I did this little project with a bunch of obstacles (the dogs didn’t notice them though). For the puppy I spread out bird wings, toys and treats. I sent her on both searches and lines. And if she stopped for treats I ignored it, if she found a wing or toy I told her to pick up and recalled. If she stopped for treats during a recall, I ignored as long as she continued her recall after swallowing. Otherwise I did a new recall or asked her to pick up. Treats was her number one goal, wings second and toys last on her list. Her lines was quite straight.
For Hagel I put out a bunch of wings. Sent her on out commands and if there was nothing on her line I asked her to search. She actually gained more and more speed, and I should have figured out that searching for treats (which we have done to make her more detailed and careful earlier) is a way to slow her down. But this idiot has not thought of that part 🙈😝 Her lines aren’t that bad, I actually expected them to be less precise (but they are definitely not straight).
Becca just got dummies and toys. And she obviously considered he search signal to only be about treats, the toys should only be considered secondary and not important if you don’t add the word for picking up when close by. And out can be a line but most often it’s running to what she has in mind or in sight.
We spent yesterday evening by the lake Tåkern. Such a beautiful view, so many Cranes having loud conversation 🤪 Thousands of birds in the water, several in the sky, but just three in shooting range from our points. So three down and two retrieves from boat for Hagel. It was a really nice way to introduce a young dog to the real thing.
She is sitting in the boat as the birds are still in there and she is probably afraid they will run off 😝
The most common problem that show up during training seem to be:
Choices and misguided expectations!
We expect the dog, today’s exercise, those we train with,, the surrounding, our trainer or what ever to behave or react in a certain way, and they don’t! The frustration when our expectations failure is probably our biggest problem 😅 and if we chose to see this as a problem or a result of our preparations, that is a choice, our choice...
But it is also the easiest to resolve! Think back, what were my expectations? Were they realistic? Is this what I have prepared my dog for? Have anything in the chain of events changed? Were my expectations too high compared to our earlier results?
Very few of us perform better under pressure than we do when we are relaxed. So a dog coming back to the same area for a competition for example is way more likely to succeed than a beginner. If you compete in your home ‘arena’, you should expect that the dog thinks of this as yet another exercise and not go into competition mood.
For example yesterday I had to stand in the water when sending my dog out for quite long unmarked/blind retrieving with no wind. New place, me dressed in total covering clothes and the dog sleeping when the gun goes off after a long time of new experiences and anticipation. The chance to succeed was low. But putting the dog in the boat (a small much more comfortable one than the one we’ve been training from) rowing out and letting her retrieve twice from there - that was much easier than we had prepared her for, and thus more likely to succeed. The lifting back into the boat isn’t her favourite (we are going to build a platform for her to use on the new boat) so when we went back out for a diver, she hesitated to go. But as we went out just rowing around she quickly relaxed and then got a bit bored and started hoping for a retrieve.
The choice is mine, either I see a problem in my out command or I see this as an opportunity to getting new knowledge about my way to prepare this dog this far. The dog never have problems, never have an intention to do wrong! They are, even when they are obviously obedient, trying to solve a situation with the best of their knowledge. If you usually get disappointed, angry or just moody when they behave in a certain way, well then they most likely will try to avoid you or make you behave in another way. But that’s not their problem, thats our...
Most dogs does not like to have their heads gripped from above, hold on to and forced to have their mouth inspected by a stranger. That is quite natural. But most dogs should not have to have a problem with having their owner doing this or doing this with their owner backing them up.
This has to do a lot with trust and experience. Think of yourself. If you are comfortable to lay your head in some ones lap in front of the TV. If you are comfortable to kiss somebody. Than you will let them help you with an aching tooth too? But if you are not comfortable with some one you are close with to let them softly strike your face, even when you are relaxed, then letting them open your mouth and inspecting your teeth in a stress full environment is far from a positive experience.
With a puppy you can start with cuddling, massage, striking the face and the corner of the mouth. Let them take food from your mouth- This is all about earning trust. Showing that you are relaxed, yawning, and kind and do not want to make any harm. Make the dog comfortable with sitting in your lap (even a Grate Dane can fit the first weeks). Use this time to make them comfortable with you touching, striking, massaging. So that if it is hurt, if an accident appear, they are comfortable with the touching even if the pain is new and scary.
