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    • Brad Eden

      WELCOME NEW UJ MEMBERS   06/25/2017

      It seems the word is out and UJ is enjoying a steady stream of newly Registered Members. Welcome to all of you, and we are all looking forward to your positive participation. I strongly suggest you review the Board Guidelines that have been in place since 2002. The most significant thing being that UJ is a NO POLITICS BOARD. LInk:  UJ BOARD GUIDELINES   Also UJ stays afloat mainly through Member Donations. Once a Donation is made you are placed in the Contributing Member Group with extra Priviliges. I am getting very few new Donations so hopefully this will spur that on a bit. Link:  New Members/Donations/Priviliges
sprocket

Starting a retreiver from scratch - recommendations wanted

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Rick Hall
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Just a difference in opinion of what is stressful and what is serviceable. . Evan's approach is easily done by any one with a passion of help his/her dog be all they can be. 

FF, Casting drills Swim-by are tools that help the dog gain confidence and efficiencies. Actually I was inspired by these drills and exercises!

The dogs talent level can not be reached without thoughtful planning and effort. Evan know this and has developed a program that will aid man/women to achieve the desired results.

Hal

 

Your idea of "serviceable" may well be a higher practical standard than the average Joe's, but mine is pretty demanding: they must be rock steady and quiet in the face of game, handle well and recover 1,000+ ducks and geese a season from a miserable floating marsh several pro-trained dogs have flat refused to work.  And we readily accomplish that level of serviceability through largely pressure-free building block steps that don't include FF, F-to or swim-by.  Which I used as examples of stressful training because they're where amateurs and pros, alike, seem most apt to bind dogs up with pressure.

 

Fwiw, while I had a largely George Evans inspired pointing dog background to build on, the only "retriever" training aid I used bringing on my first Chesapeake was Wolter's Game Dog, and while he certainly wasn't trained to the standard I now require, he was pegging HRC Finished tests before his second birthday.  Since that time, I've studied more than a little of the US mainstream via Lardy, Farmer & Aycock and even your man Graham, as well as some of its new potential directions via Pat Nolan and Bill Hillman.  I really do try to keep up and am willing to beg, borrow or steal from anyone who I believe may have a better way.  But, at least to date, I remain convinced that the little guy wanting to train a gun dog himself is better served by the likes of Wolters or the Brits and American British style trainers, like Mike Stewart.  Simply believe their non-force (in the ff or f-to sense) methods are more Murphy proof for amateurs without a lot of expert, hands-on help.

 

 

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Pat Berry
3 hours ago, Rick Hall said:

So you didn't find force-fetch, force-to, swim-by and the like complicated or stressful?  Easy, peasy for an amateur without a lot of expert, hands-on help?

 

I didn't say I followed along exactly as they suggest. Most spaniels are too sensitive and would fall apart under the pressure. I also didn't say I worked toward more advanced techniques like the swim-by and double T (although I have read up on them just to learn more).

 

What I took away were concepts I can use regardless of the sensitivity of the dog or how advanced I choose to get. I learned to think of a trained retrieve as a progression of building blocks that get you from point A to point B... or point C... or point Z if that's where you want to go. Honestly,  I found Lardy, Farmer, Graham, and Burns to be more easy to understand than the other sources you suggest. There's too much that's left unexplained or assumed. I don't have to use a collar or a toe-pinch, or an ear-pinch, or whatever else to understand that I want my dog to fetch and hold something. And from there we build upon the next step and the next step, etc. Way easier, even if it takes longer-- and certainly more reliable than most methods.

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sprocket
1 hour ago, Pat Berry said:

 

I didn't say I followed along exactly as they suggest. Most spaniels are too sensitive and would fall apart under the pressure. I also didn't say I worked toward more advanced techniques like the swim-by and double T (although I have read up on them just to learn more).

