Friday, May 24, 2013
Subject: Re: [working-gundog] prey drive 4 = drive 2
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12/13/2007 7:38 PM
A dog can have a high drive to hunt and sometimes that's related to finding prey and sometimes it only seems that the dog is concentrating on ignoring the handler. Now when a very young runs and runs and ignores the handler there is usually a problem coming along in the future. Young dogs are, by nature, cognizant of humans and when they've been properly socialized to humans they just don't ignore the boss completely. Poor specimens som etimes appear to be running away from their owner and if you're looking over a litter and one of the pups runs away from you the whole litter is probably questionable. The Scott test for young dogs is fairly simple, each pup is removed from the litter and and taken to a grassy area where a small rubber ball is gently tossed for them. There will be some play with the ball but the normal pup will stay in your vicinity and may even return the ball to you for more play. If a pup grabs the ball and heads away from you forget about that litter, the pup is inherently uncooperative and quite probably the parents tend to throw uncooperative litters. Guide Dogs for The Blind uses the Scott test on litters to determine if the parents are suitable breeding stock for producing guide dogs. In the early days of breeding guide dogs for blind people pups were raised to maturity and then trained as guide dogs. About 50% of the pups were successful and 50% had to be discarded because they couldn't be trained. After Scott developed the litter cooperation test parents of litters with uncooperative pups were removed from the breeding program. After implementation of the Scott test training success of pups increased to about 90%; the secret was eliminating breeding stock that threw uncooperative puppies. The cooperation testing was important because it recognized that there was a very strong genetic basis for uncooperative behaviors and it demonstrated that uncooperative dogs produced more uncooperative dogs. The problem of an inherent lack of cooperation has cropped up repeatedly in the gun dog world for one reason... North American field trials. A dog that runs and hunts with total independence of the handler is prized in field trials. A dog that runs and hunts while ignoring the handler is an uncooperative dog. It didn't take long for uncooperative breed lines to become the top rated trial dog producers. Now a dog that doesn't care where the owner is may be a hell of a trial dog but it's a terrible bastard to foist on an innocent on foot bird hunter. Field trialers may admire a dog that takes off and is gone all day but the on foot hunter cannot get anything from such a dog, he might as well be hunting alone... in fact he is hunting alone, the dog has no interest in doing anything with him or for him. It's quite easy to read field trial results and pedigrees with a lot of FT champions but if you don't know the field trial business you might be asking for an uncontrollable hunting dog. Not all FT dogs are lousy hunters but big running dogs produce big running offspring and a dog that's pointing 500 meters from you in cover isn't going to do you much good. I have known a number of people who spend more time hunting for their dog than hunting for birds. Germans like dogs that "hunt to the gun", these are not close working dogs but they are dogs that always know where the hunter is and will adjust their search to hunt in the direction the hunter is moving. Good versatile hunting dogs always know where their owner is and will keep track of the hunter by sight, sound and scent. This is sometimes called "biddability" and it cannot be trained nor can an uncooperative dog learn to be "biddable"... the behavior is innate. You can easily recognize uncooperative dogs in the field, they are wearing e-collars and their owners have very loud whistles... such dogs may be just fine in open country where you can see for a kilometer but in cover they are miserable and unproductive. Many times there is no opportunity to check a pup with the Scott test and you find yourself with a big running dog, does his range close in when you go into thicker cover? If it doesn't close the range in heavy cover you may have an uncooperative dog. Training helps quite a bit but it isn't going to change the dog's level of cooperation, the dog may become obedient but every day afield is a test of wills and a very tiring hunt. Remember that a beautiful far ranging independent hunting style that's lovely to watch may not be a pleasurable companion in a bird cover. All of this, of course, means that you have to know something of the market and what's available before buying a pup. Cj
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> Re: [working-gundog] prey drive 4 = drive 2
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