Training and everyday events.

My thoughts this week, and......

The weather these past days has been sunshine, rain, showers, and wind, and with every alteration in the weather comes good points and bad points, and no matter what the weather brings I do so love this place for it holds beauty in all the variations.
When the sun shines and I am outside, be it with the girls, or animals, or gardening, the hills are a stunning backdrop,  the downside to the hills ...they are higher than the one I am on and therefore can hold back/pinch the snow i often long for, the positives to that is my plants are protected from to much snow as are the animals. Being on a hill the winds certainly get a pace on when whooshing past, plants have to be fabulous at Palates, and the wildlife need to know where the hiding places are, which we make sure there are plenty of nooks and crannies for them to sneak into when the wind wishes to blow them down or up, depending on the direction of the wind. The positive to the wind, it really does have a knack of making one feel alive, and it keeps the midges away while it is blowing.

When the weather forces one to go inside and get on with the things one needs to be doing, well from inside I get a cozy view of the wildlife and the countryside through the window, especially with the feeders situated so that one can see the visitors to ttables from the windows, from there I get to see Woodpeckers, Robins (my fav) most of the Tit family, and I get to see the Leverets, hares, bunnies, pheasants and partridge that
come into the garden for shelter or food, and if I look into the skies I see the Buzzards and the kites hovering (they too are good at hovering)  above looking for a meal, or swopping through the valley, or even just resting on the stone walls.

Now we come to one of the events this week that made me think of Good and Bad... The Stoat .. oh how I hate those stoats, but even in them there are positives if one looks hard enough. I shall tell you the positives first which will lead straight into the big negative of the Stoat. The stoat is such a beguiling creature to watch, it's speed, it's playfulness, it's love and protection of it's young is to be admired for it will move the young often from one nest to another, and it is such a beautiful creature, and it keeps the rabbit and hare population down......yep that is where the bad of the stoat is.... A couple of days ago I heard the cry/scream that I hate to hear, it's the sound that comes from an animal that has a ridiculously small thing (in comparison to it prey) trying to kill it, and because of the size difference the death is not an instant one and neither is the length of time the animal has to suffer in sheer terror. Sadly the animal suffering this time was the beautiful young leveret that I had watched only the night before playing outside my window, shaking in such a funny way when a drop from a branch would drip on his nose, he had also been making friends with a rabbit, which was a joy to see..... but now he was in front of me, stoat gone by the time I got there, as did the poor Leveret after a few convulsion through shock and a bite on his neck from that darn stoat. Hares are an animal that should be admired for it lives a hard and lonely life, but it does not kill, unlike that darn stoat, and I know the stoat needs to eat, and life always balances out, but it would seem to me that the stoat has a far more joyous and gifted life that the hare. The baby stoat has a mother and it's brothers and sisters to play and grow with, a Leveret (baby hare) has nothing most of the time, not even it's own mum who will only check in so to speak. A stoat has many cozy homes to run too, while the Hare braves all weathers just tucked in a dip on the ground, not even a burrow, now that I'll never work out for if I was a hare I would want more protection, but I suppose they need to be above to keep their eyes open for that darn stoat.
As a meat eater, I can't say much about the stoats way of life, especially as it is an animal an I am a human, but because I am a human I can feel sadness about an animals suffering, and as a Human I can and should make sure that the meat I eat had an excellent life and an extremely fast death. As a human I can and also should make sure that the animals in my care do not suffer by my hands, not even for 5% of the time, for I have the intelligence as a human, and hopefully the humanity as a human, to be able to prevent needless animal suffering, hence why none of my girls are hit when being trained by me, for it is not needed and my humanity demands that to be the way.
It was my humanity, with the aid of an extremely good man, that meant I ended (very sadly) one of the ducks life this week, he was born this year, sadly he went shooting around a slippery corner to fast and in the process damaging his leg beyond repair, I would not and could not let him suffer and so we ended his pain in a split second. As a meat eater, he will be used, and I will eat a duck that lived a darn good life until the accident, he roamed in fields and swam with his family to then wonder in and sleep on a straw bed at night all nestled together.
In my mind, because we are humans we are floored, but because we humans we must use are intelligence to be kind to the animals we eat, and to rear/train in total kindness and understanding.

Now I shall end this on another positive/negative, with the rain came great joy for the ducks, their little stream became a pond.


