Retriever Training

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Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:47 am

I had no help yesterday so I improvised. Working on longer water and land marks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdy2sak ... e=youtu.be

Thinking a remote control bird winger would be nice. My objective would be to setup 100 to 200 yard water and land marks using dead ducks. Would want a loud report and high enough ark to provide a good visual and ability to train alone. Weight and bulk to transport it are issues to consider as we walk into alot of our training water. Dragging it in a jet sled is an option.

Several experienced folks on this board and I would appreciate hearing from you as to brands, models and features you would recommend so I can avoid spending money on the wrong stuff.

Second question for the same folks: NAVHDA grades on a curve. On many subjects being evaluated a dog can make a mistake but as long as the overall performance in that area meets the critieria, the dog can still pass and even get a Prize 1. Steadiness during the upland portion of a UT is a good example of that where a dog could require a Whoa correction if it broke on a shot bird but if it did well on several other birds with no corrections needed it can still score a 4 overall in Steadiness.

I am seeking to learn more about how the Judging is in various Retriever Hunt Test venues. AKC, NAHRA and HRC are 3 options I would like to do a little work in. Not going to get big into it, but the dog needs a job and summer heat and nesting birds makes Retriever training/work our best option this time of year.

How is the Judging in AKC, NAHRA and HRC each? On a curve or strict 100% required?

Can verbal commands such as Heel or Sit at the end of a retrieve to get the dog in tight be used without being downgraded as long as the dog complies? Hand signal to the dog to come in tight at the end of the retrieve ok? Does a dog hunting some to complete a Mark result in a no pass at a Senior level? At a Senior level if handling succeeds in the retrieve will you pass or is the judging really tight on the lines and casts used to succeed?

Trying to get a feel for how strict they are on the details in each venue. Thank You.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:23 am

Looks like a beautiful day in Missouri!

Lots of questions there. 100-200 yd marks are not common in HRC even at Finished level. They are more prone to have shorter (60 yard) marks on both water and land - often in cover to tempt the dog to hunt out of the "area of the fall" if it doesn't come up with the bird right away or situations where the dog would have to go through water, then land, then water to make marking just a bit more tricky. The blinds are straight forward at Seasoned (levels are Started, Seasoned and Finished) and are usually set up far enough away from the marks to not tempt the dog to suck back to where a mark was picked up.

Not sure why you think a winger will be helpful. Wingers are expensive and also the electronics needed are an additional expense ... and you have to go out and load them, etc. They are the only thing that will launch a dead bird though and that's why some use them. In most situations your retrieve-r-trainer is sufficient and in fact are often too powerful if being launched by someone out in the field, but arc is OK if you're doing the launching from the line. Often I only slide the dummy half way down so it doesn't go so far. The dummies with the tails are easily seen if you're worried but I never use them. I do have to be careful about where the sun is and the background so the dog can see them. A bumperboy or one of the remote dummy launchers is a better deal than a winger IMO. I haven't looked at their cost in a long time but you can get models that can hold several dummies and launch them in different directions (better than a winger IMO). I made several homemade ones with retrieving-r-trainers so I can electronically release using remote car door locks and hunting bow releases.

Interesting comment about nesting birds. I'm trying to do some water work for an HRC test in a couple of weeks and every pond (including my own) has nesting ducks and it's really complicating things.

I can't comment about NAHRA. Comparing AKC and HRC I'd say that AKC has longer marks and they expect a straighter line on blinds but HRC is getting pretty sticky on that point as well. Seems like nowadays the blinds require more stops and "angled backs" rather than getting the dog off track such that an "over" would be used.

If you have an HRC club in your area I think it would generally be a better idea than running AKC simply because HRC is geared for hunting situations and you'll see a bigger variety of breeds rather than a preponderance of labs and goldens. Also, the folks are very helpful and all about fun. Also, in HRC often there are upland tests that are going concurrently with the retriever ones.

You'll need to visit some of these tests to get an idea for yourself. I really like HRC because there are numerous tests (at least in the Pacific NW) and a versatile dog is always welcome. You can talk to your dog,re-cast if it goes in the wrong direction (or breaks) and you're handling a gun and "shooting" the marks. The dog does not have to sit to deliver the bird but "drive by's" are not acceptable. AKC is a bit more rigid in some of the rules but if that's what's in your area then I'd for sure be entering their tests. In NAVHDA you may only get one NA and one UT in the dog's lifetime.

I love training the dogs and having the connection of working together with them so retriever work suits me. The dogs love to train and work and there's always new stuff to do. In upland work once you get beyond the basic obedience stuff and steady them up you're pretty much done - and you can't hunt all year.

AG, I think your Spud is a remarkable dog and would really do well in retriever stuff. It'll only make him a better hunting dog all around. More questions are welcome.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:25 pm

If you have electronic launchers, use them. They throw a bumper or bird high enough for the dog to see. If you want them higher, put them on a raised platform. Hang a jacket on a stake by It if you want. Good enough for the tests you're doing.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:05 pm

I could be wrong about the value of the Wingers.

