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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure I even thought about it in the past.... as mentioned above it's very situational. I would expect some confusion, but much of this can be eliminated by chaining your commands. For instance, sit, watch me, over-fetch. Sit, back, back, back-fetch. Good fetch.

I'm working an almost-8-month-old pup through casting right now and have her on a 20' line to make it easier to communicate. If you raise a hand and your dog drops, pull him back to a sit, move in closer, good sit....stay...sit...get back....fetch, yes, fetch....good dog.

If I could give you any advice, it'd be to find a mentor/trainer/pro and go train with them. I had a rough few months trying to figure out how to run blinds in seniors...when I finally started training with the pros it made my life so much easier. So, so, so much easier for me and my dogs!

Little Red Dawg - it wouldn't let me pull a quote, so I did a c/p job...

I agree it will probably be situational and I'll just start with the very basic foundations, like he is a baby puppy, to help him get over the confusion, and hopefully avoid mistakes. Confusion causes him to shut down so having a plan and solid foundations are our best plan of attack. I have worked with a pro and didn't think I was going to go past JH so never focused much past the very basic foundations past JH, i.e., he has a whistle sit, steady on the line, stuff like that. So, we didn't go there and I didn't go there. Recently decided to push through to SH and am working with another pro as my former trainer went 100% upland. She doesn't do obedience nor has she ever worked with a dog trained for competition obedience. In my area, very few dogs are doing both. I have an amazing obedience trainer, but she doesn't have competitive field work training experience. Trying to bridge that gap a bit on my own.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by FosterGolden View Post
Interesting; a lot to think about. The pro I just started working with doesn't know lick about obedience and my obedience trainer knows very little about field (she has dabbled with her dog, but not competitively). So... That makes it a little hard for me to try to figure out the best route. I have a soft dog that shuts down when he is confused, so I need to make things as clear for him as possible.
The cool thing about field work is you don't have to re-invent the wheel. The tried and true "Lardy flowchart" method is what 95% of the people running senior & master use to transition their dogs from beginners to running blinds. This is a foreign concept to pure obedience people, because obedience is much more linear and intuitive and people really can cook up their own methods and be extremely successful in competitive obedience. There's no "one way" to do it for obedience. In field, it's a different scene. Now I'm not saying that you 100% must follow the modern method of retriever training (Lardy) to get a good field dog but it's overwhelmingly popular, most people follow it in some form or fashion. It's repeatable.

So what I'm getting at is, I 100% understand the frustration of the unknown and thinking you need to form a battle plan to address obedience vs. field, but really, like I said, keep your obedience obedience and your field field. If you've found a good field instructor, stick to what they say and don't ad lib. Hopefully they follow some form of Lardy so you can also read the Lardy manuals and the other media sources out there that basically follow the same training schedule (Graham, Stawski, etc).

The confusion issues you mention with taking back vs. over casts vs. directed jumping and drop signal, and conflicting commands such as heel or back, are all very temporary niggles of confusion for the dog and won't be big issues, I promise you! The dog will work it out quickly if you're consistent. Bigger issues you will have to conquer for a crossover dog:
1) Eye contact as avoidance. Obedience dogs are taught from day one to give constant eye contact. The only time we want eye contact in field work is in the holding blind and on a sit whistle! Other than that, the dog's eyes should be in the field. Many obedience-first dogs will "bug" (look up at you) as a default if they feel nervous or are avoiding their tasks in field work.
2) Pile work vs. scent articles. My two dogs that were cross trained had opposite problems. Fisher learned Utility before he ever did pile work, so was a terrific shopper, and I wasn't willing to correct the shopping in field work because I didn't want it to mess up my articles. I just lived with it. With my next dog who did field first, I nixed shopping right off the bat. If he feels the heat in training articles his tendency is to grab the first one he comes to. Dogs taught pile work first will often view a pile of articles as a RETRIEVE exercise not a SCENTING exercise. Different problems to tackle.
Actually those were the only two biggies I could think of...

One last thing.....
Be prepared to not get away with terms like "soft dog" "shuts down when confused" etc with modern retriever field trainers. While we are certainly sensitive to each dog's unique personality and learning style, and adjust training as needed, "soft" "shuts down" etc are key words for AVOIDANCE - LACK OF EFFORT - MANIPULATIVE. A dog who "shuts down" simply because he is asked to do something he's never done before or asked to do more than he wishes to do, has simply learned to play dead to avoid work. It won't fly in field work. The good news is field is intrinsically more rewarding than obedience ever thought about being, so unless the dog is a total slug there's almost always something in it for him that keeps him going. But when push comes to shove -- doggie must do as told, not roll over and be a marshmellow to get out of it.

