A New Project

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by tx_cowgirl, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As some of you may know, I work at an outdoors/hunting supply store, which of course is regularly flooded with hunters set on training their dogs with ecollars. Well, I recently met a couple there who I have been helping with archery and bowhunting. Yesterday, they were talking to each other about their dog, a 9 month old English Setter who evidentally needs some work on manners. So, naturally, I brought up that I train. Deuce, as he is called, spent several months with a trainer learning to point and flush, as well as some basic obedience, all with an e-collar. The wife says he's been a terror since he returned from the trainer, and the husband says he just wants to perfect his commands, learn some manners, and get off the ecollar. They both were heavily opposed to using the ecollar, but, finding a positive bird dog trainer was literally impossible in this area.

    So, I explained to them that I was trying to learn about training for bird and tracking, but that I was far from being ready to train a dog for that purpose. I made it clear that I knew very, very little in that area and that I was not going to lead them to believe I could teach their dog to do anything like that. The husband was completely okay with this, and said that Deuce did very well with all of it, and that I could consider Deuce my "test dog"--whatever I want to teach him, whatever I want to try with him, I am completely free and welcome to do it.


    As you can imagine I was stoked. He proceded to tell me that I could use Deuce as a learning experience, and that if I could get Deuce to work successfully without the ecollar then he would be thrilled. Their main issue is the jumping, and chewing things. But they want to advance his training, without the use of an ecollar. He says the only time he usually has to shock him, at a low level, is when he doesn't come. He says his come is very good, and it's just occassionally that he "disobeys." I am confident I can advance his basic commands to whatever level they desire, and from there I will just have to see what else they want him to learn. The jumping and chewing will be easy to solve, and the two of them seem dedicated to putting in the time and effort necessary to make Deuce a well-behaved dog and successful hunting partner.

    As if it wasn't enough that they were putting their full trust and faith in me with their dog, the husband then told me that his aunt breeds and trains Giant Schnauzers for bomb sniffing, narcotics searches, SAR, and....BLOOD TRAILING! Whoo!!! And that if I would like to, he would introduce me to her and she'd probably be happy to answer any questions I might have. YAY!

    I start working with Deuce today---I have this weird feeling that he's going to be a handful, lol. :doghappy: Wish me luck!

  2. flydogz New Member

    GOOD LUCK!!!!! What a dream come true. Deuce sounds like a very intelligent dog.

    I look forward to reading about your progress.

  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    So, our first session went great. He is definitely a jumper but is already learning quickly that that doesn't get him attention. He likes to nip as well, but again, he's quickly learning that the only way to get what he wants is to be polite. We worked on leave it, as he is definitely a chewer, and by the time I left I could hold several treats in my hand, give the command, and he wouldn't even pay attention to the treats. He somewhat understands sit, and will sit when asked probably 60-70% of the time without a lure. He doesn't know stay, but we worked on it and he's far surpassed my expectations.

    The owners are everything you could possibly ask for from the trainer's perspective---they are open-minded, completely willing to work with him as much as they need to, and eager to learn how to work with him properly. Right now Deuce burns out quickly, so we're taking many play breaks and not pushing him too hard. They were very happy with what I did with him today, even though I did very little, and even said that they may want me to continue working with him indefinitely and keep paying me.

    I'm excited to be working with Deuce, and I'm looking forward to seeing him progress. He's still very young and has a long way to go, but he's got a good start.
  4. flydogz New Member

    It makes you wonder what he was taught if he didn't even have a basic stay! At least now he is learning what it's like to be trained with kindness!!!!

  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Evidently all he was taught was to point and flush, and kind of come when given the command, "Here." Deuce is going to be a lot of fun, because the things I'll be teaching him are things I don't normally teach dogs---for instance, just so they didn't waste hundreds of dollars on an ecollar, he wants me to teach Deuce to come in response to the tone function on the collar. He hasn't been using the tone function at all, so Deuce has no negative association, and the good thing about teaching him to come to this is that he can be miles away and will still be able to get Deuce to return to him. He also wants to teach him to respond to a whistle. He also wants me to (eventually) off-leash train him. This is the first customer I have had that wants advanced training, in the long run. Most people want the results of a dog with advanced training, but do not want to spend the time or money. Deuce is very sweet and very trainable, so I think he will be fairly easy, especially since they are going to work with him on their own too.

