During our yard work we steady the dog on a "Whoa Board."
This enables us to "set the dog back" without going to the
dog and physically putting it back. (Covered in our May/June 1993,
Pointing Dog Journal column.) This enables us to immediately
reinforce the "Whoa" command if the dog has to be told to
"Whoa" a second time in the field.
We have found this works better than setting the dog back because
from the dog's perspective he has corrected the error of his ways
by stopping when given the second "Whoa" command. By going
up and setting the dog back he can become confused because in his
mind he has complied and than he is corrected. This timing is late
but with the collar the timing of the correction is precise.
We have found that the dog will become staunch much quicker if; you
don't set him back (of course without the use of a collar you must
physically set the dog back to teach this lesson.) Once in the field
it doesn't take long until the dog realizes that stepping forward
leads to mild displeasure from the collar and standing still results
in a pleasurable experience. The comparison is easy for the dog to
make and the benefit of not having to set the dog back is substantial.
The dog never gets the wrong picture as you return. He won't let down
or lay down when you approach because he is worried that you may be
coming to correct him. With our method when you go to a dog on point
the dog believes it is either to style him up or you are going to
flush a bird.
Another way our method differs from the traditional method is that
during our yard work we teach the dog to lie down. You should also use
this step if the dog already has the problem of lying down.
After the dog has learned to lie down we train it to stand up from the
down position when it's given the command "Whoa." Then if the
dog lies down on point you can immediately get him to stand up by reinforcing
a "Whoa" command.
To teach the dog to lie down on command we use a tie out stake and a
rope. Tie one end of the rope to the dog's collar and run the rope through
the tie out stake. Leave the dog by the stake and walk out the end of
the rope Command "Down" and pull the dog to the ground. Repeat
this lesson for as many sessions as it takes for the dog to learn to lie
down on command.
Next put the dog in the down position on the end of the rope. Then give
the dog a "Whoa" command. If it stands up, great! But if you
must give the "Whoa" command a second time use the Tri-Tronics
collar to reinforce that command. Give him up if necessary. Use low-level
stimulation and release the button the moment the dog stands up.
If you teach the dog to stand up from the position down he will learn
how to turn the collar off by standing up. Then when the dog lies down
on point you will be able to remove that option from the dog by immediately
reinforcing the "Whoa" command using the collar.
If you try to use the collar on the dog for laying down on point, without
first teaching it to lay down on command and then to stand up on command,
you will flirt with causing the dog to blink birds. But, if the dog truly
understands how to turn off the collar by standing up, blinking birds
won't be a problem. All you have to do is give the dog the comparison
laying down on point leads to a reinforced "Whoa" command, standing
up leads to a bird being produced.
When you approach this training problem by teaching the dog to down
and stand up from a down position you can successfully cure this problem
or prevent it from ever developing.