 

What I took away were concepts I can use regardless of the sensitivity of the dog or how advanced I choose to get. I learned to think of a trained retrieve as a progression of building blocks that get you from point A to point B... or point C... or point Z if that's where you want to go. Honestly,  I found Lardy, Farmer, Graham, and Burns to be more easy to understand than the other sources you suggest. There's too much that's left unexplained or assumed. I don't have to use a collar or a toe-pinch, or an ear-pinch, or whatever else to understand that I want my dog to fetch and hold something. And from there we build upon the next step and the next step, etc. Way easier, even if it takes longer-- and certainly more reliable than most methods.

 

Tollers will shut down to a heavy hand - Pat, can you expand on your methods or did you just pull straight from the sources you listed?

Thanks

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Rick Hall
2 hours ago, Pat Berry said:

 

I didn't say I followed along exactly as they suggest. Most spaniels are too sensitive and would fall apart under the pressure. I also didn't say I worked toward more advanced techniques like the swim-by and double T (although I have read up on them just to learn more).

 

What I took away were concepts I can use regardless of the sensitivity of the dog or how advanced I choose to get. I learned to think of a trained retrieve as a progression of building blocks that get you from point A to point B... or point C... or point Z if that's where you want to go. Honestly,  I found Lardy, Farmer, Graham, and Burns to be more easy to understand than the other sources you suggest. There's too much that's left unexplained or assumed. I don't have to use a collar or a toe-pinch, or an ear-pinch, or whatever else to understand that I want my dog to fetch and hold something. And from there we build upon the next step and the next step, etc. Way easier, even if it takes longer-- and certainly more reliable than most methods.

 

I'm quite surprised you failed learn that training is a building block progression from Wolter's or the Brits.  And I'd strongly suggest that trainers with enough experience to know what they want from their dogs consider not training toward the US mainstream retriever programs' trial oriented end goals - or anyone else's - but their own.  

 

Then Gundog Magazine retriever columnist, James Spencer, once drew from his IBM experience in a column suggesting looking at retriever training problems from a management by objective perspective.  IE: to achieve our goal, we'll first to have other things well in place, and each of those things will in turn require others to build on - and so on right back to, in our case, the foundational cornerstones of come, sit, good and bad.  I took that notion to heart five gun dogs ago, and both they and I have benefited tremendously from the adapted practice of creating and following a written flowchart or road map - albeit with plenty of revision as need becomes apparent - for each to my notion of a finished dog.  

 

But I don't believe that a viable course for a first time gun dog trainer, who's unlikely to even know in more than the most general of terms where he wants to go, much less how to get from one  mile stone to the next.  That fellow probably needs to follow someone else's program, and if he chooses a mainstream (Carr/force based) program such as you're suggesting, he'd best either side-step the heart and soul of it (training through the avoidance of pressure) like you apparently have or have competent help near at hand.  That, and he''s apt to spend a lot of time teaching and conditioning things that he doesn't need or could even prove counterproductive in a hunting context.

 

 

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Chukarman
On 9/30/2017 at 9:29 AM, sprocket said:

Flairball - any recommendations on a book?

 

I read "Hey pup, fetch 'em up" a dozen years ago but never got the dog...

 

I understand the training methods advice - got any particular ones that I should investigate?

 

Thanks to IrishWhistler for making the call.

Read "Training your Retriever" by James Lamb Free. IMO, the best book on the subject.

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Pat Berry
3 hours ago, Rick Hall said:

 

That, and he''s apt to spend a lot of time teaching and conditioning things that he doesn't need or could even prove counterproductive in a hunting context.

 

 

 

That's an awfully broad brush and, again, assumes way too much. You have to come to the table with a foundation of existing knowledge to follow most training books, a circumstance  people take for granted.... especially if you already have that foundation of knowledge. I've often said the most helpful training manual will have 10 pages of instruction and 90 pages of trouble-shooting.