    Today is our second session. :)
  6. flydogz New Member

    I hope todays session went well?

    I used a vibrating collar on one of my dogs when she went deaf. It was a godsend as it meant I didn't have to keep her on the leash all the time.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OOH Tx, HOW EXCITING!! WHAT a perfect set up both for you and for the dog!! ALL RIGHT!! Keep us posted!!! WOOHOO!!!! YAY!!!!!:yipi:
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Second session went great. Deuce is a smart pup, and I'm already progressing to calling him away from play with his buddy (their Cocker, Jackson)--which is great for only the second day! We started leash training today, which went well, and worked lots on the same things as yesterday. The owners are thrilled with the progress he's made already, as am I. He's moving along quite well already.

    Tomorrow I work at my regular job, and the husband is going out of town, so we're taking tomorrow off and then we'll see when they want to try again. They are interested in some trick training as well to keep him busy if they don't get to walk him sometimes(3 kids), and they'd like to entertain themselves. The jumping is already better. Today he initially did jump on me some, but after about 2 minutes he sat in front of me, tail wagging like crazy, with this look like, "Oh! Yesterday I got snacks for this....." He's doing very well.

    I'll keep posting here with his progress...moving at a great pace! ^^
  9. fickla Experienced Member

    wow! congrats on this new adventure you are starting! it sounds like a win win for all 3 parties :)
  10. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Oh, this is so exciting, I'm so happy for you - and I'm happy for Deuce. So glad he doesn't have to endure any more taining with the e-collar. A few months ago, our training facility hosted a seminar with Steve and Jen White, both incredible trainers (you can look up their site). He has trained numerous police K9s - if you can train a police K9 with a clicker and positive reinforcement, you can train any dog to do anything, I'm convinced (as if I weren't already). Am looking forward to reading about your progress, sounds like you're working with a baby einstein, he's catching on so quickly, he's gonna keep you on your toes :-)
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, yep little einstein indeed. ^^ Trick-training will be fun with him--they want to do some of that too, but first and foremost I'm getting his basics down. He's a great little guy, so sweet.

    Now that's an accomplishment---positive reinforcement with police dogs. Wow! Very cool. Will have to look them up.

    Today's day 3. For now, we're still going to work on the same things. Might add a thing or two. The owner has field trials coming up, so I'm wanting to get a solid "here" down so he doesn't regress from any use with the ecollar. That's what I'm working the hardest on.
  12. snooks Experienced Member

    VERY impressive and exciting. You may soon have a squad of GS's under ur wing too!! You go!! :dogwink:
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol we'll see. ^^

    Ended up not working with Deuce today. One of the kids had something going on, and even though they gave me the alarm code and the code to get in the house and welcomed me whether they are home or not(WOW!), I just don't feel comfortable doing that just yet. So, we'll try tomorrow.
  14. storm22 Experienced Member

    thats sounds great txcg, they sound like the best owners to want to further train there dog and also are open minded with anything you want to train, its the best start you could have,

    i wana start training koda in scent tracking but not alot of people do it over here, or i just havent herd or met them, but im guna eventually get hold of the police dogs trainers here as i know they scent train,

    if you got anyadvice on where to start id love to know
  15. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I've been doing a loooot of studying on scent tracking. Some great books:
    Try Tracking! The Puppy Tracking Primer
    Scenting on the Wind
    Making Scents of Tracking

    What do you want her to track? Deer? Rabbits? People? Blood? Other? All of the above?
  16. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Deuce had a GREAT day today! We worked on all the same stuff(leave it, sit, stay, here), started really testing his leave it and using it on objects other than food. We also started learning down, and get in(which the owner wants to call "hip"). He caught on to this very quickly. Then we went for a walk, and worked on his basics on the sidewalk. He was pretty distracted, so this was great practice for him. He handled everything very well, and pretty much has loose-leash walking down!