--Anney
"Fisher" CH Deauxquest Hard Day's Knight UDT VER RAE MH WCX CCA VCX OS DDHF, Can. CD WC
"Slater" HRCH Morninglo Wing-T Your Bird Can Sing CDX MH NA WCX CCA VCX, Can. CD WC
"Bally" BISS GCH Can. CH Richwood Wing-T Workin' Like A Dog CD MH WCX** DDHF, Can. WCI
"Brix" CH Malagold Wing-T We Can Work It Out JH WC, Can. WC
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by K9-Design View Post
Keep your obedience obedience and your field field. The cues will be so different you will have only temporary confusion during the learning phase. Your signals will be quite different. When you cast in the field you will typically start with your hands in a "praying" position in the middle of your chest and then cast from there. In obedience of course this is not allowed.
I have found that people who choose alternative commands in the field to avoid obedience commands, generally stick out like a sore thumb, and manage to confuse themselves and everybody else trying to learn all different cues from what their training partners use. Meanwhile if you just used the "right" words from the beginning the dog would quickly learn the difference.
My best advice is to take field lessons from a pro or an experienced amateur and don't worry in the least bit about confusing the dog with obedience.
I found there was less confusion when I took an obedience dog into advanced field work (Fisher, UD before we ever trained for SH/MH) than a field dog into obedience (Slater, MH before even CD, now working on Utility).
Best of luck.
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Originally Posted by K9-Design View Post
The cool thing about field work is you don't have to re-invent the wheel. The tried and true "Lardy flowchart" method is what 95% of the people running senior & master use to transition their dogs from beginners to running blinds. This is a foreign concept to pure obedience people, because obedience is much more linear and intuitive and people really can cook up their own methods and be extremely successful in competitive obedience. There's no "one way" to do it for obedience. In field, it's a different scene. Now I'm not saying that you 100% must follow the modern method of retriever training (Lardy) to get a good field dog but it's overwhelmingly popular, most people follow it in some form or fashion. It's repeatable.

So what I'm getting at is, I 100% understand the frustration of the unknown and thinking you need to form a battle plan to address obedience vs. field, but really, like I said, keep your obedience obedience and your field field. If you've found a good field instructor, stick to what they say and don't ad lib. Hopefully they follow some form of Lardy so you can also read the Lardy manuals and the other media sources out there that basically follow the same training schedule (Graham, Stawski, etc).

The confusion issues you mention with taking back vs. over casts vs. directed jumping and drop signal, and conflicting commands such as heel or back, are all very temporary niggles of confusion for the dog and won't be big issues, I promise you! The dog will work it out quickly if you're consistent. Bigger issues you will have to conquer for a crossover dog:
1) Eye contact as avoidance. Obedience dogs are taught from day one to give constant eye contact. The only time we want eye contact in field work is in the holding blind and on a sit whistle! Other than that, the dog's eyes should be in the field. Many obedience-first dogs will "bug" (look up at you) as a default if they feel nervous or are avoiding their tasks in field work.
2) Pile work vs. scent articles. My two dogs that were cross trained had opposite problems. Fisher learned Utility before he ever did pile work, so was a terrific shopper, and I wasn't willing to correct the shopping in field work because I didn't want it to mess up my articles. I just lived with it. With my next dog who did field first, I nixed shopping right off the bat. If he feels the heat in training articles his tendency is to grab the first one he comes to. Dogs taught pile work first will often view a pile of articles as a RETRIEVE exercise not a SCENTING exercise. Different problems to tackle.
Actually those were the only two biggies I could think of...

One last thing.....
Be prepared to not get away with terms like "soft dog" "shuts down when confused" etc with modern retriever field trainers. While we are certainly sensitive to each dog's unique personality and learning style, and adjust training as needed, "soft" "shuts down" etc are key words for AVOIDANCE - LACK OF EFFORT - MANIPULATIVE. A dog who "shuts down" simply because he is asked to do something he's never done before or asked to do more than he wishes to do, has simply learned to play dead to avoid work. It won't fly in field work. The good news is field is intrinsically more rewarding than obedience ever thought about being, so unless the dog is a total slug there's almost always something in it for him that keeps him going. But when push comes to shove -- doggie must do as told, not roll over and be a marshmellow to get out of it.
Re eye contact - we're actually working on this in obedience with marking to NOT look at me, to look at the mark instead until I send. Yes, it's a "thing" for sure!

The pile work, yes, I am doing the same. He knows scent articles, so when we do pile work, I allow him to shop all he wants.

My dog is very sensitive and afraid of being wrong. He is an honest dog and will do whatever I ask of him as long as he knows what I am asking. Loves to work for me more than life itself and lives to please me. He's been this way since he was a puppy. His littermates are the same and those who have been pushed are, well, troubled for lack of a better word. When I stopped using any type of adversives, even just saying "no", he stopped shutting down and started problem solving because he was no longer afraid of the consequences. It's been two years since we've had any type of shut down experience (woo hoo!) and he's now trained through utility and got his JH in four runs. I have a fabulous obedience trainer who helped me figure him out and had a field pro who trusted that I knew my dog and worked with me to teach him without using traditional methods. The new pro, while initially skeptical, is on board after meeting him and watching him work. She is super open-minded. I won't trial him in obedience for another year, when he is four. We are currently working through proofing and all that fun stuff -- the hard stuff. I know it's not traditional, but it works for us and I have a happy, confident dog that performs very well with joy and precision, so I'm happy plus, I learned so much with him. He is so different than any other dog I've had. What a blessing though!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 03:41 PM
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niggles of confusion
What a great word! That's my word of the day.

And by the way, I've certainly experienced such niggles ... me, not the dog.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 06:59 PM
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I would bet that if you teach left back and right back a la Mike Lardy IN THE FIELD you would not have a problem. I can't imagine the dog not going on the throw of the bumper.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 07:16 PM
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Winter and now Flyer have pretty much learned field and obedience simultaneously. My drop signal is hand up which is the same as my back signal. I can't remember either one mixing it up. Blowing me off YES but not dropping on a back or the opposite.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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FosterGolden

I would bet that if you teach left back and right back a la Mike Lardy IN THE FIELD you would not have a problem. I can't imagine the dog not going on the throw of the bumper.
I went to the field today and tried it just for fun to see what would happen. He dropped. He is an honest dog with a lot of natural control. I'm going to go back to baby puppy foundations in casting and start from scratch to help him understand the differences in the cues, as they are different. He is a smart dog; I have no doubt that he'll get it in no time.
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