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Re: Training Methods

The Ryman Setters Forum Forums Training Training Methods Re: Training Methods


Robert, After rereading my draft post, let me say, I am not a great trainer. I have been lucky to have better dogs than me, and to have great outcomes where I was lucky enough to accomplish several good things, and not to do anything bad. Haha! Okay, I am just laughing at myself for the good of the order but its basically true. My belief is that training is about extracting the potential the dog has, simplicity and avoidance of bad experiences that hold back potential.

I asked a similar question a while ago. I was fishing for some new ideas on a gift to a young man who got his first setter puppy. (Note, that better be his first setter puppy!) There might be something in that thread to go on. I tend to put brackets around things to sort out options. One bracket, I avoid speed training, miracle solutions, or approaches that fail to coach the person on their own behavior or attitude. A friend got a nice setter many years ago, read Richard Wolter’s book on training pointing dogs, and ended up with a big unfixable problem.  Wolter’s approach used a wing on a string, let the puppy chase the wing, take it away, and soon wonder pup will stop and point because it will realize it cant catch the wing. Voila! You have reinforced pointing and saved tons of time. You can guess. His dog never stopped chasing, and he relentlessly applied this technique. His dog never recovered from a negative chain of experiences. The technique is not necessarily bad, but no one told him to interpret, understand context, or realize his dog was not responding soon enough. Another bracket is some focus on the trainer, not just on the trainee. I like rereading Bob Wehle and Jerome Robinson’s training books, Wing and Shot and Hunt Close, because they overtly or in due course counsel the trainer’s attitude and behavior.  Some techniques they offer, well, never worked for me, but do I think better? You betcha. Am I more sensitive to my influence on my dog? Yes. I am somewhat focused on avoiding a training set up that has potential for a negative outcome. To do that, things have to be pretty basic and simple most of the time.  Absolute control is not possible. It is not fun to be in the coverts with a person who wants that control, and it makes training stressful.  Nothing really startling here in what I wrote but I hope it adds to the discussion. 

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