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Video: Training Tips from a Pro

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June 26, 2009

Video: Training Tips from a Pro

By David DiBenedetto

While Pritch’s training is progressing nicely, I’ve noticed a bad habit starting to develop. During our sessions, Pritch will fetch a dummy, come running back, and then often blow right by me like I’m invisible. She usually gets about 10 yards past me before she starts frolicking. In these cases, I reel her in with the check cord but am unsure of the proper way to correct the problem. (To see an example just click on the video.) At its worst, Pritch will make a large half circle on her way back to me, sometimes dropping the dummy and not returning.

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/IwZXMwYzpS1dGbY5kycZU0lcqd-D45Xu/3Gduepif0T1UGY8H4xMDoxOjAwMTt5zx

For help with the problem I asked a professional trainer, Pamela Owen Kadlec, author of Retriever Training for Spaniels and owner of Just Ducky Kennel in Edgefield, S.C. Here’s what she had to say:

“This is a common problem and one that is fairly easily resolved with some repetitions. I teach the obedience separate from the retrieves in these cases and enforce 'Here' more than any other command.

"Using the check cord, take her on walks and command 'Here' at random times. Keep her in check cord range so you always have control. While she is heading off in one direction you change directions and give a tug on the check cord. When she comes running, tell her 'Good Here' and give her an ear rub. Release her and go off walking again. Repeat this exercise until she starts to focus on where you are not the other way around.

"When you return from your walk, toss her bumper a few yards, keeping the end of the check cord in hand. As she comes back, side step and do whatever you need to do to block her from running past you. Don't worry right now about her dropping the bumper, just getting her to come when called. If she insists on avoiding coming in give her a tug on the check cord. If needed you may need to pick her up by the scruff of her neck, lift her completely off the ground, make eye contact and tell her, 'Here'. Set her down and still holding the check cord, back up giving her short tugs on the check cord, say 'Here' and when she comes in, say 'Good Here' and praise her.

"Toss another bumper and try again. Only do this until she comes in one time, with or without the bumper.”

What struck most about Kadlec’s advice was something I continually forget—THE BASICS! I can’t expect a perfect retrieve if I haven’t nailed down the “Come” or “Here” command. Sure I’ve worked on it, but like many, I’d rather be working on the real fun stuff. Now I know better. If you have any other suggestions please feel free to join in the discussion.

Comments (13)

Top Rated
All Comments
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I'm certainly no help. Having an urban background, I've never met a spaniel that was field trained. Most of them were cooped up rowhome denizens whose bodies were designed to be high energy bird dogs. I've always thought all spaniels travelled by a series of interweaving 8 foot diameter circles. You say they can run in a straight line?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

When my dog Pup, would bring me the retrieve I made sure the rope/check cord stopped at my feet.It was anchored at the other end.
Pup could only bring the bumper back to me,due to the length of the cord.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I also face this problem with my puppy except after she runs past me whe will act as if she's playing around and wait for me to move at her or something. So I was wondering if the check cord does work and how I should correct her from acting like it's a game.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

David,
Another great way is to utilize placeboard training. Pam covers this in her book.

A placeboard is a square of carpet, wood, etc. that a dog is required to sit on. The command is “place” and the dog must sit on that square (her place).

Once this has been taught, you can use it on your retrieving. When Pritchard returns with the bumper and gets about 10 feet from you, start saying the “place” command. She will divert her attention from running past you and get on the board. You will be standing next to the right front corner of the board. Pritchard will get on the board and turn around and be in a heel position.

Through repetition, she will be conditioned to come back to you and heel.

Good Luck

John Huddleston
http://www.otmboykins.com

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from MyDogRem wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I had never heard of the place board, before. This seems like a good idea. Do you use "place" than instead of the heel command, or do you just use heel for when walking and wanting them to walk beside you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I watched your video of Pritch's retrieve. She looks to have a great retrieve, straight out, straight back other than the blow by. John from OTMBOYKINS, is right on the money about the placeboard training. This will also help keep your dog on the placeboard either in duck blind or out (gives the dog a place to go to), and will help this part of your dog's training. It is an obedience problem not a retrieving problem. Use the placeboard with something at your back to stop the blow by(fence, house etc.). Teach the dog to come back to the placeboard and stay on it, whether in your duck blind or at your side at heel. I don't think you have to back all the way up to stay and come here (on the placeboard), you should be able to do this with the retrieve.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

John and Kelmitch- Great stuff here. In fact, I plan to start working on Pam's advice and the place board training this week. I've heard a lot about place boards and am looking forward to putting one to use.

MyDogRem- I'll let you know how it works in an upcoming post. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

MyDogRem: You start off with the "place" command then gradually move it to "heel".

You are building behavior through repetition.

I use place boards to teach left and right casting and to teach the pitcher's mound in baseball.

