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The Spotted Devil

Em's Early Retrieving Training

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Stupid question here, but are working line ESS normally used for retrieving as well as springing game?

I grew up with welsh springers, and always thought traditionally they were used to get the game in the air and the retrieving was left to the retrievers?

I know it's a dumb question but I am working for knowledge my father probably told us when I was about 9!!

ETA: all our welshies were crap retrievers, though they did have soft mouths. They were more intereested in chasing than coming back, although I am 100% certain that was a father related training issue!

Edited by Quickasyoucan

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Stupid question here, but are working line ESS normally used for retrieving as well as springing game?

I grew up with welsh springers, and always thought traditionally they were used to get the game in the air and the retrieving was left to the retrievers?

I know it's a dumb question but I am working for knowledge my father probably told us when I was about 9!!

ETA: all our welshies were crap retrievers, though they did have soft mouths. They were more intereested in chasing than coming back, although I am 100% certain that was a father related training issue!

Not a silly question at all. Spaniels in an Australian Field Trial are expected to hunt, flush and retrieve. I guess if I didn't do any training, Em would naturally hunt and chase (she is VERY birdy :hug: ) - but in competition, they must hunt close to the handler, flush immediately and then hold steady until sent to retrieve. So instinct is all well and good but training is essential. I don't know much about Welshies to be honest. Always enjoying a challenge, I decided to take on the wonderful Labs at their own game :thumbsup:

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RubyStar   
How do they learn to turn in the direction of the arm you used?

Complete and utter novice here but our instructor showed us how to do this last weekend .....

You throw the dummy to the left or right with the dog in front of you, then cast you arm out to wherever you have thrown the dummy and say whatever cue word you will use to send your dog (eg 'over' or 'left' or 'right') and as the dog has already seen the dummy land, all it is doing is learning to read your body language in conjunction with where the dummy is ....... I expect (and would hope!) someone will correct me if I am wrong!

Thanks GR :) I guess I was looking for how to teach the left/right backs not left/right overs but I can see how starting it like this would probably help in teaching backs :hug: I guess I'd be lumping if I taught her to get one directly behind her and expect her to turn 180 deg in the direction I ask for.... baby steps RS, baby steps! I'm going to work on this tonight I think ;) Meant to be doing agility but think I might use tonight more for some retrieving :thumbsup:

Edited by RubyStar

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RubyStar   
Two observations from that video.

1. WOW! Em is going great guns :hug:

2. WOW! You are a really accurate thrower ;)

Thanks for showing me the overs and backs, but sorry for my dopeyness.... but it didn't really show me how to introduce the left and right backs to Ruby :laugh: How do they learn to turn in the direction of the arm you used? Ruby is getting confused, she thinks I am asking her to down.

Gosh I wish I only worked a couple of days a week (if at all!) so I can go and do some retrieving training. Need more hours in the day and more days in the week :D

Thanks again for the video, I really enjoyed it!! And makes me realise how lazy I've been with my training :laugh:

A few answers for you...

1. You didn't see all the footage on the cutting room floor of me trying to get her straight on the right :)

2. Only because there are no trees :rofl:

GR is essentially correct but I suspect you may have to think a little laterally with an older dog with so much prior learning - a little like going from obedience to agility. For now I wouldn't worry about which way Ruby is turning - she will likely have a strong side and a weak side - let her gain some confidence on her strong side first. Have another look at the hand signal - hold your hands in close to your chest and your hand goes straight up so your arm touches your ear, NOT coming out in front like a salute or a drop signal. Perhaps stand in front of a mirror and make sure you can distinguish clearly between what both signals feel like first. I would get her REALLY razzed up about the dummy first before you try it. Stand quite close to her, toss the dummy over her head (nothing wrong if she turns her head or body to look), straighten her up again, I give a "good" for looking at me nice and square, then you might need to give her release/retrieve word THEN say "back" - keep your voice high pitched and really light (you can hear me say it on the 2 o'clock retrieve) - don't bark BACK! as the tone of voice can make them uncertain.