Enjoy life, be kind, do not make excuses up to justify wrong done to humans or our wonderful animals, and always look for the positive!
And just for Good measure, and because they are the reason the blog is here
A Couple of the Girls from this week, as are all the other pictures.


Bella and Central-Vestibular

Well, our Bella was in the wars again, though thankfully she is now well and trotting around once more.
Bella suffered an attack of Central Vestibular, far more serious and not usually such a good outcome as peripheral Vestibule'
It started by Bella looking as if she had blood lose from the tumor or a stroke maybe, for she was very weak, circling and head hanging to one side, all very worrying. There was hope with the diagnoses of Central Vestibular, there wouldn't have been if the tumor had erupted and therefore we were relieved somewhat when the vet said it was Central Vestibular, not so relieved when instead of picking up she went down hill over the next 24 hours.
Central vestibular disease usually has a poorer prognosis than the more common peripheral form, primarily due to the potential damage to the brain stem, which can be overall quite devastating.
The inflammatory condition, may respond to treatment initially, but it can progress to a point where it could be untreatable. Hence why I was so worried for her.
The way we got her through it was by syringing honey into her mouth and the same with the water, and she stayed with me 24-7 until she was better. Once she became a little stronger I mixed sardines in tomatoes sauce with cottage cheese into a puree that I could syringe into her mouth as I had done with the honey, bit by bit little by little she slowly become stronger, gaining her strength back ever so slowly. Somehow when needed to I carried her, so until she could walk down the stairs on lead, she and I stayed down stairs.

Now, she is totally fine, fingers crossed.

Picking the right Trainer for you and your dog

           I was asked by a friend, "What do you think about Puppy Classes?"
His son had just got a Springer spaniel pup and he wanted to set off on the right foot, so-to-speak.
I think they can be good, in fact group training throughout the dogs life can be great fun and an excellent way to meet like minded people, just remember a few things along the way as you pass up the stages.
The vet Introduction classes
I remember our Vets puppy classes for our springers, they were run by our loop fruit friend (sadly lost to us now) at the local vets. For the pups it was their first time, and for a little one this new experience can be quite a scary one.
Do not let the bigger dogs jump all over your pup, not even those demon yappers who seem fearless while your little pup is tucked under your feet hiding, and if that great bounding chocolate lab wants to play with your pup and is trying to get under the chair to do so, gently stop him from doing so, and don't feel guilty for all dogs are different and if your dog doesn't want to join in then there is nothing wrong with that at all. What you don't want is for him to have a bad experience and be put of other dogs, so help him until he is ready and be his protector until he is ready. You don't want your puppy to be pushed and shoved about no matter how playfully the other pup may seem nor how nice the owner of said pup may be, that isn't a great introduction to the big world, but watching that big world from the safety of behind your owners legs until you are ready to come out and join them, well that's not so scary!

The next stage, is  possibly going down the kennel club route, going for their certificates, and I have to say the Puppy certificates are really cute, sad of me I know but they are Pink after all, he he he!
Now this may be the first time you are looking for a trainer, so
 what do you look for?

Look on the web, not necessarily on the Trainers own web site/you tube channel, for on those channels you will just get the comments from his/her friends and people who believe the same as them. Pop into the browser the trainers Name and Kennel name if they have one, to review the comments from people who are no longer going to them, and if there is any who have had bad experiences with that trainer. If they are mild dislikes you may decide to continue the check via looking at the trainers web site (if they have one) or even sit in on a lesson or have a one to one lesson with the person to see what the trainer is like, and how you get on with them. If they have bad reviews, and more than one, look for someone else. Never at any point be afraid to change trainers 
Example... My first Gundog trainer went around the game shows doing displays, his displays were of a trainer who only trained with kindness and that is what he did for the first level of the training, but then when we moved up the groups it changed, he started to show how he disciplined dogs by hitting them and even kicking them, that is when I left.
If I saw a trainer hitting a dog in training classes and/or allowing others in the class to hit their dogs, I would quietly take video evidence with my mobile phone with no one wise to why I was taking that footage, leave the class as normal and send the evidence to the RSPCA. Sometimes the RSPCA have to build a case, and therefore if everyone who came across that bad trainer did take footage and sent it into them they could build a case that showed this continual method of training cruelty. If we all did that it would mean slowly the bad trainers would be thinned out, trainers who us punishment as a tool are not good trainers, especially when they cannot even train to a high standard when using those bad methods. And if someone asked you for your opinion on that trainer you can show them the video so that they can make their mind up on whether to use that trainer or not!
 A friend of mine stayed with the trainer I first went to for longer, and to a degree was became desensitized to what that trainer and group did to their dogs, she didn't want to leave the group and lose all the friends that she had made there, there were some lovely people there (some right nasty ones) and neither of us wanted to lose them, but I couldn't stand by and watch their methods.
'So, Never stay with a trainer who turns out to be something you did not realize, and never be pushed into doing something to your dog that you know in your heart is not right. Thankfully all my other trainers have been totally different.

