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Thread: Control without the collar

  1. #41
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    Point taken. Would any of you deny that you have not repeatedly seen collars overused by unimaginary "trainers", and amatuer handlers, which is what I consider my self, an amatuer. I have trained pointing dogs since high school. I have limitations, and I can only train one dog at a time, because that's what works for me. I use quail, from the time they are 5-7 weeks, i plant them, I get them to establish solid point, I get my hands on them early and often, dog goes everywhere I go. I don't use pigeons, because I don't hunt pigeons, and they don't hunkerdown and make the dog use his nose, on the extremely short lawn like grass I use early, because these pups are short, and of course their eye sight is not fully developed for distance, which helps keep them staunch. A few weeks of find, hold while massaged, staunched to flush, with my hands on the dog, or a check cord used through a ground stake, as the eye sight improves and they can mark, I begin releasing them to follow up and retrieve the live bird. These quail I like are able to fly and make noise, but fly about 30 yards max, once. Almost all will bring it back, to small to get a crushing bite, most soft right off, If they don't come back immediately, whistle, ( mouth),and walk briskly away, till the dog catches you. Work two or three times a day, 2 birds per outing, eventually, use a callback johnny house with virtually wild birds, begin shooting when the dog is focused on the departing bird, from a distance, will need a helper for this. graduate to shooting the bird, because there is a big difference between, a live unmeesed, bird and a bleeding damaged bird, but we want them all treated the same. Backing comes later with the use of a finished dog. Alternating between the two, all dogs I have worked with pick it up quickly, but I never hunt them in company until they are reliable at backing. Of course I use a " board" for blocking them and teaching Whoa, come, they pick up on their own, when your they guy who takes them to birds every day, I promise you won't lose them, range and search are advanced with age, natural inclination, initially all searches are short, experience teaches them to seek objectives, heavy cover, with birds in here command, will keep them in. As Bobby said, while hunting, zig zag with exaggeration, a whistle toot, and an dramatic arm jesture. If you want to run edges, and seek objectives, walk there yourself, plant birds, eventually the dog believes there are always birds there, and hunts accordingly. Started early, like this the trash breaking is easy, don't show any interest in deer, possums, skunks, use a mild rebuke verbally, to small to chase, and they never start. The keys for me, NEVER put the dog in a position to fail. Go as fast or slow as the dog is able. Time, Might take a while, but I try to build off the point instinct directed at birds, because it is consistent, and is a building block you can rely on to acheive all other desired behavior. I have seen precocious english setter bitches finish thmselves by 9 months old, I have had big pointers and now french britt males, take 2 years to reliablly back, due to jealousy. There are a lot of ways to train, and be successful, I try to use a minimalist approach because I think the dog should be capable of it. Most of the Bird dog hall of fame trainers used some version of this, most of those dogs in the hall of fame were trained this way, later lengthened out by being pushed and conditioned on horseback. Adjusting to different species, and their habits requires experience with those birds. I like to hunt quietly, no acme thunderers, hawk screams, hollering and running, if your hollering and running you already lost the dog, about 10 weeks after birth. A lot of guys are mimicing the behavior and techniques used by the trainer who started their dog, without really knowing why, I've seen dogs I would have loved to get my hands on early, ruined by collars, whole personality changed with a collar. Became hesitent, hacked in their range, worst of all lost the happy to be at work bounce and demeanor, while hunting with the collar. These guys with dogs like that require almost robot like control. They overuse the collar, and everything else, because they use it as a short cut to achieve an end. Ever notice the phraseology, Some guys "break", or have "broke" dogs? Some people have "trained" dogs. Exactly! I am fortunate to have 40 acres to train on at home and lots of " pennie", birds thou few wild anymore, along with time and more patience than I had as a youth, which helps. As I say, I'm an amatuer, this works for me, When I breed, (rarely), I know what I'm going to get, a biddable companion. With the ability and stability to train in this manner. For corrective training, I'm not your reference guy. For a professional who has to train a number of dogs on a tight schedule, times may have passed me by. I don't imply or directly accuse anyone on here of being the kind of trainer I refer to, I merely stated an alternate point of view. I happen to dislike roading off ATV's as well, I have reasons for that as well. There's no need to defend yourself or your pratices to me

  2. #42
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    This is great info and helpful to those who want it.
    http://www.bluerivergundogs.com/Home_Page.html

    When you think you are smarter than your dog, ask your self who cleans up who's poo.

