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Pat Berry

Too much freedom?

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Pat Berry

I came across this article entitled "Top 10 Gundog Training Mistakes." I think most are pretty predictable, but the first one-- Too Much Freedom-- is not often discussed. I could see how this could create unexpected problems, particularly with flushing dogs.

 

Thoughts?

 

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Irishwhistler

Pat,

I train Labs and often cross train them as both waterfowl dogs and as upland hunting dogs (flushers).  I also work dogs in hunt tests.  A dog that goes "rogue / independent contractor" is not what I want in any of those scenarios.  I work dogs for control and too much freedom does not cultivate that quality.  It all comes down to training to a high standard of obedience and maintaining it consistently.  Don't let perceived problems of behavior  become an ongoing behavioral problem.  I say, get on top of those issues quickly.  JMHO.

 

Mike 🍀

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Brad Eden

Yes,. Agree completely with Number 1. ( nice job embedding that Link too, rather than a long URL) I've said it here and in articles that I strive to make my dogs believe that the fun begins and ends with me. It's a heart warming sight seeing them sitting and looking for me, and at me, after being let outside. And even better when that bond results in a partnership in the bird woods.

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MTRookie76

Too much freedom to early is the main cause of pointy dog run offs. I had to be re educated myself over the last few yrs. A lost of pointy dog guys want to see the 1000yd cast early and often. I've come around to the idea that most well bred dogs have it in them but we don't need to see it as a puppy or a derby. Patience is a virtue.

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Pat Berry

I think it's okay to to separate "free runs" from training/hunting as the dog matures and understands the difference between the two. I think I've given too much freedom, however, before the pups fully understood the difference. 

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greg jacobs

In the pointing breeds it can add independence and confidence. Then there is that 1% that will take it and turn it into an evil thing.

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dauber

I use free runs with my cockers as an important part of my training. Young (8 week to maybe 6-9 months) go one at a time, but the rest get 30-60 minutes a day with me only keeping them safe from any danger otherwise I say nothing.  I do run older dogs first and pup after to minimize any chance of flushing a gamebird. This is where I observe and evaluate each dog and decide what further training each needs during the day.  

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Irishwhistler

I daily employ a technique with younger gun dog recruits that I refer to as a "bolding walk".  The pup or young dog is taken from the kennel run on lead  but is not allowed to pass through the kennel door until it has settled to my desired level of calm.  The dog is next brought to an airing area and allowed to take care of those functions the dog is then recalled to me and must come to HEEL and SIT at my left side remaining there until calmed and until I give it a release command.  We then continue the bolding walk and I use this time to teach the retriever to stay in the range I prefer for an upland hunting retriever and to quarter out in front of me.  This time is used to expose the retriever to various cover types, to ford streams and make short swims, to negotiate obstacles and problem solve getting over, under, and around them confidently.  During such walks, the dogs often come on to bird scent or live birds and I observe their reactions under those circumstances.  The bolding walk in essence, what might seem to be a "free run" to a less than perceptive observer is anything but that.  The bolding walk is mainly used to dissipate negative energy built up from being in the kennel, to focus all energy on communication betwixt meself and the gun dog recruit, to build confidence in the retriever through carefully strategized / planned success and reinforcement of desired behaviors, and to facilitate exposure to the environment where the gun dog will spend most of it's working life.  I find that my employment of this time with the pup reinforces my position as the leader for the pup  ( a must relationship between trainer and pup).  After said bolding walk is completed, we then move on to do obedience, yard work, or other drills dependent on the level of training a given recruit might be at.  In doing so, I have a gun dog recruit that is much more calm and is focused on me as the trainer and as the source of all things good, this building the desired bond I seek with the trainee.  I will at times pair one trainee retriever with another and work them in tandem (most often these being more advanced level dogs), this gives them the opportunity to socialize with other dogs but under controlled circumstances for what is expected as allowable.

 

This is about as "freedom based" as it gets for me and the dogs I work with.

 

Cheers,

Irishwhistler 🍀

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Hal Standish

I like this idea of a "Bolding Walk" Our friend Paul Mcgagh takes that to the next level. This a pre-training warm-up exercise. You will notice this a mixed breed exercise.

