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Is there a cure for the whining?

 
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ForOtter
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PostPosted: 12/10/03, 12:29 pm    Post subject: Is there a cure for the whining? Reply with quote

My GWP, Otter, will be nine years old in January. He's friendly, lovable, energetic and extremely enthusiastic about the hunt. So enthusiastic in fact that he will sit in the duck boat or blind and whine from excitement until he's had the opportunity to retrieve a couple ducks. There's no stopping him.

I've toyed w/ the idea of using the e-collar to reprimand the behavior, but have not resorted to that yet.

I think he's learned that whining gets him what he wants - like when he was a puppy and he whined to go outdoors to do his business. But he's almost 9 years old! I would have preferred he outgrow this behavior.

Any suggestions?
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 12/10/03, 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At 9 years of age, I would say: Let him whine!
Through what you are saying, it appears that the whinning you are complaining about comes from the desire to get somewhere, to do something, and the frustration not to be able to get or do at that very moment. It is the enticipation, the need, the want. It is call having a high drive. Many people dream to have a high drive dog. They make the best working dogs and the most responsive dogs... They also can make life a little difficult at time...
Using an e-collar to stop the whining is likely to stop the behavior which brings on the whining. He wants to get to work. He cannot yet. He whine. You shock him. He is likely to understand that he is not supposed to want to get to work. This is called breaking a dog. You break his desire to work. Of course, you can always rebuild from there, but at 9? If you have put up with it for 9 years, are you sure you cannot put up with it for another 3 or 4 or, if you are lucky a little more?... I bet you have a very nice dog, a very good worker...
Just my thoughts
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Jon P
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PostPosted: 12/10/03, 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all you're not alone. There's more than a few that whine in the blind and not just GWPs. IMHO, most cases of whining, inability to be still, etc. is a temperament flaw. Ideally, versatile dogs should be able to wait quietly with the hunter for game. In both NAVHDA and VDD testing, dogs that talk, whine, yowl, whatever, when they should be quiet and attentive will be marked down. This is not a trait that we want to further in any of the versatile dogs. I suspect that many folks who pursue just the FT or field venues are not as aware of this flaw. But, when you ask a dog to sit in a duck blind for three or four hours and to be quiet and obedient between retrieves, it gets real annoying real fast when a dog can't be quiet and still.

You're not going to change this dog IMO. But, I'd do my homework before buying the next pup.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 12/10/03, 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with everyone that at this point, ya got what ya got! This is a behaviour that should have been stopped at a young age, not at 9 yrs old. But, my question is, do you get your ducks? Does Otter retrieve them well and consistently? Does he eventually settle down?

Since I think I know half of this dogs pedigree (if this is the same Otter that I am thinking it is) I can tell you that his dad was not a whiner, barker or yowler. He was a very patient sort of fellow. Now, I can't tell you much about Mom in that department however.

I do have a whiner, barker, yowler and while it is very endearing at times, at other times it makes me want to kill! She is a talking fool and most think it's cute, I don't! My husband thinks it's cute and he encourages her to talk to him..... I want to kill him most of the time as well.

And just so you know, we FT's don't necassarily care for mouthy dogs either. This particular one barks on the breakaway and it sounds like a dang beagle trial! It's from shear excitement and her joy of life. While annoying and something I don't wish to propagate it's not something I banned her for either. Even the hard core trialers find it rather amusing.... and love her outright love for life.

Now, let me say this... noisy dogs that bark to hear themselves bark are not desireable!!!!!!! It is a temperment flaw and I do agree that it is something to breed away from!

But, dear Otter, go have fun... a nine year old has earned a whine or two! At my age I like to whine from time to time as well
Bernee
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ForOtter
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PostPosted: 12/11/03, 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the insightful replies. I guess my lesson is - don't tolerate it at a young age. That, however leads to the question - for my next GWP how do you deal with this behavior constructively?

Otter is my first bird dog ever, and I'd like to think that in spite of my inexperience, he has turned out to be more than I could have ever hoped for.

And you're right Bernee - this is the Otter you're thinking of.


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Jon P
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PostPosted: 12/11/03, 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the best way to cure this problem is to buy a pup from a serious versatile background. Specifically ask the breeder whether he duck hunts or sits a stand with his dogs - whether they are quiet and calm, etc. Most pups are vocal. My pups learn what the words "HUSH!!" and "EASY!!" mean real early. Whenever we are working, whether it is just puppy "prep" work or more serious, I correct all whining, barking, that is not appropriate. Stabile dogs understand quickly, especially when they learn that the proper behavior will get them what they want.

