Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

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Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Tue May 15, 2018 11:15 am

It is easy to get lulled into doing the same old thing with each dog you train, because it worked for the past dog, not that there is nothing wrong with using a proven method that worked for you in the past. I am open to trying new things when it makes sense. I have watched my buddy, Jeff, use this method with his PP and it has intrigued me. After coming off of about 30 days of the Whoa post with rope in a half hitch around the waste his dog was stopping with e collar around the waste on a low 1. Keep in mind this is not around birds and he would likely need a bit higher level around birds in future, but the way his dog would stop quickly with this low level and no voice command made me think it may have use for hard and soft dogs alike. I have opted to give it a try. Started post work yesterday morning and she is already responding by trying to stop a bit short of end of rope, which lets me know she is attempting to avoid stimulation, before it even starts. Anyone else use this method? Thoughts? I'll try to keep those here who are interested "posted" (no pun intended) on how it goes for me.
Last edited by JTracyII on Wed May 16, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue May 15, 2018 2:03 pm

You might check out a recent thread on steadiness where lots of methods got batted around pretty well.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Tue May 15, 2018 2:49 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:You might check out a recent thread on steadiness where lots of methods got batted around pretty well.


Thank you sir. I'll check it out.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby KJ » Tue May 15, 2018 3:52 pm

I like the Smith System and use it.

Using the e-collar to 'whoa' (i.e. stop to shock) is incredibly valuable for the upland dog, but it does take the proper preparation for the dog to understand it (whoa post, etc.). The dog's natural response is to "come" on stimulation; not "whoa". I have had much better luck with dogs associating flank stimulation to 'whoa', than compared to the neck. Eventually I get to the neck, but they just seem to understand that a flank shock means "whoa" easier. Some people use a spike collar on the neck to teach whoa, then go straight to the e-collar on the neck and I know this works for them. I have tried it, but prefer the flank because I feel that the dog understands it better, which means a more confident dog that can be moved along much easier through the breaking process, and keep their enthusiasm and style along the way.

In the beginning, I "tickle" them with the collar into a 'whoa'. Go low and go slow, and ramp it up as you get assurance that the dog understands what is going on.

I also like that the Silent Command system promotes the dog thinking for themselves, as opposed to them responding when commanded, and knowing the boundaries. This isn't necessarily unique to the Smith system, though. What I mean here is that the dog knows if he puts the dog into the air, he is getting a correction, so he better stop before it happens on his own accord. He is not stopping because you yell "whoa" or because he hits the end of the checkcord - neither of which is really much of a deterence to the dog to do it right.

As for training stop to shock (using Smith or other methods), it is very valuable to be able to 'whoa' you dog from anywhere. You can use it for correction on bumping, busting, not backing, or if you simply need to stop the dog. No voice needed.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Wed May 16, 2018 8:19 am

KJ,

Thanks for your insight and reply. My understanding is that folks work through the whole sequence of backing drills, stop to flush, stop to shot, stop to W-S, and finally, W-S-F before moving E-collar to neck. Is this how you go about it? Also, I have been told that once the dog goes through this entire sequence you can put the collar on the neck and the dog understands what is being asked without much overlay (flank to neck) work. When do you go from flank to neck and what is your process to get the dog to understand he must now respond to the continuous on the neck vs flank?

I'm certainly open to others responses too.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby Densa44 » Wed May 16, 2018 9:12 am

I use it all the time and it is the only method that I know. I overlay the lesson with a "whoa" when she is stopped. It didn't take very long before she got the idea that whoa meant to stop.

I've seen Rick do this and it is very impressive. He never touches the dog either.

I haven't had to use the collar around hips although I know people who do.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Wed May 16, 2018 9:15 am

Densa44 wrote:I use it all the time and it is the only method that I know. I overlay the lesson with a "whoa" when she is stopped. It didn't take very long before she got the idea that whoa meant to stop.

I've seen Rick do this and it is very impressive. He never touches the dog either.

I haven't had to use the collar around hips although I know people who do.


