Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jameson's 2nd Hunt Test- JH Title Holder

Jameson is now an AKC Junior Hunter Title Holder. It took me a while to post this due to some work conflicts. But just a few weeks ago, I entered Jameson into a double header. We only ran two tests on a Sunday. He didn't get a passing score on his first run due to bumping a his only bird find of the day. But he scored very high scored all 9's on his second run in the afternoon. He ran long and hard, almost like a trial dog. His first point didn't bring any birds other then a dead pheasant carcass. He was released to continue his hunt and he located a quail pinned under a tree. He locked up nicely and help point for me to get up in front of him. Bird was flushed and Jameson broke for the retrieved. I am still working on having him hold his point after the flush. He tends to get excited and revert to his hunting ways. We continued the find and his brace mate was sitting under a tree. Jameson ran over to him and locked on point. The brace-mates handler ran over and dragged her dog off a bird that Jameson was pointing. He held point until I cam up in front of him and the bird was flushed and he retrieved it for me as well. He impressed the judges and passed. He is now a Junior Hunter Title Holder. Time to get ready for his Senior Tests.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jameson's 1st Hunt Test

On Saturday and Sunday (4/11 and 4/12) Jameson was entered into his first hunt test. I was so nervous because I did not know what to expect. It was also my first ever hunt test. The last time I was at a hunt test was back in 2008-2010 with a family friend who ran German Shorthairs in field trials. I have been working so hard to get Jameson's mind set out of hunting and into competition prep. What I mean is, him not wanting to retrieve every bird found due to I shooting every bird we pushed up. I didn't know what to expect at the first test and I didn't expect much out of Jameson because of my negative energy levels during the first test.

Test #1:
So of course my brace mate doesn't show up so I was left with running Jameson on his own. I made the Judges aware that this is our first hunt test ever. I was happy that we had great Judges at first that weren't stuck up or snobby.  They both assisted me through the process. So Jameson was let loose and about 5 minutes into the run, Jameson hasn't found a single bird yet. I began to get nervous and I didn't know that it usually takes about 5 minutes to find birds due to where they plant them. So, Jameson locks on point about 7 minutes into the run. I come in to flush the bird but I can't find it. I release Jameson and he runs around this large briar patch and locks on point again for about 10 seconds before the bird flushes out and I shoot the blank pistol. The bird flies about 20 feet away and falls, this is when Jameson's retrieve instincts kick in and he takes off to bring me the live bird. At this point, I was so happy that he went on point that I didn't care that he broke off for a retrieve. In the Junior Hunt Tests, they only score on hunting ability, pointing, trainability, and bird finding ability. After his retrieve he was released to find more birds. About 2-4 min pass and he locks on point again. I began to walk out in front of him and flushed the bird off the ground. I fired the blank pistol and Jameson once gain went back into retrieving mode. He took off after the bird that flew off about 100-150 feet away. Jameson went out of sight and I began to freak out. I began yelling for him and blowing my whistle. We were able to hear him running around but he wasn't coming back. He finally came back after a minute of yelling for him with the bird in his mouth. The judge helped me out and told me to give the dog some water since that is the only way you can touch your dog during the tests. I gave Jameson water and we ran off to find more birds. Jameson was unable to locate any more birds the rest of the brace but he got a passing score which gave him his first ribbon.

Test #2:
Jameson had a brace mate for this one which was a Brittany. Jameson was released and they were off trying to find birds. Jameson locked on point at about the 7 minute mark. He held it for only a few seconds until the bird naturally flushed on its own before I can get to him. I fired the blank round and Jameson took off again. He did listen this time and only ran off for a short distance and turned around to my location. We walked off and at the 12 minute mark he went on point again. This time, I got to his location and flushed the bird for him. I fired the blank pistol and Jameson retrieved the bird that was about 50 feet away. We continued the brace and were unable to locate any more birds but Jameson cored for his 2nd pass.

This was the brace which Jameson did not receive a passing score. We ran this brace with another Vizsla. Jameson only went on point once out of the 3 times he found birds. We found our first bird in the first 6 minutes. He locked up beautiful but I was unable to get to him before the bird busted. We continued our brace and his brace mate locked on point about 8 minutes in. Jameson came around for the backing point. I was made aware by the judge at a later time that in the Junior Hunt Tests there is no need for your dog to back another dog and to continue the brace. I did not know this so this may have been my fault for the failing score. Both dogs took off once the bird was flushed and the blank was shot. Jameson came back first with a bird in his mouth then the brace mate came back with a bird in her mouth. The judge scored this as a busted bird and he did not go on point. We continued the brace and Jameson caught sent of a running quail. Jameson busted this bird which the judge also scored him negatively on. Jameson did not receive passing score due to only pointing 1 out of 3 birds.

