. Her swimming is clumsy but she made 20 or so retrieves. I stopped because she was shivering. Even so she gave me the "PLEASE throw it again!"

    Happy Training!
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Great looking dog
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  13. #13
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    After two weeks on the slope the wife, pup and I spent Memorial Day weekend camping with friends in McCarthy. Aside from the s'mores, beers, smokey clothes, and off colored jokes I found a nice pond--clear water, cool but not terribly cold--on the southside of the 2nd footbridge to do some training. Pup and I went Saturday evening, and twice on Sunday to train and either by luck or by accident have managed to unlock the retrieve gene in her. She is a machine. I threw 40-50 times and I had to drag her away from the pond.

    We have self-control issues that need more work--
    She will stay and mark the throw with just the lightest touch on her collar but if I'm not holding her she breaks at the throw
    She's started to play keep-away with the bumper on some retrieves--If I go to throw another bumper she drops and starts quivering with anticipation of the next throw.

    Something else I noticed--we were on the downwind side of the pond and the wind was quartering to my left. For the first few, mostly short and medium throws she would streak straight out to the dummy and come straight back to me. Good. What she's supposed to do but after I started really heaving it out there she began to quarter left, crosswind and then turn upwind to the dummy. I even changed positions and she continued to swim an intercepting path to the dummy.

    It seems she was reading the wind and adjusting for drift. For those with trial or hunt test experience is this acceptable?

    Today she was bratty. I had chores so we didn't do any bumper work but she found one in the garage and chewed the grommet end off.

    So, how do I fix the keep-away game without making it look like punishment for retrieving?

    Here's a couple pics
    Terra retrieving McCarthy.jpgOn the fetch.jpg
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    To stretch out her marking either land or water it's best if the throws are pretty much dead down wind if you can arrange it. IMO not something to stress over though just keep more downwind than not, and almost never dead into the wind.

  15. #15

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    Whats wrong? I thought chessies ran crooked any way. LOL Sorry couldn't resist.
    The marks that you threw close encouraged her to go more direct. The ones that you really lofted out there allowed the wind to become a factor for her. Basically drifting with the wind. Unless trained to compensate an untrained dog will drift like a bullet fired from a gun. More experienced dogs learn to correct and shoulder more into the wind to go straighter. This comes into play on land as well as the water.
    She turned directly towards it after being downwind either because she smelled it or the push factor of the wind zeroed out.
    Now as far as control issues. How do I say this. "It is handler induced." You have inadvertently made retrieving into a crazy frenzied event. Throwing 30 to 40 retrieves may seem fun to you and the dog but it creates what you are now complaining about "Control Issues". It is great that she has that much desire to please. But I would start doing things with her in a more structured training environment.
    Not returning with retrieved objects stems from obedience. Go back and reinforce a good recall before you start retrieving again.

  16. #16
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks Baron.

    No need to tiptoe, I know her faults are likely my input faults. I want to do right by the dog but I'm no expert. As far as turning retrieving into a frenzied event? The pace doesn't feel frenzied. I heel her, holding her collar, throw with a soft, firm "stay" and let her go with "fetch" then repeat. I threw that many throws because she wanted to keep fetching, and I wanted to feed that desire.

    Today we worked on the basics--sit, stay, come with the 50ft lead. I also had a helper for the stay-come portion and she did pretty well but we need more work clearly. The dog is great. She just needs a better trainer....
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  17. #17

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    Sounds like you've done some good work and she seems to be a little fireball. Which is good.
    From my point of view My training style is always structured. The dogs that I work on retrieving do so under controlled circumstances. I'm looking to develop an end product that someone will be happy with.
    When I set up a marking scenario I may have one retrieve or multiples(3 or 4). I train with each dog to be successful on each mark. Then I put them away. I know that each dog wants more. Putting them away having been successful creates confidence and a desire to please later. If the dog was successful on the lesson I put them back on the truck and get another dog. They remember how to be successful on that type of setup once they see that type of arrangement in the future. I don't want to train to the point of failure. Cause it takes a lot of positive to correct a single point of negative.
    I train for competition as well as hunting dogs. So my training style is different. I like a dog that looks stylish and doesn't cave in to factors in the field. So I train to develop that type of dog.

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