You need an understanding trainer.
You do want a trainer who will respect you if you wish to 'not' follow his or her every instruction
Example = When I went to obedience classes with my Springers, I never wanted to recall them from a sit as I wanted them rock steady for their gundog work, and the trainers I went to always respected that fact when I explained why. For the kennel club tests I had to recall them, but that was a one off, far better a one-off then actually doing a recall every week in the class, for one wants to create Good habits not bad habits as habits are hard to break so don't create ones you will have too break.

Another example was when one of my gundog trainers suggested tweaking Jay jays ears, she had been off training for months (when I had a nasty fall down the stairs) and therefore she needed tightening back up. The trainer was convinced that if I didn't tweak her ears I wouldn't get her back under control, and I said to him that 'I wouldn't tweak her ears but that I believed when next I come back Jay Jay would be back under control once again' ..... She was, and he had to admit that she was, and thankfully he never pushed his view of that type of training on me, which I was grateful for.
Everyone has a different amount of correction that they will give a dog, a tweak or taking it back to the spot etc, thankfully if we chose not to do those things (which I chose not to do) that is fine, well very fine actually, but hitting a dog tormenting a dog for a behavior it has done wrong is in no way acceptable, that is to far and is punishment and unnecessary punishment at that.
Does the trainer need Qualifications
In my opinion No, some trainers who have been absolutely fabulous have had no qualifications at all, they need to know what they are doing and that you will only find out by word of mouth and your own experience as time passes with them. The same goes for qualified people for the deciding factor is can they teach dogs and can they teach humans not can they retain facts from a book.

Remember, do not go to any trainer who hits a dog as a training method, even if it is just for 5% of the time. Some trainers will give some form of telling off, and that's fine as long as they leave you to decide whether you wish to follow, but hitting should not be expectable and/or causing stress and pain to a dog, At All, those trainers aren't good enough to teach YOU!

Have great fun with your pup, train a little and often, and all will be well!

Bella, Cancer, and cream cheese

So wonderful Bella who is thirteen very soon, decided to chew a towel, thirteen years old and she reverts to puppy hood, bless the cheeky toe rag. Anyway, when the vets opened her to remove the towel, they sadly found legions and  nodules all over her liver, cancer. They phoned me while she was on the table, they wanted to inform me about what they had found and to see if I therefore wanted them to still go ahead with the surgery even though she may have not recovered from the surgery, and even if she did she may not have had long with us or may only be with us for a few months, I of course said for them to continue.
She is three weeks on and doing so well, she has healed wonderfully thanks to the very good stich work by the vet, an excellent vet called Wendy in Nithvalley surgery,  Thornhill. Bella has no outward signs of the cancer as yet, and at her age may never show signs of it for it is hopefully  a very slow growing (very very slow growing) one and dogs can cope with only 30% of liver function, so we are hopeful.

At the moment Bella is more like a puppy than a thirteen year old, so fingers are crossed, and the plan is to forget the cancer but to make sure her body is as healthy as possible, especially her liver.

She has raw food every evening with the other girls, and in the morning they all have either porridge/cottage cheese mixed in with sardines in tomato juice/ or scramble egg. Bella wouldn't eat the cottage cheese without the tomato juice,  she knows what she wants and we obey, he he he! 
We are also going to be putting her onto Turmeric as we did Alfie, and later (if she needs it) a product that has milk thistle and more in it to help her.
She has been a Gem of a dog, so whatever keeps her puppy like we will happily provide. 
Heck, she doesn't even look old yet, let alone thirteen.   

Happy New Year, may it be a kind one

Happy New Year Everyone, I hope 2016 was a good year for you and that 2017 is a kind year for you, and a year where you share that Kindness towards your dogs for after all they are the animal that gives us such loyalty and work so hard for us that our kindness is the least we should give them.

