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Training and everyday events.
|Posted on June 5, 2016 at 12:41 PM||comments (51)|
Treat Training, thought to be a Bad word to some people
Today I saw comments on the internet that made me chuckle, words which I have seen before written by others or verbally expressed by people who believe treat training to be a BIG no-no, yes even in these enlightened days some people truly do talk still talk about treat training in that manner.
When one sees these comments one can also tell that the people expressing these views have not understood or looked into the method enough to have an intelligent understanding of it, thankfully many of us have tried it/looked into it and now happily use it as one of the tools we have in our box of tricks.
A good and kind tool that we can use when appropriate!
It isn’t a bad word, Treat-Training, and it is just another tool to help us teach the dogs what we want them to do, and to praise them for doing so, and as someone said on the internet
'If you do something good at work and your boss says ‘well done’ I bet you are chuffed, but if he says ‘well done’ and puts £50.00 extra in your wage, how much better is that! ’
Mention clicker training, and ‘Oh my’, you may as well say that you have let the dog runaway to join the circus, one can just imagine the shocked looks on their faces, it does make me smile!
One could say our voices when we praise the dogs is a Treat to the dogs, one could say the same for retrieve item the dog has just picked for that is the reward the dog will get if he follows our instructions.
All forms off rewards can be used to benefit the dogs, but all rewards need good timing and common sense in the use of them, all forms can be used incorrectly when either common sense, timing, or a misunderstanding of the technique is used. Though please don't misunderstand me, Clicker and treat training are easy to understand, especially when one is shown it by an excellent trainer, or maybe even friend that has used it successfully for quite a while. Clicker training pin points the time so well that the dog is not left in doubt of what you are rewarding it for, making it so easy for the dog to do right.
Because I mainly use it at the start of training for the pups, one doesn't need to use it in a middle of a field when the dog is hunting, one wouldn't need to use it then anyway as the dogs reward is the hunting, we all know how they love to hunt. We also know how dogs do not necessarily revel at the basic and boring things, just as we ourselves do not enjoy the boring basic things of a new skill being learnt, but with our voices and praise and the clicker with treats, we can make the basic things interesting and rewarding enough for the dog to enjoy and learn.
Remember, we are only getting our dogs to do what comes naturally to them except we asked them to do it for us, though each dog is different so the more training skills you have to your bow the better as you can then tailor the training to the dog.
As I always say, you should never train a dog with physical correction/punishment, you shouldn't do it and with the aid of varying training skills you will not have to use those cruel methods.
|Posted on May 21, 2016 at 12:30 PM||comments (73)|
....Only one Wrong!
If you cannot train a dog without hitting or kicking it, than don't train dogs!
That doesn't mean we are saying you should baby the dog, or only ask for the dog to do something if you have food in your hand, it just means you shouldn't physically punish/correct i.e. hit/kick a dog to teach it something that a lot of people can teach without those physical and abusive treatments.
I hear people say, 'but I only do it every now and again' or 'I only do it 5% of the time'. I wonder if that is what men who hit their wives say (or vice versa) as an excuse, "I only hit her a few times, and that's only because she makes me, she doesn't listen to anything else!" So they hit their wife and then go straight on the charm defence to prove to the wife that he loves her, and that she just needs to stop pushing his buttons and making him hit her, and from what we have learnt about women (or men) who fall into a relationship with these mentally psychologically damaged people is that the woman will try her hardest to stop the man (or woman) from hitting her by doing exactly what he tells her to do, we also know that while the woman will try and be happy and keep it altogether eventually it all falls apart.
Now that is a human, we are training dogs and they have less mental understanding than the battered half of an abusive relationship, so the dog will be unable to work out what is going on but will still try to appease the abuser to stop the beating, hitting and/or kicking, and dogs are so forgiving therefore the abuser uses this to his/her advantage.
Does the woman or dogs eagerness to stop the hitting's make it right for the person to use physical punishment on them?
No of course it doesn't!
Should we once again go back to the old days were everyone took no notice of the ladies Black eye, I mean after all he only hits her now and again?
No, of course we shouldn't!
Usually once found out and warned, then warned again, and then eventually charged by either the police or RSPCA depending on whether it be human or animal abuse they have been charged with, these people are often found to have antisocial (sociopathic, psychopathic) or narcissistic personality disorder, and they may have impulse control issues and substance abuse issues on top of that! Such people may abuse because of the benefits they receive from doing so, for instance, sexual or financial gratification, or the simple allure of power over other people's lives.
