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Training and everyday events.
|Posted on August 4, 2016 at 6:40 AM||comments (37)|
I wrote this piece below for the Video Clip section, but I thought I would share it here as well, well I do like to ramble, he he he!
The wonderful thing about a spaniel for working is,
when you have a spaniel by your side you need no other breed of dog next to you for they are the
Perfect All-rounder, and a super companion!
To work with a spaniel as a team, and to know that your teammate could be totally self employed and yet he choses to work with you, listening to you, well that is an experience that cannot be explained in words but is most certainly some form of Rush!
It is sheer bliss to have your dog working through the hedgerow and cover crop as if either were a row of cotton sheets hanging on washing lines blowing gently in the breeze on a wash day, and yet with the adrenalin of a toddler on Christmas morning buzzing through his body, and yet still he keeps one ear open in case you speak to him, an awareness to where you are in case you gesture something to him or change direction, for you and he have learnt over the years to read one another slightest movement, you have both learnt that when you work as a team Great fun is to be had, and What a Team you make!
It is not only your dog and yourself that are blessed by your partnership, but also the guns, and that matters that they benefit for on shoot you are all a circle and no one part is greater than the other, but without the Guns finances, that land those birds and even the beautiful wildlife that thrives in that environment, would not be there.
The Guns benefit greatly by a well trained dog, for you and your dog can work as a team pushing the birds out of the crop and into the air, like the flow of a stream that bubbles down its pathway flowing into all the little nooks and crannies exploring them on it's way creating little drop-off points for fish to rest. You and your dog need to flow through that cover crop/undergrowth at a pace that will give the pheasant ahead time to find the nook or cranny to rest, whereupon your dog will find it and flush it straight into the air... all this done at a pace that does not make the pheasant go into a frenzy and rush straight down through the cover crop to the end of it to fly in one all mighty crescendo with the other pheasants, or enable it to loop behind you. This flow gives the gun time to reload and aim with accuracy again and again and again, instead of that almighty crescendo that gives him no time to reload or aim with accuracy, for that makes a possible fabulous drive turn into a complete loss for the guns, and that is not what we want to happen.
There is always part of me that hopes the guns miss, but I am a meat eater, the pheasants live a free life and are supplemented through nasty weather by the game keepers/shoot, heck the humans even create places were the pheasants can shelter, and if we beaters and pickers-up do our job properly and the guns give the respect to the birds by not making stupid shots, then we have done ok!
And I suppose that is what Gamekeepers, Guns, Landowners, beaters, and Pickers-up all should aim for, and I would hope most do
To respect the animals, make their lives good and give a clean kill as possible, protecting and respecting the wildlife and countryside around. NOT beating our dogs (hitting/discipline whatever you call it to soften the sound of the act) in the name of training, killing birds of prey, or treating our woodlands as if there will be no next generation. That behaviour isn't for people who truly love nature or dogs or the environment. And if you love all three, well stop protecting those that do not with your continual silence for those people/acts are the ones that people outside the sport see and tar all of us with that same brush. Stand up for what was passed down to us, and what we should now be guardians off, for our forefathers understand the land and mother nature and respected it, machines' have enclosed us of from it to a degree, yet us who walk/work the land on foot tread the same path and should respect all of mother nature and her animals, let us either leave it as those forefathers would want or improve the land and the wildlife for the next generations.
I hope these videos help you, and shows you that dogs can be trained with Love and common sense and with no need or right to use physical violence!
When your dog is trained and ready to go on shoot with you, I hope you find a shoot with the same principals as I and many others have, and that many wonderful winter days follow from it!
|Posted on July 31, 2016 at 3:07 PM||comments (518)|
This month I have been teaching Tinks Left & Right by movement and verbal command. This month I have also taught Jay-Jay the verbal command of 'Left' & 'Right' as previously she only had one verbal command for going right or left depending on which arm movement I made. As you can see they are doing well, and only with 3-4 short very lessons a week.
So I am very pleased with them, they have listened well and had fun.
To teach dogs Left and right by arm command gives the dog a greater chance of getting the retrieve, and we need that to enable a fast retrieve of any game we send the dog for, especially if you know where it lays but the dog does not.
