Training an excitable dog?

porochi
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Training an excitable dog?

Post by porochi » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:15 pm

Just wondering how other GSP owners get their dog's attention long enough to effectively train them? My 3 yr. old male GSP's energy and excitement level borders on what I'd call "explosive." I can't get him to be still long enough for a good training session. I'm his 3rd owner, got him about a year ago from a preserve where he worked as a guide dog. He's a natural hunter, great prey drive and good at finding birds, but I don't think he's ever had any formal training until me. I've posted on here before about his "problems," e.g., won't hunt dead, won't retrieve, etc. He is e-collar conditioned and naturally stays fairly close to me when hunting, and he's quite good at finding quail, our main prey. But man, he just won't settle down and focus when we're trying to train, there's always a bird flying by, or a butterfly, or, he just wants to run like mad, endlessly. So how do other GSP owners do it? How do you deal with this breed's boundless energy and get them to focus on training? He's not stuck in a crate or kennel all day, I let him have the run of a large fenced yard and run him off leash for at least an hour a day, longer if I can, so he's getting good amounts of exercise. He's like a wild bronco that needs to be broke.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by shags » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:43 am

By training do you mean yardwork like heel and whoa?
Is 'running off lead' in a contained area like the back yard or out in the open i.e. farmland? Does he stay close to you naturally or do you make him?

IME sometimes it helps to wear the dog down before a training session, by roading or free running. The steam gets blown off and the dog can focus somewhat better. Once the dog behaves better and knows what you want, training can occur without the run first. Beware though, the more you exercise the dog, the better his stamina over the long term. It can get to be a Catch 22.

One of the most valuable things I learned was from Rick Smith at one of his seminars years ago. A handler's attitude and demeanor go a long way in influencing a dog. At this seminar, there were 2 guys one with a GSP and the other with a GWP, both young dogs about a year old. And batpoop crazy acting. Barking all the time, twirling and doing circles on the stakeout, etc.
The owners were kind of loud and visibly frustrated. You could see it in the way they handled the dogs. Rick's method was for the handler to remain silent and use calm firm actions with the dogs. Both dogs were 95% better when Rick took the leads.
My dogs aren't super hyper, but I've found that when I'm mindful of staying very calm and quiet - instead of having that hive of bees in my head feeling- my results with the dogs are much better. These days I find a mix of Rick and Cesar Milan methods very helpful. Milan's no talk, no touch, no eye contact is similar to Rick's. Oooommmmmmmmm.....

Best of luck, I hope you can work it out and good on you for giving the dog a chance.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ON Honker Hunter » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:15 am

Do they make ritalin for dogs? Seriously though, I feel your pain. My just-turned-four Lab must have some GSP in her genes somewhere. She is still wound up like a six month old pup. Boundless energy and personality plus. Like your dog she was initially reluctant to retrieve (weird for a Lab!!). Ellie is extremely athletic and can jump vertically nearly four feet. Keeping her in the fenced back yard is pretty much an honor system thing. And she will break the rule if bored so I have to keep a close eye on her. Or find ways to keep her interested in what's going on around the house. She was hit and miss for attention span during training. Keeping some treats in my pocket seemed to make the difference. Especially those smelly simulated bacon strips. She'd do about anything for one of those.

I never resorted to force fetch though I'm sure others on here have made it work and will chime in. I almost had to though. Instead I used the treats and a tennis ball with bell inside it. Actually, it may be best to try to start out with pup focused on just the ball and incorporate treats once they pick it up a bit. Less smelly treats work best because I do this training in the kitchen while sitting on the floor and don't want the pup distracted to treats. Dog food kibble works fine. Wrestled around with the dog poking her with the ball till she put it in her mouth. A bit of tug of war initially helped (that can be stopped later). Then rolled that jingle ball a little ways. She picked it up but then dropped it. That's okay. I go to her and get real aggressive playing, get her worked up good, and dribble the ball off again. Do that a couple of times and maybe she'll figure out she can speed things up if she brings the ball back. If not, I slow it down waiting for her to come back with it. It took a while but eventually she brought it back. Then time for a treat. Taking the positive reinforcement up a level every time there's achievement was important. The thing about doing it in the kitchen is there are no distractions. Just me and her (important to keep my other dogs in the other room out of sight). Once we have established the game well in the kitchen I moved her outside. Progress was slow out there because she could be distracted easily. Now it's time for the smelly treats! She knows the game at this point so no retrieve, no treat. But absolutely no corrective measures. Has to be all fun at this point. Once things seemed to be coming along in the yard, I introduced a bird wing to replace the ball. That was a bit of a setback at first so we went back to working in the kitchen. She got a kick out of it if I pretended the bird wing was flapping in the air first. Just out of reach so she'd have to jump for it. Get her real excited and then pitch it. It worked eventually. Still Ellie was slow to transfer retrieving to the field. What turned things around eventually was water retrieves. She loves to swim. I mostly field hunt waterfowl and she just wasn't getting it. But when I finally dropped a couple of ducks on a slough, she went right out and picked them up! So I worked that angle. Finally she seemed to be catching on but inconsistent bringing it to hand. Then she dropped a crippled pheasant and it slipped off on her. She really got upset about it too. Even today two years later whenever we go back to that spot hunting she works it over good looking for the rooster. Anyway, she never dropped another bird after that. Ellie has turned out to be a complex dog, most complex hunting dog I've ever owned. But she may turn out to be the best one. A late discovery was finding out she points birds. And she is very good at it too. Yep, must have been some GSP sneaked into an ancestor's kennel one night.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:47 am