    The owners have decided they are going to continue paying me through the year to just keep working with them as advancing his training. They are already very pleased with how Deuce is doing.
  17. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Once again, Deuce did fantastic. We worked on all his regular stuff...but in the presence of his crazy Cocker friend. No broken stays, and he came every time I called him. WOW! He's just almost got "hip" down(owner's cue of choice for "get in").
    The BIG success was.....when I first got there, he didn't turn into a crazy spaz and jump on me for 5 minutes. He jumped a few times, but then just sat in front of me calmly. WOW! When I first met this dog, he would jump on any person who walked out the door for a good 5 minutes without calming down. And in just 4 sessions and consistent work from the owners, his jumping is almost cured. Way to go, Deuce!
  18. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well, Superman finally had a not-so-great day. Initially, he was doing wonderful, as always, and I decided to go ahead and take him to the sidewalk(rather than their backyard, where we were working), where there were more distractions. He was doing great, and then.......
    A bird flew across our path maybe 10 feet in front of him, and he lost it. As he is trained to do, he sprung into a point. Okay, whatever....I took the opportunity to work under extreme distraction. I dug my highest value treat out of my treat bag, stuck it right on his nose and lured his face back over to me. I got him to sit, although his attention was still split. Well, he's always known that he points out a bird(normally in brush), it gets shot, and they go get it. Smart little Deuce thought he'd flushed himself a bird, needed to point it out, and since it hadn't been shot he needed to find it again and point it out to me. So naturally I had a heck of a time getting him to leave that area and regain his attention. After some coaxing and patient work, I did get his attention again and he calmed down. Until we saw the next bird. We've worked in the exact same area since the 2nd day I worked with him, and he's always done great, so I wasn't rushing him into distractions too soon. The first bird just flew so close he lost it, and then he was just waiting for the next one.

    So, today didn't go that well, but it still wasn't bad.

    Also, his owners told me today that the husband is getting transferred to a city 6 hours away. So, I'll only be working with Deuce until May probably. Which is disappointing, but it's a good thing he's learning so quickly.
  19. jackienmutts Honored Member

    A not-so-great day? I think it all depends on how you look at it. Sounds like the Deuce-man did exactly what he had been trained to do - and now you're working on teaching him an alternative. He doesn't need to react every time he sees a bird. Now you're giving him an alternative, he can just sit there. Huh?? I'm thinking prior to today, in his mind, he had one job when he saw a bird - point it out. Now you've suggested to him that maybe he doesn't have to flush or point every single bird he sees :msngiggle:. Cute. Imagine that, Deuce, sometimes you can just sit and birdwatch like the rest of us.

    Good job on refocusing him tho - I'm sure he was a little handful for a bit. Too bad about the transfer, that sounded like the perfect match - but you still have lots of time to spend with him. He just may prove to be your star student. The best thing about all of this is, you've shown Deuce's family that there is another way besides the use of a shock collar to train a dog. Yea for that!!!
  20. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, I realize he was just doing exactly what he's been trained to do. And I was happy to be able to take the opportunity to test him under such a high level of distraction.

    The not-so-great part was that we've already begun the beginning, early,baby steps of off-leash training....and I had stupidly tied his leash loosely around a belt loop. Which had been fine, because I had a hand on the leash at all times....until I put him in a sit-stay, and a dang bird flew by. I saw it happening but my hands reacted slower than my brain, lol, and although I did get it before he could get loose, I didn't get it before my pants ripped 4 inches below my belt loop.

    I've done this a million times before, and I've always known this and worse things could happen(like the dog getting loose), and I've always been extremely careful. So...all in all, a lesson learned, and some sewing practice. And I now know exactly how D-man reacts when he sees a bird at close range. Lol.

    (Unbelievably, no one was around to see my unmentionables which were very clearly visible. I was working with him alone at the time, without the owners. Fortunately my shirt was long enough to yank down over the rip in my jeans. Lol!)

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