Our Christmas was exactly what was needed, rest and more rest, good company, family and even a family wedding thrown in, and then more rest!

Jay was on rest for the run up to Christmas because of her leg, but Christmas day was her first walk and she thoroughly enjoyed, unlike the taking of the pic above that I loved and they hated, bless them. She also had gland problems ;) a trip to the vet and sudocream worked a treat on that!

For myself 2016 was a hard year, the hardship came in more than one form and the hardest was the lose of my brother to cancer, he had battled against it for over three years, leaving his wife and two young children behind. He went as well as one could of imagined his passing to be for him for he went after eating a Chinese take-away meal in his own bed, he had his wife on one side and his mother on the other, and he went fast but with just enough time to say and hear the words one would hope to say and hear before passing.  He and I were the youngest of the family and not much age difference between us, so throughout or school ages he was there and we protected one another and teased one another as siblings do, both giving each other nicknames that would tease the other one.

On his passing the family took strength from the knowledge that Ashley was no longer in pain, it's the little ones that suffer though his children, and of course my mother and his wife. Sadly so many other families are effected by cancer, we have lost friends during late 2015 and late 2016 to this horrid disease and their families  are dealing with their lose!

We (I) have also had to deal with some vile bullying on the internet once again in 2016, and even though the police have stepped in numerous times and have made it so the person cannot speak to me or come near me (fingers crossed), though he still continues talking/lying etc about me on the internet, sad person that they are! All because I signed a petition, because I know that one does not need to hit a dog to train it, at all. Sadly the person stalked me and found out that I have a live long medical condition so they see this as a weakness that they can prey on, in their sick mind. 
240'000 of us signed a petition to make the RSPCA aware of that person.
So many of us can and have trained with kindness, to very high standards. We don't just train with kindness for 95% of the time and hit the dog for the other 5% of the time, we train with consistency/clarity/ Love/joy and kindness 100% of the time using our voices and body language and brain. We know for some people that they cannot get their minds around this, even though the techniques are very simple, and we know that sadly some people enjoy giving punishment and therefore need to believe it is impossible to train a dog without the use of punishment, but humans (most) are intelligent and caring enough to teach a dog without ever using physical punishment as a training method. People who use physical punishment often say things like.... 'I'm only showing/telling you how everyone else trains, it's just they are to PC to show you!'... that is wrong. You will see that the people who give physical punishment are also not being truthful about the punishment they give because even though they talk about physical punishment they do not often show it, and when they do show the physical correction it is a very tame version of the physical punishment that they give the animals when the tapes aren't rolling. We watched one clip last year that showed a women entering a cage with a food bowl for a dog, she states she has cured it's food aggression but does not show you how she has cured it, though to anyone watching that clip one can see how she has cured it for as she places the food down she flicks her empty hand at the dog and the dog flinches away, the dog flinches away more than likely because it had been hit previously by the trainer when the dog went to the food, and the dog would have more than likely been hit very hard to make sure the dog backed away in total fear and does not even think about moving forward to retaliate. If the trainers were being totally honest they would show the supposed food aggressive dog at the start of their training, and the person would film in real time their training of that dog not to be food aggressive so one could see the corrections used, for after all if they are showing you how to correct a food aggressive dog but do not show the methods that they use and the actual training of said dog how are you to learn the methods that they supposedly want to pass on? Up shot is, if someone cannot show their training methods in detail to you... Don't train with them.. move on to a good trainer for there are plenty out there if one does their research first.
Hopefully this quite nasty abuse I have been receiving from that person will soon be stopped once and for all, for Adults should behave far better and in a more decent manner on the internet or what hope do our children have from people like that.

Our home has been the joy in 2016, my safe place and my serendipity, and a place that enriches the soul on the lowest day which mean that annoying smile of mine is still on my face. Our walks (me and the girls) are in the garden so to speak for the fields are right there, wrapped around us bringing the wildlife in and yet because of it's 'slight secluded placement' keeping it peaceful and left alone from the world outside.

I so look forward to receiving family and friends here once again in 2017, give us a call you never know I might let you into my serendipity...if your as mad as I am for kindness, wildlife, dogs and joy!