  3. #43
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    Nov 2009
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    Different dog, different game...

    I'm a lab man. Started off with a pup & Richard Wolter's completely collar-free book 'Game Dog' for the average Joe hunter who wants an all-around good waterfowl dog & upland flusher. I can attest that it works like a charm, even for novices!

    That said, I am no professional trainer, field trialer, or breeder like some of you - but I am on my 4th self-trained dog & I have learned a few things along the way. ANY modern-day professional retriever trainer knows of & highly respects Wolters, but they will laugh you out of the field or hunting trial about NO COLLAR period.

    I trained my first two dogs w/o a collar & they were great dogs. My last two, I have learned to use a collar correctly & it has made them even better dogs.

    The problem with an e-collar plain-&-simple is misuse & abuse. I have seen many a good dog ruined or with spirit-broken by a supposed "professional" trainer or a mean/lazy/impatient/uneducated amateur trainer. I have also seen some of the best, most loyal, happy & eager to please dogs on earth when a collar is properly used solely as a minimal back-up/reinforcement the way it was designed to be used.

    I was terrified when I started out with an e-collar - afraid to death I would ruin a perfectly good dog with my lack of expertise. But I do pay a lot of attention & am willing to learn from others who are better trainers or have better dogs than me!

    Personally, I have found that with good training I almost never have to use the thing in most instances, but when I do it is a lifesaver. A simple beep or nick occasionally is usually enough to do the trick - but in certain instances it helps extend the long-arm-of-control when a dog who knows d@#! well what to do & loses his head & refuses.

    I'll give two instances:

    1.) On a guided TX teal hunt one time - the first day my dog (in the field with only one other well-trained dog) was an absolute dreamboat. He was a perfect gentleman & made such a LONG blind retrieve on only two casts that it left everyone, even the guides with their jaws dropped & my head swollen-up with pride at all my training handsomely paid off...The very next day (with several other untrained, out-of-control of the "professional"-guides mutts that we had refused to sit in the blind with the day be4 now running around willy-nilly all over everybody & our equipment + breaking at every bird & fighting over retrieves), my dog was finally sent out on another much simpler blind & suddenly refused all casts and totally ignored my very presence as if he had never been trained a day in his life & I didn't even exist. This had never happened be4 & has never happened since!!!

    2.) First time out for roosters last year (actually his very first time on wild-roosters period), my dog broke & ran wild on the flush practically into the next county after an unshot bird...Again this has never happened in released-bird training & hasn't happened a day since the rest of the entire season after the what-for he got from me.

    BUT in both instances he didn't have an e-collar on (it was actually broken)...A simple little nick or two & if that didn't work, followed by a fry-the-hair-off-your-arse continuous flow of harmless voltage for a clear, well-known violation of what he already plainly d@#! well knew would have stopped him in his tracks & saved me a whole lot of embarrassing screaming & yelling in front of a bunch of guys - because I am not about to let a dog get away with that kind of BS for one millisecond (you all know once it ever starts, it gets harder & harder to stop).

    Again, frequent use of an e-collar as a first-line "training" command on a dog that doesn't have a clue what you actually want is nothing but cruel & unusual punishment...But using it sparingly as a reinforcement tool to what a dog in a stubborn, bullheaded moment knows d@#! well to do is kinda like swatting a kid on the butt be4 he runs out in the middle of the street!

    Collar-free training can & does produce a pretty good & very acceptable dog IF you know what you're doing. BUT for all of you who have been there - if you never use an e-collar under any circumstances, then what exactly (besides screaming & yelling after the fact) do you do then with a dog who is several hundred yards out & one day randomly figures out that neither your voice nor your arm can reach him all the way out there??? I think an e-collar is extremely humane compared to the unpleasant scene for dog & man that often takes place after that...

