Well, I worked Remington this morning and using Sandra Ladwig's methods we tried very hard to learn the stand back. She has you sit the dog in front and using the treats you ask him to back. Theory is the dog will stand up and back a step or two. Then you move the dog to heel position have the dog sit, and ask for the stand back again luring with the treats to get your pup shifted back so he will stand up.
Yeah... right. This one did not work for me. Remington kept doing these nice little sommersault rolls ;D I would never have believed that a pup as big as he is could crunch himself into such a tiny ball and roll like that.
So, we changed game plans and lured him from a sit FORWARD to the stand. Worked like a charm.
Still scratching my head over the stand back thing....
RUGER..... is having problems with his scent articles. He goes out and doesn't even try on the first one. He just trots out to the pile, stand there, looks around (not at the pile) then just picks one. I think it's an avoidance issue. It's like... if I don't look at them and just take one, maybe that will be okay? We worked through it, but I don't know where this is coming from. Sigh.
Is Ruger picking the correct article when he does that? Many dogs air scent just as you describe. A couple of my training buddies have dogs that air scent. They know which article is the correct one before ever reaching the pile.
Some dogs will also stand over the correct article if it has been scented too heavily. They are waiting for the scent to dissipate before putting the article in their mouth.
Some dogs have an internal clock. They expect to find the article in x # of seconds so if they don't find it, they will just grab one. When a dog is doing this you want to either increase the number of articles or withhold the correct article for awhile then stealthly put the article back in the pile.
Stress can also cause the dog to just stand there and/or grab an incorrect article. It is the fear of being wrong. Sometimes it means you have helped the dog too much. Sometimes it means you have corrected the dog before he completely understood the exercise. Sometimes it is just confusion on the dog's part. If this is happening (and that would be my guess with Ruger), I'd go back to the beginning and rebuild confidence. You said you don't practice articles that much and I've said before that articles need to be done on a daily basis when the dog is first learning.
When a dog truly understands the exercise and is just blowing you off (you must be 100% sure this is what is happening), I'd treat it as a failed retrieve and correct the dog. I know a lot of people are against correcting a dog in the pile but if a dog thoroughly understands the exercise, they are not going to hold a grudge with the pile. They will know why they are being corrected. DO NOT CORRECT A NOVICE DOG AT THE PILE.
One of my training buddies was having this issue. The dog has been training utility for years and has yet to get a leg. When she started training with us I watched how she was doing articles. The dog would run out to the pile and stand over the correct article. He was obviously air scenting on the way out. He would stand there forever. He would wait for her to repeat "find it" (no matter how long she waited) then he would grab a wrong article and bring it into her. She would resend him. He would run out and grab the correct article immediately and return. He did this for both articles. She had inadvertently taught him that he needed to wait for a 2nd command, grab a wrong article, return, resend, then grab the correct article. I told her to start correcting him whenever he was standing at the pile. One correction is all it took and that dog began racing out to the pile and grabbing the correct article the first time.
I never even heard of air scenting before. Wow. I wish ya'll were closer so we could all train together. I'm floundering around down here because, with the exception of one person who has several OTCH's... all with border collies, their is really nobody who has been there and done that!!
Anyway.... Ruger seems eager to go out to the pile. Once there he ALWAYS goes to the backside of the pile, and as I've mentioned, he's now been standing there, usually looking OFF AWAY from the pile. Then he will just reach down and grab an article for the return. No, it's usually not the correct one. He doesn't even seem to try. He just takes one.
What would your correction be?
I tell him "no", or "uh-oh" and he'll drop it and go look again. Should I go out to the pile with him and do something more stern? Should I go back to the start again and work him by going to the pile with him? I'm confused on what to do to correct him, so if you guys can give me some good corrections, I'd appreciate it. (Oh, don't tell me to beat him, that wouldn't work, Ruger is a SOFT dog)
He clearly doesn't understand the exercise (still thinks it is a retrieve...very normal with a green dog) so NO correction in this case. I'd go back to the beginning...one scented article, one unscented, follow him to the pile, lure him to the correct one if necessary. It shouldn't take as long to work thru the process the 2nd time.
Once he KNOWS the exercise and is clearly blowing you off you need to correct it just as if it were a failure to retrieve. If you used an ear pinch for that in your Open dumbbell exercises, then you will use the ear pinch here as well but again, do not correct a dog that clearly does not understand the exercise. NOTE: A wrong article DOES NOT deserve a correction. We have no way of knowing what the dog is scenting. A failure to retrieve DOES deserve a correction. That is a dog that does not go to the pile or just stands there (after knowing what is required).
~edited~ Also wanted to mention, do not tell him that he has the wrong (or right for that matter) article while he is still in the pile. I've seen a lot of dogs stand there with the article in their mouth obviously waiting for the handler to tell them they are right. It's a really bad habit and a tough one to break. Also, do not wait for him to get all the way back to you if he has the wrong article. Start moving toward him as he comes out of the pile and meet him halfway. This is what I do with Murray. It's a visual cue that he is wrong. The cool thing is that in a show I would never move toward him so he "assumes" he is right and comes running back even if he has the wrong article. Yes its an NQ but I won't have to worry about him standing in the pile or only coming halfway back then 2nd guessing himself when he has the correct one either.
One other thing that may help you is to make sure you have other people scent your articles. Our article training progressed in leaps and bounds once there were other scents on the articles besides mine. It made it very clear to Murray what I was asking him to do. Ask anyone (your mom, a neighbor, postman, kid on a bike, some of your students, someone at Petsmart, etc) to touch your articles.
I agree with Lydia--if he is blowing you off it is a correction. I have seen a lot of people not wanting to give any type of correction--collar correction, or whatever--on the flat retrieve and then when they get to articles they have no way to correct. Personally I don't care for food on the articles because for some dogs it becomes bribery--food on articles or I won't work. It might be that he really does not understand looking for your scent.
If he does not understand the exercise it is taking steps back and working back up. I never tell Caleb "no" when he 's on the pile. If he has made a mistake I take him "off line" to correct and then bring him back to the pile to work.
Susan UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I think he's blowing me off. He understands the exercise. He's been doing it well for a long time, and suddenly he isn't even trying.
Two things I think are happening. First, I've been using Bil-Jac as my training treat lately. I always used the canned cheese before. So I am scenting with Bil-Jac on my hands (not intentionally, I am touching the Bil-Jac and treating on other exercises, like heeling and go-outs, etc... so the scent is on my hands). I think he's confused with that.
Also, now that Lydia mentioned it, we DID have a collar correction for his retrieves on the ROTF that worked very very well. I will try that tomorrow if he goes out there and stands looking away from the pile.
I have had others scent my articles
This has just bambooseled me because he had been doing pretty well consistently with the articles.