What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?
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Thread: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

  1. #1
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultWhat to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    For the first time since we began training we had a mark go bad... not just bad but really really bad. It seemed to me like such a simple mark 30 yards of land 40 yards of water angled entry with a bumper next to the shore in the water behind a clump of weeds. Amber looked like she marked it well I sent her and she took a great line to the water. Got into the water and went straight about 5 yards and then hooked toward the shore and ran the surf for about 5 yards and jumped out onto the shore I started nicking her when she got on the bank. She went about 10 yards on the bank and then darted back to the water, so I stopped nicking her. She swam a little off the bank and went right past the mark, I let her go thinking she would circle back around and hunt it up. She hit the far shore and got out and then went up the hill behind the pond searching, she kept going up the hill and the thrower then gives her some hey, heys. She ignores the calls, She went up to the top of the hill about 70 yards past the mark and thrower and searched the entire hill top still ignoring the thrower. I blew a sit wistle when it looked like she was going to go over the top of the hill and out of sight, she ignored that so I nicked her, she ignored that so I gave a come whistle, nicking her. She finally starts heading back in but is still hunting, so at this point I just let her work back toward me. She gets to a point and then goes back up the hill so I repeat the whole process and finally she heads back toward me and gets back into the water swimming back, finally she seees the bumper on the backside of the bush swims over and gets it and comes back to me swimming a straight line to me. She gets in delivers and I am now supposed to send her to the hard mark of the series. I move about 20 yards and send her and she goes straight out gets on the levee and finds the black bumper real quick and brings it right back no problem, Whew! I think the first mark problem was partly caused by my correcting her for not taking a straight line and getting out of the pond. I am not sure but just as she got close to the gunner she went back to the water and I stopped nicking her. So maybe she thought I was correcting her away from the gunner and that was why she didn't listen to the gunner who tried to help. I probably should run that mark again in a few days and see if she has learned to not run the shallow water or the shore on a mark but to instead take a straight line.

    Kelly and Amber and Ready
    Kelly and Greenwoods Amber Wave CD RA OA NAJ OF WC CGC CL1-F SW<br />Chino CA<br /><br /><br />

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  3. #2
    Labsrme is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    Well, first an angle entry water mark is not a simple mark, also land-water is a more advanced concept than a straight water mark. I don't know where your dog is in training but these are not basic, simple marks.

    Also, has your dog been taught not to cheat the water? You should not be correcting with an e-collar if your dog does not know what you expect of it, and it doesn't sound like your dog knew what you wanted. Have you done swim-by? If you haven't, you can not expect your dog not to cheat and you certainly shouldn't be nicking him/her for running the bank.

    Has your dog been collar conditioned? If not, nicking for a sit is a no-no too. In short, a collar is used ONLY to reinforce a KNOWN command, never, ever to try to teach or punish. From your description there were lots of nicks involved in running this mark, and your dog's lack of response sounds to me like he/she doesn't know how to turn the pressure of the collar off.

    Do you have anyone helping you train? What program are you using? Do you have any of Lardy's manuals. You need to get some help here and put the collar away for a while before your dog shuts down entirely. I'm not trying to be harsh here but an e-collar must be used very carefully and very judiciously or else you can ruin a dog in no time flat. Time to get some help.

    BTW, if you have run one mark and it has gone badly, you need to make sure that your next mark is a simple, easy one. Don't run a "harder" mark after the dog has had trouble with an easier one. You are just compounding the problem and your dog will lose confidence.

  4. #3
    GulfCoast's Avatar
    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    I am kind of having trouble following what happened. But I will share a couple of thoughts, not as a great trainer, but as a guy who has made most every mistake possible, and invents new ones on a regular basis.

    A few thoughts, take them for what they are worth to you, they are intended in the kindest spirit possible:

    1) A blown mark is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Blown marks help dogs learn, if you let the dog work it out.

    2) Your mark sounds like a SH sort of level mark, angle entries/multiple re-entries are ADVANCED concepts. You introduce them in little bits, in sequences. You throw an angled, re-entry mark in cover at 100 or so yards, and MH's can struggle with them. If you dog blows a meaty mark, see #1 above. It took me YEARS to accept this, but it really is nothing more than a blown mark.

    3) Going long is 100% better than hunting short. You WANT a dog to err long, not short. Long dogs hunt back with the wind. Short dogs are just hosed and usually get handled. There went your whistle for the day.