If you make your puppy experienced with slow, soft movements as young, the faster moment of showing its teeth in the ring will be less complicated.
If you have an 4 month old and has totally forgot to do this, and find that your puppy finds your hands more than fun to play with when you try to practice the teeth showing or if you have an older dog that does not really appreciate to show its teeth or having the mouth inspected. This might be worth trying.
First of all, make sure that your dog is exercised and not in pain. (A lot of dogs has tooth problems and tartar that makes their mouth ache. Make sure that is not the reason for the unwillingness to show their teeth, if possible.)
I’ve written very very little about solving problems here and that has much to do with that I’ve just been training young or inexperienced dogs lately. With young and unexperienced dogs there aren’t really any problems, they just lack knowledge and has to be introduced and more training to get that. But when a dog really understand the word/sign for running straight in a line, the word/sign for lifting an object, does super recalls every time and deliver to hand with joy every time and loves to be close to you with what ever it carries close to you and even upon you. Then rolling or chewing on the retrieve can be a problem to solve. But if any of the parts above isn’t super yet, you should just ignore the rolling.
Because the rolling or chewing has more often than not a cause in stress or an unsecure dog. Most often the dog feel stressed about being close to you with what they are carrying or even more often they feel that you are stressed and worried about the delivery.
It can have a cause in that the dog finds this retrieve as a treasure and doesn’t want to share or as food and wants to eat it.
It can be caused from playing or training wit beeping toys (they roll to find the beeper 😅).
But all it these can be overcome! First of all, train yourself to expect and experience perfect delivery and retrieves. That is done with closed eyes over and over again in your head. See it, feel it and enjoy it in your head and imagination. Feel the wind, the warmth of the dog, the weight of the delivery and the smoothness in your movements. When it’s perfect in your mind and every delivery in your imagination - then you begin to train with your dog.
Start indoors with less than 1 meter distances and make sure it works there. If the dog starts to roll or chew, step closer. Do the picking up from your had and back to your hand if necessary. When that part works you can lengthen the distance, but expect to walk closer fo the delivery to stop the rolling.
Always start close with short distances. Always stop after a good one or end with an easy one. Never stretch your distances if you’re not sure that it will work. When you change environment, type of dummy/game or anything else you shall shorten the distance. Always expect to make things easier.
Most dogs finds it quite boring to do repeatedly retrieving on things they can see- think of that work as pure obedience and that the obedience in itself adds pressure. You can make it a bit more exciting by hiding the retrieve and use a leash to make sure you succeed.
If the cause is that the dog thinks of the game as good or a treasure, then I do sausage retrieves. Or anything that the dog finds more tempting than cold game. This is tough mentally and should be used sparsely. This is probably the most dominant exercise you’ve ever done, making the dog carry an deliver food. Think twice before you start, is dominating the thing that will make your dog to deliver more happily? Are you sure? If not use the methods above.
I use the same type of sausage for praise/treat as I do for the retrieve. The dog gets what it mostly wants if I deliver the treasure. Work closely with less than 1 meter distances or even hold the sausage in your hand when asking to fetch.
If it only chews or wants to keep warm game, use warm food (not hot) but warm tempting food like a hamburger or a compact steak. Chicken might be your final test! If it can retrieve and deliver grilled chicken with out chewing or rolling - most game will be easier.
After retrieving sausage or a grilled hamburger most dogs find the retrieve of a dummy or game as less pressure and stress and makes these retrieves with joy and ease!
If only people understood how much their mood, behaviour and posture effect their dogs... And the other way around! A lot of time your dogs actually try to either calm your behaviour, try to make you act normal or make you smile. They are not disobedient or stubborn, they just respond to your behaviour #dogtraining #heeling #chesapeakbayretriever #chesapeakebayretriever #chesapeakebayretrieversofinstagram #retriever
Well all of us write here, both humans and dogs ;) At least that was the plan but it seems it´s mostly me Robyn who´s attached to the keyboard...