First be aware most GSPs are not like that and he has probably been trained to act that way. Not intentionally.
I use the Kohler method on dogs like him. His training books are cheap on amazon. they are old methods before the days of ecollars some methods
he uses on bad dogs are brutal. But he trained all manner of dogs for movies and some methods work very well. As Shags stated he is silent.
Start training an out of control dog with a checkcord and a Choke chain. The Choke chain should just fit over his head.It should go over his neck and come up through the ring on the side toward your leg at heel. Left hand heel up the right side of the dogs neck. Hook a 25 ft checkcord to the loose end of the choke chain. this is very important. you want the chain to release immediately.
In his book he puts the dog in a crate for a couple hours before training. Sometimes we don't have time to do this. This is done tomake the dog like his timewith youbetter than the crate.
Get the dog out put the checkcord on say nothing and walk off if the dog runs off set back on the check coed give a hard yank and walk off again. You need a fairly large area so you can walk in a large square 100 yards on a side or more. Walk one side. stop at the corner don't look at the dog or talk to the dog. Focus on some object so you keep your eyes off the dog. after several minutes say nothing walk to your right the same distance and repeat til you make a square. Make the stops longer and be silent every time the dogs tries to run off do and about turn and walk a few steps the other way.then get back on track. Say nothing Do this about 1/2 hour twice a day. Soon the dog will be very focused on you. You should see a total change in his attitude. Start adding distractions.Never pull steady on the the check cord it is tug and release, Sometimes a pretty hard tug at the start and never tie the dog with a choke chain on or leave him unattended.
Once he is very focused on you you start yard training on basic commands. Take him on free time in the field. If he isnot collar conditioned he probably should be. make sure you understand the collar enforces known commands.
There is a lot more to this, but thiswould give you a good start......Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by birddogger2 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:57 am

The dog has to learn to be patient. The dog has to learn to be calm. The dog has to learn that WILL do what you ask it to do.

As to the how...

You need to be patient. A fellow once told me when training a horse if you go about it like you have fifteen minutes it may take you all day. But if you go about it as if you have all day, it will probably only take fifteen minutes. I have found that advice to be sound for dog training also.

If the dog is in the kennel or at the back door and goes ballistic when you approach... just stand there and wait...say nothing, do nothing until the dog settles down. If it refuses to settle down...turn around and walk away. When you DO open the door, if the dog bolts...slam the door in its face. Then set it back, wait for it to settle down, even stroke it a couple of times...but wait. You re not done until YOU go through the doorway first and the dog stands there waiting to be released or if at the kennel, until you give the release command. I actually use a pat on the flank as a release, so my dogs are initially trained to stand at the kennel door until they get a pat on the flank. Eventually I transition to a verbal release, but occasionally mix it up.

I would get pinch collar for your dog and do heel/whoa drills after the manner of Paul Long. On a puppy, I would use a Smith Wonder lead but your boy is too strong and bold for that at the moment. A choker lead might be the best to do the first couple of sessions with, because it is fairly harsh and will get the point across, that it is YOUR way... or NO way. Just be aware that, even with a fully grown dog, choker collars can cause throat injury if used incorrectly or too forcefully.

Eventually you will be able to use a wonder lead or buddy stick and ultimately, no lead at all.

The advice about an e-collar being used to enforce known commands is golden. The e-collar is the LAST thing I overlay in the training scheme. The dog already knows what is expected and has demonstrated compliance and competence with the command before I overlay the e-collar.

Patience...persistence... and insistence will get you where you need to be with your dog.

He has been the way he is for quite some time, so it ain't gonna change overnight. But if you are methodical, and do the work...the dog will come to enjoy doing it YOUR way.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Take your time and try to maintain a healthy sense of humor. If it ain't workin' today...don't lose your temper or get frustrated and force things. Just put the dog up and go do something else.

RayG

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by shags » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:07 am

cj,

I really like your explanation of that method. What struck a chord was the turn around from the dog getting the handler to focus on him, to getting the dog to focus on the handler. Thanks for that contribution.

Smith's method does something similar to Kohler's crate. He puts the dog on a stake out. The dog stays there until it is still and quiet upon the trainer's approach. It's kind of a back and forth dance that can take quite a while, but the dog learns that the way off the chain is to be still. Dogs that bark have a figure 8 ( a kind of muzzle easily made of cord) applied and it is removed when the dog is quiet, and reapplied if he starts up again. The dog is never left on the SO all alone, he must be observable at all times for his safety.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:01 am

It is a bit long to get it all in one post and my post was just a start. but it is amazing how the dog will change. Eventually you can let him do what he wants on the checkcord and walk around all directions and you will never feel the dog on the checkcord. That is when you know he is getting it. Getting the same results off lead in the field takes a little more more imagination and work. That is why I think he will need ecollar work. If he was a guide dog he probably had ecollar work. The question is good or bad......Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by JONOV » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:00 pm

Like any other training, start in the most controlled/sterile environment you can. IE, in your garage/basement on a training table where the dog's at your level. Or on a training table outside (Picnic table might work if you can tie him to it.

Then you might move to a pinch collar.

Also run him for a good bit before you work to take some of the edge off.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:13 pm

porochi,
I would say you have had good and enough advice to put in to practice from others such as cj,and Ray.
Hope like many other posts similar dont fall the same way ,and we dont hear how the progression went.
atb. Let us know how you get on.
......
All I can add is , With an excitable dog ,it requires a CALM handler. With a Driving miss Daisy dog , it requires an excitable handler .

