Fall 2016 Field Training - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Fall 2016 Field Training

How's everyone doing out there? After the excitement of seeing Vivian and Maisey do so well at GRCA National derby and MOP and Proof do so well in the Northern and East Coast derby arena, Riot and I have something to live up to!


Here's what I've noticed about derbies, at least up here in Alaska, they are no longer marking tests. They are lining tests. Meaning if your dog does not handle and hasn't learned to run straight lines, they will not do well in derbies. The distances are too far and the obstacles between the dog and the bird are too many for a dog to not do well if they are not running super straight lines without any cheating. At least that's how I define lining, running a straight line without going around obstacles. Please correct me if I'm wrong. So if a dog doesn't handle and understand to go where sent, then they won't do as well as a dog that just runs in a straight line whether they remember where the bird is or not.


So on that note, Riot and I are working hard on whistle sits. It seems like all my dogs learn in clumps. You will try to teach them something over and over again and they won't get it. Then one day the light goes off and they totally understand. Maybe it's age, maybe it's the right setting. Whatever it is, finally Riot is getting the whole whistle sit concept. I can't yet get him to sit very far away, but at least he's beginning to understand what I'm trying to communicate. But without super solid whistle sits, we can't advance.


Yesterday at the park we use for drills, a cow moose decided to hang out and watch. She just laid in the field at the tree line and watched. Riot didn't bother her and she didn't bother us. I think she was waiting for her boyfriend, it is rutting season right now.
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~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 05:12 PM
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I really disagree with you about derbies being about straight lines and not about marking. AT least down here in the south. My mentor says that when dogs are very good markers they do good in derbies. Dogs that aren't superb markers but are good at learning concepts can do well in the higher stakes. These dogs can learn how to mark better. Derbies are under two. You can't teach a dog how to mark that well in that little time if they can't mark. Super good markers that are ten months old can beat older dogs even without being trained on concepts. I've seen it with my own eyes. And I've seen dogs place that cheated ponds or take banana lines. Shoot, Proof has done things like that in trials. It just depends on what the other dogs do. If a dog takes the straightest line to a mark and pins it they should do better than a dog that goes all over the place and then goes right to the bird.

Now, that being said. Concepts are taught to my dog. I teach him to hold his angles on hills, not to square ponds, hold lines against the wind, not to go behind a gun and so much more. All of this is so he can not break down so to speak and lose his mark. It is more about helping him get to the mark even through obstacles. But if he can't look out and mark a bird 400 yards away and perceive the depth of that mark and then go on to remember that mark after picking up a crippled exciting bird then I have nothing to work with in the first place. Marking is the most important thing. Furthermore, some dogs just take good straight lines naturally. Ben can back me up when I say Proof has always taken a really straight line to his marks. Sure he had to be decheated on water but he still naturally had no problem going over points or swimming past points depending on the line of the mark.


And as far as handling. I RARELY handle Proof to a mark. OMG I rarely. I mean maybe once a month if even that. Maybe even less. I will rerun a mark but unless its a very hard far water mark, little booger needs to come back in and watch that bird again. He obviously didn't mark it very well. Handling is just going to make him dependent on me, possibly create a popping issue, and not make his own decisions. It also breaks down his confidence in my opinion. Let him get a correction and try again. Think about it, i'd rather get corrected and come back and nail it, proving that I can do it, then get handled to a mark and going into the truck, not doing anything but telling me that I can't do it on my own.

Right now I'm on my second week of training with Proof since he got back. The first week we didn't train and the second, right before our first derby back, Proof had an injury that prevented us from training. He healed a day before the trial, ugh. We've run a few derbies but we are still getting our groove on again. its more like me being so rusty. Oh well, they are fun to run, I enjoy seeing some friends I've made since I started and Proof loves them. I guess losing is something I have to get used to, he is gonna be losing quite a bit in all age stakes, ha ha!


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:03 PM
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I haven't run a real Derby but all I know is that Maisey is a great marker and she has been taught things that helped her be successful at the Specialty Derby. She fought factors that made so many dogs backside the guns.

I ran a handling drill today with Maisey, mostly for control and communication since she goes back and forth between me and the pro. I hadn't done any handling with her in weeks since I wanted her marking to be top notch for the derby. She is very sharp and so fun to run.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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MOP, thanks for your thoughts. I do see that dogs that handle seem to do better at derbies than those that don't handle. That's from my own observations at derbies of the dogs I know. So I made the leap that a dog that can handle and learn to run a straight line, will run a derby better. That's where I came up with the idea.


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 10:24 PM
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I think it is possible that you could "save" a dog that didn't mark the bird by having him run a straight line. I saw it at the national.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 05:33 AM
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Yes, you definitely have the ability to save a dog by teaching him to take a straight line. I've seen people do that at derbies as well. I've not have had any success doing that myself. On saturday I showed Proof all his guns and he saw them but when it was time to turn to the go bird proof swung his head and locked in on a glinting white roof of a barn that was about 20 degrees left of the gunner but about half a mile away. I watched him sadly not observe the bird go down at all. When they called his number I reheeled him and he saw the right gunner. I told him good and sent him. He took a perfect line to the bird but since he had not marked it he overran it and put up a big hunt until he made his way back down to the shore to pick up his bird. I think I've got the only golden on the WHOLE planet that doesn't use his nose! UGH! So bottom line, Proof has 19 points based purely on his own marking skills, not by taking a straight line on a mark he didn't watch go down. I won't lie, though, I hope one day he will learn to take a straight line off of me and get his bird if he doesn't see it go down. At this time, I'm not sure that will ever happen. He relies on his eyes way too much and I can tell it throws him off if he didn't mark well.

