Saturday, May 18, 2013
Subject: Re: [working-gundog] on steadiness details 2
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09/25/2008 4:50 PM
Jere Murray wrote: > > .... IF the dog has located more than one bird, "shouldn't" it remain > POINTING when only one of several flushes. > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes, the dog should hold the point if there's still a bird in front of it but I don't insist on this since handling multiple birds is a learned behavior that some dogs accomplish with ease and which baffles some other dogs. If the dog has pointed and there are doubles or successive singles the dog has done the job to my satisfaction. To some degree the act of holding the point after one bird has flushed is a matter of mature skill by the dog and of the strength of the pointing instinct. I have hunted with some pointers (and a few setters) that would hold the point long after the bird(s) had departed, these dogs always had to be restarted except when I had fired at a bird and the dogs went off point by themselves. It is quite easy for me to assert what a dog should do in many hunting situations but you actually have to observe the situation before you can assign fault or approval. You might want to discuss this with pointer specialists who make a distinction between singles dogs and covey dogs. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > > Didn't you couple point and staunch together as innate behaviors just a few days ago ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I don't think so because staunchness is doubtful as an innate behavior. There is a natural tendency for staunchness with many pointing dogs but it isn't a fixed action pattern because there is seldom anything that can be discerned as a triggering event or releaser of the behavior. In most cases training supplements a natural tendency to hold when the handler moves ahead of the dog so I generally think of staunchness as mostly learned. In wolf pack hunting it appears to be normal for subordinates to hold their relative position in a stalk (or chase) until the pack leader makes a definite move. In dogs a lot of staunchness behavior is controlled by the hunter's body language. Since I rarely train for staunchness I don't think about it (except in retrieve training) and tend to think of the pointing and the retrieve as separate acts on either side of my assumption of control for the flush. 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. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was a male shorthair that I used to hunt with many moons ago. He would hold his point and if I moved ahead of him and stopped and waited he would point for another 20 30 seconds and then go in and flush the bird. This wasn't trained since he was owned and hunted by a friend who never trained anything beyond "lay down dammit!" Bruno wouldn't chase after a deliberate flush, he would watch the flush and break at the fall of the bird.. Cj ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > 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 > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > You're into the hard to discuss area of what _else_ you teach a dog when training it to do something. A competent judge can discern inadvertent 'accidents' like those you mentioned and allow for them in scoring a performance, an incompetent judge is only intent on putting a mark on a scorecard. It is difficult to explain many of the little interactions between handler and dog that control a hunting situation because you have to have learned to understand the relationship between body language of the hunter and his/her control of the dog. When you are successful in completing a shared handling of a bird you have to reflect very carefully on exactly what your body did and what the dog did, or didn't, do in response to your movements. Most 'natural' trainers have the moves and are totally unaware of them, which sometimes makes it very difficult for them to explain their training methods to a student. I agree that alternative signals, both obvious and subtle, are worthy of much more discussion. When I train I always try to teach an array of alternate signals, the whoa command is the same as an extended hand displayed with palm towards the dog, a single whistle blast, the sound of a gunshot or the sound of a close flush, all of these mean the same thing to the dog: stop! don't move. Training for alternate commands or signals becomes second nature and sometimes I am surprised by the question: "why did your dog stop?" You are correct about training standing still as a signal to flush by coupling it with a hand or verbal command. Most versatile dog trainers are so hung up on pointing and problems that they have induced with improper training that they are rarely interested in teaching a flush command. With respect to the time delay flushing shorthair: he used to do it naturally and I have no idea of exactly how you would unconsciously teach standing immobile as a signal to flush. I have observed this behavior in only one other dog, Bruno's daughter did it occasionally. I suspect that it was an innate behavior but none of her offspring did it so I couldn't breed for it. Cj
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> Re: [working-gundog] on steadiness details 2
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