Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Subject: Re: [working-gundog] on steadiness details
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09/23/2008 4:16 PM
Jere Murray wrote: > Steadiness is a concept which needs to be defined within some context. You seem > to be adopting the NAVHDA concept - the only acceptable dog behavior after a > point is to remain in place until released by the handler. > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Steadiness is defined, by me, as anything the dog does after I walk past it to flush the pointed bird. When I walk past the dog my passage is a signal to the dog that I am taking control of the situation and the expectation is that pointing terminates with my arrival in the immediate vicinity of the dog. In my case I like to have the animal move along with me so that it can observe the flush and mark the fall, if any, of the shot bird. Now all of this behavior from when I walk past the dog until I tell the dog to either fetch or go on hunting is the "steadiness" period. Obviously I don't expect steadiness to be the dog remaining in the position from which it pointed but that is some individuals' expectations for steadiness. My expectation for steadiness is that the dog does not start the retrieve before it is released to do so, up to that command I don't really care what the dog does. Many navhda participants expect the dog to not move forward after the pointing has ended although movement to the side is permissible to mark the bird. > I personally consider steadiness as the dog's behavior between the pointing and the command to go on hunting or to retrieve the bird. I don't expect the dog to remain in position or stay behind me where it cannot see the bird flush. I do expect the dog to wait for the command to retrieve. I have been told that if the dog moves at all it isn't steady but I don't accept that as reasonable for a working gun dog. If you want rigid position holding after the point or flush that is your business, I don't expect my dogs to do that. In almost every situation where the dog starts the retrieve before the command the dog is out of control and isn't steady in any fashion. It is the hunter's obligation to train for some sort of steadiness that suits him but that steadiness must only be terminated by a command and not by what the dog sees or hears. I don't care for the sloppiness of a dog starting the retrieve before a command because it leads to poor marking at the least and a wounded dog at worst. If you allow your dog to go early you will inevitably have poor marking and corresponding failures to retrieve, an excited dog doesn't use its nose and does a visual search thereby losing many downed birds. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > The lack of steadiness is manifested by the dog breaking it's stand, sit, point > (condition of remaining fixed in place) on occurance of some triggering event. > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Steadiness should be simply the act of not starting the retrieve before a releasing command. Rigid placement in one position shouldn't be expected but anything short of breaking to retrieve is rightfully steadiness. Since the whoa or a hup command are permissible in developing steadiness it is permissible to speak to the dog to assure steadiness. In pointing dogs a whoa or hold command always terminates the point itself. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Typical events which are innate triggers are the flush and flight of a bird. > Conditioned (perhaps alternative innate - they seem pretty natural when they > occur) triggers are the shot and subsequent fall of a bird. The dog trained NOT > to break on the natural trigger of a flushing and fleeing bird has been > counter-conditioned to ignore that trigger. If it is allowed to then break when > the gun is fired and/or the bird is seen falling from the sky, one or both of > those events replace the natural trigger in the behavioral conformation of the > dog. This dog may well be steady enough for many practical purposes - but not > for testing/competing in a venue which demands the dog remain stationary until > released by the handler such as NAVHDA tests. > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Steadiness as I have defined it above is necessary and should be expected in hunting as well as testing since exposing a breaking dog to the danger of a low and/or late shot is unacceptable. An early break for the retrieve is also poor manners on game if the dog has located more than one bird and only one flushes. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Question: When the single bird pointed by a dog flushes or is flushed and the dog > is still standing, is the dog exhibiting the innate point/staunch action pattern? > Or is it's behavior a conditioned response - the result of training? > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Remember that pointing and staunchness are entirely different things. If you think of them as separate things it is easy to know what to train, you cannot train pointing, you can train staunchness. Many dogs are naturally staunch, others have to be trained to be staunch but this has nothing whatsoever to do with pointing in the dog's mind. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > I seem to remember a tale told here of an unsteady dog, a setter I believe, which > remained fixed in place until its hunting partner stopped moving at which point it > broke and flushed the pointed bird. Was that dog "steady?" > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A dog isn't steady or staunch if it starts a retrieve before a direct command to retrieve or a direct command to flush the bird. When a flushing dog stops and sits or stands to watch the bird fly it is reasonably steady so long as it doesn't start the retrieve. The dog in question was not steady because it didn't wait for a command to flush or to retrieve. In this case if the dog breaks when another dog stops it isn't honoring the other dog's point or back and should be commanded to halt. Cj
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> Re: [working-gundog] on steadiness details
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