 

 

 

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SpringerDude
On 1/9/2018 at 7:44 AM, Hal Standish said:

I like this idea of a "Bolding Walk" Our friend Paul Mcgagh takes that to the next level. This a pre-training warm-up exercise. You will notice this a mixed breed exercise.

 

 

 

Thats cool

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JK SE PA
On 1/8/2018 at 4:43 PM, MTRookie76 said:

Too much freedom to early is the main cause of pointy dog run offs. I had to be re educated myself over the last few yrs. A lost of pointy dog guys want to see the 1000yd cast early and often. I've come around to the idea that most well bred dogs have it in them but we don't need to see it as a puppy or a derby. Patience is a virtue.

 

But at the same time you want a pup to be bold and independent, just not too independent.  So how do you go about doing that?  How do you get a pup out for some free run exploring time in a field and let them learn and experience, and yet keep them from having too much freedom at the same time without over hacking them?

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MTRookie76
1 hour ago, JK SE PA said:

 

But at the same time you want a pup to be bold and independent, just not too independent.  So how do you go about doing that?  How do you get a pup out for some free run exploring time in a field and let them learn and experience, and yet keep them from having too much freedom at the same time without over hacking them?

Full disclosure, I have never broke a dog, I have professional trainers start and break my dogs. I do work my dogs after they are broke to keep them in form but that is very much the easy part. That being said I've had the opportunity to work dogs with what I consider the best dog trainers in the country and most people would consider their puppies and derbies pretty short. From what I've witnessed, the broad outline is use the e collar properly to keep control of the dog, be in control of the dog 100% time from the time you take the dog out of the crate until the dog is back in the crate. Never give the dog a chance to be out of control, ever. The most important thing though is work the dog everyday. It seems the best trainers are the hardest working trainers.

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Chukarman

The article is from a UK publication, where dogs are largely used as flushers or retrievers (pick up dogs).

 

I have developed a number of pointing dogs for hunting and field trials and believe that ground time off-leash is very important. But the dog has to be taught to handle. The dog needs to go with the handler. If you start with a puppy he is not usually bold enough to get out of touch with you (you're his protector) so developing a bond and trust with the dog - which goes two ways - is the key in early development. SO you try to balance independence with co-operation. How to do this varies from dog to dog - there is no set formula.

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Hal Standish

 

5 hours ago, Chukarman said:

 How to do this varies from dog to dog - there is no set formula.

 

 

Across the board the differences in to much freedom and training standards varies drastically between, Pointing dog, Non-slip Retrievers and Flushing dogs!

 

Chukarman is right-on on what is happening in the UK Though there are many there that would disagree, HPR competitions are very well thought of and participated in the UK. HPR stands for Hunt-Point- Retrieve.

 

 

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406dn
16 hours ago, Chukarman said:

The article is from a UK publication, where dogs are largely used as flushers or retrievers (pick up dogs).

 

I have developed a number of pointing dogs for hunting and field trials and believe that ground time off-leash is very important. But the dog has to be taught to handle. The dog needs to go with the handler. If you start with a puppy he is not usually bold enough to get out of touch with you (you're his protector) so developing a bond and trust with the dog - which goes two ways - is the key in early development. SO you try to balance independence with co-operation. How to do this varies from dog to dog - there is no set formula.

 

I agree with this.  There are many ways to skin a cat, I suspect. During their first year, the only thing I require from a dog is that it goes with me. Handling a young  dog from a horse makes this much easier. A horse is easy for a dog to see, easy for them to know where its headed, and is far more capable of covering ground. The horse can leave a puppy in the dust,,,,,or go gather them up. When a pup sees a horse and handler leaving it behind,,they make double time to catch back up. By the time they are a year old,, my dogs are going with me pretty well. I let them reach, so long it's to the front. I change the front often to help instill in the dog how important getting to the front is.

 

One difference between most amateurs and many pros, is that the pro is bringing along more dogs at any one time than most amateurs are. It is easier for me to let one pup feel its oats some than it is for a pro who might have five or more pups down at the same time.  

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