Settling the ratbag.

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Settling the ratbag.

Postby Bill Allen » Thu 07 Jan 2010 2:56 pm

Hi again all.
I have an on-going problem I would appreciate a little feed back on.
Current (Brittany) dog 'Buck' is one of those dogs that has tremendous prey drive. Can work like a tornado & has drive like a Rhino on steroids. Excellent nose & brilliant desire to retrive.
Great stuff to watch but there's a real, pain in the ass, down side to this bloke.
At trials, when there are other dogs competing & he knows it, he gets super wound-up whilst waiting his runs.
This reduces a dog that, whilst in training, is quite controllable & biddable, to an absolute wreck that just totally blows his performance completely. Anyone watching this dog could easilly come to the assumption that he's never had an ounce of training in his life, when in fact he trains regualry & reasonably well (I work a lot with Wayne Phelps down the Werribee River 2 minutes from home). Buck knows he's in competition with other dogs & hates waiting in a blind when he knows other dogs are working. He get's super agitated & all semblence of obedience goes straight out the window.
He knows what he's supposed to do but he just can't control his enthusiasm & desire to get going.
What I'm looking for are any suggestions on settling/quietning this ratbag down. If I can get him to relax & concentrate he could be a very good dog but at present 'relax' just isn't in his vocabulary.

Thanx all in anticipation.

Bill Allen
Bill Allen
 
Posts: 38
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Re: Settling the ratbag.

Postby Robert Tawton » Mon 11 Jan 2010 10:42 am

Hi Bill,
It is difficult to provide you with specific answers and/or suggestions without knowing a lot more about the training program you have been following and to what level you have advanced.
The following are generalized statements that may be of some assistance;
• High powered and excitable dogs need to be kept under total control at ALL TIMES. This means from the time they are let out of the kennel until they are returned to the kennel.
• SIT is a one word command that must be obeyed instantly and on each occasion.
• The act of making the retrieve is the reward that high power dogs seek and deigning them that opportunity when they are not performing to the required standard is a powerful tool. In other words, if the dog will not heal properly, or is unsteady at the Firing Point, it gets to see the mark but is not allowed to make the retrieve.
• By repeatedly competing in Trials where the dog goes out of control is likely to exacerbate the problem, as the dog learns that there are no consequences for its disobedience. It gets to retrieve the bird anyway. Trial Wise is the term.
• Have you thought of exposing your dog to environments likely to stimulate its excitement level, but where you are in a position to enforce control? Examples might include; attending Shows and making you dog sit quietly at heel while it can see other dogs in the Ring. Attending Obedience Classes where the dog has to work in the company of other dogs, while still under your control. Taking the dog out with you while you are operating the thrower for others – the dog is taught to sit and watch the thrower go off and to remain there while other dogs make the retrieve.
• Establish a bigger Training Group so you can simulate Trial conditions more closely than is possible with just one training buddy. In such an environment you are still in a position to enforce control.

I hope you find the foregoing useful. I may be contacted on rtawton@grapevine.com.au if you have any questions.

Kindest regards, Robert T
Robert Tawton
 
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Location: Canberra,ACT,Australia

Re: Settling the ratbag.

Postby Bill Allen » Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:51 am

Hi again Bob.
Many thanks once again for the assistance.
I do realise it's a difficult question to ask people if they have not seen the dog or dont know him.
It's very much a bloodline thing I think, as being strongly line bred, he's a throwback to his great grandsire 'Ailetiruer Bear' (Tiger) owned by Alby Mangion many years ago.
Your suggestions echo basically the things I have been trying to do, pls read below.

• High powered and excitable dogs need to be kept under total control at ALL TIMES. This means from the time they are let
out of the kennel until they are returned to the kennel.
-I make Buck work for any reward he wants from me, even smallish things. I am constantly working on his obedience & he is actually responding quite well, but at present he's still 'working himself up' when the work is on offer (trials, etc). I think this might just be a time & persistance matter.

• SIT is a one word command that must be obeyed instantly and on each occasion.
-Yes this is one he fought steadfastly against as a youngster. A very hard pup to teach to sit consistently (he's now nearly 4 yo).He is sit/staying quite well now in training because the message is finally sinking in that he has no choice. However, it's the trial scene that still brings him undone at present - too many dogs working when he wants to work. I also find this is one dog that a person simple cannot afford to slip up with in regard to repeat commands. He'll play on it every time. It's one command & then enforcement every single time, or pay the price. This is a dog that really tests the focus of a handler. I can't afford to let my guard down at any second with him. He is a great dog though that really rewards diligent handling. Can produce some really blinding work when things do come together. A really rewarding dog for the hard effort he demands.

