Michael Ellis, Training Protection Sports without a Decoy Video - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Michael Ellis, Training Protection Sports without a Decoy Video

Has anyone seen/used the methods Michael describes in this video. It looks very interesting and I am considering doing this with my dog. We ( as in me and my dog) tried the directed search last week at our club, it was a mess, my dog didn't have a clue what to do, which I suppose is normal as she has not been taught how to do it. Some dogs seem to pick it up naturally the first time but Maggie was unsure what to do and was constantly looking to me for direction, which I could not give much of as I have neither of us have trained the search.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 07:19 PM
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I have the video but I haven't even watched it.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 11:30 PM
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what do you mean by, "directed search"?

What have you done with your dog already to train this particular exercise?

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritneyP View Post
what do you mean by, "directed search"?

What have you done with your dog already to train this particular exercise?
Sending the dog out to and around a specific blind and recalling her to me for the next send out to a different blind.

>>What have you done with your dog already to train this particular exercise?
Practically nothing, she can do a send out and platz in a straight line.
Some of the dogs in the club picked up on the search naturally with no specific training, but my dog was lost.

Michael Ellis's video shows how to teach the search with no decoy help needed. It breaks it down into multiple steps and emphasizes the need for a clean bark & hold as the base. I was wondering if anyone had followed his method and how successful it was.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 08:01 AM
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I don't use Michael Ellis vids but I do work on this outside of protection. I don't pair it with a hold and bark, I just teach my dogs to run around whatever obstacle I have available (usually a stool or camp chair). For me it also has applications for agility. Being able to direct a dog to various obstacles and handle the dog at a distance is key in agility. Some people train this by putting a toy in the blind but in my world all rewards come from me so the dog must go around and return to me. The default behavior is that they go around the obstacle, return to me, and platz in front of me. If we're doing more than one obstacle I give them the direction and command as they are coming back so it is smooth.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 08:48 AM
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I think the blind searches should be trained as an obedience exercise and not on the field with a helper in the blind. I made the mistake of training it w/ helper-hot blind type searches, and my dog will still blow off the blind to get to the helper. Unfortunately I don't have a training field at my disposal to have him run blinds except when we train at club, so we are getting there, but it is slow.
Trees, chairs, whatever are not the same to my dog as the blinds w/ helper present. So we are always making him go round to get a bite, and he has to defer to my direction before he is rewarded.
Had I taught this as obedience(instead of protection)early on our outcome would definitely be different, I'm sure.
As far as the hold and bark, that should be taught first with no blinds so doesn't really go together for several sessions. You need the strong confident rhythm barking before adding the blind into the picture.
What does your trainer at club do to help you with this? bowwowflix has ME dvds to rent, so you don't need to inve$t in purchasing it.

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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 09:44 AM
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I have never seen Ellis' video though the title makes me shake my head......

Anyhow, I teach the blind search initially with the helper going from 5-6. Once my dog understands this I teach the rest of the blinds with a ball. Once the dog understands all 6 blinds I bring a helper back into the picture, the dog thinks he is in the blind (he actually isn't until the dog is heading for blind 5) so then it goes from being just an OB exercise for the ball to a much more intense search for the helper. I also do the shell game so the dog never knows for sure if a helper is in one of the other blinds. I have seen a number of people teach the blind search with the ball. I have found it goes more quickly starting it on the helper.

Another thing we do is put 3-4 blinds in a triangle or square and work on the dog paying attention to the directions of the handler despite knowing there is a helper in one of the blinds. The blinds are close together, it is easier to avoid the dog making a mistake and you don't run the dog into the ground trying to get it right.

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 10:09 AM
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Pan started with a helper and then went to the ball (mainly because the blind search for a dog that doesn't even have a BH yet isn't real critical, and using a ball is something I can do at home without blinds or helpers). First I sent him to the blind and the helper ran out and did like a mini-escape. Then the helper moved farther and farther out of the blind, but Pan had to go around the blind to get to him rather than cut straight to the helper (so it was like a triangle of me/dog, blind, helper). So, it was a bit different then sending the dog around one unmanned blind to get to another hot blind but it worked and the dog definitely understood to *go around* the blind since he could clearly see the helper. We did this two times just for fun (he wasn't old enough to do any other serious protection work) and then I switched to doing it on my own with a toy. I think having the helper there first built in the drive to the blind. I don't know if he still thinks there might be a helper in the picture or not, but he's definitely eager to go *toward* the blind, not just go around and get back to me for the toy.

Nikon learned with a toy at home. I had three real blinds setup in a triangle and would totally randomize where I sent him. With him on the field I realized I need to be careful about what I say. "Yes" is his marker word and when I was working on doing 4-6 blinds on the trial sized field, I would inadvertently say "yes!" when he committed to the correct blind and then he'd stop and look at me. I have to remind myself not to say anything or only mark after he's already gone around the blind or I interrupt him. Maybe with a helper(s) in the picture that won't happen (he'll have more desire to keep running and not as much interest in what I'm doing/saying) but we haven't done blinds with helper(s) since quite a while before his Schutzhund trial.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
I have never seen Ellis' video though the title makes me shake my head......
He is very clear in his video at what point to stop training a routine and switch to a decoy. As others have mentioned, the search, Bark & Hold are obedience exercises and I like Michael Ellis's approach to training this.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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I don't pair it with a hold and bark,
...

Some people train this by putting a toy in the blind but in my world all rewards come from me so the dog must go around and return to me.
He doesn't pair it per se, but he does emphasize that a solid bark and hold is necessary before training the search.

He does put a tug toy in the blind (at the far apex), the dog is with the handler when the handler drops the toy the corner of the blind, then the handler/dog move back around the blind and the handler gives the command to search. When the dog reaches the apex/toy, the handler calls the dog to him with hier.
He only does this for a few short sessions as a way of introducing the concept of running around the blind.
The reward is the tug game with the handler when the dog reaches him.

It seems like a good method.
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