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As I’ve got a bit of time on my hands (and a bit brain fogged after studying) I thought I would just let you all know how I get an immediate sharp stop on the whistle. Every single time.
 

Some may agree, some may disagree - we’ll see and it’ll make for an interesting discussion.

i expect a lot of you have been taught to sit your dog up, call the dog to you, blow the stop whistle, march towards the dog with your hand up and make the dog sit as it recalls to you. In my experience this just results in a more and more reluctant recall and really has no use in the shooting field. Don’t get me wrong, this was the way I was initially taught to do it 🙄

So. Look at it through the dog’s eyes. He’s hunting in front of you (or should be), you know there’s birds/rabbits/whatever ahead and at the split second you blow the stop whistle he winds them too. Delighted, he legs it after them, ignoring the stop whistle as you leg it after him blasting it again and again, red faced and getting more and more angry as you trip over the undergrowth and fall flat on your face. You hear that awful sound ‘WHOSE IS THAT BLOODY DOG!!!!’ Meanwhile your dog’s having a wonderful time chasing birds and completely ignoring you because the stop whistle holds no interest or positive vibes or associations for him.

You eventually grab the little swine and trudge back to your truck picking bramble thorns out of yourself mentally composing his ‘For Sale’ advert.

This is how I teach the stop whistle and I’m not going to say it’s foolproof but it’s quick, easy and results in a sharp sit and gets the dog’s attention straight away.

You’ll need a tennis ball, your whistle and your dog.

Call dog to you from a short distance away. Blow your stop whistle ( QUIETLY!! You don’t have to blast it down their ear holes, plus you’ve nowhere to escalate your whistle volume if you need to signal ‘I MEAN it!’ in the future) and hold the tennis ball above their head. As soon as that bum hits the floor throw the ball for them. I do stop whistle before any steadiness training btw. And that’s it really, build it up from a greater distance, when they’re hunting, in any and any safe situation you can just do that. If they don’t park their bum on the floor just walk towards them with the ball up and as soon as they sit throw the ball.

Once they’re sitting immediately because it’s clicking in their head that the stop whistle means look to you because something awesome is about to happen simply increase the time between the stop whistle and throwing the ball. It’s as simple and as easy as that and results in a happy dog who welcomes the stop whistle because it means there’s something in it for them rather than making them to make the choice between doing their own thing and having a telling off or glumly and reluctantly sitting.

When it’s clicked you just chuck the ball less and less frequently for them, by which time you have both your stop whistle engrained but by a happy coincidence you also now have sit and stay because you’ve taught that without even realising it and you can start on steadiness.

Hope that may help if anybody’s struggling at all, just a different way of doing things and may not work for all dogs, for instance if they’re not natural retrievers. Obviously if they’re not keen on tennis balls just use whatever they are keen on. 😊

 

Edited by bigbird
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Interesting how different folks have different strokes and most of them work.  I just used a long tracking lead and initially walked the dog to heel and made it sit every time I stopped walking, eventually then blowing a PIP on the whistle as well extnding the lead to let the dog walk ahead a bit and a gentle reminind tug on the lead if necessary.  All of my dogs picked this up pretty quickly and would stop and sit without any hand signals but I occasionally raised a flat hand to just hold an anxious dog and confirm I wanted it to stay until released.  Labs, GSP and Vizslas all took to this. 

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Thanks for taking the time to post 

a very useful bit of training information 

it’s so easy to do 👍

and for those that doubt it I’ve seen bb dogs work and it’s a pleasure to see happy dogs working to please there handler 😊👍

 

 

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2 hours ago, bigbird said:

I’ve never owned or trained a Viszla, definitely on my wish list!

Don't, because you will be hooked for life. They are a bit different.  Saw a ferreting vid on youtube ...Last outing of the season or something like that and a vizsla was mopping up the bolting rabbits with glee.  I miss mine very much.

Edited by Walker570
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Never heard that or a variation of it before but will keep it in my handwritten book of notes of the clever things I've seen and witnessed. As I recon although each breed have traits each dog within a breed are slightly different to train.

PS. I run along side Viszla's and they get the job done but not for me as the ones I see don't like swimming and are very hard mouthed 

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45 minutes ago, mgsontour said:

Never heard that or a variation of it before but will keep it in my handwritten book of notes of the clever things I've seen and witnessed. As I recon although each breed have traits each dog within a breed are slightly different to train.

PS. I run along side Viszla's and they get the job done but not for me as the ones I see don't like swimming and are very hard mouthed 

Mine would swim no problem and hard mouth is mainly the fault of the owner/trainer. They are very different in all aspects and require a different appraoch for sure, but they never tell you a lie.

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7 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

Mine would swim no problem and hard mouth is mainly the fault of the owner/trainer. They are very different in all aspects and require a different appraoch for sure, but they never tell you a lie.

your not wrong on different years of using a soft hand approach is biting me back now current pup thinks a soft hand is hilarious first time i ever struggled with a dog 

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9 hours ago, bigbird said:

Call dog to you from a short distance away. Blow your stop whistle ( QUIETLY!! You don’t have to blast it down their ear holes, plus you’ve nowhere to escalate your whistle volume if you need to signal ‘I MEAN it!’ in the future) and hold the tennis ball above their head. As soon as that bum hits the floor throw the ball for them. I do stop whistle before any steadiness training btw. And that’s it really, build it up from a greater distance, when they’re hunting, in any and any safe situation you can just do that. If they don’t park their bum on the floor just walk towards them with the ball up and as soon as they sit throw the ball.

We have always done similar but after the initial round then 90% of the time it is a feint to throw rather than actual throw. Following the feint a dummy is tossed for a good sit, or the dog is collected and cuddled. The same whistle command is used even as a small pup to sit, for dinner, when I stop walking etc etc. Continual reinforcement. Same as peeping recall. For a small pup, wait until it’s a couple of paces away... pip-pip-pip then food bowl goes down on the floor. Keep building until pip-pip-pip is understood. 

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Have a look at Chris Linney’s method ‘Hampshire spaniel training’ on YouTube, essentially teaches to spit and sit, really sharpens the ‘sit and face me’. Interesting way to keep it fun and teach some new skills...not for every dog though so be careful...

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