Training to hunt together

I have seen some awful videos this weekend showing 'how to teach your dog to hunt in front of you' etc. ones that if you were to follow you would end up with your dog on shoot missing loads of game because you had let it hunt so widely. Some trainers/Handlers can't or maybe don't know how to quarter/hunt correctly, therefore grow to except and convince themselves that their dogs running here-there and everywhere is totally fine, therefore they miss bush after bush grass tuff after grass tuff, this method is then passed on to the new handler...Don't except it though , hunting is something your dog will already have in him or her through good breeding, hopefully, though some dogs need a little more help than others, so all you have to do is train your dog to work with you, together.
And honestly, done with love and common sense it is totally achievable.

  Your aim is to have a dog that works in front of you covering each grass tuff, working the bushes and hedgerow in a pattern that will mean birds are not escaping behind you, not missing birds because your dog missed that area completely, or missing a rabbit that was sitting tight in a grass tuff because once again your dog had totally missed that tuff.
People will talk about back winding, where you dog will go further of in front of you because the wind is blowing at your back, and when doing this the dog may well pull a bit in front BUT it should then work thoroughly to you, BUT as one can imagine there is risk that the pheasant, sitting between you and your dog that is working back to you, will again just run straight passed you behind the line instead of being pushed up.

Jay-Jay when just over 1 years old

So the best movement is a flat sweeping figure eight, though there must be allowance in that flow as the main aim is to have a good thorough coverage of the ground. In fact, as long as your dog is working the ground thoroughly in that pattern, the width it is going out from you (ie left to right) to a degree doesn't matter, unless you are trialling. My Mia was trained totally for shoot, and therefore will work dog to dog, ie she will cover all the ground (side to side) that is not being worked by another dog, which means when one is short of dogs on the ground Mia will take more ground and when there are plenty of dogs Mia will take less ground. Jay was trained for both and will therefore only take a certain amount of ground in unless asked to take more.

No dog is perfect, neither are we humans, but if they miss so much ground, they will certainly miss game, so do not train to fail by following those
who train loosely, with practise and kindness it is totally achievable!

Jay-Jay trained  

The wonderful thing about a spaniel for working is

I wrote this piece below for the Video Clip section, but I thought I would share it here as well, well I do like to ramble, he he he! 

The wonderful thing about a spaniel for working is,
  when you have a spaniel by your side you need no other breed of dog next to you for they are the 
Perfect All-rounder, and a super companion!

To work with a spaniel as a team, and to know that your teammate could be totally self employed and yet he choses to work with you, listening to you, well that is an experience that cannot be explained in words but is most certainly some form of Rush!

It is sheer bliss to have your dog working through the hedgerow and cover crop as if either were a row of cotton sheets hanging on washing lines blowing gently in the breeze on a wash day, and yet with the adrenalin of a toddler on Christmas morning buzzing through his body, and yet still he keeps one ear open in case you speak to him,  an awareness to where you are in case you gesture something to him or change direction, for you and he have learnt over the years to read one another slightest movement, you have both learnt that when you work as a team Great fun is to be had, and What a Team you make!

It is not only your dog and yourself that are blessed by your partnership, but also the guns,  and that matters that they benefit for on shoot you are all a circle and no one part is greater than the other, but without the Guns finances, that land those birds and even the beautiful wildlife that thrives in that environment, would not be there.
The Guns benefit greatly by a well trained dog, for you and your dog can work as a team pushing the birds out of the crop and into the air, like the flow of a stream that bubbles down its pathway flowing into all the little nooks and crannies exploring them on it's way creating little drop-off points for fish to rest. You and your dog need to flow through that cover crop/undergrowth at a pace that will give the pheasant ahead time to find the nook or cranny to rest, whereupon your dog will find it and flush it straight into the air... all this done at a pace that does not make the pheasant go into a frenzy and rush straight down through the cover crop to the end of it to fly in one all mighty crescendo with the other pheasants, or enable it to loop behind you.  This flow gives the gun time to reload and aim with accuracy again and again and again, instead of that almighty crescendo that gives him no time to reload or aim with accuracy, for that makes a possible fabulous drive turn into a complete loss for the guns, and that is not what we want to happen.  
There is always part of me that hopes the guns miss, but I am a meat eater, the pheasants live a free life and are supplemented through nasty weather by the game keepers/shoot, heck the humans even create places were the pheasants can shelter, and if we beaters and pickers-up do our job properly and the guns give the respect to the birds by not making stupid shots, then we have done ok!

