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  • A question for Ontario Honker Hunter (and anyone else)...

    A question for Ontario Honker Hunter (and anyone else)...

  • #2
    Honker, since you often have an interesting take on dog training, I'm curious about your experience with two things: First, have you ever had a dog that didn't want to retrieve? Have you been successful in training that? I'd love to hear how. My own young dog is having a great time hunting this Fall. He's really excited about finding birds and has been doing a pretty good job at staying close and flushing birds for me. We're having a great time together, but when I down a bird, he just runs over, sniffs, wags, licks, etc. He's not running away with the bird, or mauling it, but he's not retrieving either, despite the fact that he retrieves balls and bumpers all the time, happily. Have you ever used any kind of variation on force-fetch training?
    Second, I've had a couple of times when he's gotten on the scent of a deer or something, and has disappeared for 3-4 minutes, not listening to my command to stop and come back. Thankfully, it's not happening often, but I've not been using an e collar and so I'm a little worried about my ability to keep him out of trouble right now. I know you don't use e collars, so what's been your strategy for dealing with this?

    Thanks and glad you had a productive and fun pheasant hunting trip!

    Comment


    • #3
      Dougfir,
      First, I'm no "dog whisperer" by any stretch of the imagination!
      In fact, to train a dog, you've got to be smarter than the dog! My number one handicap! LOL!
      Be very careful with e-collars. They are superb training aids, but their misuse or misapplication can be devastating.
      I had a neighbor who trained dogs and was very good at it and had the field trial trophies to prove it. He had a pretty young gyp that had a bad habit of breaking "stay" when the shooting started, busting and flaring incoming birds.
      He decided to try an e-collar. He tried it first in his backyard. The VERY first time he hit her with it, she squalled like a banshee and ran under his house and refused to come out. He went in to get her and she fought him like a mountain lion!
      I use an e-collar on my big Rottweiler. You pop him and he just shakes his head and obeys.
      Dogs, like humans, react differently to different stimuli.
      Just be cautious. Maybe talk to a trainer that uses the e-collar.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for asking.

        Retrieving issues: Presently my older Lab Opal is doing all the retrieving. My four year-old French Brittany has retrieved cripples when I'm hunting her alone. That is a common issue with the breed so I don't fight it. Until yesterday I was also having a problem with Opal too. She would pick up the pheasant then put it down and mouth it (a bit too firmly). I had to go to her to get the bird. It finally dawned on me night before last that she has become accustomed to an entirely different retrieve command when we're goose hunting: "Get back in here. Birds are coming." Tried it yesterday and worked like a charm. She came running with all three roosters and delivered them to my hand without stopping. The point is I guess that this problem is specific to the individual dog and may require resolution specific for him/her. I am not an advocate of force fetch. Never had to resort to inflicting pain to get that result. My dogs (especially the Brit) have all been too sensitive for that. This new Lab pup may be a candidate though. Her sensitivity level is substantially lower. Has your dog had a chance to chase down a cripple? That often is the finishing touch needed. When they put down the bird and it takes off again, they catch on that it must be kept in the mouth. It's best if you're close at hand when they catch their first bird. Go on line and pick up a pigeon trap then catch a couple at a farm house or downtown greenspace. Clip off some of the primary wing feathers (three or four right at end of wing) just above the secondaries so the bird can't fly. Then go to work in an open space with a partner and let your pup catch the bird. This is a rather cruel form of training so don't do it more than necessary to get your dog rolling. Tell PETA types that it's less cruel than having a bunch of crippled birds escape in the field to die a lingering death rather than be promptly and humanely dispatched. I suspect you will get good results if you try this.

