Pickiness with dummies

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JJWISE
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Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:07 pm

I have a 2 year old Boykin who is a decent retriever and flusher, but now I’m starting to really work on tuning him up to be where I want him to be. For the most part things are going well, but he’s picky over which dummies he likes. He has not been force fetched, but will retrieve any dummy thrown. The problem comes when you pull out multiple dummies. If they are not the exact same size, shape, texture, etc, he will pick one that he likes the best, and for the rest of that training session he will not touch the others. I don’t expect him to ever be a field-trial champion or anything, just going for an upper-level meat dog. Any tips or tricks on how to fix this (without force fetch or spending $50 on new dummies) would be great.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by gonehuntin' » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:06 pm

I assume the dog is not electric collar conditioned? You're seeing one of a multitude of problems equated with not FFing a dog.

Try this. Put a very lite, 50' check cord on the dog. Put six bumpers out 20' away, scattered in a tight circle. Now throw a bumper to the pile and send the dog. When the dog gets to the pile and goes for the bumper, if there's a hesitation or the dog is picking through the bumpers, give several short jerks on the CC commanding "Here" each time. Not a hard habit to break at all but tougher, as most problems are, without an ecollar.
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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:20 pm

He is collar conditioned. But I’ve really only ever used the collar to enforce “come” and “sit” when he’s out of reach. This isn’t a major issue to me as it doesn’t cause much issue when we’re actually hunting, just one small training glitch I’d like to solve if possible. With him being a Spaniel, he’s fairly soft and I wasn’t confident to take on FF by myself since this is my first bird dog.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:03 am

Does it really matter ? The dog is only doing what most dogs would do. For instance if I put out a canvas dummy and a rabbit skin dummy it is very probable that my dogs would choose the rabbit skin dummy if the dogs were just being "sent to a pile." But if I put a dummy out to left and to right and one dummy was rabbit skin and the other plain canvas, I would insist on the dogs going to and retrieving whichever dummy I pointed towards.


I never insist a dog must drop a dummy once it has it's mouth around it as this can lead to uncertainty/anxiety and that can lead to a hard mouth or a slow or hesitant delivery. In Britain we conduct tests every spring and summer and plain canvas dummies are normally used in those tests. Although my dogs and just about everyone else's dogs would prefer to pick up rabbit skin dummies or bird feathered dummies, dogs do not tend to go looking for them in tests ….they just grab the canvas dummies and hurry back with them.

If I have a pup or dog that shows a reluctance to pick up and retrieve a game bird such as a woodcock or a snipe then I work on the dog using only that kind of bird until the dog is happy to retrieve it but no dummy work , except for maybe force fetch, would help much with a refusal to pick up a specific kind of bird. Since I never train F.F. and don't use e - collars I just have to work on making dogs happy and willing to retrieve just about anything.

Bill T.
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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:50 am

Trekmoor wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:03 am
Does it really matter ? The dog is only doing what most dogs would do. For instance if I put out a canvas dummy and a rabbit skin dummy it is very probable that my dogs would choose the rabbit skin dummy if the dogs were just being "sent to a pile." But if I put a dummy out to left and to right and one dummy was rabbit skin and the other plain canvas, I would insist on the dogs going to and retrieving whichever dummy I pointed towards.


I never insist a dog must drop a dummy once it has it's mouth around it as this can lead to uncertainty/anxiety and that can lead to a hard mouth or a slow or hesitant delivery. In Britain we conduct tests every spring and summer and plain canvas dummies are normally used in those tests. Although my dogs and just about everyone else's dogs would prefer to pick up rabbit skin dummies or bird feathered dummies, dogs do not tend to go looking for them in tests ….they just grab the canvas dummies and hurry back with them.

If I have a pup or dog that shows a reluctance to pick up and retrieve a game bird such as a woodcock or a snipe then I work on the dog using only that kind of bird until the dog is happy to retrieve it but no dummy work , except for maybe force fetch, would help much with a refusal to pick up a specific kind of bird. Since I never train F.F. and don't use e - collars I just have to work on making dogs happy and willing to retrieve just about anything.

Bill T.
Never noticed an issue when hunting, he’s always excited to go retrieve any real bird. I just struggle training him on doubles or triples. You mentioned putting out 2 dummies and insisting that he pick up the one you send him to, what process would you use to enforce that?