 

I don't train labs for waterfowl hunting and retriever trials. I train spaniels for upland hunting (priority #1), early season waterfowl, and spaniel trials and hunt tests. I learned a lot from the sources I previously cited, and they have helped me navigate more advanced training that has nothing to do with a nice or reliable delivery. All of the criticism in the world can't take away what I know I've learned and used.

 

Here's a dog I put on a bench and "force-fetched." He's incredibly sensitive and I had to take my time to get it right. I am a total amateur. In this video he had just turned 2 and had already received his master hunting tile. The retrieve is ancillary because here I'm more interested in making sure he can run a nice downwind pattern, check in without a whistle, take direction with body language, and be steady on his own. He looks pretty damn happy to me, force-fetch and all...

 

 

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Pat Berry
4 hours ago, sprocket said:

 

Tollers will shut down to a heavy hand - Pat, can you expand on your methods or did you just pull straight from the sources you listed?

Thanks

 

To start I just open their mouth and insert a wooden training buck or piece of closet rod. If the dog is super sensitive, I'm cautious to be gentle. If the dog can take a little pressure I might press their lip against their tooth. In either case, my spaniels don't like having me open their mouth for them, so they learn to open on their own. I also use TONS of praise whenever they do it right. I've been warned against overdoing it with praise, but I swear you can mold a lot of behavior simply with a tone of voice. I have encouraged many of my macho buddies to "find your inner falsetto."

 

Even before that, however, I put the dogs on a training bench for months and just give them treats as I walked up and down the bench and they follow. It's incredible how much this builds a bond with a puppy. So by the time I might get to the trained retrieve, the bench is a super happy place. My newest prospect is 8 months old, and aside from a smattering of times over the last month where I had him hold a dowel, the training bench is a place to hang out with dad and get treats.

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Hal Standish
13 hours ago, Pat Berry said:

 

That's an awfully broad brush and, again, assumes way too much. You have to come to the table with a foundation of existing knowledge to follow most training books, a circumstance  people take for granted.... especially if you already have that foundation of knowledge. I've often said the most helpful training manual will have 10 pages of instruction and 90 pages of trouble-shooting.

 

I don't train labs for waterfowl hunting and retriever trials. I train spaniels for upland hunting (priority #1), early season waterfowl, and spaniel trials and hunt tests. I learned a lot from the sources I previously cited, and they have helped me navigate more advanced training that has nothing to do with a nice or reliable delivery. All of the criticism in the world can't take away what I know I've learned and used.

 

Here's a dog I put on a bench and "force-fetched." He's incredibly sensitive and I had to take my time to get it right. I am a total amateur. In this video he had just turned 2 and had already received his master hunting tile. The retrieve is ancillary because here I'm more interested in making sure he can run a nice downwind pattern, check in without a whistle, take direction with body language, and be steady on his own. He looks pretty damn happy to me, force-fetch and all...

 

 

 

 

Pat, Rick Hall here is where there is some a chance to get on the same page. This discussion has morphed to the Non-slip side of the dog training world, Non-slip as J. Spencer shared literally needs a formula and process to complete, aka FF, Swimby, Force to pile. whether it is Carr, or Lardy Or Graham the Retriever types thrive on formula and flow charts.

The Upland spaniel culture literally has no formula. Pat mention working with His spaniels mouth. at best the Spaniels would have a "Trained Retrieve". Force would never be used around birds and for the most there would be very little use or need for the  E-collar .  Our last 5 field champions never wore a collar, some of my early dogs did but that was before I really understood spaniel upland training and hunting and trialing.

 

Concerning the OP and his Toller, before he can pick a program or system of training he really needs to set some goals and decide what his requirements are in a gun dog.

Those goals will dictate the system he will use. Initially he would be better off training non-slip, If his heart is set on upland, I would still train non'-slip 1st then upland.

Personally it doesn't really matter who's non slip program he follows they will all give him the basics. Prolly the basics are he needs.

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Pat Berry

For what it's worth, I give great deference to both of you, Hal and Rick. Like I said, I'm a total amateur. I just know that I valued the modern retriever program for training a retrieve and teaching basic handling.