    4) If you are TRAINING, it is 100%, REPEAT 100%, the responsibility of the bird boy to get the dog to the mark WITHOUT you handling. The last thing you want to do is handle on a mark other than once in a blue moon on leap year. Good bird boys are worth thier weight in gold. That is why the more experianced folks in a training group should be OUT THROWING BIRDS, not yuccking it up at the line. The bird boy should do these things, in order, as needed to get success with a dog in trouble: 1) "Hup" it up; 2) MOVE to pull the dog over the mark/scent cone using the wind; 3) pump another bird out there to get success. The AOF should have been scented before the mark was thrown, too.

    5) It SEEMS like you are correcting for cheating. If your dog has not been through land and water T-work, swim-by, and cheating singles, your dog simply has NO IDEA what the heck you want it to do, go, or not go, and you have no TOOLS to correct it, and you get confusion and resentment and ultimately no-gos with those three things. You CANNOT de cheat a dog in a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks. If you have not decheated, don't worry about the mark, just start the process, or don't throw cheaty marks until you do.

    6) Way, way, way, way too many uses of the word "nick" in your scenario. Especially "kept nicking." Different people train different ways, but my general philosophy is I NEVER use juice for a) mistakes-so the dog made a mistake, caved to suction, whatever. Its a freaking DOG, correct mistakes with attrition, not force; b) confusion-if the dog does not seem to know what I want it to do, or NOT do, I need to back up and TEACH, not correct. I will consistently correct for c) lack of effort; d) "defiance" repeated refusals to obey a known command, all of which are derivitives of "come" "go" and "stop."

    Sounds like you have a nice dog. Good luck with your training!
    HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
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  6. #4
    imported_queenofthedogs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    nick, nick, nick = nag, nag, nag. what do YOU do when someone nags you endlessly & you can't figure out how to make them stop? nothing the nagger wants, i bet.
    short term: get some MUCH better communication with your throwers, get your finger off that button, read & understand what a simple mark REALLY is.
    long term, train for every tiny step along the way, don't one day lump a bunch of concepts together, even if they have previously been trained separately. have a PLAN for Every training session & mark....what you want to see, what is the plan if you don't see it, what things COULD happen given the level of training and overall conditions [like wind] and BEFORE you nick, what could have caused the glitch? you need a REASON to act!
    when in doubt, simplify & rerun...the dog gets the benefit of the doubt EVERY time!
    the classic--dog blinks the bird & runs towards the handler, who burns him yelling BAAAACK! only to find the dog covered in yellowjacket bites & fighting to breath through a swollen face. nobody walked the area first!

  7. #5
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    OK I guess I should have given a bit more background She does land T's and she has had just a few times of water T's She has had a fair amount of cheating singles and work around angled water entry and exits. She does know the correction for cheating water. I nicked her 4 times when she got out on a 1 1/2 (G3 Sport tritronics) and she got back in the water. We have been running senior and master typ marks for quite a while but usually only as singles or sometimes doubles because I was way behind in handling vs. marking. The person throwing the mark has been training and competing since 1980 or so and is one of the original judges. The other mark was being thrown by a newbie who has only been doing this a bout 3-4 years. The last person that was there was a Pro who typically has 13-15 dogs on his truck. The mark was just a white bumper but it did fall behind a clump of weeds growing in the laks and that did obscure the splash. Amber hit the water entry perfect and the next ten yards or so perfect and then angled over to running water next to the bank. I did not nick or correct for this because I have not taught that yet. I did however correct when she got out onto the bank but at a low level because she is does know that as a training exercise.
    I never correct for a missed mark I just let her keep hunting and at the right time have the bumper person give a hey if needed. I only blew a sit whistle when she had ignored the experienced trainer for about 3 minutes. She didn't respond to the whistle so i knicked her for that though in reality I should have raised the level and nicked her again for not sitting. I elected to not make this a bigger mess and instead called her in and gave her a nick. I was not going to handle her to this mark as she wasn't responding to me at this point. I figured I would just call her in and run the other mark and then rerun the one we had such a problem on from a closer position. First rule of dog training is when you have a problem to simplify or break it down.
    The second mark I did move up on so it was only about 30 yards land with an angled entry folloed by 40 yards of water up on a dike in the cover and find the black bumper.
    After all of that I then had to run another dog on the same set of marks as a double. That was the first time I had run that dog and he did just fine. The ten dogs that ran before on that mark didn't have a problem Some we changed the angle of the entry on to make it harder or easier. The point of the mark was the water entry/bank running. Depending on dog you could make it hard to cheat or easy to cheat and the dog was far enough from the line and mark to get a correction on with out a problem of associating it with either. The second mark was only about the water entry and also about marks with a dark object and a dark background.
    I will probably run that mark again either tomorrow or next week. I will make it easier at first and then stretch it out to make it a bit harder, not a big deal really I am quite sure she won't try and bank run there.
    And we do always walk the fields before we start. and while the hill wasn't exactly in the range of expected running it was a freshly plowed field and the top of the hill was used as a blind earlier that day (but not for Amber).

