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Training and everyday events.


Why cruelty does not Pay

Posted on May 1, 2016 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (632)
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.


Water fun

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (815)
I hope you are all enjoying the good weather as much as we are?
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!

London cocker Field Trial, our last one of the season

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 10:16 AM Comments comments (662)
We headed off to Wiltshire on saturday for the last trial of the season and what a cracking day it was.
It was the London Cocker field Trial that had been cancelled in October at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstance, they had managed to schedule it to be held at Hartham Park.
The grounds where superb, the birds sat well and everything was catered for, even down to a porcelain toilet, sheer bliss!
We cannot thank everyone who had taken part in organising that day enough, the judges were very supportive, guns were faultless and the stewards where so kind as was all in the gallery. 
 Our first run was STONKING. She hunted well, flushed, stood to mark the fall and sat waiting for the command :))
I sent her as soon as the judge said too, and she went off like a greyhound as Jay Jay does. Someone shouted runner, so judge said to me,  'runner, run',  and we did run, round the corner in time to see her pick the bird gently up and then run back to me at full pelt :))
Everyone was sooo kind as I walked back to gallery, saying kind things to us about Jay Jay and her run :)
By the second time though she was so hyped and I was so busy watching where I put my feet because of my knee as we worked through a tricky area that she got further away then one would like, blew it really :(
But we still came away with a Certificate of Merit and I came away like a grinning idiot thinking about the first run and all the kind things people had said. Judges gave us excellent feed back and advise :))
A perfect end to a season we nearly missed out on. We cannot wait to trial her next season with a summer of training under her belt.

7th of January on shoot and then the 9th at a Trial =

Posted on January 22, 2012 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (556)
 We took the girls on shoot yesterday and to add to a good day one of the puppy owners came along with their 18 month old Alfinmarsh Forrest.
He will be joining the shoot now and his wife will be joining with her cocker, which is great as it means we will have the added joy of having another Alfinmarsh on shoot.
Thoroughly enjoyed the shoot working the girls together, especially in my favourite areas which is the mixed cover crops and the dense coarse bushes.
Though what I wrote in the previous up-date, that I was worried that temptation may start to pull Jay Jay forward with so many of the other shoot dogs working forward, DID happen. My angel Jay Jay who has for a long time now hasn't been herself pulled forward whilst working and talk about deaf ear, bless her.
Most of the time though it was a Joy to work the girls.
  I worked a small mixed cover crop strip with a chap who had brought his lab on shoot for the first time, therefore was on lead. Gary was with Mia... in the woods on the side of crop.
If it had been a trial, the first half of the cover crop the judge would have said about Jay Jay 'Lovely, lovely dog' she needed no whistle worked beautifully and put a couple of birds up stopping at each one :)
Second half of the cover crop the judge would have tapped me on my shoulder and said 'sorry Miss but can you regain your dog and leave' he he he :)) Mama Mia joined me 2/3rds in and the girls worked the crop together beautifully :)) 
 All in all, mama Mia = fab :) Jay Jay = some good sections some really naughty, naughtiest she has ever been.
Leconfield Field Trial on the 9th
What a cracking bunch of people there was at the trial, Gary and I chatted, caught up and had a giggle while we waited for our run which was not for a while seeing as we were number 15th to run.
After the shoot day we knew that whilst Jay Jay looked stunning most of the time she worked, that she was/is going through a teenage stage but little did we expect her to do what she did.
As soon as we started our run Jay Jay hit onto scent, I thought 'yes' we could have a good run here, FAMOUS LAST WORDS. Within minutes she flushed a pheasant out of the brambles, sat as the gun shoot at the bird, the gun missed the bird but it flew low and landed quickly in the brambles. Jay babe, bless her presumed it had been shoot and without waiting for my command ran in to retrieve it. Yep, that was the end of the trial for us and poor Gary was in pure shock as he said 'she has never done that before'! Well she has now Gary he he he