Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

Puppies and teaching self-control

1796 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  sammydog
Let me start out by introducing myself. My name is Sarah and I have three goldens: Sage, 12 years (puppy mill dog); Ruby, 5 years (Topbrass); and Piper, 16 weeks (Topbrass). I compete in obedience (Ruby is doing Utility now), Agility, and Hunt Tests (Ruby has her JH and WCX so far). Now the question(s):

My biggest issues with Ruby have been self-control: honoring, walking to the line leashless, even being quietly crated during training sessions. I've managed to work through the first two mostly and to be perfectly honest I've kind of given up on the third (for some reason she isn't insane like that at tests, and my training buddies don't really care). But my question isn't really about Ruby, it's about Piper.

My biggest fear is that because I have control issues with Ruby, I am going to be too hard on Piper and dampen her drive by trying to control her too much. Looking back, I am pretty sure I know where Ruby's honoring and walking calmly issues come from. She was my first "real" dog and I didn't have any sort of training network when she was young. We trained pretty much totally by ourselves for the first year or so. We didn't have any sort of training buddies for field until AFTER we started competing in JH. She got every bird/bumper, etc. all that time. Now, I've got a small training group that meets almost every week, plus I'm working both dogs between times, so I think Piper will have a much better shot at not being crazy (and of course I've learned LOTS while retraining Ruby!).

At what point do I start enforcing self-control, especially about the crate barking/screaming? Piper is just starting to think that this field stuff is super cool and has barked in the kennel a few times now when she watches Ruby work. I think pro-trainers stake out young dogs to watch the older dogs work to build desire? Should I stake Piper out when I want her to watch the other dogs and make sure she can't see the other dogs working when she's crated? Is she old enough to wear a bark collar? Should I use the bark collar only in the crate and let her be a bit nutty if she's staked? Or should she always be made to exhibit quiet control when other dogs are working?

One other control issue: I live on an acreage and have several different species of free range poultry (chickens, turkeys, farm geese, farm ducks). My older two dogs are pretty darn good with the poultry. Ruby can not be trusted if I have mallards or call ducks ranging with the farm ducks, but is fine with everything else. Well, she occasionally likes to chase everyone and hear them squawk, but she doesn't hurt them. The poultry pretty much stays out of the yard, so I can control contact between the dogs and poultry as needed. Piper of course, thinks the poultry is great. She does like to chase them. She has not hurt anything (I don't think she's big enough yet). At what point do I teach her not to harass them? I was planning to use the e-collar and a leave-it command once she's collar-conditioned, but don't want to do it too soon and cut down on her birdiness. She is quite birdy and has been since day one (the first day I brought her home and took her out to feed the poultry, all 6 1/2 pounds of her grabbed onto the tail-feathers of a big tom turkey and tried to drag him around-luckily all my poultry is calm and non-threatening!).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice!
See less See more
1 - 1 of 13 Posts
Welcome to the Forum, especially the hunt test section, we need more field people. The ones we have are AWESOME, you will get some great advice and interesting discussions. Your pups sound wonderful, I wish you all lived closer so we could have a great big GRF training group, but alas, we are in different corners of the world. Hope to hear more from you and good luck with your training.
1 - 1 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.