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ezzy333 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:41 pm

cjhills wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:47 am
First be aware most GSPs are not like that and he has probably been trained to act that way. Not intentionally.
I use the Kohler method on dogs like him. His training books are cheap on amazon. they are old methods before the days of ecollars some methods
he uses on bad dogs are brutal. But he trained all manner of dogs for movies and some methods work very well. As Shags stated he is silent.
Start training an out of control dog with a checkcord and a Choke chain. The Choke chain should just fit over his head.It should go over his neck and come up through the ring on the side toward your leg at heel. Left hand heel up the right side of the dogs neck. Hook a 25 ft checkcord to the loose end of the choke chain. this is very important. you want the chain to release immediately.
In his book he puts the dog in a crate for a couple hours before training. Sometimes we don't have time to do this. This is done tomake the dog like his timewith youbetter than the crate.
Get the dog out put the checkcord on say nothing and walk off if the dog runs off set back on the check coed give a hard yank and walk off again. You need a fairly large area so you can walk in a large square 100 yards on a side or more. Walk one side. stop at the corner don't look at the dog or talk to the dog. Focus on some object so you keep your eyes off the dog. after several minutes say nothing walk to your right the same distance and repeat til you make a square. Make the stops longer and be silent every time the dogs tries to run off do and about turn and walk a few steps the other way.then get back on track. Say nothing Do this about 1/2 hour twice a day. Soon the dog will be very focused on you. You should see a total change in his attitude. Start adding distractions.Never pull steady on the the check cord it is tug and release, Sometimes a pretty hard tug at the start and never tie the dog with a choke chain on or leave him unattended.
Once he is very focused on you you start yard training on basic commands. Take him on free time in the field. If he isnot collar conditioned he probably should be. make sure you understand the collar enforces known commands.
There is a lot more to this, but thiswould give you a good start......Cj
I like this method plus as when we start getting into steady training a use the spin around of the dog if he loses concertation and then lay the CC across the dogs back and try again. Seems to work fairly well with most young dogs since it break up his thoughts and gives us the chance to get back on the same page fairly gently yet firmly. Then I lay the CC across his back and we start over. I think anytime you force the pup to get off its feet by lifting it also changes his attitude by letting it know which one of you are in control.

Ezzy
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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by porochi » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:22 pm

Thanks all. Good advice. My GSP is e-collar conditioned. I've hunted over him and near daily turn him loose to run free in open fields, dog parks,etc. He responds well to tone and naturally checks in with me when we're out. I'm working on fetch and hunt dead.. He has basic obedience down somewhat, heel, nope, sit, stay, down, whoa, ok but only if I bribe him with treats. No treats, no tricks. I'm trying to get him to obey without treats and really working on fetch at the moment. Trying to keep him focused isn't working too well, he just wants to run and hunt. He wears me out trying to wear him out.

Should I use the e-collar stim to zap him into compliance? I haven't done that for fear it will backfire and make him afraid of me. I can get him to stay by me using just the tone, beep him and he'll come back and prance around me, he knows not to run off, but to sit, look at me, focus on the training, no, he is raring to be set free. He learned the tone response from an earlier owner, I'm trying to build on that, but so far it only brings him back to my side, which he clearly resents, as soon as I say go hunt he is gone in a flash. I tried tying him to a stake so I could restrain him and work with him but he like to broke his neck trying ro break free.

He's basically a rescue dog, averaging a new owner each year of his life so far, but he's found his forever home with me. I'm reluctant to use any force or pain corrections with him, considering all the changes he's had to deal with in his young life so far. I don't want to mess him up and make him scared of me. I really like this dog and believe he has a lot of potential. I don't want to outsource his training either, poor guy will think he's been given away yet again.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:20 am

Porochi, The Perfect Start/Perfect Finish DVDs provide excellent instruction on many critical subjects of training a birddog, including excellent, thorough instruction on how to effectively use an ecollar. You would benefit greatly from watching and following them and you will learn the knowledge and confidence that comes from it, as to how you can most effectively use an ecollar to train your dog.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:52 am

Porochi:
He sounds like a talented dog who has been allowed to use his natural talent for hunting with very little training. This is very common in preserve dogs whose only goal is to put the bird in the air so the client gets to shoot and every bird that flies is shot. Also it sounds like he has trained the trainers in his life to give him treats. This is exactly my problem with over done treat training. These problems are easily solved.
First stop the treats as rewards. You can give him a treat occasionally but on your terms and when he has done nothing to earn it. Do the chokechain thing I decsribed. Keep all commands to an absolute minimum while you are going through the walking training period and none during the actual training session. Have him wear the turned off ecollar during all training sessions and in the field. You wll see his attitude toward you change and he will start to respect you. This is the time to overlay the ecollar. Start with the lowest setting he responds to. The George Hickox begining dvd would be a good choice. We start with the kennel command for collar training. Again it will take time to undo his preserve training but you can do it and the rewards for you and the dog will be well worth it. Retraining him is more about attitude, both yours and the dogs,than anything else. When he learns to respect you he will be turn into a happy trainable dog. You do not want to take his drive out , you want to redirect and control it. You can do it......Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:04 am

Porochi, If you are inclined to buy several DVDs I encourage you to do so as I learn something from each that I have purchased going back to the days of VCRs and books prior to that.

I own George Hickox's Great Beginnings DVD and picked up some good thoughts from it (particularly liked his use of treats to do some early conditioning of young puppies), but if you are only going to buy one, I highly recommend Perfect Start as the more comprehensive option as well as providing much more visual on how different dogs react and progress.
Last edited by averageguy on Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Cicada » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:29 am

I sure could have used this bit of advice in all of my learning adventures.

"You need to be patient. A fellow once told me when training a horse if you go about it like you have fifteen minutes it may take you all day. But if you go about it as if you have all day, it will probably only take fifteen minutes. I have found that advice to be sound for dog training also."


Great comments by all


Grant

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:54 am

Porochi
On the retrieving Issue, I think If you go to "Standing Stone" or "Willow Creek" websites, they both have videos on the "conditioned retrieve" that they do. I have known Chad and Ethan and Cat for many years and have trained with both of them since I started training pointing dogs. They are both innovative young trainers who train with a minimum of force. they are always looking for a better way.
The issue with Perfection kennels method is they require huge numbers of birds and a helper. Great if you have them but a problem
if you don't...….Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ON Honker Hunter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:24 am

One of the problems I see in this dialogue is that most of us are talking about training a pup fresh from the litter and this fella has a three year-old GSP that's gone through a couple of unknown ownership/training scenarios already. It's not apples and oranges but not the same for sure. I question how well he has bonded with the dog. Perhaps it is reluctant to bond given its history? Does it live in the home with him? I think that would help recover some lost ground.

