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Thread: Problems with "back"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Southern IL
    Posts
    623

    Default Problems with "back"

    Guys, I've run into a bit of a hurdle with the pup lately. About a week ago, she seemed to lose her grasp of "back". When given the command, she would often veer in whatever direction she thought the bumper would be. I would (and still do) immedietly whistle her to stop, recall and reset her, then send her out again. Sometimes I'll have to resend her two or three times before she gets it right. I always praise her vigorously when she does get it correct, but I get the impression she's still unsure of what I'm asking. I've actually gone back to short set-ups (maybe 10-20 yards) and will let her see me place the bumpers. On the shorter retrieves, and the ones she sees me place, she does ok. When I try to stretch her back out to greater distances, she reverts back to "veering" off mark. I've also noticed it to a lesser degree on "overs". Any suggestions from the gallery?
    "If you train a young dog for momentum, precision will arrive. If you train for precision, demanding perfection, momentum will depart."
    ~Rex Carr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Columbia, TN
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    139

    Default

    Are you talking about back casts, or sending on a line?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default

    20 Fan

    I would go back to the fence. Start short 10 to 20 yards and build up the distance from there. I would also do these as memories ( pull-push ). If she is veering in one direction every time make sure she has to turn into the fence for the retrieve. The last thing I would suggest is stop left and right cast for a week or so.

    P.S. If you don't have a fence find a sidewalk or narrow road.

    Lambert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central Texas
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    Default

    James Spencer’s books introduced me to the concept of using a white cone or bucket to give the pup something to run to. This approach develops a dog who learns to look out for a “picture” when you cue him that you’ve got a blind retrieve coming up. The other advantage is that the bucket becomes a tool that pulls the dog through more difficult concepts in later training thus encouraging success rather than needing corrections for failure.

    The criticism of this method is that a dog may mistakenly head for a white object in the field. I have never once had this become a problem. I really don’t know why it isn’t promoted by more trainers. It’s as if they’d prefer to let the dog get off-line so they can “correct” him.

    I believe in using anything that makes it easier for the dog to be successful. Success breeds success.
    "The bird hunter watches only the dog, and always knows where the dog is, whether or not visible at the moment. The dogs’ nose is the bird hunters’ eye. Many hunters who carry a shotgun in season have never learned to watch the dog, or interpret his reaction to scent."
    Aldo Leopold, Round River

  5. #5

    Default

    I use the road cone method as well and have good results. I would also do more backs than overs. I'm anxious to see what Robert says.
    Stewart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    38

    Default

    I have to agree with Lambert. Using a trailing memory along a fence line utlizing the pull push method. This way the pup knows the bumper is there and the fence wont let pup veer in that direction.
    Jon Trembley

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Southern IL
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    Default

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I have no idea where this sudden problem came from, as she was running backs just fine, and out to good distances. I figure I must have begun doing something different on the command (intonation, body language, etc) to get her confused. She's also been testing me more than usual lately, and it could be just a bout of her wanting to do her own thing (not gonna happen!). With dove season only 6 weeks away, I'm hoping she pulls it together before the opener on Sept. 1st.
    "If you train a young dog for momentum, precision will arrive. If you train for precision, demanding perfection, momentum will depart."
    ~Rex Carr

  8. #8

    Default

    You might also want to read what Robert wrote on Milners Blog " Some adivce for the handler on hand signals".
    Stewart

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,710

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    20 Fan,

    If I'm correct, Josie is about 14 months old. A general rule of thumb that I've read is that dogs tend to try to move up the pecking order by asserting their dominance around the ages of 8 months and again around 2 years. Josie is between those ages, but she may be trying to test you. Or she may be trying to think for herself and is using her own reasoning to try to find the bird where she thinks is ought to be rather than to take your directional "advice". Another possibility is that she may be getting ready to come in season and the hormones are playing with her mind.

    In any case, I don't think the setback you are having is unusual for a dog of her age. As with most training issues we have, try to take a step or two back to simplify and slowly move forward again. The training tips you have received are worth considering. Use those that seem to make sense to you if you like. However, don't jump to the conclusion that the problem is your training technique; don't forget to factor the dog into the equation. Remember, dogs are like the climate: they are never in a static condition. They are in a constant state of change throughout their lives. Just because she was great last week doesn't mean she will be great this week. The fact things have changed isn't as important as why they have changed and how can they be made to become right again.

    Swack

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    572

    Default back

    A little more description of what your doing might help. If he was doing well before and now is confused and not going its a training problem that can get much bigger. Not going and having to be resent can develop into a habit.

    I assume your talking about memories where you drop the bumper and heel him away with NO HEEL and walk a short distance and turn him around to refocus his memory and then line him up and send on BACK. To start with have a white bumper thats visible so it is a sight memory. With a visible bumper and short grass you can easily back up to 100 yds. Eventually you will be sending far enough that the bumper is not visible or there may be alittle terrain feature in between. Make sure that when the dog gets close he will see the bumper. Don't put it in cover because your not working on hunting but on going when sent. It is a shame to have him go and then not immediately be rewarded with the bumper and hunt off the reservation for it. Do this a few times and he'll lose confidence. I don't use cones or buckets because I want him to concentrate on remembering the spot we dropped it.

    Later you can add variations to the above which is what I would consider the foundation of non collar blind retrieves. These additions can be having the dog sent from a front finish position with a straight up left or right back cast to the memory you dropped and you can add whistle stops, come in whistles and then cast back. I add overs much later because they are much easier to teach.

    The dog should be successful on every retrieve. If not shorten distance and make the memory visible. It takes time for the dog to develop confidence to go for a bird he didn't see fall so go slowly with this progression.

    Hope this is what you need,

    Bill

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