All of the dummies I currently have are all slightly different from one another. If I throw out a canvas one and a rubber one, he will pick one that he likes and the rest of the day will refuse to pick up any dummy besides that dummy. Same thing if they are different colors, sizes, etc.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by Trekmoor » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:22 am

I don't think I've ever owned or seen a dog behave as you describe with dummies. I start pups on retrieves from the moment I first get them and I vary the dummies a lot in texture, weight, colour and size. Most of the pups will have a preference for one type of dummy over another but they will retrieve anything thrown for them and any dummy they come across when I begin to train for blinds.

Your dog already has an established behaviour pattern. I would try to work towards getting your dog to retrieve only one kind of dummy ….. a standard one pound weight canvas dummy. I probably have at least a dozen of these I have accumulated over the years and I train mainly with them but do use rabbit skin and plastic dummies occasionally too …. and my pups/dogs still retrieve them very happily because they all have my hand scent on them.

If I get a problem with a dog deciding it would prefer to go , for example, left towards a particular dummy instead of go towards the dummy I pointed towards I get on it's case at once. I don't use e-collars so I have to use my head a bit more. I am far too old to run out to catch a dog now but I can still sit a dog a few yards off to my left in between me and a fence or a wall then toss a dummy over the dog's head to fall beyond it close to the fence. Then I let the dog see the second dummy ….maybe a rabbit skin one and throw that off to my right to fall beside the fence.


If the dog should then try to go towards the rabbit skin dummy I am in exactly the right position to "cut it off at the pass" - - - to step forward and block it's route . I catch the dog, put it back where it was in the "sit" then re-send it for the dummy it was supposed to fetch .


If a dog is very obstinate about going for the last dummy it saw thrown or for a rabbit skin dummy when sent towards another dummy , I get a friend to toss the rabbit dummy out to fall close to him . Then, should the dog insist on going towards that dummy , the friend dashes out and picks up the dummy before the dog can reach it. This takes away the dogs reward.


If no friend is available I toss the rabbit skin over a high wire mesh fence then send the dog for the other dummy. If the dog goes for the rabbit dummy it cannot get to it because of the fence and the reward is again not there for the dog.


One good thing about never using an e-collar is that it makes the handler a bit more innovative.

Doing these things does no harm to a dog , my dogs have won tests and trials.


Bill T.
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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by polmaise » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:22 pm

One at a time is good fishing . When Hunting.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by crackerd » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:30 pm

JJWISE wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:50 am
Trekmoor wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:03 am
Does it really matter ? The dog is only doing what most dogs would do. For instance if I put out a canvas dummy and a rabbit skin dummy it is very probable that my dogs would choose the rabbit skin dummy if the dogs were just being "sent to a pile." But if I put a dummy out to left and to right and one dummy was rabbit skin and the other plain canvas, I would insist on the dogs going to and retrieving whichever dummy I pointed towards.


I never insist a dog must drop a dummy once it has it's mouth around it as this can lead to uncertainty/anxiety and that can lead to a hard mouth or a slow or hesitant delivery. In Britain we conduct tests every spring and summer and plain canvas dummies are normally used in those tests. Although my dogs and just about everyone else's dogs would prefer to pick up rabbit skin dummies or bird feathered dummies, dogs do not tend to go looking for them in tests ….they just grab the canvas dummies and hurry back with them.

If I have a pup or dog that shows a reluctance to pick up and retrieve a game bird such as a woodcock or a snipe then I work on the dog using only that kind of bird until the dog is happy to retrieve it but no dummy work , except for maybe force fetch, would help much with a refusal to pick up a specific kind of bird. Since I never train F.F. and don't use e - collars I just have to work on making dogs happy and willing to retrieve just about anything.

Bill T.
Never noticed an issue when hunting, he’s always excited to go retrieve any real bird. I just struggle training him on doubles or triples. You mentioned putting out 2 dummies and insisting that he pick up the one you send him to, what process would you use to enforce that?