And I suppose that is what Gamekeepers, Guns, Landowners, beaters, and Pickers-up all should aim for, and I would hope most do
To respect the animals, make their lives good and give a clean kill as possible, protecting and respecting the wildlife and countryside around. NOT beating our dogs (hitting/discipline whatever you call it to soften the sound of the act) in the name of training, killing birds of prey,  or treating our woodlands as if there will be no next generation. That behaviour isn't for people who truly love nature or dogs or the environment. And if you love all three, well stop protecting those that do not with your continual silence for those people/acts are the ones that people outside the sport see and tar all of us with that same brush. Stand up for what was passed down to us, and what we should now be guardians off, for our forefathers understand the land and mother nature and respected it, machines' have enclosed us of from it to a degree, yet us who walk/work the land on foot tread the same path and should respect all of mother nature and her animals, let us either leave it as those forefathers would want or improve the land and the wildlife for the next generations.

I hope these videos help you, and shows you that dogs can be trained with Love and common sense and with no need or right to use physical violence!
When your dog is trained and ready to go on shoot with you, I hope you find a shoot with the same principals as I and many others have, and that many wonderful winter days follow from it!

This months Training with Tinks and Jay-Jay

This month I have been teaching Tinks Left & Right by movement and verbal command. This month I have also taught Jay-Jay the verbal command of 'Left' & 'Right'  as previously she only had one verbal command for going right or left depending on which arm movement I made. As you can see they are doing well, and only with 3-4 short very lessons a week.
So I am very pleased with them, they have listened well and had fun.

To teach dogs Left and right by arm command gives the dog a greater chance of getting the retrieve, and we need that to enable a fast retrieve of any game we send the dog for, especially if you know where it lays but the dog does not.
If your dog just know the command 'Out' followed by just a throw of the hand and no clear Right or Left movement from you, you limit yourself and thereby you limit the dog, and you may have to give far more arm throws and 'Get Out' commands to get the dog into the same spot than a dog with a good straight Out-run and a sharp stop to the whistle with a then silent left or right arm command. Makes sense doesn't it, after all imagine yourself shouting 'Get out, Get out...' on shoot day when the dog has been sent for a blind and is only guided by throwing of the arms and your shouting at it that command, compare that to the far more silent option which has far more accuracy!

If your dog is in the wood and can't see you or in really deep cover, how handy would it be to be able to say 'Right' or 'Left' and your dog go right or left depending on the one you asked for.... very Handy.

Now I am Lucky in that Jay-Jay will do a Meerkat when she is unable to see me or when she needs to do it to mark the fall of the game, and she does it without moving forwards or backwards just upwards, which most Judges and trainers love as it shows brains for starters and an ability to mark game the sitting down dog (or if you beat it) the lying flat dog would not see, and therefore Jay will see the bird land and get to the fall. But, if your dog doesn't do the meerkat impersonation or cannot because of the environment it is in, well then that 'Left' or 'Right' command could come in very handy. Now it won't be needed all the time as your dog will often see many falls, or will see you (maybe you need to move a tad if you can to enable that), but there are those times it will be greatly useful.

The you tube clip below shows you Tinks and Jay-jay as they are taught these new commands by myself over this month of July. 

To teach Tinks the Left & Right direction command via body and language, I broke it down for her and started by teaching her just the body Language when I sent her for a 'Back retrieve'.
This I did by sitting her directly in front of me at an angle that would make her want to go the way I wished her to, as you can see in the video it worked a treat. 
You only need to sit the dog at an angle while the dog is starting to learn this new command. When teaching a dog something new one should always set the dog up in way that aids the dog, once taught it's a different matter .

Now both girls have been previously taught, to varying degrees, to run straight lines left and right by my making a clear and straight movement with either right or left arm and a vocal command 'Out', not a throw away arm movement that just sends the dog in a wide section to either side, but a clear signal for a straight line.
But now of course they are learning the vocal commands 'Left' or 'Right' and that is learnt through repetition. Of course as far as the dogs are concerned Left and right could be called 'Fish' & 'Chips', as long as you always use the same word for the same direction. Because they know the arm movement I can just put the new word with the move, and repetition will lock it into their memory bank.
I then add temptation by throwing a beloved ball over Tinks head to land behind her, then asking her to go either right or left for a dummy instead of going for her ball, and if she got it wrong, the most she would get is a verbal 'Ahhh', which seems really loud on the video but that was only because my mouth is very close to the mobile. Always remember to praise for the stops, the stops must be praised as you want the sits to be well and truly locked into their memory, and locked in through only good memories. 