Stacey, really, this is just a game of skills mixed with luck. Luck meaning everything aligns in your favor and your dog is being less dog than the other dogs that day. Everyone is running the same test. You just have to train your dog not to succumb to the factors and be confident enough to run through that cover without dodging it so they can keep running to their mark or stay in the water until its time to get out. Some people do this by handling but others don't. So don't fret if that is not possible for you. Just keep training Riot with the concepts and he will begin to understand that he needs to hold his line regardless of what is in between him and the mark.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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MOP,
When Proof goes around something or follows a trail down a slope, do you whistle sit him and make him go through the the brush or cross the trail to go in a straight line? Riot doesn't do it often. Although Monday night he did. The slope we were on was in a park and the brush was high in clumps and the kids had cut trails crisscrossing through the brush. Riot could see over the brush, so it wasn't a visible obstacle. But he did not travel in a straight line to the pile. I didn't stop him. I had a pile of bumpers out about 100 yards that I was sending him to. No problem, other than the deviation from the straight line. Riot does use his nose. You can see him turn it on when he has a little trouble. Although he doesn't use it as much as a lot of dogs I see at tests. He is definitely good at lining. Already I can do a 7 bumper lining drill and send him to any bumper I'd like without an issue. He prefers to sit at my side and doesn't creep out in front of me, so he's easy to line. It's in casting we have a problem. I have to be very careful to not move my head or body in a direction I don't want to send him. He explosive and wil run in any direction he senses I will send him. So I have to go very slowly. Even so, my arm has hardly moved for the cast, and he's gone! Bam! I have to keep the whistle in my mouth all the time, to catch him if he went where I didn't want him to go. I can't look at a pile I don't want to send him to when he's waiting for a cast, or he might go there. He's so excited and crazy to go. The fun part is, he's not distracted by anything. Last night we did a series of walk out blinds to one single pile. There were people walking their dogs not 50 yards from the pile and Riot paid no attention to the other dogs or people. He's so focused! He really hates having any bumpers just laying about without a purpose. They just need to be gathers. The discard pile is often his pile of discontent, it must be picked up!


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 11:51 AM
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Stacey no I don't handle proof through cover like you described. You want to set up the marks that if the dog does cheat or succumb to the factors that it's going to take him somewhere that gets him in trouble and that's where he gets the correction. For example if a dog decides to fall off a hill instead of angling up then he will probably end up in the direction of the other gun. Then when they go to that gun they get a correction and called back in. They watch the bird go down again and this time they most likely will take a better line. Does that make sense? And there was no handling involved.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 02:23 PM
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A "Great" Derby dog is "born" not made. That is they do the things required in the derby (marking and lining) "well" because that's the way they came from the womb. They mark well and run lines well because it's natural for them to and it's how they view their world.

"You own what you condone." ~ Mike Lardy
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-15-2016, 07:25 AM
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well, very exciting day for us yesterday. We all drove up to VA to run a derby. It was my first time in the area and the trial was run on the Steve Ferguson's Memorial grounds. There were lots of people that I knew going so it was fun. It such a great trial. The trial was very challenging yet, the distances in the first two series were the shortest we've run. The first series the guns weren't more than 125 yards but they were a good set up. The second series, wow! Again, marks not more than 200 yards but probably a lot less. It was unusual for me. I've not run a set up like it before. We ran along a mound, so the line was slightly on the mound, not much, though. Then it was an inverted double which we've run plenty of times. the difference is that it fell off the slope we stood on and into water! And it was super super cheaty. That slope really got the dogs running hard and the momentum just got them going around the pond. There were a few dogs that saw water and went for the short mark first. I would say more than half of the dogs didn't go into the water or put a foot in but cheated all the way around. Then they had hunts. The judges got LOTS of answers in the second series! yet, they let the dogs roll, just took notes and let dogs eliminate themselves. Third series, wow, I was so nervous on this one. The go bird was a straight shot in front along the water but going to land and next to a bale. BUT the memory bird was retired when the dog came back to the line to pick it up. It wasn't purposely retired, but the gunner was completely hidden behind a huge shrub. The correct line was to cut a corner, get over a dike at which point then the gun became visible on top of the dike, but then get back into the water and swim angled over two penisulas and then getting the bird up on a third penisula. I set proof up at the line and he looked out at the mark, not even caring about the gun being out of sight. I knew he knew where he was going at that point. I didn't sweat him too much. Proof literally took a straight line to the bird. I walked away with my mouth opened. I didn't know my dog could do such a mark with such perfection! Fourth series, pinched in double. Two super long swims. As one of the amateurs said, this set up has lots of places for the dogs to go and none of them were the right places. On the memory swim, I told the judges it was like the 3 minute stay in obedience. It felt like it would never end. ha ha! The line was a straight angle through some points and the dog couldn't see the gun at all during that time. Proof turned his head for a split second and looked at that short bird about 3/4 quarters in and I swear I thought don't do it, Proof, don't get tired and give in and lose your line. But he didn't and kept going.

We ended up getting first place!!! I am so proud of Proof and proud of me. I really worked hard at taking my time and Proof gave me all the effort he could. He showed me he has learned what he needs to do and I'm glad I didn't let him down.
I had no idea how the placements were going to go down. The judges showed they were so fair and really were in this to test the natural talent of the dogs and not trick them. There were several talented dogs and very talented amateurs that were running those dogs. When they called our names I started to cry. It was my first first ever to get with Proof. It was the most amazing feeling.
I wanted to place for Jake. I had run this trial with him in mind the whole day. To get first for Jake was the icing on the cake. Jake's legacy lives on!!!
Of course proof got to dine with us for dinner, we ordered him a child's menu with a hot dog and fries! Matt finally gets to cook him his steak he's had in the freezer for Proof's first first with us. I'm sure Proof is enjoying this one way more than he did when he got it up north, ha ha!
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