Becca is hunting, I mean that she is hunting all the time. Even when she is heeling, eating and sleeping. By hunting I mean that her brain, nose and eyes are looking for scent and movements. Not following a scent or a movement, just aware of that the can appear any second, at any time.
Iza is so “on’ that if she is running in full speed and get fresh scent in her nose, she will freeze in midair and land pointing towards the scent.
You see what I mean with hunting. This has nothing to do with will, this is a reflex that these dogs have been bred for generations to perfect. And they have to learn, be taught, to be able to ignore this reflex. First by making them aware of it, training them to hunt and then by training to switch of that mood.
Becca and I have struggled with this since we met. And yesterday I obviously put it to a tough test. We went to a fenced off area, where she has seen Iza work on game, but has not done it herself. Though she has been able to run free in this area, so she definitely has expectations for it.
So we took this exercise that we’ve been working on lately to this field. One line, 3 dummies in a row and a walked up path to follow. And she blinked! Not just the first, but all three and chose make a little turn or just ignore them. So I shortened the distance and tried to focus on just the first dummy. Still blinking!
I put her in a leash sitting in front of me and made a recall. Just like when we train obedience. Still no focus! Imagine the frustration. The I just held it in front of her and asked her to hold. But even that was impossible.
So with both hands filled with treats I stood in front of her holding a hand to each side of her head. It took quite a long time before she could switch off her hunting. But after that she could actually both heel, carry and retrieve 😅
So I actually have an exercise to make her switch of! I was not aware of that. As nothing has worked when I have tried this earlier, she has either become introvert or distanced, when I’ve tried it. So no, my plans for the day didn’t work, but I know what to do before I try it the next time 🤪😝
Here is a description of how to begin with the exercise I used to make her switch to working from hunting mood.
EYE CONTACT WITH HIDDEN DISTRACTION from TREATS
1. Hold a treat in a closed hand by your face. When the dog does not bite or tear on this hand, open the hand and give the treat.
2. Hold the treat in a closed hand by your face. When the dog throws aa eye on you, open your hand and give treat.
3. Hold the treat in a closed hand by your face. When the dog keeps eye contact with you for 1 second, open your hand and give the treat. Increase time.
4. Hold the treat in a closed hand, but move your hand a little bit away from your face. The dog must now consciously turn his head towards you to look at you. When the dog makes eye contact, give the treat.
5. Move your hand farther and farther away until you sit with your arm straight from the side of the body. When the dog akes eye contact, give the treat. Increase time.
Hagel then? She doesn’t hunt so I’m her opinion this was silly and purely obedience training...
Iza, was allowed to be off the leash for a short time but she doesn’t run fast and keeps her hind legs like their bound together putting very little weight on her right one. Fingers crossed for the steroids to start working soon ❤️
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...