I am lucky enough to then be able to add another dog (Jay Jay) into the mix for Tinks, it helps Jay-jay to learn patience so its a win win, even more temptation to  for them both, and when I think I can I ask them to cross one another for a retrieve I do, this asking really demanding high concentration of them.

The video is a mixture of mobile video and camera video so please forgive.

As always, no dog was Hit at any point, it isn't needed, whether you gloss it up by calling the hitting of ones dog 'Correction/redirecton' or any other name, it is Not Needed and shouldn't be done. Learn to teach a dog with kindness, as many of us do, OR don't teach, for no dog deserves it!

Treat Training, Voodoo or You Do?

Treat Training, thought to be a Bad word to some people

Today I saw comments on the internet that made me chuckle, words which I have seen before written by others or verbally expressed by people who believe treat training to be a BIG no-no, yes even in these enlightened days some people truly do talk still talk about treat training in that manner.
When one sees these comments one can also tell that the people expressing these views have not understood or looked into the method enough to have an intelligent understanding of it, thankfully many of us have tried it/looked into it and now happily use it as one of the tools we have in our box of tricks.
A good and kind tool that we can use when appropriate!

It isn’t a bad word, Treat-Training, and it is just another tool to help us teach the dogs what we want them to do, and to praise them for doing so, and as someone said on the internet
'If you do something good at work and your boss says ‘well done’ I bet you are chuffed, but if he says ‘well done’ and puts £50.00 extra in your wage, how much better is that! ’
......End quote 

Mention clicker training, and ‘Oh my’, you may as well say that you have let the dog runaway to join the circus, one can just imagine the shocked looks on their faces, it does make me smile!

One could say our voices when we praise the dogs is a Treat to the dogs, one could say the same for retrieve item the dog has just picked for that is the reward the dog will get if he follows our instructions.
All forms off rewards can be used to benefit the dogs, but all rewards need good timing and common sense in the use of them, all forms can be used incorrectly when either common sense, timing, or a misunderstanding of the technique is used. Though please don't misunderstand me, Clicker and treat training are easy to understand, especially when one is shown it by an excellent trainer, or maybe even friend that has used it successfully for quite a while. Clicker training pin points the time so well that the dog is not left in doubt of what you are rewarding it for, making it so easy for the dog to do right.

I use clicker training for the basic work such as, heelwork, sits and downs etc. I have also used it for Ellie when she had an issue with coming right up to me with the retrieve item, it worked a treat for her. All of my other dogs were taught without the clicker when it came to retrieving, it wasn't needed for them so I didn't use it, and that is the point one can use it when one wants to and when it is needed.
Because I mainly use it at the start of training for the pups, one doesn't need to use it in a middle of a field when the dog is hunting, one wouldn't need to use it then anyway as the dogs reward is the hunting, we all know how they love to hunt. We also know how dogs do not necessarily revel at the basic and boring things, just as we ourselves do not enjoy the boring basic things of a new skill being learnt, but with our voices and praise and the clicker with treats, we can make the basic things interesting and rewarding enough for the dog to enjoy and learn.
Remember, we are only getting our dogs to do what comes naturally to them except we asked them to do it for us, though each dog is different so the more training skills you have to your bow the better as you can then tailor the training to the dog.
As I always say, you should never train a dog with physical correction/punishment, you shouldn't do it and with the aid of varying training skills you will not have to use those cruel methods.

Training, so many Rights.......

....Only one Wrong!

If you cannot train a dog without hitting or kicking it, than don't train dogs!
That doesn't mean we are saying you should baby the dog,  or only ask for the dog to do something if you have food in your hand, it just means you shouldn't physically punish/correct i.e. hit/kick a dog to teach it something that a lot of people can teach without those physical and abusive treatments.
I hear people say, 'but I only do it every now and again' or 'I only do it 5% of the time'. I wonder if that is what men who hit their wives say (or vice versa) as an excuse, "I only hit her a few times, and that's only because she makes me, she doesn't listen to anything else!" So they hit their wife and then go straight on the charm defence to prove to the wife that he loves her, and that she just needs to stop pushing his buttons and making him hit her, and from what we have learnt about women (or men) who fall into a relationship with these mentally psychologically damaged people is that the woman will try her hardest to stop the man (or woman) from hitting her by doing exactly what he tells her to do, we also know that while the woman will try and be happy and keep it altogether eventually it all falls apart.
Now that is a human, we are training dogs and they have less mental understanding than the battered half of an abusive relationship, so the dog will be unable to work out what is going on but will still try to appease the abuser to stop the beating, hitting and/or kicking, and dogs are so forgiving therefore the abuser uses this to his/her advantage.

