Stopping and holding an area

I found some notes I made from a training session with Quling a while ago and thought I’d share them with you.

I have gone from the first basic exercises for holding an area to the next step. Quling and I haven’t worked on holding an area much but got back into training about a month ago as a part of working on exercises where he needs to remain focused for quite some time without running around like a maniac. He would always happily run around like a maniac if he could. ?

I start out by throwing treats on the ground and then adding the hunt whistle while he’s searching for the treats. I then progress to him sitting and waiting for the hunt whistle after having seen me throwing the treats (or an object) on the ground. He’s close to the area all the time, meaning I’m not sending him to search. I then test the hunt whistle without Quling having seen me throwing the treats. My own distance to the area when blowing the hunt whistle has been shifting during all these exercises. After having made it more difficult I always move in closer again.

We’ve worked through these steps quite fast. The other day I tried sending him into an area with a hidden ball, stopping him and then blowing the hunt whistle. That was a bit of a gamble. You can instead start by sending to the area and throwing the ball into the area as a reward when the dog begins to search. That way you won’t risk the dog “skipping” stopping in order to self-reward by searching and finding something.

In the first video clip – which is the first time I send to an area – Quling does not sit at the stop whistle but stands steadily. I let him go on to search anyway but noted that the sit had disappeared. I repeated that part of the chain – that the stop whistle means sit and not stand – and the next day we tried it again.

My stop whistle is very long because I was a little nervous that he wouldn’t stop… I need to pay attention so that I don’t teach him that the stop whistle means “stop, but after running a couple of yards”. ?

At the next step, I’ll add distance between me and the area. I’ll also try to remember to let him remain in the sit for different amounts of time, but always focusing on a fairly long time. I also need to step in and reward just the stop at times.

PS: There’s an entire chapter on holding an area in Retrieving for All Occasions ? DS.

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