This is sadly why some people train in such an abusive way, they get a kick out of it, a rush of power that they cannot get from humans as they lack the mental skills to do so, and see the defenceless animal as a easy target, especially if they can convince people (as the husband does the wife) that it is all for the animals good, and that they have to do it and only do it to improve that animals life!
Dogs have and will always be trained in many different ways as the dogs are individuals and we humans are individuals and therefore one way does not suit all, BUT, that does not give anyone the right to hit an animal.
Apparently, people say of me, that
To know people think that of me makes me proud, and thankful to the teachers who have taught me, each teacher taught slightly different from each other, but all (except the first one I went to for gundog lessons) respected and/or shared my belief that you do not need to hit an animal to train it to a high standard, you especially do not need to hit a dog to train it to a good shoot standard. I also respected each individual one of those trainers for not forcing any unwanted training methods onto me, and for not being upset if I chose not to resolve something the same way they would do. They especially excepted it when I would come back the next lesson and show that I had managed to work through the problem while sticking to my belief.
If we all got the reputation that I apparently have ('She has good dogs, but you can't hit your dogs in front of her!'.), the trainers who use varying degree of physical punishments towards their dogs in training, would most certainly not show it in group/individual training for fear of being reported and because they would become aware of the knowledge that their clients disliked and disrespected the trainer for using those methods. Those trainers, the ones with talent but a laziness/stubbornness to chance their ways, would change their ways for they would need to find alternative ways to teach their clients or find themselves losing clients. Sadly the narcissist trainers will more than likely not change his/her ways as he/she more than likely does not have the talent to do so or the intelligence, or even the desire to please his/her clients, especially as those trainers/handlers pleasure is derived from the dominance and abuse of the animal that they abuse.
I personally have no 'one' method of training, I will use whatever one will work for the dog, I will use clicker and food based reward, but do not use it for most of the training, for most of the training I find my vocal praise to them and/or the item they are retrieving is reward enough for them. I do find clicker training useful at the start of training to teach the obedience work, and used the clicker on Ellie to get her to bring the retrieve all the way to my hands. Before the accident down the flight of stairs, I always taught the girls from the get-go, as soon as they could walk, and done correctly it does not make them into Robots in fact it gives them confidence and expands their minds, creates good habits that will help you when you begin to finalise their training, and creates a cracking bond between you and your dog, such fun!
I suppose what I am saying is, if you see a toddler being tapped across the hand by its mother, you won't like it BUT you wouldn't dream about doing anything about it, but if you saw a toddler being hit, especially more than once, you most certainly should do something about.
The same for a dog, if we see someone tweak a dogs ear, we more than likely wouldn't like what we saw BUT we certainly wouldn't do anything about, but if we see a dog being hit or kicked, then we most certainly should report it, and if one can (safely) video the abuse on mobile video than one should do so without being seen and hand that to the police or RSPCA.
If you are in any doubt to whether a dog can be trained with kindness alone, watch the you tube clip, you will see the answer to that is ...YES
Enjoy your dogs, be understanding of them, and if any nasty videos come up on Facebook, especially those horrid ones were the horse have been abused, don't look.
Let Gundog people be known as the group of people that others would say about them
'........but you can't hit your dogs in front of them!'.
|Posted on May 1, 2016 at 11:10 AM||comments (76)|
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 April 29, 2016 at 5:07 PM||comments (87)|
The Girls and myself have been away, well, the website has been off as I wanted peace for a while, lost family member and dear friend etc. which we will not go into! But now we are back.
Well, Bella is twelve years old now, though if you saw her you would not believe it as for apart from not running as fast as the other girls up the hill she is her normal wonderful self, almost..... She has taken a liking to behaving as the Royal 'We', she does and we obey, he he he!
We all ardour her and she knows it, quite right to at her age. No arthritis, touch wood, and a tiny amount of cataracts to the eye. She does have a huge fat lump in-between her layers of muscles, but this does not cause her any issues so no need for operation. She truly is so bonnie for a girl her age, long may she rein over us!
She is one Lady that will be cherished in her older years, she has been such a gem, and a true Queen.
|Posted on July 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM||comments (91)|
There has been a video doing the rounds on the web of a Gundog trainer with a spaniel. In this video he is teaching the dog to stop (sit) a simple thing to teach when there is no game involved, as was the case in this video.
In the video he makes a comment on how he will make the dog move from the sit to enable the trainer to tell the dog off. This is done, the dog moves, he picks the dog off the ground by its ears and shakes it, he then goes on to place the dog back where it was originally, just two or three paces away and hits it on the back. After doing this the dog, obviously, creeps towards the trainer where upon the trainer says “ and it wasn’t hard enough, why, because he came forward again, so……..” and so he picks it up once again by the ears, shakes it, places it back down and hits the dog harder across the back and he hits it twice this time.