So, it sounds like you do the whoa post on the neck and stay with the neck? That is the way that the Smith family used to do it, and it worked for many years and many dogs I am sure. They have evolved there method to incorporate the flank.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby AverageGuy » Wed May 16, 2018 9:16 am

I train Whoa to my puppies when they are young. I stand them up on the FF table and stack them like you would in a bench show. Start with taking my hands away. They wiggle, I set them back up. Once I can get a moment of standing still, I click and treat. Advance to being able to walk around with the puppy standing still on the table. Then I move to the ground and issue Whoa while walking at heel. Advance to being able to walk away from the puppy and around it. Using clicker/marker word and treat through the process. I will practice it whenever we go through a door, requiring the puppy to whoa and wait until I release it. I will Whoa the puppy on the tailgate after I let it out of the crate and collar it up before we go to the field for some work.

Then I move to overlaying the ecollar around the dog's neck using low level continuous stimulation which starts the moment I say Whoa and ends the moment the dog stops moving. Starts again if the dog moves before I release it. Then I overlay my pealess single blast whistle as a Whoa Que. I get to where I can stop the pup on a run in the field with the whistle que.

I do not use the Whoa around birds until after the pup's first hunting season and then I use it associated with teaching Steadiness through flush, wing and shot. I never use Whoa associated with getting the pup to point. Either the dog points and holds or the bird flies is how I work the pointing subject.

I prefer to use the ecollar stimulation que in association with a simultaneous trained command (voice, hand or whistle). Doing so allows me to use stimulation to both start and stop the dog depending on what command I am giving. I do not want my dog to only associate an ecollar stimulation as always means stop moving. This approach allows me to move the dog with low levels of stimulation while teaching FF and Blind Retrieve handling and also re-enforce a steadiness command to not move.

I want the dog to understand Generically in multiple commands/situations, adhering with whatever trained command I give is what turns off the stimulation. The faster the better.

I am uncertain how that would work if the dog has been conditioned that a silent stimulation with no other trained command que ALWAYS means stop.

This is an area where there are several methods that work and it seems everyone is an advocate of what works for them. I am no different and mine has worked well for me thus far.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Wed May 16, 2018 11:57 am

AverageGuy wrote:I train Whoa to my puppies when they are young. I stand them up on the FF table and stack them like you would in a bench show. Start with taking my hands away. They wiggle, I set them back up. Once I can get a moment of standing still, I click and treat. Advance to being able to walk around with the puppy standing still on the table. Then I move to the ground and issue Whoa while walking at heel. Advance to being able to walk away from the puppy and around it. Using clicker/marker word and treat through the process. I will practice it whenever we go through a door, requiring the puppy to whoa and wait until I release it. I will Whoa the puppy on the tailgate after I let it out of the crate and collar it up before we go to the field for some work.

Then I move to overlaying the ecollar around the dog's neck using low level continuous stimulation which starts the moment I say Whoa and ends the moment the dog stops moving. Starts again if the dog moves before I release it. Then I overlay my pealess single blast whistle as a Whoa Que. I get to where I can stop the pup on a run in the field with the whistle que.

I do not use the Whoa around birds until after the pup's first hunting season and then I use it associated with teaching Steadiness through flush, wing and shot. I never use Whoa associated with getting the pup to point. Either the dog points and holds or the bird flies is how I work the pointing subject.

I prefer to use the ecollar stimulation que in association with a simultaneous trained command (voice, hand or whistle). Doing so allows me to use stimulation to both start and stop the dog depending on what command I am giving. I do not want my dog to only associate an ecollar stimulation as always means stop moving. This approach allows me to move the dog with low levels of stimulation while teaching FF and Blind Retrieve handling and also re-enforce a steadiness command to not move.

I want the dog to understand Generically in multiple commands/situations, adhering with whatever trained command I give is what turns off the stimulation. The faster the better.

I am uncertain how that would work if the dog has been conditioned that a silent stimulation with no other trained command que ALWAYS means stop.

This is an area where there are several methods that work and it seems everyone is an advocate of what works for them. I am no different and mine has worked well for me thus far.


