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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 10:48 AM
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@ Shelby - I just get visions of me going all Captain Von Trapp whistling at my dog. LOL. Why not just use your voice?
At some point, your dog might be too far away to hear your voice (especially if you have a small, girly voice like me!).

We used a lot of voice in the beginning - lots of encouraging - because when they are really young and just starting, it's NOT always built in. They might go running out after the bumper or bird, and then take off and want you to chase. That's where the long line and lots of encouraging calls in help. Once your dog is off the long line and coming in (it doesn't take long), you can start a whistle, but you don't NEED to. You can definitely do a JH and WC without a whistle, but I find it's good to start getting them used to the whistle recall for later handling use. I started to use the whistle for recall a few months before I was going to start teaching whistle sits.

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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Megora View Post
@ Shelby - I just get visions of me going all Captain Von Trapp whistling at my dog. LOL. Why not just use your voice?
I guess its what ever you want to do. I find puppies respond well to tweet tweet as they're coming in with the bumpers. I also hoot and hollar as well. Over time I do less hooting and hollering and just use the whistle. If I could go without then it would be the sit whistle but I really value the here whistle. IF they are playing outside in my yard I hav a whistle by the door and tweet it and they all coming running.

That is just a personal training style I enjoy as far as just using your voice. I don't particularly like to talk to my dog too much. I'm not dead silent to my dog but I want to save my voice when I want the dog to really listen. I don't want to become a nag to my dog I guess.

Everyone has their own training styles

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 03:52 PM
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I want to mention one thing about the whistle/voice recall thing. Dogs hear voices as noise. They pick out particular words as commands. Everything else we say is noise. A whistle recall is a direct command and dogs learn it very easily. It give clarity in a situation that can be intense. You will not want to recall using the dog's name. You use the dog's name to send the dog. It signals the dog that it's their turn, not Fido's turn that might be sitting next to them. Another reason to not use a voice for recall. Also when the dog comes all the way back and gives you the bird, then it's ok to praise. Don't praise too early, like when the dog is on the way back with their bird, or before they've even gotten to the bird. Praise at the wrong time can confuse the dog and give them the idea that they have completed the task and can now do whatever they want. As a junior hunt test judge, there is nothing more annoying than a handler that has praised the dog continuously as they are bringing the bird back, then when the dog gets close, the handler is now begging the dog to bring the bird. Save your voice for specific commands like here, heel, sit, etc. Clarity is so important, your dog will appreciate it. Sometimes I need to be reminded of it myself.


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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Training utility stuff... you literally bite your tongue to keep from saying ANYTHING when the dog finds the right article or follows the mark to the right glove. The impulse is to praise the dog, but if you say something BEFORE the dog reaches the right glove and committed to the retrieve, it can be a distraction. And then with articles, the dog expects you to praise him when he's "right" (the dogs who touch/semi pick up an article and look back to you).

The field stuff compared to obedience work is more relaxed/casual right now. <= Have no idea how that will change in the next month or so, but if I say anything at all, it's me hollaring "YES-COME" the instant Bertie picks up the dokken. There is no praise or rewards until he's within arm's reach.

Guess I should say - there is some formality (I set up and send the same way every time) only in making sure he knows he's working. If he knows he's working, I usually have speed going out and speed coming back with no detours.

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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 06:22 PM
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Megora, I'm sorry I've gone a bit hard on the whole whistle thing. In the beginning call him and be happy when he picks up the bird or bumper. You'll graduate to just using the whistle. I sometimes leap ahead on training steps. Be happy be excited blow the whistle an hollar a lot in the beginning. Then tone it down once he gets the hang of it. Don't over think it. Sorry I was bit over the top on the whistle vs voice.


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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 #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Just updating a couple weeks later...

Finally got out there and introduced my little guy to birds.... and enjoyed a very illuminating hour of training and talking fieldwork (specifics about tests, asking questions, etc) with the guy I'm training with.

The guy we are training with is awesome - part of that I could see with his handling of Bertie. He does not believe in rough handling and his primary big deal is getting the dogs revved up and happy while working. He does use FF and ecollars and will teach people how to use those tools, however those are tools that are not pulled out right away for every single dog.

The big hump we had to get over + still need to smooth is getting Bertie to understand that it's OK to do what he wants with a live bird. And that's undoing 5 years of leave it training - stuff that I had to really drill and work on so I could have a dog who could hike offleash around ponds without chasing after every duck, goose, or crane in sight... he was excited and very interested in the crippled bird he was tested on, but balked about actually picking it up. He kept coming back to check with me and going back out and chasing his bird.

Dead birds - we did some FF (not ear pinching or using pain) last night and this morning and he now is retrieving happily. Am resisting the urge to ask the field guy if I can go out there and train every week with a live or dying bird. We are technically training on our own 3 weeks between privates with him.

So updating my basic beginner training supplies as of this moment while we are getting going:

Hard bumper for using in water retrieves. Or my dokken.

Cloth bumper + bird wing taped on for scent training (and land retrieves). Had it drilled into me to not throw into water because the whole point of using the cloth bumper is because it holds scents and next best thing to always using a bird when training. He also wanted me to keep the bumper and wing bagged together in the fridge in between training sessions.

Ton of different bird wings kept in the freezer - to be used with the cloth bumper. I'm to switch it up when the wing with the bumper gets too gross.

Dead bird kept bagged in my freezer. To be trained with 1-2 times a week (though I'm doing daily training sessions to start with).

**** And I now understand why everyone has their special fridge/freezer just for supplies. That's next on my list...

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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Megora View Post
Dead birds - we did some FF (not ear pinching or using pain) last night and this morning and he now is retrieving happily.
Just curious what you used for "force" in the force fetch?

On the freezer thing. Make sure you dry your birds completely, wrap in newspaper, and set each bird individually inside a plastic shopping bag. Don't seal the bag, leave it open so that the bird continues to dry and isn't sealed up. I use an old piece of chain link fencing to dry my birds. If they've been in the water, I hose them off first, then hang them to dry on the fence. Too wet outdoors, and I do it in the garage with a fan blowing on them. Take good care of your birds and they will last for years.


~ 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 #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Just curious what you used for "force" in the force fetch?
Same mandatory "you will take it" methods I used in obedience and or tying what I wanted him to do here with the same training he already got back when he was a 6 month old pup who was driving me nuts by fetching his dumbbell and throwing it at me.

But not pinching my dog's ears, choking him, twisting his toes, zapping him or whatever else "FF" might technically mean.

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