Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Subject: Re: [working-gundog] on steadiness details
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09/24/2008 7:17 PM
>> 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. And in the case the dog loses contact with the bird as a result of the bird's movement (on the ground) after you have moved past the dog - do you demand the dog remain behind you even then? > I > don't expect the dog to remain in position or stay behind me where it > cannot see the bird flush. So you allow the dog to move ahead of you and possibly be the instrument of the flush - just so long as it does not initiate a retrieve w/o release? > 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 ... > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > 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 Do you use a whoa or hold command as you move past the dog in early training? > ~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> > 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 Agreed, but. IF the dog has located more than one bird, "shouldn't" it remain POINTING when only one of several flushes. > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > 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 Didn't you couple point and staunch together as innate behaviors just a few days ago? Still, having produced more detail, you're more understandable now.... > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> 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. ... > Cj The tale of the flushing setter was related by you. In the telling of the tale you stated (from memory again) that you did not know how this cooperation came about. Clearly it could have been purposefully trained, though not necessarily. In training, pairing a cessation of handler movement with a verbal release or command to flush would, possibly quickly, result in the cessation of movement being equivalent to the flush release/command and the later could be dropped. (A very similar situation to that in which retriever trainers in this country use the verbal "sit" and a single sharp whistle blast as alternative commands for the dog to "sit." The verbal "heel" and the jandler stepping off from a stop leading with the foot on the dog's side similarly are easily conditioned to be alternative "commands" for the dog to move and follow the handler at heel. The list of such pairs is long. The phenomenon deserves more mention in training literature and more attention by folks training lest the poor dog be chastised for doing what it has (inadvertantly) been trained to do in respond to what would then amount to handler error.) I don't remember any mention in the telling of the tale of the dog's behavior AFTER it flushed the bird. Could have been chase could have been stand and mark possible fall. In any case the protocol was presented as "working" for the pair. It certainly could be an example of one man's concept of how best to work with his dog. Might differ from your's but that does not make it wrong. Jere
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