John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

I use the placeboard as I said above, but use the wagon wheel to teach casting. Similar to what John said but adds in the retrieve.I suggest www.myoutdoorstv.com
Go to the section for sporting gun dogs. You will see a good example of this there. Remember fetch, hold, heel, hup and drop or give.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dave Daholster covers the use of the check cord (long lineing the dog) on the show Sporting Gun Dogs (introduction to water) this does not take very long to do I used it on my UK springer this will help your leash work and mutch more as Pamula said.This info. and mutch more is found on www.myoutdoors tv.com.Dobbs Dogs.com (Dobbs training center) uses another method to achieve the same result this is what is great about the computer it makes it easy to see many pros on tape and many different ways to train the same command (find what works for you and your dog.I think this is a great blog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dobbs Dogs.com The invisible checkcord.Pamula doesnt use this until the conditioned retrieve.This method has not confused my previous dogs(20 years ago) when I also used the same form correction in other areas of their training.Its just another method used to (long line your dog and work to heeling.Of course all of this should be done before retrieving.A good outline of steps of training program can be found Linden Kennels home page.I prefer the approach that Tom Ness uses for all Spaniels.Build a fire in the dog.
UK SPRINGER

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dave,
Did you get a chance to start the placeboard training?
John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

John- We're going to start place board training on Friday. Will keep you posted. -d

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

David,
Another great way is to utilize placeboard training. Pam covers this in her book.

A placeboard is a square of carpet, wood, etc. that a dog is required to sit on. The command is “place” and the dog must sit on that square (her place).

Once this has been taught, you can use it on your retrieving. When Pritchard returns with the bumper and gets about 10 feet from you, start saying the “place” command. She will divert her attention from running past you and get on the board. You will be standing next to the right front corner of the board. Pritchard will get on the board and turn around and be in a heel position.

Through repetition, she will be conditioned to come back to you and heel.

Good Luck

John Huddleston
http://www.otmboykins.com

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I watched your video of Pritch's retrieve. She looks to have a great retrieve, straight out, straight back other than the blow by. John from OTMBOYKINS, is right on the money about the placeboard training. This will also help keep your dog on the placeboard either in duck blind or out (gives the dog a place to go to), and will help this part of your dog's training. It is an obedience problem not a retrieving problem. Use the placeboard with something at your back to stop the blow by(fence, house etc.). Teach the dog to come back to the placeboard and stay on it, whether in your duck blind or at your side at heel. I don't think you have to back all the way up to stay and come here (on the placeboard), you should be able to do this with the retrieve.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I'm certainly no help. Having an urban background, I've never met a spaniel that was field trained. Most of them were cooped up rowhome denizens whose bodies were designed to be high energy bird dogs. I've always thought all spaniels travelled by a series of interweaving 8 foot diameter circles. You say they can run in a straight line?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

When my dog Pup, would bring me the retrieve I made sure the rope/check cord stopped at my feet.It was anchored at the other end.
Pup could only bring the bumper back to me,due to the length of the cord.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I also face this problem with my puppy except after she runs past me whe will act as if she's playing around and wait for me to move at her or something. So I was wondering if the check cord does work and how I should correct her from acting like it's a game.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MyDogRem wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

I had never heard of the place board, before. This seems like a good idea. Do you use "place" than instead of the heel command, or do you just use heel for when walking and wanting them to walk beside you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

John and Kelmitch- Great stuff here. In fact, I plan to start working on Pam's advice and the place board training this week. I've heard a lot about place boards and am looking forward to putting one to use.

MyDogRem- I'll let you know how it works in an upcoming post. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

MyDogRem: You start off with the "place" command then gradually move it to "heel".

You are building behavior through repetition.

I use place boards to teach left and right casting and to teach the pitcher's mound in baseball.

John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

I use the placeboard as I said above, but use the wagon wheel to teach casting. Similar to what John said but adds in the retrieve.I suggest www.myoutdoorstv.com
Go to the section for sporting gun dogs. You will see a good example of this there. Remember fetch, hold, heel, hup and drop or give.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dave Daholster covers the use of the check cord (long lineing the dog) on the show Sporting Gun Dogs (introduction to water) this does not take very long to do I used it on my UK springer this will help your leash work and mutch more as Pamula said.This info. and mutch more is found on www.myoutdoors tv.com.Dobbs Dogs.com (Dobbs training center) uses another method to achieve the same result this is what is great about the computer it makes it easy to see many pros on tape and many different ways to train the same command (find what works for you and your dog.I think this is a great blog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dobbs Dogs.com The invisible checkcord.Pamula doesnt use this until the conditioned retrieve.This method has not confused my previous dogs(20 years ago) when I also used the same form correction in other areas of their training.Its just another method used to (long line your dog and work to heeling.Of course all of this should be done before retrieving.A good outline of steps of training program can be found Linden Kennels home page.I prefer the approach that Tom Ness uses for all Spaniels.Build a fire in the dog.
UK SPRINGER

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Dave,
Did you get a chance to start the placeboard training?
John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

John- We're going to start place board training on Friday. Will keep you posted. -d

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment