Teaching a young dog to "run the blinds". - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2011, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching a young dog to "run the blinds".

This is a very fun thing I have been doing with my pup via the suggestion of my trainer, and I think it is going to make running blinds so much easier for her in the future. We've been working on it for about a month, and the results have been phenomenal... she is about 6 1/2 months old now.


We started up setting two traffic cones staggered a few feet from each other. Using food, I taught my pup to go "around" one cone and rewarded when she succeeded. I did this until it stuck in her head.

Once she went around one cone consistently, I would do the other cone (starting from the heel position) until she figured out how to go both ways. Once she got that, I then had her do one, come back to the center, then do the other.

As she figured that out, we then started moving the two cones farther from each other until they were about 10 feet apart, and started using less physical cues (me pointing and walking with her to each cone, guiding with food, etc).

Today, I asked how to start doing four cones. We set them staggered equally on each side, ran one set, had her fuss, and then set her on the second set. She succeeded immediately. We then set up six cones, the sets being about five feet from each other, and did the same thing.


I just thought I'd share a really fun tip to start with young dogs, as I REALLY think it is going to make learning the blinds a lot easier for both of us. We took a video of the six today, I'm hoping my boss will send me the video at the end of the week and I'll post it

Again, I realize this isn't "running blinds", but for a young pup it is a very neat way to start it off.

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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 06:31 PM
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Why are you using traffic cones and not blinds? In my experience dogs taught as you describe end up running around anything on or near the field. What happens when there are traffic cones near the schutzhund field? How do you teach your dog to discriminate between cones and blinds?
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 06:44 PM
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Why are you using traffic cones and not blinds? In my experience dogs taught as you describe end up running around anything on or near the field. What happens when there are traffic cones near the schutzhund field? How do you teach your dog to discriminate between cones and blinds?
I did something similar with my dog. At this stage he will run around just about anything I ask him to. Blinds, trees, garbage cans, small buildings, barrels, whatever. Chances are probably pretty good that there will be nothing else around the blind to confuse the dog too much. I've found it helps the dog to run to where you are pointing, rather than running the slolam (did I spell that right?) to get to blind six.
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 06:47 PM
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I know people who train it running around trees, chairs whatever...
I started on the training field with blinds (randomizing the hot one) My dog had a real hard time running 3(control work was needed big time!) we haven't attempted 6 yet.

If the dog will run around something for a reward, why not, I think it is easy to trasfer over.
BUT put a helper in the blind....changes the game when the dog figures it out.
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 11:41 PM
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Chances are probably pretty good that there will be nothing else around the blind to confuse the dog too much.
Chances are, pretty good and probably. These types of words during training equal a poor performance or failure on trial day.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2011, 12:10 AM
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If the dog will run around something for a reward, why not, I think it is easy to trasfer over.
Is not a run around exercise; it's a search. You can start with a toy, but in the end the dog should be searching the blinds with intent and aggression. In my experience, dogs that are taught too long to search the blinds for a toy don't search with intent to find the helper, but simply swoop around the blinds like it's an agility exercise. If the dog is in the wrong place mentally during the blind search it not only makes for a bad blind search it also affect the hold and bark.

The problem is not about the behavior transferring over. It will transfer very easily. Then you have a dog that will run around cones, poles, trash cans and blinds. The problem is the dog thinks that he is allowed to run things other than blinds. Now comes trial day and they have trash cans on the edge of the field, traffic cones holding up a sheep fence on one side of the field and light posts on the other. And I'm telling you, from experience with lots of dogs, that most dogs will become confused and try to run around the poles, cones and trash cans along with the blinds. Then you have to un-teach the dog not to run crap around the field. And I think that that is unfair to the dog.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2011, 12:38 AM
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I did something similar with my dog. At this stage he will run around just about anything I ask him to. Blinds, trees, garbage cans, small buildings, barrels, whatever. Chances are probably pretty good that there will be nothing else around the blind to confuse the dog too much. I've found it helps the dog to run to where you are pointing, rather than running the slolam (did I spell that right?) to get to blind six.
Wrong!

It happened to my bitches mother and she wasn't taught with cones as far as I know. She was nine years at that point and the handler the breeders son who is a teenager.

The blind could just be next to something else...

Last edited by Mrs.K; 10-09-2011 at 12:45 AM.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Why are you using traffic cones and not blinds? In my experience dogs taught as you describe end up running around anything on or near the field. What happens when there are traffic cones near the schutzhund field? How do you teach your dog to discriminate between cones and blinds?

I am not using blinds because, as stated, this is a game to imprint an idea. If I used blinds to teach a game, where is the seriousness when it comes to actually running blinds?

I am not worried about how she will feel about traffic cones in 10 months (she is nowhere NEAR old enough to compete yet) because within the next 10 months she will be learning the real drill. By the time she is doing real bite work and has run the blinds for a helper, I highly doubt she would rather go for a trash can once she knows the helper is in the blind.

Didn't mean to start a debate, just thought it'd be fun to share. Sheesh

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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 08:32 AM
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I teach my dogs to go around anything I indicate and *only* what I indicate. The main reason for this exercise is not really teaching the blind search but working in the control early on. The most important part for me when doing this is that the dog returns to me. At my old house I setup three blinds in a triangle and trained the dog to go to them in any combination I indicated. Unless I direct them to another blind/object, then they are to return to me and platz. The point of this training, for me, is not really teaching the blind search (because when you get a helper or helpers in those blinds trust me your dog is *not* just going to be running them like they do for a toy!) but to imprint the control and the concept of going out away from me and being able to take further direction. Handy for running blinds later on, VERY handy for agility (this type of work is sort of no-brainer for agility), not a bad life lesson for the dog in general. My dogs do not have issues running blinds in protection and are not running around every object on the field. I also train with the philosophy that rewards (and corrections) come from me and this is a great exercise for training the dog to understand this type of training. I never put a reward in the blind. I have it and they know it but they *must* do as I say to get it. It's fun to have a dog be able to be directed around random objects all over a soccer field and not have to put rewards out there or fake them out. I've also used this just as a form of exercise. I take Nikon to my husband's school and have him run figure-8s between the two soccer goals.

Last edited by Liesje; 10-11-2011 at 08:35 AM.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs.K View Post
Wrong!

It happened to my bitches mother and she wasn't taught with cones as far as I know. She was nine years at that point and the handler the breeders son who is a teenager.
Utta von den Jungen Hansen Schutzdienst Judenburg 2010 - YouTube

The blind could just be next to something else...

Wrong what? Good grief, if we made a list of all the potential problems a dog could have by a particular method of training that would be a very, very, long list I think.
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