Once she has the hang of back on one side, work on her other side as well. I walked right up to Em, placed a hand gently on her strong side to prevent her from turning and gave her an exaggerated back signal (leaning body out) with the other arm. As soon as she started to get it (watch the hip and shoulder start to drop as she anticipates) I started to refine the body signal. I also made it easy for her - 2 right backs, play time and cuddles and then do 2 left backs (I tend to still stand a little closer for these). She is getting that pattern now so I am mixing it up a little. When you toss the dummies, you can throw so they are just over the right or left shoulder so they turn their head that way. Still straighten up before you send though - otherwise you develop bad habits.

Thanks!! I have some things to work on tonight :rofl::thumbsup:

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huski   
AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW baby Em!!!! I have no idea about retrieving at all, but she looks super awesome to me :hug:

Enough get up and go for your needs huski? :)

Enough I can make do with I suppose... :thumbsup:

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She's soooo happy!!!!

Good work!

Thanks Luke :thanks: Hugs to Barkly - looking forward to seeing him back at training soon!

Does she have an off-switch??? :birthday:

Occasionally we manage to find it :(

250d24c7.jpg

Lablover and I have just been dissecting the video too which is really helpful :provoke:

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How do they learn to turn in the direction of the arm you used?

Complete and utter novice here but our instructor showed us how to do this last weekend .....

You throw the dummy to the left or right with the dog in front of you, then cast you arm out to wherever you have thrown the dummy and say whatever cue word you will use to send your dog (eg 'over' or 'left' or 'right') and as the dog has already seen the dummy land, all it is doing is learning to read your body language in conjunction with where the dummy is ....... I expect (and would hope!) someone will correct me if I am wrong!

Thanks GR :laugh: I guess I was looking for how to teach the left/right backs not left/right overs but I can see how starting it like this would probably help in teaching backs :laugh: I guess I'd be lumping if I taught her to get one directly behind her and expect her to turn 180 deg in the direction I ask for.... baby steps RS, baby steps! I'm going to work on this tonight I think :scold: Meant to be doing agility but think I might use tonight more for some retrieving :D

Yup, I read the post properly afterwards and realsed I had misunderstood what you were asking! :D

I was telling one of my colleagues today about the Divine Miss Em, he is looking for a dog for his young family and to maybe do sport with .....I showed him your You Tube vid from last night TSD and he goes "Uh no thanks, gorgeous but too much energy!" :nahnah:

Edited by Golden Rules

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Stupid question here, but are working line ESS normally used for retrieving as well as springing game?

I grew up with welsh springers, and always thought traditionally they were used to get the game in the air and the retrieving was left to the retrievers?

I know it's a dumb question but I am working for knowledge my father probably told us when I was about 9!!

ETA: all our welshies were crap retrievers, though they did have soft mouths. They were more intereested in chasing than coming back, although I am 100% certain that was a father related training issue!

Not a silly question at all. Spaniels in an Australian Field Trial are expected to hunt, flush and retrieve. I guess if I didn't do any training, Em would naturally hunt and chase (she is VERY birdy :laugh: ) - but in competition, they must hunt close to the handler, flush immediately and then hold steady until sent to retrieve. So instinct is all well and good but training is essential. I don't know much about Welshies to be honest. Always enjoying a challenge, I decided to take on the wonderful Labs at their own game :D

I meant to add I love the flying ears and the enthusiasm. And is it wrong to say I so much prefer the look of working ESS to show line. I think its the jaunty ear set :bolt:

On a training note can someone tell me how I can untrain a behaviour my my dog in terms of retrieving. Being the mad ball fiend he will retrieve both seen and unseen retrieves (ball only unfortunately). I have taught him to return and put the ball in my hand (lazy much!) but he does it standing up. I can't get him to sit or he will instantly drop the ball. I would love for him to sit and then give. Is that too hard to retrain, if so any links/tips to how I would do it.

I know this is not strictly retrieving and he is very definitely not a gundog, but as he gets older I am always looking for ways to complicate the straight up ball throwing and chasing as I am trying to go a bit easier on the legs. He loves it when I send him out on a "blind" retrieve!! (well my version of it anyway not a proper one :love: ).