All of the dummies I currently have are all slightly different from one another. If I throw out a canvas one and a rubber one, he will pick one that he likes and the rest of the day will refuse to pick up any dummy besides that dummy. Same thing if they are different colors, sizes, etc.
Then suck up your pinchpenny playbook and shell out for a half-dozen of these (3" bumpers)
https://www.gundogsupply.com/softtrainregd2.html especially for a Boykin, but good for gundog pups of all ages, breeds and colours as our cousins would say.
IMG_20190625_152521.jpg
IMG_20190625_152521.jpg (797.61 KiB) Viewed 881 times

Every time a pup doing multiples or attempting multiples spits a bumper or hesitates to pick up one bumper instead of another ("shopping"), it burns memory - and as the adage might go, "No memory, no multiple marking success."

MG

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by CDN_Cocker » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:46 am

The obvious answer is force fetch. If you're not interested in that or not ready yet there's 2 other options. Only use bumpers that are the same. Buy a dozen of the same size and brand and then there should be no reason to be selective. The last option is letting him shop and just being ok with whatever one he brings you. If he doesn't end up bringing them all back then I think you kinda need to train the retrieve if that is important to you but if just doing doubles or triples you can probably get by as you're not sending him over and over to a pile.
Cass
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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by polmaise » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:38 pm

Looking at it logically , ...Picking one ,then another is opportunity offered without previous desire to 'return' .
The dog isn't doing anything wrong ,it just isn't doing it right .(for the intended set up)
It doesn't Burn memory (imo) it confuses memory if it is allowed to happen before the dog has 'Memorised' What to do with one .

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by Meskousing » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:59 pm

Dog picks up a bumper and nick on the e-collar with "here." If he drops the bumper, then you haven't properly conditioned recall (or went too high on the collar with) the collar and you need to re-consider your hesitancy about force fetch and properly collar condition the pup. At least, teach the dog "hold." If you're hesitant about teaching the conditioned retrieve, find someone that can help you and/or get some videos and books (Evan Graham is a great place to start.)

Keep in mind, the people you're asking for advice from are generally advising conditioned retrieve, for a good reason. THey have a proven system and process, in which the conditioned retrieve is a part. Take out one part and the system isn't as good. In other words, there's a reason why accomplished trainers view it as integral and don't skip it.

Yes, there are trainers that have very effective systems without the conditioned retrieve, but let's skip that sidebar conversation.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by polmaise » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:22 pm

Meskousing wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:59 pm
Keep in mind, the people you're asking for advice from are generally advising conditioned retrieve, for a good reason.
I reckon you are being Too choosy :lol:

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:34 pm

Ended up just buying half a dozen identical dummies once my last paycheck hit. Problem seems to be fixed for the most part. Occasionally he’ll decide that he doesn’t want to pick up one of the subsequent ones but we can usually work through it that session and if he decides that he really doesn’t want to do it, I’ll take him inside and he’ll usually be fine the next session. Casting is going pretty well, just need to work on him sticking to whatever line he’s sent on now.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by crackerd » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:50 am

JJWISE wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:34 pm
Ended up just buying half a dozen identical dummies once my last paycheck hit. Problem seems to be fixed for the most part. Occasionally he’ll decide that he doesn’t want to pick up one of the subsequent ones but we can usually work through it that session and if he decides that he really doesn’t want to do it, I’ll take him inside and he’ll usually be fine the next session. Casting is going pretty well, just need to work on him sticking to whatever line he’s sent on now.
"...Sticking to whatever line he's sent on now" isn't a natural occurrence with a Boykin - what's your training consist of for inculcating that line, and are the bumpers visible to the dog at all times when he's being cast or "forced" to a pile?

Also, what bumpers did you go with? - there's a new number out there called AirFlow that by price ($14 apiece) apparently is gold-plated but I see one of the https://www.gundogsupply.com/air-flow-bumper.html has it for $9.95 - if your paycheck can take any more hits...

MG

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:06 am

crackerd wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:50 am
JJWISE wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:34 pm
Ended up just buying half a dozen identical dummies once my last paycheck hit. Problem seems to be fixed for the most part. Occasionally he’ll decide that he doesn’t want to pick up one of the subsequent ones but we can usually work through it that session and if he decides that he really doesn’t want to do it, I’ll take him inside and he’ll usually be fine the next session. Casting is going pretty well, just need to work on him sticking to whatever line he’s sent on now.
"...Sticking to whatever line he's sent on now" isn't a natural occurrence with a Boykin - what's your training consist of for inculcating that line, and are the bumpers visible to the dog at all times when he's being cast or "forced" to a pile?