If your dog just know the command 'Out' followed by just a throw of the hand and no clear Right or Left movement from you, you limit yourself and thereby you limit the dog, and you may have to give far more arm throws and 'Get Out' commands to get the dog into the same spot than a dog with a good straight Out-run and a sharp stop to the whistle with a then silent left or right arm command. Makes sense doesn't it, after all imagine yourself shouting 'Get out, Get out...' on shoot day when the dog has been sent for a blind and is only guided by throwing of the arms and your shouting at it that command, compare that to the far more silent option which has far more accuracy!
Now I am Lucky in that Jay-Jay will do a Meerkat when she is unable to see me or when she needs to do it to mark the fall of the game, and she does it without moving forwards or backwards just upwards, which most Judges and trainers love as it shows brains for starters and an ability to mark game the sitting down dog (or if you beat it) the lying flat dog would not see, and therefore Jay will see the bird land and get to the fall. But, if your dog doesn't do the meerkat impersonation or cannot because of the environment it is in, well then that 'Left' or 'Right' command could come in very handy. Now it won't be needed all the time as your dog will often see many falls, or will see you (maybe you need to move a tad if you can to enable that), but there are those times it will be greatly useful.
The you tube clip below shows you Tinks and Jay-jay as they are taught these new commands by myself over this month of July.
To teach Tinks the Left & Right direction command via body and language, I broke it down for her and started by teaching her just the body Language when I sent her for a 'Back retrieve'.
This I did by sitting her directly in front of me at an angle that would make her want to go the way I wished her to, as you can see in the video it worked a treat.
You only need to sit the dog at an angle while the dog is starting to learn this new command. When teaching a dog something new one should always set the dog up in way that aids the dog, once taught it's a different matter .
Now both girls have been previously taught, to varying degrees, to run straight lines left and right by my making a clear and straight movement with either right or left arm and a vocal command 'Out', not a throw away arm movement that just sends the dog in a wide section to either side, but a clear signal for a straight line.
But now of course they are learning the vocal commands 'Left' or 'Right' and that is learnt through repetition. Of course as far as the dogs are concerned Left and right could be called 'Fish' & 'Chips', as long as you always use the same word for the same direction. Because they know the arm movement I can just put the new word with the move, and repetition will lock it into their memory bank.
I then add temptation by throwing a beloved ball over Tinks head to land behind her, then asking her to go either right or left for a dummy instead of going for her ball, and if she got it wrong, the most she would get is a verbal 'Ahhh', which seems really loud on the video but that was only because my mouth is very close to the mobile. Always remember to praise for the stops, the stops must be praised as you want the sits to be well and truly locked into their memory, and locked in through only good memories.
I am lucky enough to then be able to add another dog (Jay Jay) into the mix for Tinks, it helps Jay-jay to learn patience so its a win win, even more temptation to for them both, and when I think I can I ask them to cross one another for a retrieve I do, this asking really demanding high concentration of them.
The video is a mixture of mobile video and camera video so please forgive.
As always, no dog was Hit at any point, it isn't needed, whether you gloss it up by calling the hitting of ones dog 'Correction/redirecton' or any other name, it is Not Needed and shouldn't be done. Learn to teach a dog with kindness, as many of us do, OR don't teach, for no dog deserves it!
|Posted on May 1, 2016 at 11:10 AM||comments (77)|
Why Cruelty Does Not Pay
The reason I do not agree with physical punishment toward dogs is because I find it cruel and consider this to be poor and lazy training, and to the dog and your own self detriment. Training with physical punishment/correction, whatever one wants to call the hitting of their dogs, does not even give you a better dog than if it was trained with Kindness, Respect, good Tones of voice, practise and Good Timing.
I shall explain why
If one listens to some trainers/handlers they will tell you how they will allow the dog to run in after the dummies up to the age of 10 months or even older in some cases, this is (they believe) needed to create drive and also (mainly) because until then the dog would not be able to take the physical correction that is about to be given to them by the trainer/handler.
When the dog reaches that age/maturity/size the trainer/handler will then teach the dog to sit/stop and not run in for the retrieval item anymore, and of course by then the young dog has been happily running after everything that the person has thrown for the dog and therefore it has become a very strong habit, and as we know, even for ourselves, Habit are hard to break.