I'm with you in that I don't want my dog to always stop on the e-collar stimulation and want/need to use it for various commands. I think starting on the flank for only whoa while also using the e-collar for fetch, heel and come on the neck work makes it less likely this will occur when you transfer the collar to the neck down the line. Stim on flank only means Whoa while the neck can mean various things depending on the command given. A voice command for whoa is overlayed with the flank stim only after they stop reliably on the stim only, then it can be transferred to neck and a verbal can be used whenever necessary. When do folks transfer it to the neck from the flank in this process?
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby AverageGuy » Wed May 16, 2018 12:43 pm

I learned the teaching of Whoa to young puppies on a table using clicker/marker treats from various sources.

But the rest of my Whoa and Steadiness training approach I learned from Jon Hann at Perfection Kennel. Certainly not the only or last word on the subject but Jon said he knew he would need to move the collar to the dog's neck at some point so he just starts the process where he knows he needs to end up. I had no reason or experience to doubt that point of view and following his approach has worked easily for the handful of dogs I have trained steadiness on.

I think having faith in your approach and applying it consistently matters the most and explains why we see successful trainers and dogs using somewhat differing, but mostly similar approaches.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby jfwhit » Wed May 16, 2018 12:44 pm

I spoke with Ronnie Smith about this. He said the flank point of contact is a cue to stop (learned by the whoa post). When you work the dog on backing, chasing, whoa, flush, etc. using the flank POC. And you get to the point where the dog stops every time without needing stim. Then he knows “I can’t move when a bird flushes, or backing another dog, or I smell birds, voice whoa command,or whatever”. Once he “knows” what’s expected of his behavior. Moving to the stim on the neck neck is still just a cue. It can be on the wrist. It doesn’t matter. So my understanding was all stim on the neck is a cue for the behavior the dog already knows is expected of him. Like a physical touch on the shoulder if you were next to him. If he knows the command is to fetch, and he drops it, the stim cue on the neck, he knows is to pick it back up. Creeping, stem means stop. Come, stem means come. By the time you move from the flank to the neck. The dog knows the commands and has been performing them well. So a gentle reminder when needed is all it takes. This is the way he explained the transition from flank to neck. The dogs need the flank collar to know “stop”. Once they have it down perfectly, move the collar to the neck. You may not need to even use it.

I’ve seen it with my older dog that was trained by Ronnie. I work with him off season, If he creeps on birds, a light stim stops him. The come command, light stim reinforces. When we get into the field and as the season progresses, he may slowing start to break on the flush. One time of me reinforcing his behavior without carrying a gun, he shores back up.

It seems similar to our kids. We teach them how to behave in public, let’s say. When they are acting up, a touch on the shoulder reminds them of the unwanted behavior and that we are there and paying attention. Whether it’s being too loud or misbehaving. The know, through the touch, what behavior we are wanting to correct. May be a poor example if you’ve seen my kids. But this is the way I understood Ronnie. And seeing it in my dog.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Thu May 17, 2018 10:55 am

Since we generally use the ecollar to reinforce a known command, the idea of giving stimulation and having the dog figure out what it's supposed to mean goes against this axiom. Some teach "whoa" (just like sit, come, stay, fetch, heel) and reinforce with the collar so the dog knows why it's being corrected. Thereafter you won't need to give the "whoa" command but can just give stimulation because you've chained the two, and, as jfwhit said, the dog knows the "expected" behavior.
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby PL_Guy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:08 pm

30 days on whoa post!! Wow!

The West/Gibbons/Lindley system is an alternate "silent" system (I believe it predates the Smiths' implementation). There is no verbal "whoa," no whoa post, no barrel etc. It uses the e-collar as a cue/command as well as an aversive stimulus in various ways without confusing the dog and, IME, is very effective process to produce a stylish, finished bird dog. There is a substantial body of postings on this system on this forum for those interested to study.

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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby JTracyII » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:51 pm

PL Guy,

Is the E-collar used on the flank?
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Re: Smith Silent Command System for Steadiness

Postby PL_Guy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:15 am

JTrac..., I never saw it used on the flank - always on the neck. The process starts with input from prong (or rarely) flat collar on the neck. The e-c cue is overlaid to that input.

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