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Pat Berry

Too much freedom?

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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 3:07 PM, Irishwhistler said:


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 🍀

I don't know guys. I've learned to be a "Trust Your Dog" kind of guy over the years because of many, and I really mean it, many examples of the dog being clued in to the situation where I was clueless. Bird up in the tree overhead, multiple birds involved with the point, one perhaps two flushed and bird down but another bird/birds still holding tight. Finding out definitively that the dog and it's nose is far more reliable for locating downed birds than "my lying eyes".

A little independence is perhaps, not such a bad thing. We are the ultimate authority but we may cheat ourselves and the dog if we become control freaks.

P.S. not necessarily any kind of accusation. Just a personal belief.

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Not a "control freak" and no offense taken in that regard.  I totally agree that one must "trust their dog" and I often espouse that concept to training clients as I teach them to handle their dog and how to read "the dog" as it hunts.  I also believe that a dog that is highly obedient has achieved the foundational training to have earned my trust, that making it much more easy for me to put my full confidence into a dog whilst afield.  There is a huge difference in a dog that is hunting confidently and instinctively, than one that is blowing off his or her handler and working outside of the desired range of the gun(s), not responding to casts whilst handling on a blind retrieve, not recalling when commanded to, etc., etc.


The handler / K9 teams I work with are specifically trained with that concept first in mind, that they are in fact a "team".  Every team has individual players that serve in very specific roles that contribute to the good of the team.  As well, every team has a Captain that provides necessary leadership for the good of the team.  My philosophy has worked well for me and those that I work with and for the hunting style we are most successful with.


I am not a "one size fits all' trainer and I believe that flexibility and the ability to think outside the box has served to produce very competent gun dogs and very happy owners.  Trust is a two way street in my work with retrievers.  A retriever learns to trust me that If I send it to make a blind retrieve at over 200+ yards, that there is going to be a bird to be retrieved at the end of the line I send it on.  Conversely, as I intimately know the behavior / body language exhibited by the dogs I work with as they are making bird,  I put my trust in them that they are going to find and flush said bird.  That doesn't mean I will allow a dog to chase a bird way outside of gun range.  Having "control" of the dog under such circumstances gives me the ability to maintain a flushing dog that will hunt within range of the gun and makes flushes within that zone.  If the dog is tracking a cripple, a much different set of circumstances, the dog is allowed to range out and recover the cripple, a concept known to the dog because he has been exposed to such situations multiple times in training scenarios and has earned my trust in doing so with competence and confidence.


Irishwhistler 🍀

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sorry, havent read the whole thread; however, to me 2 pennys:  it's a lot harder to streatch em out than to bring em in. as i have found.

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Which is why sometimes you'll judge puppies that are barn burners just ripping up the countryside then comes their derby season and you judge them and it's amazing to watch how their range changes. Like someone chopped the legs off of them. Personally when they're puppies go get lost discover the world it's a crazy place with all sorts of places to go get into trouble. I love watching them can't get enough. I call my puppies little tweekers go nuts run like like your hairs on fire. BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come derby season life changes a bit, then school is in session. So to an extent yes too much freedom can be a terrible thing. You do run the risk of producing a renegade, usually a male Pointer. It comes down to knowing your dog and how to handle him or her. I despise articles like that because to the average 1-2 3 dog owner it's telling them that this is how you do it. Step 1,2,3, 4 etc. I've been fortunate to have more than my fair share of dogs and while some were similar they're all different and different methods and ways of training were used.

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