The way they will teach the dog at that stage of its life is by harsh methods, some will hit the dog, some will shake the dog and some will do both to the dog, and I have even seen a dog being booted for it, terrible. All of these actions done under the title of 'correction, a negative, teaching', all softer words than the actual acts themselves, the true words that should be used are 'Hitting, kicking and/or physical punishment'. They will not use the correct words as they know the correct words depict the act in its true light while the other words sound softer and kinder and give them (they believe) an 'excuse, reason, justification' for training in that manner.
All this to teach a dog to no longer run in after the dummy until given permission to do so, to teach a sit basically, just a sit, an easy task but one the dog being trained in this way will not get right for quite a while as it will keep moving (often than not) towards the Handler/trainer to appease that person and prevent the continuous hitting. Sadly the trainer/handler will more than likely read the dog wrong and see the dogs movement as a sign of defiance/ naughtiness or both, from then on in the dog will lose out.
The trainer/handlers method will have to be done until the dog no longer moves from the sit, which can go on for weeks/months just to teach the sit in that position, and then of course the dog has to be taught to sit in different environments and under different temptations, so this method of training would have to be carried out on many occasions. This can become a battle the dog greatly loses as the more times the trainer/handler hits the dog the harder the dog wishes to stop that person hitting it and therefore the dog keeps moving forward towards that person to appease and prevent the next hit.
In the old days people called this 'breaking dogs' as some trainers were not capable of nurturing a dogs natural drive so therefore had to let it run riot, and then when they believed it was old enough to withstand the beating, well then they would beat it.
By allowing a dog to keep running in creates a habit, and as we know habits are so hard to 'Break'!
Dogs trained in this way will often drop to the ground, which is the desired effect the trainer/handler is after, and you may think that to be good, BUT, this method has not been thought through because...
if a dog drops in fear because he knows previously he has been hit
when the whistle was blown, the dog will drop and look to see where the Trainer/Handler is and then look away in fear and then back at the handler in fear unsure what to do to appease the trainer/handler to prevent what the dog knows may be coming, which is a hit, a shake or a boot.
But the dog has to try and work out 'Why' is it being hit, Again another fault in this method of training. From the dogs point of view, when one corrects/hits a dog like this how is the dog meant to know which particular act it is getting hit for? The dog is hugging the ground, so could it be that? The dog looked at the trainer/handler, so could it be that? The dog looked away from the trainer/handler, so could it be that? Is the dog being hit for the movement towards the trainer/handler? or is the dog being hit for not sitting, or is he being hit for not staying?? All this while the dog is shutting down, for how can it think about what you are teaching it when 1) It does not know which part of the exercise it is getting wrong 2) Its mind is full of all the above thoughts.
It has been proven that a fearful dogs shuts down mentally, to a degree, and because of this the dog isn't able to take in the lesson, to varying degrees, or in the case of gundogs, be able to focus on looking for where the bird is landing, a priority for our gundogs.
If you train with kindness however and nurture the dogs drive and enjoyment of retrieving, teaching as the pup grows to sit and then continue the training to not running in, you will have a dog that sits (not lays down) and therefore can and will look all around for where the bird has dropped if he/she has heard the gun go off, or if no gun goes off to look for the handler to find out what the handler wants, its mind is totally open and free from fear of what the trainer/handler may do to it, it has nothing else on its mind at that time apart from the task at hand and you.
In my opinion you will get a far better trained dog if you train with common sense and kindness. To allow a dog to keep doing something that you will hit it for when it comes to a certain age does not create a dog with more drive than a dog taught with kindness and common sense. You will have wasted 10 months of its life, you would have missed the opportunity of teaching the dog as it grows many different things that will make a well rounded gundog.
Train a dog kindly and with common sense and you will have a dog that goes like a rocket, listens happily to it's owner and marks wonderfully well for it is not flat out on the floor waiting to be hit!
To say 'to train with Kindness means one will lose drive' is ridiculous, I have heard this being said, in fact it is the opposite. To hit dogs knowing that they will forgive you in a heartbeat is cruel, and as I have pointed out, detrimental to your training of your Gundog.