Does the woman or dogs eagerness to stop the hitting's make it right for the person to use physical punishment on them?
No of course it doesn't!

Should we once again go back to the old days were everyone took no notice of the ladies Black eye, I mean after all he only hits her now and again?
No, of course we shouldn't!

Usually once found out and warned, then warned again, and then eventually charged by either the police or RSPCA depending on whether it be human or animal abuse they have been charged with, these people are often found to have antisocial (sociopathic, psychopathic) or narcissistic personality disorder, and they may have impulse control issues and substance abuse issues on top of that! Such people may abuse because of the benefits they receive from doing so, for instance, sexual or financial gratification, or the simple allure of power over other people's lives.
This is sadly why some people train in such an abusive way, they get a kick out of it, a rush of power that they cannot get from humans as they lack the mental skills to do so, and see the defenceless animal as a easy target, especially if they can convince people (as the husband does the wife) that it is all for the animals good, and that they have to do it and only do it to improve that animals life!

Dogs have and will always be trained in many different ways as the dogs are individuals and we humans are individuals and therefore one way does not suit all, BUT, that does not give anyone the right to hit an animal.
Apparently, people say of me, that
'She has good dogs, but you can't hit your dogs in front of her!'.
To know people think that of me makes me proud, and thankful to the teachers who have taught me, each teacher taught slightly different from each other, but all (except the first one I went to for gundog lessons) respected and/or shared my belief that you do not need to hit an animal to train it to a high standard, you especially do not need to hit a dog to train it to a good shoot standard. I also respected each individual one of those trainers for not forcing any unwanted training methods onto me, and for not being upset if I chose not to resolve something the same way they would do. They especially excepted it when I would come back the next lesson and show that I had managed to work through the problem while sticking to my belief.
If we all got the reputation that I apparently have ('She has good dogs, but you can't hit your dogs in front of her!'.), the trainers who use varying degree of physical punishments towards their dogs in training, would most certainly not show it in group/individual training for fear of being reported and because they would become aware of the knowledge that their clients disliked and disrespected the trainer for using those methods. Those trainers, the ones with talent but a laziness/stubbornness to chance their ways, would change their ways for they would need to find alternative ways to teach their clients or find themselves losing clients. Sadly the narcissist trainers will more than likely not change his/her ways as he/she more than likely does not have the talent to do so or the intelligence, or even the desire to please his/her clients, especially as those trainers/handlers pleasure is derived from the dominance and abuse of the animal that they abuse.

I personally have no 'one' method of training, I will use whatever one will work for the dog, I will use clicker and food based reward, but do not use it for most of the training, for most of the training I find my vocal praise to them and/or the item they are retrieving is reward enough for them. I do find clicker training useful at the start of training to teach the obedience work, and used the clicker on Ellie to get her to bring the retrieve all the way to my hands. Before the accident down the flight of stairs, I always taught the girls from the get-go, as soon as they could walk, and done correctly it does not make them into Robots in fact it gives them confidence and expands their minds, creates good habits that will help you when you begin to finalise their training, and creates a cracking bond between you and your dog, such fun!

I suppose what I am saying is, if you see a toddler being tapped across the hand by its mother, you won't like it BUT you wouldn't dream about doing anything about it, but if you saw a toddler being hit, especially more than once, you most certainly should do something about.
The same for a dog, if we see someone tweak a dogs ear, we more than likely wouldn't like what we saw BUT we certainly wouldn't do anything about, but if we see a dog being hit or kicked, then we most certainly should report it, and if one can (safely) video the abuse on mobile video than one should do so without being seen and hand that to the police or RSPCA.

If you are in any doubt to whether a dog can be trained with kindness alone, watch the you tube clip, you will see the answer to that is ...YES

Enjoy your dogs, be understanding of them, and if any nasty videos come up on Facebook, especially those horrid ones were the horse have been abused, don't look.
Let Gundog people be known as the group of people that others would say about them 
 '........but you can't hit your dogs in front of them!'.

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