Test #4:
This was Jameson's best test throughout the weekend. He locked onto his first bird within 8 minutes. He locked on the bird really tight and waiting for me to get out in front of him. The bird was flushed and Jameson took off after the bird. He brought the live bird back and we were off to find more birds. At the 12 minute mark, Jameson locked on point again. He allowed me to get about 15 feet away from him before the bird busted and Jameson retrieved that bird as well after the blank was fired. The judge called the end of the test with about 1 minute left. Jameson found both of the birds in areas where the brace mate had walked past. He ran hard and big during all 4 tests.

I am very happy for Jameson. He did a fantastic job for his first hut tests considering the rough winter and the short amount of training time I had with him. We have our next test coming up on May 26th. Hoping to bring home 2 passes to get Jameson his Junior Hunter Advanced Title.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Video of Jameson's 3rd AKC Junior Hunter Pass

Jameson's 3rd Pass in AKC Junior Hunter this past weekend. Hope to do a blog post tomorrow with complete detail.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Birds and Gun Fire

We are still waiting for the majority of the snow to melt off in CT. Due to this, Jameson first scheduled AKC Hunt Test at the end of March has been cancelled. We are scheduled for a Hunt Test in the beginning of April and hope to bring home some Ribbons. I have been working hard at home with his steadiness. Even though he hasn't passed his Junior Hunt Test yet, I want him to be ready for  Seniors right out of the gate. I'm hoping to get him his Junior and Senior title all this Spring and Summer so we can focus on Masters in 2016.
40 yard point

 I ran into a few issues last week while training him. Jameson all of a sudden went into his hunt mode and began braking point after the gun shot. I began freaking out and looked for anyone to help as an extra hand being that it is hard controlling a blank pistol, bird launcher, and e-collar remote all at once. I got some help from my coworkers in order to hone in on this issue.

If you have been following my posts, I have already gone over the steps in introducing steadiness with gun shot. So all we have to do in this case is go back to the beginning. I know this sucks but this is what has to be done. It won't take as long this time around because it is already programed in Jameson's head for what he has to do. All we have to do is reactivate the program and he will understand. This should only take a handful of repetitions. 

Gun fire whoa
Jameson was let loose in the field without birds, but of course in his head he thinks there are birds and associates the gun shot with a dead bird. Once Jameson was out far enough and was running free for about 5-10 seconds, we let a gun shot go. Jameson immediately cam to a whoa and faced my direction. I then gave him the "whoa" command and e-collar pressure which he already knows. I approached Jameson and corrected his style. He was then released once again and this was repeated about 5 times.

scent point from 20 yards
On the 6th time, or when I noticed he was completely steady, I walked out in front of him and simulated a flush. I then reached into my bird bag and released a pigeon. At this time, I let out another gun shot after the bird was reasonable distance away. I also gave the "whoa" command after the shot with e-collar pressure. This is all done where Jameson is unable to get scent of the bird. You never want e-collar pressure during scent. After this 6th time, Jameson understood what he had to do. If he did not do it correctly this time around, I would keep releasing birds with gun fire until he understood.

backing drill, silhouette in upper left corner
scent point
Now that he understood what he had to do and the problems were corrected, I brought him into a hunting situation where he was asked to point upon scent and a bird was released with gun fire. Jameson did excellent and did not move.

I finally was able to make a pointing dog silhouette. Jameson hasn't done a backing drill in a few weeks and I wanted to make sure he still knew what to do. I set up the silhouette in a position where we walked around a corner and there was the silhouette kind of like a surprise. Jameson immediately came to a halt and point. This of course is not a scent drill so it is done in apposition where Jameson would not catch scent of the planted bird behind the silhouette. After keeping him on point for about 30 seconds, the bird was released from behind the silhouette, a gun shot was used and an immediate "no bird" and "heel" command was given as we turned and walked the opposite way.

I think I got him back where I wanted him and now its time for the hunt tests and steadiness work twice a day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Training Day 6: Moving on the table

Finally some warmer weather. It has been a beautiful 40-50 degrees in CT for a few days which has helped with some snow melt. We still have too much snow out in the fields which has hindered our ability to train on birds. I have been restricted to planting birds along side my street and utilizing the kennels property. In today's training, we primarily focused on introducing Jameson to moving on the force fetch table. He has had fetch training in the past but was limited to playing fetch with a dead frozen bird. We made it into a game just to make it fun for him. At first he wasn't too sure on how to approach the wooden dowel while moving on the table. Once we showed him it was fun with a  lot of praise, we received a great outcome.

Jameson was introduce to a bumper as well. This was a little troublesome for him being that he was so use to a small dowel. To introduce him to a bigger object, we took the same steps taken to introduce him to the wooden dowel. He already knew the commands so it was fairly easy after he associated the commands with the bumper. Jameson was then worked and forced to move and fetch the bumper. Jameson was first given the fetch command with the bumper at mouth level. Slowly the bumper was lowed to table level and he began picking up the bumper off the table. We ended on a good note with Jameson fetching the bumper without pressure for 3 repetitions. This whole training

session took all of 45 minutes. Repetition, repetition, repetition until it was done correctly and completing the training on a good positive note. 