Even if you take one picture/snapshot shall we say of the two different types of training let it be this...
A dog flat on the ground, Fearful with part of its brain occupied with thoughts of what it has done wrong and will it get Hit
A dog sitting up free from fear, so clear of mind, looking everywhere for that bird, as in the video below.
Being Gundog breeds, so full of life and wanting to please, both dogs once released from the sit command may get up wagging their tails, but the one that was taught with kindness once the release command is given is off like a shot to retrieve the bird it marked, while the dog taught by hitting it is left confused as it didn't even see the bird as it was to busy thinking about the punishment that was to come!
Thankfully there are many Good trainers so Alfinmarsh pups stay away from Bad/Lazy/cruel trainers, please. Go to good kind trainers and have a dog sitting up, wide eyed and fully focused at the task to hand.
|Posted on August 5, 2012 at 5:06 AM||comments (78)|
|Posted on June 3, 2012 at 2:36 PM||comments (135)|
Must be two years or more, since David Lisett told us about the work he was doing to put together a product that he could feed his dogs and more,
and we knew the product he produced would be something special.
Now we have had our first bags of the food delivered from Chapel Farm, we chose Performance 24+ and I am confident the results will be good and at such a reasonable price my purse will be very happy
All the dogs have either been to the Cuckmere or the lake at least once this week and thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learnt, and we too have loved it. We chuckle at Tinks little tippy toe into the cuckmere, she is sooo gentle in her entrance into the water, whereas Ellie is like the rest of the gang and just takes an almighty leap into the river.
Jay Jays' work in the water is beautiful to watch, she goes such distances in the water and takes commands/directions that astound me. Though she does it for us, so if we bore her with water work she will pull up the drawbridge,
bless her heart. My fault as I enjoy watching her water work so much I can get carried away.
Having her mum, Mia, there as well, working the girls as a brace is yet another joy I could get carried away with.
We do feel truly blessed with our dogs.
I have also had the pleasure of two Alfinmarsh owners coming for a walk this week, Tracy with Rhett on tuesday and then Vicki with JJ on friday.
It is such a pleasure to have the company of those two women and always a joy to see an Alfinmarsh pup come back for a walk.
|Posted on May 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM||comments (98)|
Well, are two youngest are a year old and it s so hard to believe that fact.
These two sweeties, as you all know are sisters from the same litter and have been left untouched for most of the year.
We took the decision when i had the fall down the stairs, to 'not touch them' until I could run, bend and happily move as one needs to when training
young dogs. Normally we train from the get go, all fun training but still training, and I would be a liar to say I didn't worry as the months ticked by over whether we had made the right decision
We hoped and prayed that it would not be the wrong decision and that with our work we do with each Litter, giving them a lot of stimuli and socialisation before they leave us to go to there new homes, and basically by not doing anything with them that might cause trouble when we did start the training.
We had people say of Ellie that she would have so much trouble all the time with her eye, and touch wood she has had none. I even had one person say that their dog was useless at smelling and not much drive, which they put down to the fact that their dog had only one eye. Our Little Ellie has so much drive and a very good nose and is fully, if not to much., switched on :)
We also have heard over the years 'oh noooooooo you shouldn't keep two from a litter as they will not bond with you' etc. People often say that they keep their dogs totally on their own in kennels so they do not pair with another dog diminishing ( as they see it) their bond with the dog, saying to do all of this just makes it so hard for training.
But we had no issues with Mia and Jay Jay when we kept them with their mother and couldn't see their bond between the two of them getting into the way of our bond with them. The human bond was the worry for me, particular worry as Gary was the one who would do most of the playing with Tinks and Ellie as they grew as I could not kneel down to do so, meaning Tinks at one point was certainly more bonded with Gary.
BUT we have now started training and our wild pups have started their journey to hopefully many many years on shoot having fun with us.
Tinks is bonding well with me and I think she is a little sweetheart who is so like her older sister Jay jay it is uncanny. There seems to be no issues caused by having kept her sister, or through the lack of training over the moths. Yes if I was to do a list of what Jay Jay could do by one years of age and what Tinks can now do, the gap would be huge BUT if we compare them by length of time they have been trained, the boards would be equal.