        Deer issues: Best solution for deer, rabbit, porcupine, etc. is to expose your dog to them in the field and forcefully condition them to leave off chasing. Just yesterday I found a porcupine dead in a small Russian olive. Presumably someone shot him although I couldn't see a noticeable hole. My Lab pup was curious and I took the opportunity to push her up close and give her hell. Use the same command always: "No! LEAVE IT ALONE!" Try to find some place where you know you'll see a deer while you're in the field. The pup will likely want to chase the deer a bit when it runs. Okay but when it returns you give that pup HOLY HELL. And I mean PHYSICALLY! There is nothing wrong with physically disciplining a dog ... as long as it gets lots of love in its life too. Of course, all dogs have different sensitivity levels and you'll have to gauge what your dog's limits are. Not returning on command is perhaps the most serious and dangerous offence in the field. It simply CAN NOT be tolerated. Or you'll lose your dog. Not long ago I was reading in a well-known bird dog journal a story by one of the editors about a young Lab he owned years ago that showed so much promise ... till it was run over by a train while hunting. That guy simply did not have enough control over his dog (and he's a gun dog editor??). Do not rely on e-collars for this. All kinds of technical issues can arise with those things. My voice and my hand do not break down. I use a whistle too (which only fails when it's full of ice) but in moderation. I would rather not give away my presence when hunting spooky pheasants but I don't think it's so important to get a shot that I will forgo voice commands for silent stimulation. Also, I want both hands on my gun when the dogs are birdy rather than having to fiddle with a joystick control. It's too bad someone doesn't manufacture e-collar control that can be slipped onto mouthpiece of a whistle. Handler's teeth are not needed to shoot a pheasant and could be better used to squeeze a button than hands which are required to operate the gun. Seems logical to me. But most of the engineers who design this outdoors technocrap are short on logic ... because they are short on field experience. Bottom line: you need to expose your dog to things to avoid and don't hesitate to use whatever means necessary to impress on the pup that they cannot pursue it. My dogs are absolute crazy about cats and squirrels. I can walk all three of them off leash on busy city streets where both are encountered regularly. They get excited but they will not break because I firmly tell them to "Leave it alone!" and they know from experience there are serious consequences if they don't. The key word there is "experience." You need to spend a lot of time with a dog to get them to the level where mine are (well, the Lab pup is still a work in progress but she's coming along - now I can actually get her to stay with me while the other two dogs are working). Keep the dog in the house. Period! If you don't live with your dog then most of the advice I give you simply won't apply. Live with a dog and you both learn to know how the other thinks. You become synchronized. I am pleased that you're trying this without technocrap. It can be a useful shortcut for those who don't have the time or won't take the time to train a dog "the old-fashioned way." But personally I would rather keep that direct line between myself and my dog intact. My dogs respond to me, not some thing hanging around their neck. And they respond very well. Out here we are encountering deer and rabbits every day. The dogs are interested but I can call them off instantly. Even the Lab pup. The only time I can't get one of them to return is when the Brit is on a bird somewhere. Last night I blew the whistle till I was blue in the face for almost fifteen minutes. But Coral was nowhere in sight. Where the hell did that gawdam dog go? Last time I saw her she was almost out of range in front of me. Finally a hen pheasant jumped up just on the other side of a small patch of olive trees I was standing next to in the bottom of a coulee. "Good dog! You got 'em. C'mon, lets go." Still no dog. "C'mon, girl!" I stand there wondering what the hell is going on. Then a rooster gets up from the same spot. Bang, flop! She charges out of the brush and actually gets to the bird before Opal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post
          Thanks for asking.

          Retrieving issues: Presently my older Lab Opal is doing all the retrieving. My four year-old French Brittany has retrieved cripples when I'm hunting her alone. That is a common issue with the breed so I don't fight it. Until yesterday I was also having a problem with Opal too. She would pick up the pheasant then put it down and mouth it (a bit too firmly). I had to go to her to get the bird. It finally dawned on me night before last that she has become accustomed to an entirely different retrieve command when we're goose hunting: "Get back in here. Birds are coming." Tried it yesterday and worked like a charm. She came running with all three roosters and delivered them to my hand without stopping. The point is I guess that this problem is specific to the individual dog and may require resolution specific for him/her. I am not an advocate of force fetch. Never had to resort to inflicting pain to get that result. My dogs (especially the Brit) have all been too sensitive for that. This new Lab pup may be a candidate though. Her sensitivity level is substantially lower. Has your dog had a chance to chase down a cripple? That often is the finishing touch needed. When they put down the bird and it takes off again, they catch on that it must be kept in the mouth. It's best if you're close at hand when they catch their first bird. Go on line and pick up a pigeon trap then catch a couple at a farm house or downtown greenspace. Clip off some of the primary wing feathers (three or four right at end of wing) just above the secondaries so the bird can't fly. Then go to work in an open space with a partner and let your pup catch the bird. This is a rather cruel form of training so don't do it more than necessary to get your dog rolling. Tell PETA types that it's less cruel than having a bunch of crippled birds escape in the field to die a lingering death rather than be promptly and humanely dispatched. I suspect you will get good results if you try this.