Now I have looked at other videos he has openly placed on the web and sadly but not surprisingly, in the videos that I have seen, all the dogs showed total fear towards this man.
This is not going to be about that person though, this is going to be my worries and thoughts to the reaction that this video and videos’ like it, will cause, and the views that people will make from them.
Most of us come into the Gundog world because we love our dogs and thoroughly enjoy training them, and/or because we have seen what they can do with just their natural instincts and therefore we wish to harness this to make our dogs and our self a team, a team where we can go onto shoots meeting wonderful like-minded people and experiencing one of the most legal-highs possible to us, that high is the joy of working with your dog in partnership, watching your dog work for you whilst doing what it was breed to do and what it
loves to do with a passion.
Those are the reason most of us come into the sport, we do not therefore, come into the sport expecting or wanting to be told that
‘That’s alright, you can train your dogs to work for you but you can only do so if you’re willing to hand out physical punishment’
‘unless you do this you will not have a good gundog’!
Why would we want to destroy the one reason we are looking to train our dogs, which is, our dogs.
Yes, later we may get the trialling bug, but there are many top trialling people out there who would never dream of physically abusing their dogs, so physical abuse isn’t a necessary evil which we have to do to achieve trialling, even to the highest standards.
Can I also say at this point, even if one was convinced that physical abuse towards the dog was the only way to train a dog up to trial standard, which I don’t and many others do not, even if one thought this, one has absolutely no human right to do so. As I have said, there are many wonderful trainers out there who do not need to use these so-called-methods to train a dog, so if you are one that does, well then you need to get another job and leave it to those who can train in the correct manner, enabling them to pass on their wisdom to the next generation of gundog owners and trailers. Because, unless we back the good trainers, and ignore the bad trainer, or if necessary report the bad trainers to the authority. Unless we do that, the gundog world will end up with only nasty people in it, people who will hurt their animals even more because there is no longer anyone left to stand up and say
“ No, that is not how it should be done”.
If the gundog world is perceived to be full of gundog owner/trainers who train only by cruel methods, we will lose even more new people who may have come into this sport. I say ‘even more’ because I have meet an awful lot of people that own a working breed and one of the first things they will say to me is, ‘I’d love to train my dog to work but I couldn’t bare the thought of watching other people hit their dogs, let alone know what trainer trains without physical abuse methods’. Every single time I hear that my heart breaks.
These people that we are losing are the type of people who would bring money into the sport by buying new equipment, going to trainers on a regular basis come rain or shine, and then support their local shoot, more than likely taking their young children along to join in on a wonderful day in the countryside.
All these business people need support in this economic nightmare we are all in at the moment.
My first trainer trained with brutal techniques, though he was more devious than the trainer above in that he waited until you moved up into his second group before his true training techniques came out, so he has a high turnover.
Sadly some do stay with him because they put their needs way ahead of the dogs needs and they see no wrong in physical abuse.
To watch a HPR dog being whipped hard and many times across the back with a metal chain lead, and to watch as most in the group turned around to pretend it was not happening and do nothing, was enough for me. Do not be part of a group that is slowly numbed to brutality.
After that very nasty event, I went on to train with other trainers, and I thoroughly enjoyed every session with every single one of them.
I learnt something different from them all but the one main thing they all had in common, was they would never, ever, reprimand a dog in the manner that chap does in his video.
I know without doubt, that there are excellent trainers out there that one could happily go to and learn how to train your dog to whatever standard you desire without the need to, pick your dog up by its ears and shake it, or to whack it on its back, or to even whip it with a metal lead across the back!
If you are thinking of training your dog up for gundog work
You will be most welcomed
and there are many wonderful trainers and people out there that you will meet on your journey, some will become lifelong friends, but the best thing will be the joy you get from watching your dog work for and with you
Yes, there are some trainers out there who train by physical abuse and in doing so suck all the joy out of the dog by making it more worried about not doing anything that may bring on the next beating.
A sight I have seen in the dogs on those videos’
But just remember to walk away from any trainer who trains in that manner or from any class that allows it to happen.
And, if necessary, report them to the RSPCA as whilst what you have seen may not be enough for them to act straight away, they will compile a file from people like yourself. Also, tell your friends of the bad experience you had with that trainer so word of mouth can be spread.
Don't give up though, just move on to one of the wonderful trainers, gain loads of wisdom from them and spread the news to everyone you can that your trainer is an excellent trainer.
