A philosophical and practical approach for the "hunt-test wise" dog.
                           Daisy's "target testing behavior"
                 Daisy's "former testing behavior"
        If a testing dog is "wild" when going to the line.. 
                          It's all about expectations.

    Quite some time ago, a couple of statements from one of Mike Lardy's articles in The Retriever     
       Journal (Jan/Feb 1999) struck home. They convinced me to change and be more consistent.

        "It is my experience that most problems stem from a lack of high and consistent standards."
                                                      The Retriever Journal.....Mike Lardy

   "If a trial or test problem does develop, your best bet is to quit running competitions altogether for
        quite some period
. You'll want to completely eliminate the problem and have new ingrained 
                                        habits before you run your dog at a trial of hunt test."
                                                     The Retriever Journal.....Mike Lardy

     My issues were defining the "
quite some period" and changing my approach to training. Daisy
      spent over a year (no tests) "ingraining new habits". The progress was painfully incremental.
     Awareness proved to be real "pain in the behind".....for both of us. We both needed to adjust. 

Five Factor Training Analysis

    Here's what helped to "turn the corner" for Daisy after deciding to NOT run tests until new "stuff"
       became "ingrained" She did not run in any tests after May, 2009 until August of 2010. In her 
      case, this seemed to fit the bill for quit running competitions altogether for quite some period.
    My other three dogs ran the same routines which have proven to be effective with the exception
   of Kooly's penchant for vocalization at the line...when least desirable.  Several other expectations
  have been added to the 24/7 mode. My youngest seems to have benefited the most because Gunny
       received a steady diet of the correct expectations dealing with going from the van to the line.

    Remaining quiet, being cool, expressing calmness and being aware must become expectations.
 This only happens when they become the primary focus of every activity. Responsiveness is the key.
         Teaching Daisy to learn how to deal with adrenalin was a critical component of training.

                         The Hide Steady Routine (Link)   and   The Kwick Long Wait Drill (Link)

                         The following video is a short excerpt from a two dog, Kwick Long Wait Drill.
                       If you listen carefully, the "Gunz Up" CD can be heard in the background.     
                    It is an example of what to do in training so as to "ingrain" new expectations.

                                       Daisy & Kate - The Long Wait Drill  (Link)

 Here are two more examples of making responsiveness a regular training priority.

 Two Dog "No Bird" Honoring Drill
                                                                     (April 24, 2013) Training Journal (link)

                                                                       Gunny's "Kwick Walk About" Drill
                                                                     (July 15, 2011) Training Journal (link)

                   Training setups were altered often enough to keep the dog focused on team work.
                                                 Responsiveness is a priority (all the time).  
                                                A retriever must function with this mindset,
                                              "Whenever you are ready.......I'm available."
                                   This keeps the handler (me) in charge and her responsive. 
                                     The total package becomes empowering for the trainer.
                                                           insightful, free video link
               My High Drive Dog Will Never Settle and Be Calm, What Can I Do? by Michael Ellis
                                                                  (copywrite - 2011)

                                                    "more quotes to ponder"

            My pro trainer and friend one day made this very significant comment,  "If you aren't
                               duplicating the issue in training....you aren't trying hard enough."

                        On another day in that same time-frame he "mentioned" "It's not the dog."

 More recently, a pro trainer on RTF stated, "I
t's bologna saying
                                           your dog is perfect in training but not at tests."
"The Significant Conclusion"
                                 Wouldn't it be a lot easier (proactive) to show a pup how to relax
                                            in the "heat of battle" from the very beginning?

                               In conclusion, creating "the responsive dog" is not a two week drill.                  


                        updated 01/27/14