          Deer issues: Best solution for deer, rabbit, porcupine, etc. is to expose your dog to them in the field and forcefully condition them to leave off chasing. Just yesterday I found a porcupine dead in a small Russian olive. Presumably someone shot him although I couldn't see a noticeable hole. My Lab pup was curious and I took the opportunity to push her up close and give her hell. Use the same command always: "No! LEAVE IT ALONE!" Try to find some place where you know you'll see a deer while you're in the field. The pup will likely want to chase the deer a bit when it runs. Okay but when it returns you give that pup HOLY HELL. And I mean PHYSICALLY! There is nothing wrong with physically disciplining a dog ... as long as it gets lots of love in its life too. Of course, all dogs have different sensitivity levels and you'll have to gauge what your dog's limits are. Not returning on command is perhaps the most serious and dangerous offence in the field. It simply CAN NOT be tolerated. Or you'll lose your dog. Not long ago I was reading in a well-known bird dog journal a story by one of the editors about a young Lab he owned years ago that showed so much promise ... till it was run over by a train while hunting. That guy simply did not have enough control over his dog (and he's a gun dog editor??). Do not rely on e-collars for this. All kinds of technical issues can arise with those things. My voice and my hand do not break down. I use a whistle too (which only fails when it's full of ice) but in moderation. I would rather not give away my presence when hunting spooky pheasants but I don't think it's so important to get a shot that I will forgo voice commands for silent stimulation. Also, I want both hands on my gun when the dogs are birdy rather than having to fiddle with a joystick control. It's too bad someone doesn't manufacture e-collar control that can be slipped onto mouthpiece of a whistle. Handler's teeth are not needed to shoot a pheasant and could be better used to squeeze a button than hands which are required to operate the gun. Seems logical to me. But most of the engineers who design this outdoors technocrap are short on logic ... because they are short on field experience. Bottom line: you need to expose your dog to things to avoid and don't hesitate to use whatever means necessary to impress on the pup that they cannot pursue it. My dogs are absolute crazy about cats and squirrels. I can walk all three of them off leash on busy city streets where both are encountered regularly. They get excited but they will not break because I firmly tell them to "Leave it alone!" and they know from experience there are serious consequences if they don't. The key word there is "experience." You need to spend a lot of time with a dog to get them to the level where mine are (well, the Lab pup is still a work in progress but she's coming along - now I can actually get her to stay with me while the other two dogs are working). Keep the dog in the house. Period! If you don't live with your dog then most of the advice I give you simply won't apply. Live with a dog and you both learn to know how the other thinks. You become synchronized. I am pleased that you're trying this without technocrap. It can be a useful shortcut for those who don't have the time or won't take the time to train a dog "the old-fashioned way." But personally I would rather keep that direct line between myself and my dog intact. My dogs respond to me, not some thing hanging around their neck. And they respond very well. Out here we are encountering deer and rabbits every day. The dogs are interested but I can call them off instantly. Even the Lab pup. The only time I can't get one of them to return is when the Brit is on a bird somewhere. Last night I blew the whistle till I was blue in the face for almost fifteen minutes. But Coral was nowhere in sight. Where the hell did that gawdam dog go? Last time I saw her she was almost out of range in front of me. Finally a hen pheasant jumped up just on the other side of a small patch of olive trees I was standing next to in the bottom of a coulee. "Good dog! You got 'em. C'mon, lets go." Still no dog. "C'mon, girl!" I stand there wondering what the hell is going on. Then a rooster gets up from the same spot. Bang, flop! She charges out of the brush and actually gets to the bird before Opal.
          Thanks!

          Comment

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