It is an interesting contrast in training philosophies: I'm preaching getting on the ground and bonding while others advocate a choke collar and avoiding bonding (or even eye contact). Admittedly my experience has mostly been with a breed that is perhaps the least bullheaded of the hunting dogs: Labrador retriever. And definitely one of the most bondable of any breed (hence their utility as guide dogs). Generally speaking, they live to please. And dogs like that can be trained much differently. It's a wonderful tool if it's available. Doesn't sound like it is in this case. So perhaps my advice is out of place here.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:40 am

Porochi

I am not sure what your setup is or what you are willing to invest in to train you dog.

Everyone needs a source of birds to train a birddog regardless of the methods they follow. I started using Feral pigeons in large size wire dog crates set on sawhorses. Using two crates I could purchase a 30 bird supply each time I drove to my source and that kept me training for a month or more. Since they were feral I was unable to recover them when the flew away, but since I was only training one dog at a time, the cost was hardly insurmountable. Once the dog was pointing and holding a point well I began shooting the feral pigeons. It is an approach and scale everyone can duplicate.

Since then I built a small coop using the plans that have been around forever and are sold on the Lion Country website. (I later added a second coop built to twice the width of the first one, which allows me to keep homing and feral pigeons around but separate.)

As few as a half a dozen homing pigeons in such a coop is easily sufficient for working one dog in those phases of training where live birds are not being shot. Which covers a lot of training using the Perfection Kennel methods I follow for the most part.

Once a dog has progressed to using shot birds, a dozen feral shooter pigeons combined with half a dozen homing pigeons can easily keep a guy training one dog for a month.

When I get to the phases of training where I need an assistant, my Wife steps in. I taught her how to run the ecollar and give well timed corrections as needed while I shoot. I would prefer the opposite but she was far easier to train to run the ecollar than to shoot flying birds.

She is taking the video in my WSF link I posted and is holding the ecollar controller while I flush and shoot in case the dog were to have moved. He did not so no corrections were made or heard in the video. She then passed the controller back to me when I released the dog to retrieve so that I was in a position to issue a correction had the dog dropped the bird while retrieving. He did not so no corrections were issued from start to finish in that training segment, but it illustrates that two people can get it done all the way through.

Pointing out that small scale approach is very doable.

I posted some Chad Hines video in the Positive Reenforcement Thread some time ago. He is a good source of information as is the Standing Stone recommendation, as is the Trainer I have posted links to in your Retrieve thread again this morning.

You have some good options close by.

You are also welcome to bring your dog to my farm where we could do some work as well and see where you two are at with things if that is ever something that might interest you.
Last edited by averageguy on Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:00 pm

ON Honker Hunter wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:24 am
One of the problems I see in this dialogue is that most of us are talking about training a pup fresh from the litter and this fella has a three year-old GSP that's gone through a couple of unknown ownership/training scenarios already. It's not apples and oranges but not the same for sure. I question how well he has bonded with the dog. Perhaps it is reluctant to bond given its history? Does it live in the home with him? I think that would help recover some lost ground.

It is an interesting contrast in training philosophies: I'm preaching getting on the ground and bonding while others advocate a choke collar and avoiding bonding (or even eye contact). Admittedly my experience has mostly been with a breed that is perhaps the least bullheaded of the hunting dogs: Labrador retriever. And definitely one of the most bondable of any breed (hence their utility as guide dogs). Generally speaking, they live to please. And dogs like that can be trained much differently. It's a wonderful tool if it's available. Doesn't sound like it is in this case. So perhaps my advice is out of place here.
This is my exact thought on this Thread. We are talking about a dog who has been allow to hunt on his natural talent with little or no guidance, natural helps but it only goes so far. This is far different from training a puppy. We are not talking from the groundup training. The OP says he knows obedience commands and obeys when he is not distracted.
Secondly. Dogs are born to please themselves. They have been bred over millions of years to learn that they get what they want by pleasing a leader. I never had a dog that did not bond with me. The breed had nothing to do with it. Dogs that I trained with the choke chain method will bond with the trainer and never forget what they are trained to do. The mental change is amazing ..…….Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:21 pm

High drive dog = Calm handler
Low drive Dog = High drive handler
......
Excitable dog is only allowed,or been allowed.History is yesterday.
Dogs don't know last week,never mind yesterday.They Know Today for sure !

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by CDN_Cocker » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:24 pm

Some dogs are wound tighter than others. And some legitimately have ADHD. You'll have people that try to make u feel like it's something that you've done wrong in training or that you don't set boundaries but that's garbage. I've had quite a few dogs and they're all different. My current 2 are polar opposites and obviously I'm the one training both. I have a cocker that is 6.5 years old and he's borderline neurotic. He doesn't have an off switch and makes a very poor house dog (that's a nice way to say it). That being said, in training and hunting he's all business although he does struggle with focus which I have learned to deal with differently (i have a command for him to watch me). It's hard to tell with yours as it sounds like he hasn't really "learned how to learn" if nothing has been done with him. Start with the basics as if he's a puppy and progress from there. Being older you may end up with a dog you gotta tweak like mine but you won't know till you try. You know he can hunt so don't focus on that. Focus on going through obedience fully and completely. I will echo that the Koehler method works well for that. Some of his concepts are harsh and I don't use them but for basic obedience my method has been koehler based for my last 4 dogs. Forget the e-collar for now. Use a choke chain or slip lead and start from scratch.
Cass
"If you train a young dog for momentum, precision will arrive. If you train for precision, demanding perfection, momentum will depart." - Rex Carr

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ON Honker Hunter » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:11 pm

"Some dogs are wound tighter than others. And some legitimately have ADHD. You'll have people that try to make u feel like it's something that you've done wrong in training or that you don't set boundaries but that's garbage."