I think there is a general misconception among many that a hard hunting dog, aggressive searching dog, can't be calm, under control and obedient.
Years back, visiting puppy buyers were very skeptical to be calmly greeted by my 2 CH/UT 1 bitches who then adjourned to the sunroom and flipped on their backs on the dog couch. The prospective buyer was skeptical that these same dogs were going to show a strong forward search, etc. I have visited other good performance kennels (and Dualgwp comes to mind), where the dogs are so relaxed its hard to believe that I am looking at several DC's!! The best performance dogs in this breed are usually calm and obedient but with a strong prey drive. I call this mental stability. Look for that, and you probably won't have a problem.
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oacona
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PostPosted: 12/16/03, 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, if we have a young dog with all that wondeful drive and forward moving desire, and we are experiencing a whining problem, will we mess up by reprimanding and training "hush" harder than we have? Up until now, he hushes for about 1 minute, maybe 2, then forgets and wants some action. He is a fairly calm boy, well behaved, but not so patient when birds are the fun of the day. Kona is not on an ecollar, hasn't needed it and we fear messing up his general willingness to obey and to please us. We just don't want to loose drive, so I see where a 9 year old happens. Kona is just 2. Would the general advise be to curb this noisemaking by harsher reprimand?
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PostPosted: 12/17/03, 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believe it or not, the strangest things can be handed down thruogh the generations. Uncontrollable barking is one of these things. I moved away from a certain old bloodline for just that very reason. The dogs would bark, just to hear themselves bark, you couldn't make them stop. It was not something I wanted to pass on. I also know people who have had dogs debarked to lessen the noise, but unfortunately have continued breeding them, thus continuig this obnoxious nonsense through further generations. Uncontrollable whining certainly can come under that heading as well, if, if you have tried to stop it and cannot.

However, having said all that there are ways to stop that noise, but it sure is best to do it when they are young and very imprressionable. Don't wait till it's an ingrained behaviour. Squirts in the face from a water bottle, down stays, a good hard grab of the muzzle.... different things seem to work for different dogs. Experiment.

To stop whining, you will have to be very dilligent and you cannot accept ANY whining, NONE, NADA. If you make exceptions you are being unfair to the dog and you will never get the dog to understand.

I wouldn't worry about breaking the dogs spirit or draining any drive. Let's look at it this way, if your correcting the dog for a problem, and if this correction takes away any of its drive, the dog didn't have the correct temperment to begin with. I shake my head when I see shaking worried dogs that sit in the corner and are unable to make normal social contact. "Oh well, that dog was abused as a puppy" is what most times people will tell me. In the back of my head I think, NO, that dog has a bad temperment, dogs with good temperments adjust and forgive and live for the moment.

I'm sorry, I digress...... I told you all in a previous post that I have a bitch that barks...not all the time, but when she gets excited and is very happy! Now, I hate it and have tried to stop it, but.... my hubby thinks its cute and he actually encourages it! They talk to each other!!!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!

So here we are, I'm correcting her, he is rewarding her, and she just truly doesn't get it. She is 10 yrs old, and it's something I have learned to live with... with teeth gritted!

In order to stop a behaviour like this, the entire family has to be on the same page and not accept the offending behaviour. Sometimes that is easier said than done.

If you have truly tried to stop it, and if you really cannot, then it's something to keep in mind if you are ever considering breeding.

Bernee
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Keith
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PostPosted: 12/17/03, 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon is right. Dogs that are calm at home and are driven in the field do exist. They might be harder to locate but are great to own. I had one dog once that was the worst of both worlds. At home she was wild and bouncing off everything. In the field she would just shut down and hunted very close and slow. And there are dogs that are slugs, at home and in the field. And of course, dogs that are always fully wound up at home and in the field. We have all seen those.
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PostPosted: 12/17/03, 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I believe Kona is quite capable of understanding we don't want to hear from him, without messing up his drive. We are just going to have to be more forceful and more consistent with enforcing 'hush'. He certainly knows the command, I just appreciate the reminder from Otter to do a more thorough job with this now. Frankly, its easy not to remember how annoying this will get as its an engrained behavior. It does seem cute up until a point, and now that we think about it, no we don't want to hear whining outta him for the next 12 years.
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Luke
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PostPosted: 12/17/03, 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Retrievers are disqualified from running field trials if they whine at the line.
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