• The act of making the retrieve is the reward that high power dogs seek and deigning them that opportunity when they are not performing to the required standard is a powerful tool. In other words, if the dog will not heal properly, or is unsteady at the Firing Point, it gets to see the mark but is not allowed to make the retrieve.
-Yeah this is one that I really have to be absolutely spot on with. If he does not obey 100% then I cannot let him even think of getting a retrieve. If I slip with this one he'll work it against me every time. I have other dogs at home I can work with whilst he's watching but it's not a good idea to work em all together I've found - the dominance factor comes into play. I'm having better success working with other peoples dogs around.

• By repeatedly competing in Trials where the dog goes out of control is likely to exacerbate the problem, as the dog learns that there are no consequences for its disobedience. It gets to retrieve the bird anyway. Trial Wise is the term.
-This is why I've not run him in trials a lot to date, although he has done a LOT of hunting with me. Surprisingly he works very well in the hunting field when it's just him & I, so it might have more to do with other dogs being present. I need to get it right when trialing or it'll get worse if I rush him. I've had him to a number of trials now just making him sit & watch quietly, & he's starting to get the hang of it, but he's still very prone to going off the rails when he thinks there's any chance he might get a run.

• Have you thought of exposing your dog to environments likely to stimulate its excitement level, but where you are in a position to enforce control? Examples might include; attending Shows and making you dog sit quietly at heel while it can see other dogs in the Ring. Attending Obedience Classes where the dog has to work in the company of other dogs, while still under your control. Taking the dog out with you while you are operating the thrower for others – the dog is taught to sit and watch the thrower go off and to remain there while other dogs make the retrieve.
-As above. I think some carefully thought out work this duck season may go a long way to sorting him out also, but I'll need to be very dilligent I think. Should be an interesting season I think. Also, the work he's getting on the quail is working well for me. Lot's of controll stuff & I can work him with a dog that is producing birds at a distance (other side of paddock),make him sit/watch, then work him on a few & sit/watch again, etc. He definitley doesn't like being in competition against another dog for his birds though. He just goes haywire trying to get there out there first.

• Establish a bigger Training Group so you can simulate Trial conditions more closely than is possible with just one training buddy. In such an environment you are still in a position to enforce control.
-Am working with the guys at WGAA a lot as they are able to get together on a regular basis (apart from their regular 3rd Sunday each month session). Trying to organise each training sessions to simulate trails as closely as possible. I think working aorund other dogs is the key as it appears to be a very high prey drive combined with competiton against other dogs that really sets him off. If it's just him & I he is more relaxed as he knows he'll get the work he wants if he settles a bit, but if there's other dogs around he just can't seem to handle the idea that one of them might just get his birds.

It appears that it may just be a time/persistence thing. He is slowly resonding but he's trying me every step of the way. I'm finding that some of Rick Smith's methods are working well (the use of the whoa post for example) but they need to be practiced prior to working him or the effect goes out the window. He's just one of those dogs that has extremly high prey drive & is prone to be overly excitiable. I've just found trying to calm him down is the biggest challenge I have had with him so far.

Thanks agaon Bob. greatly appreciated.
Bill Allen
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu 12 Nov 2009 8:58 am

Re: Settling the ratbag.

Postby Philip Stevens » Tue 27 Jul 2010 1:16 pm

you know about it, you've seen it work.
chain gang.....and everything that goes with it

i owned the old Shorthair at the RS seminar that went to level 5 on Sunday morning.

..........tasi
Philip Stevens
 
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Joined: Tue 07 Jul 2009 11:07 am

Re: Settling the ratbag.

Postby Bill Allen » Tue 28 Sep 2010 10:50 am

Yeah g'day again tasi.
I got the chain set up.
It's just a matter of stopping him pulling thre pegs out now.
At present the pegs I'm using have been made from concrete reinforcing rods & they're about 2 feet long.
Buck has learned to jump & pull till they come out.
Damn he's determined.
Need longer pegs I think.

Bill.
Bill Allen
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu 12 Nov 2009 8:58 am


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