Well put, Cass. I have the courage to say it, but few may want to hear it, I have seen SO many rescue dogs who are just plain incorrigible. And it's always the same excuse: "He had such an awful life before I got him." Of course it's never the fault of genes. Nature or nurture? We may never have a complete answer to that question but the universal opinion among sociologists and psychiatrists today seems to be it's a combination of both environment and genes for humans so I must assume it is for dogs as well. Too often rescue dogs are someone else's headache and that's why they've been dropped at the shelter. Though some, like my neighbour's wonderful mutt who was so badly abused it lost an eye, will in the right home be lovely dogs no matter what their past history. Is this dog one of those hopeless cases? Hopeless is in the eye of the beholder I guess. I'm sure many Lab breeders/trainers would have thrown in the towel with my young Ellie a long time ago. Four years old and still wound up tight as a drum head. But fortunately she loves me to death and I successfully used that to our mutual advantage to turn her into a great versatile hunting dog. This fella's dog is complex and a challenge, much like the Norwegian's dog in another thread. I think he needs to be open-minded, try different options, and be prepared to think outside the box with this one. It may require a serious professional on-the-spot assessment.

And the statement that all dogs are only in it to please themselves until taught otherwise is just plain wrong. I've had Labs that would give up their lives for me (it's happened!) and they don't do it to please themselves or for fear of the consequences if they don't respond. Nothing in their training instructed them to come to me when I'm drowning or clinging to the edge of ice in a river. True, some breeds (like shitz hu) could absolutely care less what their owners need or want. Just as well try to train a door mat to fly. And I have hunted over some pointers (particularly GWP/Griffon) that were only a step above. Colorless would be a fitting description. The desire to please (i.e. "love") that a dog possesses varies from breed to breed and dog to dog. If it's there in great quantities, then training is much easier and enjoyable. An "independent" dog is more challenging for sure.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:44 pm


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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by porochi » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:14 pm

Good advice on here, lots of experience I can tell. I think we're starting to turn a corner, maybe, lately he's started retrieving a tossed ball, toy, stick, etc. in exchange for a treat. But maybe 30% of the time. He'll usually go through his obedience paces too, sit, stay, etc., but for treats. Now if we're out of the backyard though, he often won't even respond to treats because he wants to run and hunt, but for the most part, he's food motivated. I know I need to start pulling treats off, not sure how he'll respond. I want him to retrieve more consistently before I start training without treats though. While I'd love to train with pigeons I just don't have a place I can do that. I live in the city and while there's open areas, like public hunting, dog parks, etc. nearby, training with birds there isn't allowed. I can tell he's had it rough with prior owners (I'm # 3), so I'm reluctant to employ any force or pain training techniques, corrections with him, not until I'm satisfied it won't set him back and make him afraid of me. But he's solid on the e-collar, he always returns to me when I beep him, he's not gun shy, has a good nose, and solid on point, he'll honor/back (when we hunt with other dogs though I prefer hunting solo), so I think if I can get him to retrieve and hunt dead I've got enough of a bird dog for me.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ON Honker Hunter » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:08 pm

porochi wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:14 pm
Good advice on here, lots of experience I can tell. I think we're starting to turn a corner, maybe, lately he's started retrieving a tossed ball, toy, stick, etc. in exchange for a treat. But maybe 30% of the time. He'll usually go through his obedience paces too, sit, stay, etc., but for treats. Now if we're out of the backyard though, he often won't even respond to treats because he wants to run and hunt, but for the most part, he's food motivated. I know I need to start pulling treats off, not sure how he'll respond. I want him to retrieve more consistently before I start training without treats though. While I'd love to train with pigeons I just don't have a place I can do that. I live in the city and while there's open areas, like public hunting, dog parks, etc. nearby, training with birds there isn't allowed. I can tell he's had it rough with prior owners (I'm # 3), so I'm reluctant to employ any force or pain training techniques, corrections with him, not until I'm satisfied it won't set him back and make him afraid of me. But he's solid on the e-collar, he always returns to me when I beep him, he's not gun shy, has a good nose, and solid on point, he'll honor/back (when we hunt with other dogs though I prefer hunting solo), so I think if I can get him to retrieve and hunt dead I've got enough of a bird dog for me.
Good to hear! See if you can find a couple of bird wings to work with. Someone in your town should be able to help you with that. Sometimes fly tying shops have mallard wings you can purchase or order (the primaries are used for wings on some flies). I suspect a chicken wing would work well too. Like I said, flapping it in the air above my pup out of her reach worked well. Got her real excited and really accelerated her retrieving training.
In short order I was hiding it in the back yard. I would suggest saving some in the freezer. Put them in large ziplock bags if your spouse/partner gets freaky about feathers in the freezer.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:50 am

Porochi, it sounds like you are making progress and I commend you.
I suggest you not use the beep function of your e-collar to recall your dog. The beeper is intended for you to find your dog when on point in dense cover. If it has been used to recall, what is your dog to do when he goes on point and the beeper sounds to let you know, as designed to do?
Again, remember this a pointing dog not a Lab and productive range on wild birds is typically FAR greater than that of a Lab or flusher. You might soon regret not being able to use the beeper function as it was designed. Worse-case-scenario, you end up with what I call a "flointer or plusher". Flointer/plushers are man-made bird dogs (scratch the word "bird"). Typically, they are forced to work too close to their handler/owner there-by giving them little chance of actually pointing a wild bird. They are the source of a great deal of hacking, cussing and frustration on wild bird hunts. The up-side is that it gives your hunting buddies something to laugh about, when you're not around of course or what kind of buddies would they be?!? :wink:
P.S. Productive pointing breed range is greater than that of a flusher NOT because pointing dogs are better. They have a diverse operating mode by design. Still, I think a good flusher is much more fun on ditch parrots than a pointer but that's just me albeit, I don't do a lot of DP hunting.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by porochi » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:56 am

