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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Helper - Dog relationship

Anne's new thread and Liesje's response got me thinking about this question: what is the relationship between helper and dog? Of course, there is the aggressive, adversial aspect to it (helper vs dog). But is there also an aspect to it where the dog in some way gives respect to the helper and acknowledges that he must play by the helper's rule; that in a certain fashion, he must OBEY the helper? Let's say the dog comes into the blind and first thing he does is grab the sleeve. The helper yells "NO!" and the dog lets go. Do you think it is right to call that obedience?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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My other question related to that is: should all corrections in protection come from the handler or is it alright for the helper to correct the dog? It is the helper who rewards the dog when he does something right. So shouldn't the person who rewards also be the person who corrects (not exclusively, of course).

What is the pro/con of a helper correcting a dog vs handler correcting a dog?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 04:38 PM
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I suppose this is a matter of opinion and what people consider acceptable. Here's my take.
First, the idea that the helper is rewarding the dog has gotten completely out of control in SchH training. It has taken the training down more than a couple of notches in my opinion. The helper is not "rewarding the dog". If he is, the dog is not doing protection. My opinion , of course....

Second, when there is any type of aggression coming from the helper, I want my dog to counter with his own. Be it in biting or barking, I do not ask or would ever allow a helper to correct my dog. The dog should fight back, period. Since the helper is not my dog's friend or handler, he should never consider anything the helper does as a correction, just aggression. I think the helper can take on a more defensive posture where he is more threatening making the dog hesitate a bit but if the dog is respecting the helper,( like he would his handler), I think you have a training problem. What I mean by that is the helper cannot just be a sitting duck there in the blind when you are first trying to teach it. Like I said, he can take on a more threatening/challenging attitude and keep the sleeve in a place where it is harder for the dog to get....more like the attitude a cornered cat would present to the dog. But, using obedience to control the dog...and then getting compliance, says to me that the dog is not in the right frame of mind.
My dogs are listening to me. If my dog bites the helper when I don't want him to, I screwed up. Usually, it would be a case where I didn't correct him in time or I am sending him off line to the blind too soon, when the dog does not clearly understand what I want.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 04:51 PM
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Interesting questions, Jason!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Anne, I see what you are saying about it's the helper's job to keep the dog clean before he gets dirty. But let's say if - for whatever reason - a dog does get dirty in the blind and the handler is still 20-30 yards from the blind and therefore cannot correct the dog, what would you have your helper do?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 05:03 PM
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Very interesting topic...... we have two sets of opinions in my training club also.. one ~ helper can correct the dog (stick clean - hit the dog - dog should "respect helper" )... other ~ if the helper threatens dog... the dog should fight back. My opinion, if a helper stick hits my dog no matter what the reason, I want my dog to fight back, not be compliant to the helper.

~Lynn~
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 05:08 PM
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Gala has been corrected twice by 2 different helpers, both times she was corrected by the helper she dropped the sleeve and went after the helper. Needless to say, they've never corrected her again while training. She will take corrections from me, but not from someone else.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Anne, I see what you are saying about it's the helper's job to keep the dog clean before he gets dirty. But let's say if - for whatever reason - a dog does get dirty in the blind and the handler is still 20-30 yards from the blind and therefore cannot correct the dog, what would you have your helper do?
Well......of course, it depends on the situation because there are many things that can be going on. Might be a case where the helper did something to provoke the dog to bite and stuff like that.
If not, it would still be up to me to correct my dog and since I have a voice, I can verbally correct the dog while I am on my way to the blind. I would not ask the helper to do anything except stand there. I might ask him to make adjustments the next time I send the dog but really, if that is happening where the dog is coming in looking to bite, it is probably way too soon to be sending the dog in there. I work the dogs on the leash almost always. I am training, not testing my dog on "training days". I start sending the dog to the blind straight, then at an angle, then to the side, then from behind the blind. I make sure the dog understands what I want before I move on to the next.
One thing I have noticed over the years is the adversion to the leash that so many SchH people have. They just can't wait to take that thing off and in doing so, they create all kinds of problems and make training much harder than it has to be. I have told my helper not to be a sitting duck, that part is important , especially when you are proofing that part off leash but like I said, it is not the helper's job, ( for my dogs anyway), to correct the dog. That responsibility falls to the handler. Now, having said that, there are lots of incompetent handlers and I have watched helpers just go ahead and work the dog kind of without that handler because they simply get in the way. In some ways, I don't blame them for that but if we are talking about two competent trainers, ( which is always what I am envisioning when I comment), then I am only for the way I already talked about.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
Now, having said that, there are lots of incompetent handlers and I have watched helpers just go ahead and work the dog kind of without that handler because they simply get in the way. In some ways, I don't blame them for that but if we are talking about two competent trainers, ( which is always what I am envisioning when I comment), then I am only for the way I already talked about.
Recently I saw one of our helpers do this with a dog because he feels there was way too much "stuff" going on between the handler and the dog. I just wonder if the helper takes over some of the correction so that the correction is not always coming from the handler, whether that will lessen some of the dog-handler conflict (or excessive handler sensitivity) that you see with some dogs. Just a thought ...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 06:06 PM
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Well, like I have said before, the handler has as much to do with it as the helper does but IMO, when one is taking on the responsibilities of the other, in order to compensate for what one side isn't doing, usually there are problems later on. For me, the handler has to step up their game, if they can't, I personally will just not work with them. My temperament does not match that situation and while I can correct a dog as the helper, I refuse to because of what I just said. To me, it is confusing to the dog when an adversary can control them. Also, if the handler is that bothersome to his own dog, and can't, or refuses to improve his skills, none of it is going to work out in the end anyway. That person is who handles the dog in the trial. They won't have all the help in the trial, they have to adjust how much power they use in their voice and their body language, ( especially in a trial), and if they can't do that in training, they are sunk in the trial. Again, just my oopinion.


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