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Lloyd90

Teds progress

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    Part 6: Off to school! 

     

    Well today we had our first training session with a proper trainer. In the end I went to see Sam Thatcher near Gloucester / Cheltenham. I met Sam's partner through helping out at a working test and recently learned that she had done very well in the cocker champs. I queried with her partner if she gave lessons and thought I would go up and see if I could pick up some good advice.

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that like myself Sam keeps her dogs in her house and not out in kennels, and she also trials (very successfully) which is something I would like to try if I can make it that far. I liked this as many "serious trainers" told me if you want the dog to be very good they need to be in the kennel :/, so it was refreshing to hear off Sam that this isn't the be all and end all of it. 

     

    Overall I was there about an hour and a half ish, we did some hunting of cover in some tall white grass, Ted did great on this and worked really well with some rabbit scent on the ground. Having the right ground with scent really makes a big difference. Sam and I talked non-stop and I picked up some really good stuff, especially when Ted ignored the turn whistle and different ways to put it right. 

    Ted is quite a soft dog in some ways so I think he wouldn't suit a heavy hand and isn't even 9 months yet, I found Sam really helpful and had a similar approach to myself not wanting to come crashing down on the dog. (I've seen other "Pro Trainer's" on youtube complaining that modern spaniels are too soft and can't take their corrections 😯) so I was very happy to see she had a similar approach to myself, more about setting the dog up to win and she gave very clear instruction on how to correct him without him getting the wrong message. Following correcting Ted 2-3 times as Sam had explained he worked very well, listening to each turn very sharply! 

     

    After a short break we did some retrieves and it was reassuring to hear that Ted is very good at marking and a great delivery :) When you don't have much experience it's genuinely hard to know whether something is right or your doing it wrong and you just don't know any better. This is something I found before with getting Ted to look at me before retrieving, which can make him lose the mark. Previously I didn't know any better but thankfully I have sorted this previously. 

     

    I came away from the experience feeling very good about progress so far. Sometimes it's just nice to know things are on track.

     

    I did query with Sam about a puppy test in the coming summer, Sam was very reassuring and thought Ted could do very well, she said he could probably win a novice test with how hes doing at the moment :D which was very nice to hear, although she said just take it easy with him, as too much pressure on young dogs can cause them to go unruly and not listen at all, or dry up and become really sticky. I found this advice really helpful, and also got some ideas of how to let Ted just have play time, and the do's and don'ts of letting him just have down time. 

    I always find it unhelpful when someone says "let him be a pup" as that's just so vague, being able to talk things through with someone and get some good do's and don'ts was helpful for me that's for sure.

     

    Looking forward to implementing some of the tips I acquired from this lesson, and will definitely be going back for more as we move forwards :) 

     

     

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    Well done Ted and yourself I was told many year's ago its more about training the trainer, keep us updated with Ted's progress. 

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    1 hour ago, B725 said:

    Well done Ted and yourself I was told many year's ago its more about training the trainer, keep us updated with Ted's progress. 

    Thanks mate, it's very helpful just knowing what's on track and being shown exactly how to fix little things :)  

     

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    Ahhh Olly and Sam are superstars, stick with them you’ll go far! Glad you got yourself to a ‘lesson’, it can be very reassuring 👍

    Edited by bigbird

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    Got my lad to concentrate on the bird now rather than making eye contact - took a couple of days but he watches the bird 100% now - his marking is near perfect so you were right Lloyd about where he should be looking.

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    Pleased you have found a sensible lady trainer and the lad is doing well.  I miss having a dog about the place and mine have always been family and not shut out in a kennel when not required.  My very best dog ever wa a choccie lab called Muffin.  I went on holiday when he was about 6 months old but had friends across the road who had a young spaniel about the same age and they said they would look after Muff whilst we were away. They had a friend who was a 'trialler' and she looked at my dog and said he would never make it, his legs were all wrong for jumping things etc etc.,  in fact old Muff was just overjoyed to clear a five bar gate, particularly if he could do it right under the nose of someone astride the gate also climbing over. I'm sure he waited for the chance.  He would sit at heal and mark birds when I picked up, he would work a ditch and hedge bottom if I asked and would blood trail a deer and try to retrieve it once he found it. He found a roe buck for me 24hrs after the stalkers dog had failed the day before, buried under the grass in the bottom of a drainage ditch. He was the only dog I have seen who would actually dive after a duck and bring it back up and would hang in the flow of the River Usk watching for ducks coming down stream.  All this and more and a lady Expert Trialler had said he was useless. 

    Look after that little dog, I think he is going to be a cracker.

     

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    On 06/02/2019 at 22:22, bruno22rf said:

    Got my lad to concentrate on the bird now rather than making eye contact - took a couple of days but he watches the bird 100% now - his marking is near perfect so you were right Lloyd about where he should be looking.

    I doubt it’s the end of the world mate, if your dog fails to find something normally you have to walk out and help have a look, but if keeping their eyes on the mark improves their finding then its worth it to me :) 

    In a trial it could be the difference between the dog going straight out and a delivery straight back to hand, and a dog running to the wrong spot and faffing about in the wrong place for a while. 

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    Part 7: Further lessons.

     

    Well since my last lesson with Sam I haven't done a lot with Ted. It's been absolutely mental in work at the hospital supporting with discharges so the last week has seen limited times out, apart from short walks I think we only went out once in the last week for a good run on the local park which had some flood lights up for the rugby. 

     

    Well today I had some free time and went down to see Sam again for another lesson. This time we were joined by a dog she had in for training, a beautiful smaller cocker named Purdy :) 

    This was an eye opener for me, as Purdy was a game keepers dog who had taken the dog out lots when young, near pends etc, the dog was steady but had almost no go in it at all. Sam explained that this is why we take it nice and slow with young dogs. 

     

    Regardless Purdy was handy as she was nice and calm and we got to practice Ted sitting up whilst another dog gets to go out and have a retrieve in front of him. Ted sat lovely and no noise, lots of encouragement and he did well.

     

    We did some further work with him doing marked retrieves and building confidence going back distance. Sam also showed me what to do to get a dog to hold the ground when you know there is a dummy there. Previously when Ted is the wrong side of wind, if he can't find the dummy after a while he can go off in the wrong direction. Sam showed me how to work with Ted to stop him ********* off hunting and try to get him to hold the ground. 

     

    We also did a short spell of hunting in some thicker cover than last time, which Ted was quite slow with. Previously on grass he was flying about and I had been wondering about this, Sam was reassuring that he is only 9 months and that's just his confidence, as he builds confidence and experience he will improve so that's all good! 

     

     

    Plan moving forward is just get Ted out in more areas of cover and let him just have fun, building up his confidence in different types of cover, work on the retrieve particularly holding an area :) was also glad Ted was steady with another dog retrieving in-front of him as he will need to be if he is to run in a test this summer. 

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    Glad it's coming together for you and Ted it does test them when they have to sit and watch other dog's :good:

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    3 minutes ago, B725 said:

    Glad it's coming together for you and Ted it does test them when they have to sit and watch other dog's :good:

    It's massively helpful just knowing from someone with experience that even the things that go slightly wrong are really common, explaining why the dog is doing it and how to put it right :) You don't get the same input from a book or dvd! 

    How is Stan mate? Got the summer off now :) 

     

    PS I sent you a video of one of Sam's cockers! I'm trying to convince my GF to get one when we do eventually decide to get another. She wants a small affectionate dog...  

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