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  What to do after a bad day of training.
        Written by Michelle Linnane

Anybody who has trained dogs has had a bad day of training. As much as everybody tries to plan out what they want to work on, they can still have a bad day. Maybe you ran your dog on a triple that was over your dogs head and you handled on 2 or 3 birds, or you did a blind that all the dog did was give cast refusal after cast refusal. Either way it you had to use many collar corrections.  It is not uncommon for trainers not to realize the hazards of the test and got in to trouble before you had any idea that you were in trouble. But it happens. It does not mean you are bad trainer, or a bad person, it has happened to everyone at one time or another.
Here are some tips and suggests that will help after a bad day training. Following these tips can help you get back on track. What you need to worry about before you go back out in the field again after a bad day.

 Let me say one thing right now,  if your dog is in a training program were he or she has success of  75% the time one bad day will not hurt them. If you are worried about the dogs attitude follow the guide lines below. Also much depends on your dogís temperament, training attitudes and  how they handle correction.  If you have waited till the dog will not look out on blinds or marks you have waited a little to long to worry about attitude. Please remember there is no magic fix for dog training. I can not say this approach will work with every dog, but I really donít believe it will hurt. It is a question of doing less harm.    

  I train three dogs and I need to explain the experience level and temperament of each of the dog.
Black male 7 years old who has points toward his AFC and has his CAFC. He is a very good marker, and hard running with a good training attitude. This dog is very soft and does not handle a great deal of pressure.
Yellow female 4 years old that has an open jams and completed amateurs in US and Canada. This dog also loves to train and can get blown up with a harsh collar correction for that day but comes back strong the next day no grudge.
  Black female 2 years old is sensitive and runs the big dog blinds and marks.  I am very carefully with her and do not give too much collar corrections. This dog is a prime candidate for an amateur to get into trouble, she is intellect, sensitive and learns quickly and I often overwhelm her.   

  How I got in trouble one day
I set up a inline triple and had the middle bird down last. Bud had no problem Foxy and De had to handle. De and Foxy I handled to long bird, as they both broke down and went back to the middle gun. I gave a collar correction with the handle.     

  We repeated this same test in three different fields that day and each time it got worse. De did the test fine, she had no problems and did not repeat her earlier mistake.   The next two times I ran Foxy she did the exact same thing on both set-ups.  I picked up middle bird first and then sent for short bird next and which she over ran and just kept going I handled her back into the area. Now I have run the same test in three different fields and had to handle on all three and gave a collar correction on all three. Now I have just had failure three times with this dog and I am mad at myself, and I am worried about my dog.  

What I should of done
Looking back I feel, I should gone back to singles with Foxy on the second test and more than likely the third test. This was one of many mistakes I made this day, but I can not change what I did at this point. Looking back on what happened that day I did not think about how the first correction affected Foxy. As I have said before she  is sensitive and I have a tendency to over whelm her which I think I did this day.   Also I could have had gun help instead of handling which something else I feel looking back I should of done. With Foxy I normally never handle more than once in a day, I go to singles for my next test. As I have said I did not think very well that day.  Also when my older dogs did it correctly I also go back to singles with them on the next test. The last one I did a double and a single. The point being they need singles to keep them watching the bird.        

 What to do the next time you train.
It does not matter if you got into trouble on blinds or marks, go back to marks they give momentum. Short marks are the best.  If you got in to trouble on water go back to land.  You should go back to singles. I donít care if it my open dog or my young I go to a place with very little cover were the dog can see the bumper or the bird.  Short marks, are good for attitude, once the dog has success at least you will fell better. I find a soccer field or baseball field. Use jumbo white dummies that the dog can see as he leaves from the line. Give them 8 or 9 marks walking singles. You start in one end of the field and the person throwing the bumpers walks 10 yards or so and throws another bumper.  You can do this for the next few times.

Then when I train with a group again I would do all singles if the singles are over 100 yards I walk up to make them shorter. Remember short mark can be good for attitude.
Use birds if you can. Also if the cover is high when your training salt the area (have bumpers or birds spread out in the area of the fall), so the dog has an easier time of finding the bumper or the bird. Another thing you can do as the dog is running out to the mark throw another bumper silently. I would not do this too often, but it will not hurt once in a while.

 Marks Water
If I had a bad day training on the water and I was worried about water attitude this is what I would do. I would get some pigeons and shoot them over the water and then put the dog away. I would shoot maybe 5 or 6 birds. At that point they see that are not getting into trouble.

 Next time I train on water I would try and do boat marks in open water. No angles just straight out and back. I would try not set up anything that the dog would cheat.  I would use jumbo white bumpers and do singles. Again start out short and then go back to longer marks depending on the dog attitude. Also Dokens seem to show up better in the water sometimes as they have a bigger body mass then a bumper.  If the dog starts to cheat see if the gunner can throw another bumper or throw a stone instead of handling. We are trying to make the water a friendly place.
 Blinds Land
 I have about 5 different three legged patterns set up around my training areas. These fields are flat, with no cover or hazards. The first of my 3 legged patterns blinds that I do with my dogs are about 60 to 70 yards. I have others that are over 250 and 300 yards.  I am a big believer in DL Walters three legged lining pattern. I would go back to patterns blinds or school blinds. My dogs know those patterns cold. But I need to say I still do a great deal of cold blinds, but not after a bad day of training. I would take my dog out the car or truck and have them walk out with me to plant the blinds.  Sometimes you need to go backwards before going forward. Donít be afraid not to TEST your dog!  

Blinds Water
 I would again shoot pigeons like I described in the water mark section. Also I would TEACH the dog school blinds or go back to my school blinds. Use shackled ducks if you can. If you can not use shackled birds then use white bumpers that they can see. Also donít do long blinds at first. Keep them short for a while. Also keep your blinds in the water donít ask them to go over points.  Keep them very simple.  You could also do marked blinds were the dog sees someone place the bumper down.     

I hope some of these suggestions help, but the key is to know your dog. Being able to read your dog is the most important factor in any training. But if you have had a bad day going to singles and easier marks should not hurt any dogs. More than like they will not learn anything other than they are not going to get into trouble today. If they understand that then you have gained.  

Michelle Linnane
2616 State Rt 162
Esperance NY 12066
518-488-8489 Day 

518-868-4566 Night



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