Teaching Older dog Whoa

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Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby mboss » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:30 pm

I have a 4 year old GSP. He was trained when he was around 10 months - 1 year, but he was never taught whoa. He was on-site with the trainer for 2 months, and really what the training consisted of was getting him on birds regularly, and gun breaking (which is of course invaluable).

He finds everything, he retrieves quite consistently, and he will hold a point... until I get there. Once I'm there, he gets impatient and creeps. Unfortunately, here in Ohio its pen raised birds or nothing where I live, and he's been able to catch a couple on the ground at the end of last season. We've done 3 seasons together, and some days he's real good, some days he creeps. I'm trying to break this habit.

I tried the whoa post laid out in the following (http://huntsmith.com/article.php?id=15) and it went very poorly. AS soon as he got to the end of the rope he lost his mind, rolling on the ground and thrashing, then ultimately ended up afraid of it. Once I gave it up, it took me 20 minutes of walking with treats just to get him to stop leaning on me for security, and now, he's sitting or laying down every time we stop while he's walking at heel, which I don't think is a good sign.

I have 20 acres, I have a bird launcher, I have the space and the means to train, but I am really looking for some tips on getting Whoa put in on a dog who's never learned it.

Just as a reference, he will come on "here" reliably, he will wait till given the sign to eat, or to exit his crate, he will get in his crate on command. I really want to get Whoa in this season, and work on stopping the creeping in the field. Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby flitecontrol » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:41 pm

This method is described in "The Training and Care of the Versatile Hunting Dog by Bobo Winterhelt and Ed Bailey" https://www.amazon.com/training-care-ve ... 0966565614

Are you familiar with a training table? Put a short lead on the dog and familiarize it with getting on and off the table. Once it is familiar with the table, tell it to whoa and restrain it with the lead as needed. Stroke the dog's head and sides if it remains still while repeating whooooa slowly (you don't want the dog confusing whoa and no!) If the dog moves, put the foot back where it was and repeat whoa. When it doesn't move, praise the dog. Then progress to gently pressing on the front, rear and sides of the dog and correcting it if it moves. You want the dog to resist being moved. When it is rock solid on the table without having to hold the leash, put a live bird in a harness or mesh bag/stocking and rig it so the bird can be lowered or raised inf front of the dog by a string. Begin with the bird far enough from the dog that if it tries to get the bird it will have to jump off the table. Keep the leash on and correct as needed. Praise the dog when it remains on point, and put it back in position if it moves. When the dog no longer tries to get the bird, repeat the pressing. When the bird flutters or flies in front of the dog and it remains on point without pressure on the leash, move to the ground and repeat the above steps.

Most dogs learn this in a relatively short time.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby mboss » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:02 pm

In regards to the height of the table, how much (if any) does that matter? Coffee table height ok?
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby flitecontrol » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:54 pm

A lot depends on how big your dog is. Generally, the dog's shoulder should be about as high as your chest, more or less. Many trainers use sawhorses to support the table. I forgot to mention that the bird should gradually be brought closer to the dog before transitioning to the ground.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby mastercaster » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:28 am

Another method that works quite well incorporates a place board. I did the process when my pup was quite young and I was satisfied with the results but I also did the whoa post methodology this summer. She worked through that quite well. I found it good to correct any creeping. The videos are quite good on the place board training,,,there's three parts. Here's the first one:

https://youtu.be/xfeYEicmy_A
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby flitecontrol » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:56 am

One way to ensure the dog doesn't get a planted bird if it breaks is to use a length of perforated PVC pipe and two end caps. If you can't find perforated pipe, get out the drill, but don't drill the bottom half of the pipe. One cap is glued on, and the other is just a light friction fit. Tie a short loop of cord through the unglued end, and a longer piece of cord through the other. To use, place the bird in the pipe tail first, barely put the end cap on, place on ground, put a rod or stout dowel through the loop, and lay out the longer length of cord. If the dog breaks, it can't get to the bird. If you want to release the bird, yank on the cord, pulling the cap off. A smooth pipe makes it easier to yank the pipe from around the bird, leaving it sitting on the ground and free to fly.

If the dog breaks and tries to get the bird, correct it, carry it back to where it was last steady, and whoa it again.
Last edited by flitecontrol on Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:44 pm

Flitecontrol, I like that idea about the pipe. Forrest
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby flitecontrol » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:05 pm

Thanks, but not an original idea of my own. I picked that tip up many years ago, before launchers were widely available. I went back and corrected things I left out/misstated.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby mboss » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:30 pm

Thanks for the tips on this. I've grabbed an old desk from work that's about the right height and going to start with that. I do actually have a remote launcher, so I'll look to incorporate that as well (in lieu of the pipe, but that said that's a heck of a good low-tech solution too).
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby flitecontrol » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:20 pm

The desk may be ok, but it's probably wider than most training tables, which are usually made out of a single sheet of plywood. The sheet is ripped in half to create two 2'x8' pieces. One is then cut in half (2'x4') to create the ramps and the other is the "table". It's wide enough that the dog can move some laterally, but if it goes too far, it will fall off. The dog knows this and tends to be more cautious on the table. Putting cleats on the ramps helps the dog get traction.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Teaching Older dog Whoa

Postby Kiger2 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:21 am

mboss,

I would suggest doing all the above plus do a search on youtube for Bill Hillman video on teaching sit. Dont just pick one method. This will help instill more of an automatic response.

If you have done a very thorugh job with conditioning with the ecollar, you can overlay the collar with your whoa command. The end result would be this, you have a dog thats been thoroughly taught whoa away from birds with several different methods. With the ecollar overlaid with the command you can correct in the field with the collar if you get a refusal with the verbal command. So it would be dog creeps "whoa", dog creeps again "whoa" with a nick. But dont try this method if you are going to cut corners with the process.

Best of luck.
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