That way you can enjoy your dog, your dog can enjoy its work, and all the bad trainers will be pushed out for they no longer have enough people going to them.
|Posted on May 3, 2013 at 5:48 AM||comments (94)|
|Posted on December 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM||comments (75)|
We are so pleased as we were starting to think that she was never going to have a season and if that had been the case she would be the only girl out of all the ones we had breed, that was not fertile, BUT she is and therefore we are really happy.
Whilst we cannot mate her this season with the move coming up and also a great desire to have one full summer of training with her and then a full shooting season and (possible) a full trialling season before doing so, we will mate her when the time is right.
She actually saved us a wasted journey for I had got my dates wrong and if it wasn't for noticing that she was bleeding as i put her into the landrover, we would have driven off to the shoot to find no one there!
|Posted on December 27, 2012 at 4:14 PM||comments (107)|
2012 has been a tough old year for most of us on this little Island but hopefully the corner will now have been turned.
It has also been a year where we have done little training with the dogs and yet they have kept us sane throughout!
Mia bless her has so far missed all of this season through injury and now she has finally healed she has come into season, so will miss the last of it.
But thankfully Jay Jay has been fit throughout and has been by my side on shoot picking-up, a job I must admit she and I now love. Made even more pleasurable by the shoot people being such a cracking bunch.
She has come on so well these past 6 months, thanks to acquiring permission by a big shoot nearby to use their land for training, she had plenty of game finding experience on there and the experience she has gained picking up on shoot.
For reasons nothing to do with Jay Jay, just life getting in the way, we couldn't take part in trials this year, sadly. Though with all her gained experience after this season and a lot of tightening up over the coming summer, one hopes we can take part in them come the new season :)
The new season will find us in a different area all together, we are moving to Bonnie Scotland in Jan/Feb, not far from Thornhill
With land being built on so much in the south east, with the councils wanting more homes built and landowners needing the money, even the fields where we now live are at a great threat of being built on, in fact I'm sure it is a case of 'when' and not 'if', which is a great shame.
We have visited Scotland for a few years now and have fallen in love with the countryside, the people have been so kind to us,
it all just slotted into place that Scotland was where we needed to be. There we can continue are love of working & being with the dogs and of being in the countryside.
I hope that the new year will see me back training the dogs 'full on' and especially Tinks and Ellie who have hardly been touched in their life, but are two sweet beautiful gems with so much talent and joy.
Of course the move and other 'life factors' will make that difficult this month but as soon as the move is made, not only will Tinks and Ellie get the training they need but Mia and Jay Jay will hopefully have a summer where they get to practise on scottish bunnies, now that will be great fun and a joy :)
We have always had to travel up to Scotland to train the gang in an environment that nature designed for them :) now we will be living there, as long as the midges don't have us southern softies packing our bags, especially Bella :)
The snow I look forward to, being a person old enough to remember the days when even in the South east one would be cut off for days by snow.
Now we want our home in Scotland to be a place where all our friends and Alfinmarsh Gang can come to stay
when they maybe wish to see Scotlands beautiful countryside and need a base and/or maybe want somewhere to give your sweethearts the taste of Scotland.
So do call and you will be warmly welcomed by us
and may you all have a
filled with love, joy and happiness
|Posted on November 19, 2012 at 4:38 AM||comments (61)|
|Posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM||comments (96)|
It is a stunning Autumnal day and we have just got back from a cracking session with Jay jay, Tinks and Ellie on the shoot ground.
Jay Jay is such a fast hunting dog and yet even though she covers the ground with such speed, one knows with confidence that the ground she has covered will no longer hold any birds as she would have found and flushed them.
She not only does a fantastic job but also looks stunning whilst doing so and one certainly has ones adrenaline pumped up after working her as she is like a thoroughbred, just wonderfully on the edge :)
But unless we can repeat this performance at a trial, it won't mean a thing.
So fingers crossed she and myself get it right on our second trial of the season as we got it wrong on the first.
Though give her her due she still came away with a COM, bless her!
Tinks and Ellie keep amazing us and proving that you can keep two pups out of the same litter and they will take note of what you ask of them and focus on you just as well as one puppy would.
We still have yet to get cracking on their training, hardly touched them and yet today we had Gary with Ellie hunting next to Tinks and myself, and they took no notice of one another. We really do need to start training them though!
Extra delight was watching the Ospreys circling above, their wing span is huge and yet they fly with so much grace.
A perfect end would have been to work Mia, but she has a lump on her leg and so we have to rest her, vets orders :(