Yeah, I've wondered about that. He ranges out pretty far and I generally let him because we mostly hunt quail. If we're pheasant hunting it's a bit of a struggle keeping him close so he doesn't flush pheasants out of range, I have to stim. him often to keep him from ranging out too far. If I let him he'd range out 200+ yards or more. When we're quail hunting I don't mind, as he's shown he'll remain on point until I catch up. I have the e-collar on run silent mode so it only goes off when he's on point. I haven't seen him break point, even when the collar's going off. It's a different tone pattern than locate. I don't know if he knows that or just that his instinct, or previous training, makes him hold tight on point regardless what the e-collar is doing. But I often hit locate button because I just want to know where he's at and if he's gone too far. If I can't hear the collar I'll stim. him to get him back to me. But he'll usually come back to me when I hit the locate button. I've watched him 200+ yards out and I hit locate he'll spin right around and come back in. He was taught that by a past owner, I'm guessing. He'll also come back to my "come" command but I don't want to be constantly calling to him when we're hunting. I know when I hit locate he'll eventually show up. But yeah, I try not to do that too much. He'll come back in when I stim him too but I really don't like to hit the stim. and rarely do. Typically when we're pheasant hunting is when I find I have to.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:29 pm

I get it completely. But here is the thing; the early training has to convey the benefits of him wanting you to be a part of the hunt. If your gun dog keeps going over the horizon AND is rewarded for that with birds that he bumps and chases (or rabbits/deer/cats) that you may or may not even be aware of, you now have created a situation that needs fixed. ??? It shouldn't have started out this way.
You need to ask yourself why is he running as far from you when you have the gun? If it is too far to be productive, then you need to address that BUT it isn't typically as close as many think, even for a pointing breed gun dog. The secret is to have a hard driving dog that hits his finds HARD thereby driving the pheasant (or other game bird species) into a drop and freeze mode. Subsequently, the bird may decide to run. Ideally, your dog can self-relocate until the bird holds up - if it holds up. "The dog" should not flush said bird....period. Nor should you, under ANY circumstance discharge a firearm!
Your dog has to learn that ideal application which comes from the dovetailing of pace with savvy to handle these birds (hopefully he has the heart/lungs/nose/smarts to keep up with that productive pace). Some dogs figure it out quickly. Some take more time. Some....never get it. Dogs learn best from experience without a great deal of human intervention at inappropriate moments. The mistakes must be clearly defined as well as when they get it right.
Here are good questions to ask yourself regarding range:
How far does a KS bird dog range to be productive on pheasants?
Answer: Where pheasants are in order to be successful for both dog and owner. (It's not a number!)
How far should an AZ bird dog range to find quail?
Answer: Where the quail are in order to be successful. (It's not a number!)
How far should a MT bird dog range to find Huns?
Answer: Where it successfully nails the Huns for the gun. (It's not a number!)
How far does a bird dog range to find grouse in ME?
Answer: Where it provides the gunner with opportunities on grouse.
In-other-words, get the foundation training ingrained before you run your dog freely in situations you have NO control over! When dog owners (especially ones that previously owned retrievers or flushers) define the range of their pointing dog by, "He's working too far for me to shoot the bird!" - you know there's a problem but it's not in the dog. When you put shooting the bird at the forefront of developing a pointing dog, you eventually discover that it costs you birds as well as a hoarse voice/frustration/ridicule/etc.
Whenever you run dogs, they are learning. Try to have as much input on those early learning experiences as possible. Set the stage with all it's integral parts beforehand - anticipate the response - address the result in a timely fashion. Done properly, you should be able to hunt your reliably steady bird dog on virtually any game bird species/anywhere because the rules are the rules from pigeons to.........ptarmigan.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:10 pm

porochi wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:56 am
Yeah, I've wondered about that. He ranges out pretty far and I generally let him
Quail don't fly far.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:58 am

Poly, you're right, Kansas Bobs don't fly like the groose on yur moorlands but on occasion, far enough to evade dog and gun.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:55 am

The issue of a dog's range when hunting bobwhites is mostly related to finding the coveys in the first place, not how far the quail fly.

How active, focused and experienced a dog is as to where to look and using its nose/wind/ground pattern effectively, is far more important than the dog's absolute range. An savvy focused mid-range dog on a mission to find birds can easily out bird a dog which is running big but mostly running vs hunting.

Most of the places where I hunt bobwhites my dogs will be 65 to 250 yards depending on the cover density and whether they are into birds/singles in dense cover vs ranging farther to distant objectives looking for the next covey. I let my dogs' range develop naturally with me remaining mostly silent and hands off as the dog learns to adjust on its own in order to be effective at finding birds. With GPS I am able to let my dogs hunt with minimal interference and handling which is what I like and believe allows the dogs to learn and be most effective.

Property boundaries and roads are two good reasons for being able to handle your dog and a trained silent recall using the tone on the ecollar is wonderful. The tone I am using is not the same as the loud locator beep on some ecollar brands/models and is audible for only very short distances. With GPS I have the tracking/locator/run vs point notification tool I need while I remain silent. Which is also my preference. The tool makes for more effective dog handlers and avoids getting nervous and recalling dogs which have not been seen awhile, which can be detrimental to the dog's development and effectiveness if done too frequently.

Porochi, reading your posts on the whole, it sounds like once you get your dog hunting dead and retrieving you will be happy with how it hunts and finds birds currently.