My notion was I could use dead ducks in a winger and make productive use of a higher level of enthusiasm as I raise the difficulty level and number of reps. I do have a couple of DT remote bird launchers but they do not make any report, just the sound of the launcher going off. No ark, just straight up and back down. And my Lucky Launcher 2 on a stock.

There is training group which meets periodically about 2 hours from me and they are hosting an AKC test in August which I want to train towards and run. Our current capabilities are between Junior and Senior is my assessment and I need to see some actual setups used in the test to get a better understanding of what we need to be working on. Realistically I could not drive him past a hot spot of scent on a blind retrieve for example and admit I am a bit hesitant to attempt the training I think it would require to do so for fear I could set him back. I could get in over my head pretty easy in that area at the moment.

I am going to an evening training day this coming Monday hosted by that group and another group trains regularly on the weekends. I spoke with a guy last night who I met last summer at a training day. His Labs are really sharp and I stand to learn from him and others.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:33 pm

If you're using live bird releases used for popping out upland game birds they won't work. Wingers are heavy, bulky and a pain in general. For training your dog doesn't need dead or live birds from what I've seen. Here's an example of a remote launcher. I made several from retrieve-r-trainer-r-trainers: Here's an example of a commercial one: https://www.bing.com/aclick?ld=e3M5Rk5j ... 7a3f30cf4e

I'd enter junior stakes and then visit the other tests to see what they're all about. There's no hurry. Usually they're two day tests and on Sunday you can enter the mid level if you choose. At mid-level your dog needs to be steady, take uncomplicated lines, handle reasonably well, be able to do a walk up on a bird that's launched and shot (released from winger) and also know about diversions (your dog is coming back with a duck and all of a sudden another duck is launched and shot close by and your dog needs to keep on coming back, deliver, and then get the diversion bird).
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:45 pm

I don't think it's makes a damned bit of difference, pop or not. Just makes the dog more attentive if anything. To get an arc, angle the thrower 22 1/2 degrees. I used to rev them up on blinds with launchers. I'd have them run the line and when half way there or so, pop a clip wing from the launcher. If they can pick out the mark without a bang, it's a snap with a bang. You're over thinking it.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:55 pm

I tried my quail/pigeon size DTs just now using a Lucky Launcher oval plastic dummy with B&W tails. Need to figure out a stand to put them on to get better height for the cover I am training in and then it could be productive for land marks . Don't see it getting enough launch to be very effective for water marks. Going to go to the training day and see what equipment the club and members are using before I spend any money. Thanks for the input Guys. I will report back and have more questions I am sure.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Kiger2 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:19 pm

Average Guy, Just do walk outs. Have the dog sit, you walk out and throw the mark.
Advantages
1) You get to work the dog a lot on being steady.
2) If the dog has trouble with the mark, you will be there to help the dog.
3)Depending on location, you receive the bumper, sit the dog and walk out for the next mark, it can save a lot of time and you get more marks in.
4)Marks go where you want them.
5) Cost effective.
6) prepares the dog for staying remotely when you are waterfowl hunting.

Hunt test marks ma not be that long, but make sure you work the dog at much longer distances and mix the distances up.
Have fun!
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:43 pm

Kiger's method is a good one. Boring as hell, but it works. Best for singles.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Willie T » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:36 pm

I have used a gunners up winger. Your looking at around $700 for the winger and the electronics to go with it. It works fine for training solo and fires a primer. It will throw a duck 25-30 yards and pop a primer. It is capable of what you want. I have used Kigers method as well. I think the option that will give you the most flexibility in your training is to either find a training partner, or hire a high school kid to throw marks for you in the summer.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:09 am

Yes a training partner would be the best solution. Going to see if I can get more of the wife's time.

The areas I train in are natural cover not low cover groomed retriever training ponds/areas and there is wild game all around while we are training. This dog will gladly go searching for it vs doing rote work with bumpers so I have to guard against boredom like the plague or it shows in his work. And then neither one of us is enjoying it. The report and fast flying object from the lucky launcher stimulate his prey drive and our training benefits from taking advantage of it. Dead birds are helpful as I raise the difficulty level. So I look for ways to use them in my training.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby Willie T » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:30 am

For an experienced dog, a shotgun and a bird in combination, is the mother of all clickers regarding focus.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:54 am

Willie T wrote:For an experienced dog, a shotgun and a bird in combination, is the mother of all clickers regarding focus.
Willie


I like that!
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:58 am

Willie T wrote:For an experienced dog, a shotgun and a bird in combination, is the mother of all clickers regarding focus.
Willie


And that mesmerizing explosion of feathers!
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Retriever Training

Postby orhunter » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:29 am

Potato gun. Should launch a dead bird quite a distance.
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