After force fetching, I wanted to give Jameson something fun and something he loves to do. Which is finding birds. We ran him through a 3 bird course. Jameson was brought to a bird planted off the side of a trail. He locked on point nicely and held point to flush. We continued the walk down the path where he found a silhouette pointing dog. Once he had it in his sights, he once again locked on point and was "whoa'd" up. The bird was released with 2 gun shots. He got a little amped up when he heard the gun shots but that's the hunting dog in him. Due to the amount of hunts he has had, Jameson associates the gun shot with a dead bird and he immediately brakes to retrieve. We are slowly working on steadiness and repeating the drills while giving pressure when he tries to break. Everything at this point is done on e-collar. We are trying to move on to a point where the collar is not needed. Jameson was walked over to where the 3rd bird was located. At this point he was very cautious due to seeing 2 other birds back to back. He walked into the area slowly and faked a point. I double tapped his head an released him to go closer. He ran up about 20 feet and immediately caught scent and locked on. Bird was released and 2 gun shots were made. Three times is a charm, Jameson held nicely.

In previous training, we utilized random gun shots while Jameson was running freely. Once the gun shot went off, the command "whoa" was given with pressure. This is what will need to be repeated in order to steady Jameson to a gun shot.

Jameson's first Hunt Test is scheduled for March 28th and 29th unless the snow doesn't melt. I know we can pass Juniors but I want to know we can pass Seniors while going into Juniors.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Training Day 5: Refresher

The snow needs to melt!!!!! It is very hard to training outdoors due to the amount of snow and being unable to clear the fields. Today we concentrated on refreshing Jameson on past training. One new introduction was the e-collar on the force fetch table. The second half of the training was devoted to bird work outside with the minimal amount of room we had.

So, at the last training day we focused mainly on force fetch with the use of the ear pinch. Today we taught force fetch with the use of the e-collar. I associated the ear pinch with the e-collar in conjunction with the command "fetch" for the first few rounds. After about 4 associations, I stopped the ear pinch and relied solely on the e-collar. Giving the command "fetch" and using e-collar pressure at each command until Jameson grabbed ahold of the wooden dowel. This was done multiple times until Jameson showed he did not need pressure to "fetch" the dowel, meaning the e-collar wasn't used when the command was given. Every time Jameson "fetched" the dowel successful, he was given a "good boy" praise.

The second portion was used to work on his honoring skills. Multiple silhouette dogs were placed in the cleared field behind cover. Jameson was brought around the cover to a point where he would see the silhouette. Once Jameson had the silhouette in his sight, the command "whoa" was given with e-collar pressure until he came to a hault. If he did not "whoa" the bird was released that was placed behind the silhouette. The birds were upwind so there was no scent involved with this drill. Jameson was then told "no bird" and "heel" as we walked in the opposite direction. This was done twice. The third bird was planted without a silhouette and down wind where Jameson was allowed to go on point. He allowed me to walk out in front and the bird was released and given 2 blank shots. Jameson held nicely and told "no bird" and "heel" as we walked in the opposite direction.

Today was a great day and hoping the snow melts soon so more drills outdoors can be implemented. My new puppy, Jax, was introduced to birds today as well and he looks like we will be a great hunting dog.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Training Day 4: Force Fetch

This has been one redicules winter. We have an uncalled for snow accumulation. Most of the snow has not melted with about 2 feet of snow on the ground. Lucky there are some things that can be done indoors for training. We focused on force fetching with the use of the force fetch table. If you have not seen this, it is a simple set up with hooks and a cord to attach your dog to for control. This is the first time Jameson has been trained on force fetch. Jameson does not have any issues with fetching and releasing any birds caught. This is strictly to clean up any mistakes that may occure in the future during a trial or hunt test. I would like to get this as clean as possible to make it look effortless for Jameson.

Jameson was hooked onto the fetch table and given the simple commands of fetch, hold, and leave it. We utilized a wooden dowel which is smaller then a bumper and allows for ease of training. For the fetch commands, I held the dowel in my right hand like a cigar, and utilized my left hand for head control. I placed my right hand and dowel in front of Jameson's jaw and have the command fetch as I applied pressure to his jaw to open his mouth. The dowel was then placed behind his k9's and pressure was applied keeping his jaw shut on the dowel as I said hold it. The last commanded was leave it. In order for Jameson to release the dowel, I rolled it back to the rear of his mouth and gave the command leave it. This in turn caused him to open his mouth and give me the dowel. These steps were repeated numerous times until he held the dowel in his mouth without pressure. If at some point he appeared to be dropping his head or dowel, a harsh stap on his mouth closing it against the dowel corrected this action. This training will have to be done repeatedly for about 4 weeks to get a strong understand of fetch, hold, leave it.

Jameson is also a learning how to treat his new little brother Jax! I recently added another puppy to the family. His name is Jax and he is a full liver German Shorthaired Pointer from Quail Ridge Kennel in Stafford, CT. He soon will be going through the same training as Jameson.