Some yard obedience work (then carried into the field) and some Positive Re-enforcement Retrieving work is where I would focus. I believe the approach in the video links I posted in your Retrieve Thread are well suited for you and your dog based on your representations in your posts. The combination of a inexperienced trainer and a dog with an engrained habit of ignoring downed birds and a low drive/interest in retrieving, it may not work, particularly working solely on your own.

I expect your dog can be shaped into a dog that pleases you, but finding an experienced trainer to work with you in teaching you how to train your dog would be extremely valuable.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:13 am

Quoted from Averageguy:
How active, focused and experienced a dog is as to where to look and using its nose/wind/ground pattern effectively, is far more important than the dog's absolute range. An savvy focused mid-range dog on a mission to find birds can easily out bird a dog which is running big but mostly running vs hunting.
True-er words are rarely spoken! That is, AFTER the dog clearly understands the rules of engagement. I don't believe Porochi's's dog is there yet.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:03 am

You might be on the wrong thread......Cj

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:50 pm

Yea,but what if "In Training " the dog, those Quail were within range, without the prairie, or even the Catskills.
.I bet they would still just flush a while....Opportunity, I would think,to train/condition few things,,,,,,perhaps Not.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by porochi » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:19 pm

Simply put, to state the obvious, quail tend to hold. Pheasant don't. So a far ranging dog tends to bump pheasants out of range. I've seen that too many times to count. My guy ranges too far when I'm in pheasant country. I want him working within shotgun range at all times. If we're in east Kansas where there's few, if any, pheasants, but more quail, I don't mind him ranging far as usually he'll hold the quail till I get there, if fast enough, that is. He will tend to creep in on them if I'm not nearby to whoa him. I think that happened more than I'd like this year, I'd hear him on point off in the distance. By the time I got there he was off, chasing singles. He creeped in and bumped the quail before I could arrive. I've learned I really gotta hustle when i hear his collar indicating he's on point. When I can get there and he's on point he'll obey my whoa command and won't creep in. If left to his own devices, he will. As we mainly hunt quail I'm not focused, for now, on getting him to work close. But my dog, though, tends to hunt for himself. I swear he's part coyote... Other day I watched him about 150 yards out near a body of water go on point. Then a goose got up from its nest near him and swam off. My dog jumped in the lake and proceeded to swim after her, he got 70 yards or so out and showed no sign of stopping, while the goose lazily swam just in front of him. I had to stim. him a couple of times to get him to turn around. That's typical behavior for him. I love that prey drive but trying to turn that into an effective hunter, for me, gonna take some work. I'm enjoying this challenge though. He's getting me off my butt and outside a lot more than before I got him.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:07 am

Well that is quite a bit more information about the dog. On Monday you posted the dog would hold a point until you get there even at long distances. Now on Wednesday you post the dog creeps, busts and chases birds (which is normal for an untrained dog and easily solved with good training methods)

You have indicated you have no plans to acquire and use any training birds and have never responded positively to purchasing and using the DVD recommendations made.

Absent some training birds and more knowledge on your part on how to train up your dog, getting with a pro trainer is the realistic path.

PS.

I went back and read your first post about this dog. At that time you reported the dog would pick up birds, sometimes retrieve them to hand other times drop them halfway back. You also reported the dog always found dead birds. Seems like the dog has been allowed to regress in that area as well. Which indicates all the more it is past due to bring in some help to get where you want to be with your dog.
Last edited by averageguy on Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by deseeker » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:32 am

My thoughts are: join a NAVHDA club(they have birds & people that can help you) or get help from a pro -- JMO

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by birddogger2 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:56 am

Porochi -

I have a saying about dog training...it goes like this:

I like to install the brakes and steering on my race car before I take it out onto the track and hit the gas. I tend to get less wrecks that way. it is the same with bird dogs. They need brakes and steering. They get that in the yard, hopefully when they are pups to year or year and a half old youngsters.

It has become apparent with your later posts that . simply put...you have not really done that, at least not well enough... and your dog is displaying the results of incomplete obedience and yard training.

A bird dog needs to be honest. It must establish point and hold that point until you get there. That is the absolute minimum for a bird dog. Otherwise, all you have is a long range flusher, which is pretty useless.

You need to go back to the basics and install those brakes and that steering...in the yard. You have all spring and summer. Do the work and you will have a bird dog when you are done. It is boring and repetitive, but it is the first step in making a bird dog.

Get some help.

Having others to work with and encourage your progress can be a powerful incentive. I agree that Navhda would be a good choice. Do the right thing for the dog.

RayG

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by ON Honker Hunter » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:21 am

porochi wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:19 pm
Simply put, to state the obvious, quail tend to hold. Pheasant don't.
Hen pheasants will hold tight even towards the end of the season. My older Lab (who is having CT scan this morning for what appears to be terminal cancer) will go rock solid point on pheasants she can see that don't move. Almost always they are hens. In fact, it's been my experience that even late in the season on hard hunted publicly accessible land, hens will hold for my close working Fr Britt at least 80% of the time. Roosters will run. So shooting at anything is pretty much for close working dogs at that point. For that reason, pheasants may not be as useful a training tool as quail ... if he lives in country where quail are available. Otherwise see if he can find a commercial hunting operation that releases pheasants. The farm raised birds will hold very tight no matter the sex. Too stupid to run.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:55 am

My dog pointing a wild fully educated public lands Rooster this past Sunday afternoon, after he worked the moving rooster on a point and relocate pursuit, ending with the rooster holding long enough for me to shoot some photos and be within easy gun range when he flushed. Happens that way all the time with well trained and experienced pointing dogs.

