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Impulse Control in the Hunt

Here’s an excellent video courtesy of Brad Higgins Gun Dogs showing strongest degree of impulse control. Because the dog’s attraction to the prey is the basis of how he has learned to hunt with humans, again courtesy of Brad, the strength of his attraction to the prey is the strength of his capacity to self-control and thereby enfold intense disturbances into his feeling of flow. At the critical moment the dog does nothing, and yet it’s just like watching a fast horse run.

 

(I’ve added Brad’s commentary below)

“Higgins Gundogs are trained and managed to a high level. They must be able to adapt to new and unusual situations and control their excitement level. We don’t use obedience. We want to see all their style and intensity, but they must choose to remain steady. Here, we’re proofing a seasoned dog. This is Greg Belanger, HGDH and his dog HGD Harry. This was filmed a while ago during one of our training hunts. While Harry is managing a moving pheasant, we release a young, untrained pup. The pup goes out and bumps, chases and catches Harry’s bird. What is Harry’s response? He doesn’t break, he manages his excitement or energy. He is steady to flush, shot and kill. Harry has learned from the prey that to be successful (getting the bird in his mouth) he must control himself and use the shooter. He is able to do this because he has learned to trust us. He knows, with our help, he will get his bird.”

Brad Higgins
Higgins Gundogs

 

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Published September 25, 2014 by Kevin Behan
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One response to “Impulse Control in the Hunt”

  1. Brad Higgins says:

    Thanks Kevin. I included here, the text associated with the video. I think it will help people understand this particular training scenario and what I’m trying to accomplish in terms of steadiness. That’s a great comment, “like watching a fast horse run”. Your insight is a breath of fresh air.

    “Higgins Gundogs are trained and managed to a high level. They must be able to adapt to new and unusual situations and control their excitement level. We don’t use obedience. We want to see all their style and intensity, but they must choose to remain steady. Here, we’re proofing a seasoned dog. This is Greg Belanger, HGDH and his dog HGD Harry. This was filmed a while ago during one of our training hunts. While Harry is managing a moving pheasant, we release a young, untrained pup. The pup goes out and bumps, chases and catches Harry’s bird. What is Harry’s response? He doesn’t break, he manages his excitement or energy. He is steady to flush, shot and kill. Harry has learned from the prey that to be successful (getting the bird in his mouth) he must control himself and use the shooter. He is able to do this because he has learned to trust us. He knows, with our help, he will get his bird.”

    Brad Higgins
    Higgins Gundogs

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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