    Kelly and Amber and Ready
    Kelly and Greenwoods Amber Wave CD RA OA NAJ OF WC CGC CL1-F SW<br />Chino CA<br /><br /><br />

  8. #6
    GulfCoast's Avatar
    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    Even if the bird boy was St. Peter, or the Bruce Lee of dog training, HE/SHE BLEW IT.

    If you need to nick 4 times for something, I would back up and simplify, teach. The dog is telling you it does not understand something. Probably context/generalization.

    If you have not worked water-T extensively, and done "Swim-by" I am not sure the dog got the max out of cheating singles. After swim-by, its just a matter of saying "no. Over" with your arm stuck out if they start to cheat.

    Master marks, are almost by definition, cheaty. If you are running Master marks as singles, JH/SH should be cake!
    HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
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    imported_2Labpups is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by GulfCoast
    Even if the bird boy was St. Peter, or the Bruce Lee of dog training, HE/SHE BLEW IT.
    NOPE! Can't blame the bird girl :no: Kelly nicked Amber to close to the fall. That told Amber that area of the fall was HOT and there is NO WAY she was going to go back. :no:

    Kelly, you need to square these marks up. You are doing what I did. I thought I could come out and run the same marks and blinds as everyone else. My dogs were never taught those concepts. The others that are running junior dogs on these Sr/Master marks have been working on these marks daily and for about 3-4 months and these dogs are done with FF and Water Forcing. Be fair to your dog. It's training. Re-Run the marks if you and her did not have success.

    Simplify it. If you don't know, ask.

    ETA: When I was at your stage, I would come out and do my pattern work drills before anyone showed up then I would head on over to the training group. I would leave my e-collar controller in my pocket and let the bird boy/girl help the dog out on marks. There was no way I was going let any electricity escape while my dog was on a hunt for marks.
    Donna, slave to Gidget and Lucy Lou<br />Gidget, CGC, JH, SH&nbsp; &nbsp; Lucy, CGC, JH, SH<br />

  10. #8
    GulfCoast's Avatar
    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Labpups
    Quote Originally Posted by GulfCoast
    Even if the bird boy was St. Peter, or the Bruce Lee of dog training, HE/SHE BLEW IT.
    NOPE! Can't blame the bird girl :no: Kelly nicked Amber to close to the fall. That told Amber that area of the fall was HOT and there is NO WAY she was going to go back. :no:
    If that's the case, I certainly agree with less "nick", more "teach." I personally would not nick on a mark unless for switching. Correct a cheat with a whistle, handle, attrition. Then if a refusal from the handle, indirect pressure for a refusal only at that point. At that point, if you have to correct, the lesson is no longer the mark, anyway. Otherwise, I would let the bird girl handle it, every time. If the dog is not at a level to correct for a cheat with "whistle/handle" then simplify the marks so the dog gets success. No shame in changing the line or running a different mark. Baby steps. Success breeds success!
    HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
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  11. #9
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: What to do when a mark goes horribly wrong?

    True it was probably too close to the mark it was about 2/3rds of the way there. We do typically train out there from 8 -4 on tuesday 10-4 on Wed 8-4 on Thurs 8-4 on Friday, and then out there saturday and sunday too for most of the day except when there is a test. I usually have plenty of time to train FF and Water before Steve gets out there. It sucks they aren't open on Monday.
    I did rerun that mark on Thurday and she did fine she didn't cheat the shore but went a bit wide which is understandable and then I flipped it around to where she had to actuall get back out where she got in trouble before, and she did that fine to.


    Kelly
    Kelly and Greenwoods Amber Wave CD RA OA NAJ OF WC CGC CL1-F SW<br />Chino CA<br /><br /><br />

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