Also, what bumpers did you go with? - there's a new number out there called AirFlow that by price ($14 apiece) apparently is gold-plated but I see one of the https://www.gundogsupply.com/air-flow-bumper.html has it for $9.95 - if your paycheck can take any more hits...

MG
Just got some regular white rubber bumpers, can’t remember the brand. For casting, we started with “baseball” and he learned to accept the hand signals towards whichever bumper I wanted him to go to. Gradually worked the distance out with the same baseball technique.

There’s 2 different scenarios that arise when we try to simulate a blind retrieve, depending on whether the bumper is visible to him or not. If he sees the bumper throw, or sees it at any point during the retrieve he will go straight to it. For instance, if the bumper is back and left of him, he will run directly to it (diagonal) regardless of whether I give him a “back” or “over” command. This is mildly frustrating but I can live with this flaw if it’s the worst thing that arises.

Other scenario is when he can’t see the bumper. He will take a “back” or an “over” command from me, but after a little ways will veer off course and begin hunting on his own. This is another flaw that I can live with, because all I have to do is make him sit with the whistle and cast him again, and he will continue on for 15-20 yards at a time this way. Would love to solve it if I can, but isn’t that big of a deal to me.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by polmaise » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:06 am

JJWISE wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:06 am
For casting, we started with “baseball” and he learned to accept the hand signals towards whichever bumper I wanted him to go to. Gradually worked the distance out with the same baseball technique.

There’s 2 different scenarios that arise when we try to simulate a blind retrieve, depending on whether the bumper is visible to him or not. If he sees the bumper throw, or sees it at any point during the retrieve he will go straight to it. For instance, if the bumper is back and left of him, he will run directly to it (diagonal) regardless of whether I give him a “back” or “over” command. This is mildly frustrating but I can live with this flaw if it’s the worst thing that arises.

Other scenario is when he can’t see the bumper. He will take a “back” or an “over” command from me, but after a little ways will veer off course and begin hunting on his own. This is another flaw that I can live with, because all I have to do is make him sit with the whistle and cast him again, and he will continue on for 15-20 yards at a time this way. Would love to solve it if I can, but isn’t that big of a deal to me.
Ahh !, the complexities of Retrieving ,just when we think 'Fido' has mastered how to fetch a stick . :wink:
Ever noticed how a Dog looks at your hand rather than look where you are pointing ?
A 'Straight line' in the dogs head is hugely different to a Straight line in it's eyes...............Threads often Diverge off Course ! ..much like the Dog "In Training" ,having originally had experience with 'Shopping' or 'Choosing' ,and even allowed to decide which 'Particular target' was really the Stick in the first place ?> however, That 'Momentum' - that gives 'Precision' that keeps conjuring it'self up ,has relevance on the way back , just as much as the way out 8) ...
....Way too much Precision in explanation if 'One can live with most things' that don't mean a heck of a lot anyway, the Dog gets the bird sometimes.!
......
This side of the pond ,even in our Hunting with Retrievers (or any breed for that matter) that is required to 'Retrieve' Game that is shot ,''we'' like to think that even the 'Bone fide' Shooter with his dog will Go to where they 'Point them' , and that has Nothing to do with a Hand !, More the Feet and the Body and the Position of Heel,and the Gun of course ,when sent from the side .....But that is another Story which requires 'Lining and Casting' ...'No Hands'! :wink:

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by JJWISE » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:08 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone. Once I got identical dummies, everything started going much smoother and now he will mark triples pretty reliably. As far as casting goes, I can work him into the area of the fallen bird and as long as I’m getting my birds back, I’m happy.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by polmaise » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:42 pm

Very wise JJ.

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Re: Pickiness with dummies

Post by setterpoint » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:00 am

try removing the one the dog likes best then remove the others one at a time untill your down to the one the dog like the least
when your dog is retrieving that one with no issues, add one more as your dog progress to 2 then 3
don't know if this will work but worth a try
I trained my setter to force fetch and ran into problem of something like your saying, a few of the dummys she didn't like to retrieve so that was the ones I used now so far will go get any and bring them back untill I say give

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