Image

Can happen that way with Porochi's dog too if he gets it trained.

x3 on the checking out a NAVHDA Chapter suggestion as it may lead to a training partner with birds and experience to lend a hand with Porochi's dog. No one fully trains a dog by attending once a month NAVHDA training days, but there are folks there who train and work with their dogs daily who might be willing to help out here. People more commonly can learn some things as to how to train their dogs while attending these training days that they can then work on at home, provided they are willing to put out the effort to acquire and use training birds and grounds.

It does require some sorting through the attendees however, and observing what people and their dogs do is far more telling than what they say.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:01 am

CJ, you were right. Right content - wrong name! I meant Porochi…
This dog needs work. It should NOT need "whoa-ed" on birds...period. If it does, it needs trained. Since this dog is bumping/chasing AND you have shot bumped birds....you now have a much bigger job.
"Whoa-ed" finds are not steady finds either - not in my books. Whether you prefer that your dog remain steady to the flush, shot,fall is not the point. YOU flush/approach the birds in ALL circumstances. If a bird happens to wild flush before you get there...so be it (there is a lesson in that too). In any-and-all circumstances regarding bumped/chased or distant wild flushed birds, there is NO shot fired. Or...you have what you have.
This past season, I watched a GSP at just over 15 months stab a glorious find at some grass at the base of cow fence. 6 pheasants came out bird-after bird! This dog stood watching the early birds depart but most importantly, he marked the single cock-bird I shot at. I watched him work through the cow fence then run right past where I had that bird well marked...or so I thought. He trotted back proud as punch with a gem of a bird in mouth - brought it right to hand. THAT is what I want to remember of my past season with "Rocky". He's a gem and his owner is one lucky gent. Rock handles, is steady, retrieves from land/water and backs.
Trust me, the dogs are capable.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:03 am

Wow Averageguy....nice style on that dog, especially considering it's pointing a cross between a rabbit and a parrot! :lol:

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by averageguy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:24 pm

Thank you, FF.

The dog's breeder does a nice job and I am a benefactor of it.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:49 pm

polmaise wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:13 pm
porochi,
I would say you have had good and enough advice to put in to practice from others such as cj,and Ray.
Hope like many other posts similar dont fall the same way ,and we dont hear how the progression went.
atb. Let us know how you get on.
......
All I can add is , With an excitable dog ,it requires a CALM handler. With a Driving miss Daisy dog , it requires an excitable handler .
"Little One" should Take his dog out rather than Tacos all for a ride amigo.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by Featherfinder » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:16 am

I've no doubt the breeder produces nice dogs Averageguy but I see my share of what once was a nice dog.
You must be doing something right.
Congrats.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by polmaise » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:00 pm

I guess some don't have the pleasure of training an excitable dog.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by setterpoint » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:18 pm

a lot of times we go get our dog and start training most times that's fine, but sometimes the dog is so excitted that it causes training problem,and that sounds like where your at
next time you get out with your dog let the dog have some running time no commands
and use alot of that energy up just fun time, then start your training iv found that a dogs that a little tired comply better,

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:23 pm

I haven't read through the replays because many times I don't agree with them anyhow. :evil: I'm going to take a shot and say what you bought was a "kennel shy" dog. That is a dog raised in a kennel without much human contact until old enough to train, then trained. Very hard dogs to work with because they have no or little desire to please. I'd start from day one, I don't care how much they say was done with him. Basic obedience is the key. Even it it's been done, YOU do it. This will form a bond with the dog and teach him respect. I'd buy a pinch collar and a heeling stick. Keep the ecollar on him but don't use it. If he lunges any direction, just hang on. The pinch collar will correct him. Don't pamper him. If he keeps squirreling around, give him a damned good crack across the chest i.e. Butt with the heeling stick and command heel! Or whatever. Grind him. Don't put up with any of his crap. Teach himeverything you THINK he knows again. That way he'll learn it like YOU want. Usually dogs like this shape up very quickly. He thinks HE'S the boss. Teach him he isn't.
LIFE WITHOUT BIRD DOGS AND FLY RODS REALLY ISN'T LIFE AT ALL.

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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by cjhills » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:45 am

This is basically what I advocated at the beginning of this thread Except I use a choke chain rather than a pinch collar. I also never whack the dog with the heeling stick. I don't want to wear the dog out before I start. I want him at the top of his game. You are just wasting your time training a wore out dog. He will forget most of it when he is full of energy. I ignore the dog and all behavior, good or bad, until the dog is focused on me. I just walk with the dog beside me. If he tries to run away I let him get up a little steam, give him some slack, turn about and walk fast the other direction. He won't hit the end of the check cord more than a few times.
Dogs want a leader and they are quick to recognize when the pack does not have a leader. You can easily cure this dog taking ovr that position. I havestopped dogs from biting, fighting with other dogs, chasing cars and all manner of issues on many different breeds. I have seen dogs go fron timid dogs who would bite out of fear to happy, out going dogs who are proud to walk beside me. I have seen aggressive dogs that tried to attack me change mentally in a very short time and I have seen wild running, poorly trained , birdbusting pointing dogs turn into very good, trainable birddogs in a very short time. They do pick upon the dogs in my kennel respecting my postion in the pack.
I have people tell me their dog looks at me like he thinks I am god. My replies is that in his world I am.
You could easily do this. It is not about abusing the dog. It Is about winning his respect. Once you do he will accept all training.
Don't let him rush out the door ahead of you<put his on yours, jump on you or demand attention. Make everything be on your terms. You can easily do this if you quit messing around and take over the top dog position. If not you probably can't do much with him...…..Cj
Last edited by cjhills on Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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gonehuntin'
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Re: Training an excitable dog?

Post by gonehuntin' » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 am

Hey, CJ, whacking a dog with a heeling stick ain't abuse. Beating a dog is abuse and YOU should realize that.
LIFE WITHOUT BIRD DOGS AND FLY RODS REALLY ISN'T LIFE AT ALL.

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