Neither Gary or I have regretted keeping the two, and they have given us great joy and have enriched the pack individually.
May we also take this opportunity to say
Thank You To All The Alfinmarsh Owners
We have always felt blessed by the people who have become Alfinmarsh owners. They have been wonderful to the Alfinmarsh pups and many have become close and dear friends, we promise to take more care of you all over the following year
|Posted on March 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM||comments (84)|
We have taken the pups to the lake twice in seven days and we have been very pleased with them. Poor Tinky was to brave and dived straight into the lake and gave herself a shock, bless her, Such a brave girl who is certainly now thinking about doing it again but just thinking.
We start the young ones off on the reed beds, this enables them to paddle into the water whilst feeling secure because the reeds make for less splash back, security of normality and it is not so deep that they need to swim, enabling them to keep their feet on the ground.
Ellie very quickly moved on from the reeds beds to diving into the lake, very quickly, and she swims as if she has been swimming for an age where as Tinks because she dived straight into the lake before getting use to the water, is not so far forward but we know in her own time she will turn into a water babe and a great water babe, until then we will let her paddle away in the reeds :)
In the video clip is Jay jays first lake work of this year and Ellie's second session ever. I have also put a little clip of Tinks doing a land retrieve, bless her.
Jay Jays session had to be done all in one go because we had Ellie with us and we didn't want little Ellie to get cold.
Jay Jay done all I asked of her which was very Lucky seeing as I had a back seat driver in Gary, he said when I redirected Jay Jay with an out command that I should have just let her go straight back as I had not, as yet, given her a straight back in that session. I took no notice and still sent her out and then when I reviewed the video saw that Gary was quite right, I hadn't let her have a straight Back, don't you just hate it when you have senile moments, he he he!
Then on the next retrieve I redirected her out and Gary let Ellie paddle in the reeds in the direction of Jays out :) Talk about distraction, once she had corrected herself she needed a back command.
Jay Jay seems very happy of late and I am very happy with her and how we are processing together, roll on the summer.
Ellie was a star, only her second time in the water :))
Tinks as i said earlier is still in the reeds so the clip is of her on the land. I should have NOT said steady to Tinky when she was out on her retrieve, as unless the pup needs it, I like to leave them to it to work it out themselves and to not
get in there way.
Oh by the way my 'out' is command for left or right :)
Please excuse mama mia having a moan whilst Tinks did her retrieve, but ha, even the old girls can have a moan once in a while, he he he!
|Posted on November 27, 2011 at 3:37 AM||comments (74)|
We have been lucky enough to get permission to Train Jay Jay on a shoot just a few miles from us. The old syndicate on there had fallen apart and so we popped along and got permission of the land owner.
We haven't found much game there but we have found some :) and there is some wonderful areas for her to train on as you can see from the footage.
We were on shoot yesterday and we consider ourselves very lucky with the shoot we go to as it has wonderful people and a shoot captain/land owner that works his socks off to achieve a good shoot day for all. Even the beaters have a mode of transport to carry them whenever possible between drives.
This year there is some beautiful mixed cover crops which held the birds well and I cannot wait to work Jay Jay through them. Plenty of birds where put in front of the guns and with the wind on the day the flew well.
We all gather together for the normal drinks before we start the day and then half way through we have more drinks, hot soup and hot dogs :) Then we all get treated to a pub lunch, and yes you guessed it, another drink :) Guns and Beaters together.
There is also a great array of dogs from the captains German Short haired Pointers to a King Charles Caviler that goes through the bushes with sheer joy and determination in his heart, named after 'Father Ted'. he is a joy to watch :)
Whilst I am very grateful to our shoot captain allowing me to be on the picking up line I cannot wait to once again be back on the beating line, though I think the old knee needs another fortnight before that happens :(
It is such a total joy to have Jay Jay working away in front of me but until then the picking up line is a good lesson in patience for Jay Jay and a way for me to be on shoot but to not do much damage to the knee.
We are so blessed to have our dogs and the pleasure that working them brings.
One of the shoot captains Germans
Gary & Jay Jay The wonderful Ted with his charming owner
|Posted on November 13, 2011 at 8:39 AM||comments (100)|
|Posted on October 31, 2011 at 4:34 AM||comments (69)|