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RubyStar   

Started on the left and right backs last night :laugh: Turning to their left appears to be their stronger side. Early days yet but with more work I think they will get it!

The more work I do with Ruby, the more I realise how much she lacks confidence in what she does and is so scared to be wrong (maybe I've rubbed off on her a bit too well :rofl:) Meanwhile with Millie, she couldn't give a toss if she's wrong, she gives it everything whether she's right or wrong :)

Edit: oh and I've realised that working sighted blinds with dummies in a pile is proving a tad confusing for them... they are going out and sniffing them to find the "right" one and when they realise they all smell like me, aren't sure which one they are meant to bring back! Yes, we were working on scent discrimination this week :) So I don't confuse the two exercises/disciplines, I am going to work sighted blinds with a single dummy, not a pile. I hope there are no problems with this!

Edited by RubyStar

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Well done RS! Confidence is SO important - in themselves and in you. Ziggy has taught me so much about that - when he is confident and understands his job he just floats on cloud 9. Keep distances small, only do a few retrieves at a time, let them have LOTS of wins and then relaxing cuddles in between :) I think the problem with retrieving is that it LOOKS easy - how many people tell you that their dog will retrieve all day!!! It's not until you really get into the training (or get to compete!) that you start to understand the mental and physical demands on the dog and the subtleties of the sport.

GR - no they are not a breed for the faint hearted :laugh:

Quickasyoucan - I would shape the present with a clicker....google Shirly Chong clicker training. I also teach a really nice sit to "front" separately with clicker and food. Maintain your criteria and don't throw the ball unless he presents to front!

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RubyStar   
Well done RS! Confidence is SO important - in themselves and in you. Ziggy has taught me so much about that - when he is confident and understands his job he just floats on cloud 9.

Totally :bolt: When Ruby knows an exercise, she will put her happy face on (especially if she knows there is a reward coming!) but I've come all this way over the years expecting so much of her and now my expectations are dropping as I realise she's just not capable of my unrealistic expectations. She is a special one, and I need to remember to keep it simple, not because she isn't smart enough, but just because of the confidence thing. She's a smart cookie, she can catch on fairly quickly, but if I put any pressure on her, she shuts down :)

Millie, the complete oppsote, makes me laugh sometimes. She is frustrating sometimes when she decides she knows better than me and wants to do it her way, but she is full of spunk when she does something. She really loves this retrieving thing now! :laugh: Such a shame she's not papered :)

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Lablover   
I was telling one of my colleagues today about the Divine Miss Em, he is looking for a dog for his young family and to maybe do sport with .....I showed him your You Tube vid from last night TSD and he goes "Uh no thanks, gorgeous but too much energy!" :happydance:

I offered TSD a puppy from my last litter. She said Mr TSD would not be able to cope with their activity.

She will do really well with Em.

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I was telling one of my colleagues today about the Divine Miss Em, he is looking for a dog for his young family and to maybe do sport with .....I showed him your You Tube vid from last night TSD and he goes "Uh no thanks, gorgeous but too much energy!" :eek:

I offered TSD a puppy from my last litter. She said Mr TSD would not be able to cope with their activity.

She will do really well with Em.

My little energizer bunny certainly gives your Labs a run for their money in the energy and activity stakes LL :cheer: What makes her different, I think, is her smaller size and weight and her softness. She can get away with murder with Mr TSD (and Ziggy!) and not create too much havoc :) A Springer can jump up or leap into your lap and it doesn't have quite the impact of a Lab! She's also very soft with the cats too which is important.

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The Divine Miss Em is back ;) She's just turned one, we survived her first season and now we're back into training! Here's a snapshot of our training today - a bit of heeling, a bit of tug (which I said I'd never do :rofl:) and a single T drill to finish off with some handling. Lots more work to do before we enter our first obedience and retrieving trials but I'm in no hurry. Oh, and she's having a great time learning the skills of agility too!

Turn the sound up and please enjoy our Little Em :)

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huski   

OMG :love: :love: :love:

Em's a star!! Every time I see video of her it makes me want my ESS now!! :)

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