    Yeah, I've learned a lot over the years about not putting a dog in a place/situation to fail - but neither canines or humans are perfect & sooner or later it's gonna happen. An e-collar is simply one of the nifty little tools that is made to help out with certain instances of that...

  4. #44
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    To lighten the conversation a little, I knew a pro back in the days before e-collars, guy had been sent a big surly pointer, growly, marked everything, fight at the drop of a hat, completely opposed to handling, guy would blow the whistle, dog would look right at him and take off. Finally he had enough, handling off horseback, dog did the usual, guy rides the dog down and leaps off the horse after a spirited chase, ala steer wrestling, and as the dog, probably from shock and amazement, layed on the ground, the guy unzipped and whizzed all over the dog! the whooping, hooting and growling the whole time, Looked insane. dog became a paragon of virtue, no more fighting, running off, etc. Easily the most viseral bit of dog training I've ever seen, but effective and comical all at once.

  5. #45
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    I think the key to control without collar is rock solid obediance. I am no trainer so even though I can handle the simple stuff I still take my pups to doggie class for the distractions. If your dog is good in the yard a bunch of strangers and crazy pups will really show you where your at. Once onlead is solid I break out the check cord at home till things are good and solid. Next step is the local off leash dog park, again you find out what to work on. I take my dogs every where I can and expose them to as much as possible. I suppose this could be considerd socialization. I think it is unreasonable to expect a dog that gets out of the yard a couple times a year not to go a bit "crazy" with all the new distractions. The more time you spend with your dogs the better they understand what you expect. Plus I really like being with my dogs, and pups really do help meeting girls!

    I do use an e collar as it allows me to reaffirm what they already know at a distance. I think we can all agree distance degrades control. I almost never need to use the collar in the field but I do like having the option. E collars are just another tool not a short cut. Heck I am sure most if not all SH, and MH dogs have been collar trained even though they run "naked" at hunt tests.

    I do however hate seeing the guy who does zero work with his dog go out and buy a collar and expect it to fix all his problems. You all have met the guy who says "my dog is so tuff I need one that runs on 220 volts". I sort of wish their was a screening process for e collar purchasers (just kidding) (sort of).
    Last edited by Gatzby; 11-15-2010 at 07:44 PM.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by hen,hen,ROOSTER!!! View Post
    Yeah, I've learned a lot over the years about not putting a dog in a place/situation to fail - but neither canines or humans are perfect & sooner or later it's gonna happen. An e-collar is simply one of the nifty little tools that is made to help out with certain instances of that...
    this is one reason I bought an e-collar. This is my first bird dog, and as a pup, I saw that I could only get her so far. I could see first hand that she knew, once she was out of arms reach, all bets were off. I held off on buying an e-collar for fear of ruining her too. I wanted to wait as long as I could. I have to say, as soon as we got to training with the e-collar, she knew that she had to comply 'no matter what'.

    I appreciate it as a tool, but it is just that. a tool, not a cure all. I caution everyone who asks me, "you have to teach the dog what it means". and to not go shocking just because you're not getting the correct response. with all that said, I appreciate you guys posting your tips and experiences. I would very much like to be a better 'trainer' and/or 'handler' with my dog. I understand all about the repetition and am working with her as much as I can. it's paying off. we're good. but not great. that's ok though, she's still young, and we're learning together.

    keep those posts coming

  7. #47
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    Sep 2010
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    Toledo
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    I think ecollars helped and hindered me. The same with pinch collars. My pup is collar wise. Dog won't heel without ecollar on. My first season(this year) I have to snap a pinch and lead on her anytime I want her to heel. This is not what I visioned at all. My yard work went well all year with other commands until I started working on heeling she would heel for 20yrd. then pull hard. I would whoa then tell her to heel. She would comply them we would start over. I talked to a trainer friend who said her dad trained pointers for years. She said some dogs just need stimulation. So for quick results use an ecollar. I trusted that trainer and it turns out that it worked. For a while till she got collar wise. I have now during the season started over. I now use repetition and patience. Two weeks of training got the results I couldn't achieve in the summer sun. I use a hand signal for her to stay at my side. the hand signal now keeps her attention on me and what I want from her.

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