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Rick Hall

Pat, I think most would find the method you've relayed to Sproket much closer to the Brits' than the  force-fetch methodology found in the US mainstream retriever programs you've referenced.  Here's a link that will take you to an example of the former if you scroll down the training newsletter archive to the "Delivery to Hand" articles: http://uklabs.com/newsletter.php

 

Much the same could probably be said for basic handling, as you couldn't follow those programs without force-to, for which force-fetch is necessary foundation.  Chances are you relied on very basic drills common to all handling approaches.

 

 

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Pat Berry
22 minutes ago, Rick Hall said:

Pat, I think most would find the method you've relayed to Sproket much closer to the Brits' than the  force-fetch methodology found in the US mainstream retriever programs you've referenced.  Here's a link that will take you to an example of the former if you scroll down the training newsletter archive to the "Delivery to Hand" articles: http://uklabs.com/newsletter.php

 

 

 

Rick, that is almost exactly the way I progress.... except that I go through the process of commanding "fetch" and having the dog reach for the dowel (then bumper, frozen bird, fresh dead, etc.). Similar to the the progression, I start on the table holding the dowel, then put it on the table in front of them, then move to the ground, etc, etc.

 

I've been in situations where I was glad I had a non-voluntary "fetch" command. When I did the water test this past summer for AKC trials, it is required that pheasants be used. The only pheasants available were ones that had been in a freezer for quite a while. Then they were thawed on a hot day. By the time the test rolled around later in the afternoon, the birds were just disgusting. Keller made the water retrieve but on the first bird (they have to do it twice), he dropped it when he exited the water. I commanded "fetch" and he curled his lips back, picked it up, and delivered it to hand. Normally, I think that would have been unacceptable, but even the judges realized some of the birds were way past ripe...

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sprocket

Thank you for the link - Looks like I've got some reading to do...

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Rick Hall
On 12/8/2017 at 10:49 AM, Pat Berry said:

I've been in situations where I was glad I had a non-voluntary "fetch" command. When I did the water test this past summer for AKC trials, it is required that pheasants be used. The only pheasants available were ones that had been in a freezer for quite a while. Then they were thawed on a hot day. By the time the test rolled around later in the afternoon, the birds were just disgusting. Keller made the water retrieve but on the first bird (they have to do it twice), he dropped it when he exited the water. I commanded "fetch" and he curled his lips back, picked it up, and delivered it to hand. Normally, I think that would have been unacceptable, but even the judges realized some of the birds were way past ripe...

 

I actively discourage messing with carrion, so we've had some "interesting" times involving old and/or bedraggled test birds.  But "fetch" is as ingrained as a command (and not just a release) as any other at our house (largely by force of habit), and we've generally gotten even the near naked stinkers to hand.  That said, I would encourage anyone who's serious about retriever hunt testing to make a point of training with birds not just in sorry condition but, if at all possible, having been already been handled by strange dogs.  IE: find someone who regularly trains with old birds and ask for those they're ready to discard.

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Hal Standish

In comparision between Upland and Non-slip events as an entrant in either test or trial in upland at least the entrant gets his entry moneys worth in fresh birds. I have attended some HRC events where some form of discount should have been offered because of the poor quality and putrid condition of the test birds. After all the folks that ran late in the test running order did not receive the same value in test birds as the folks that ran early in the event. Yet they paid the same amount in entry fees.

When ever I have brought this up with my retriever friends I usually just get a blank stare. 

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Pat Berry

So, after all of this discussion about force-fetching and/or a trained retrieve, I'm not sure I'm going to put my youngest pup through the process. After a few times on the bench holding a piece of wooden closet rod, his delivery is really nice. He messes around with actual birds, sometimes but even that's getting better. As I said earlier, I think you can make a ton of progress with an intelligent, sensitive dog just by molding behavior with your voice.

 

 

Griff on the bench 2.jpg

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