HR Kwick Daisy's Spirit Keeper SH  June 10, 2005 - December 29, 2018

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The 3rd photo is our 1st Ontario goose band & photos 3 & 4 are our second from Ontario.

                                        The Short Circuit of Faulty Conditioned Responses

There is a very common behavior in retriever training labeled as apprehension. One definition of apprehension is ”the anticipation of adversity, suspicion or fear of future trouble”.  It is often demonstrated in the form of a conditioned response.   

Daisy is my oldest retriever. Her sire is an AFC FC and her mother was my Taffey (an MH). When she was about a year old, she had been collar conditioned, FF’d and was just beginning transition. She is/was a very good marker and dynamic in the field. In addition, Daisy was
a very "quick study" and appeared to be capable of being competitive in a derby or two.

So I sent her to a pro trainer that was training a FT friend’s retriever. The pro was a four hour drive away. After dropping her off and a few days later, I was told she was not forced very well and her collar conditioning was not acceptable plus she spent the better part of four hours under a truck before they finally got her into a run (the day I dropped her off). They were presently “fixing” her training “weaknesses”. That should have been enough if I had not been so naïve and trusting (still want to kick myself to this day). I guess I simply did not want to see that  "huge red flag".

I waited a few weeks before making the first visit. After arriving, we went to her run and she literally crawled out to the trainer (not the head trainer, his assistant). Then she was taken to the “yard” and forced to a pile with the e-collar. There was a great deal of resistance on the long rope (leather gloves). A slight tug on a rope meant "here" to her......not in their program. I was naïve is probably a poor excuse, but that apprehensive, nervous  pup was not the one I dropped off.

The next visit was a month later. Daisy was not quite as bad that time. She was running long singles and doing her first simple walk-out blinds. However, she was slinky and appeared to be very apprehensive (nervous).  I was informed she will be able to enter and run in a Derby. I realized that any young dog can "enter and run", but being competitive is an entirely different story. In addition, the previous reminder that this young dog I was visiting was not the dog that was dropped off.......hit me like a "freight train". Suddenly, I was no longer quite as naïve. Naïve is a softer description of “stupid”.

I told him, "Money was becoming a problem and taking her home today is what I need to do."

Daisy is now almost fifteen years old. When I put a collar on her, the shoulders still sink a bit. She has remained apprehensive for years. However, when it is on she does well  and keeps her mind in long as I can use it as little as possible. A little apprehension in an older dog is not always a "bad thing". With it off, she will often “flip her middle nail."  Recently, the excuse is more valid……her hearing ability has all but failed. However, it took several years to finally contain her “skeleton of apprehension in the closet”.

Daisy earned her HRC HR and AKC SH titles with anxiety often getting in the way. However, she was my “go to” goose dog for years (explaining the banner and subsequent photos). 

It should be noted the lost "Miss Dynamic" came on strongly almost immediately after having her spayed. Erratic hormonal swings and the e-collar can be a very tenuous combination.  

Apprehension did not exist when she was not wearing an e-collar. However, when sent late in life her “ace in the hole” was I was never quite sure she could hear me.  Therefore, she wore
an e-collar when I needed to ask “Can you hear me now?”……very low level of course.

Fortunately,  the initial early problems were soon left behind and for several  years was the dynamic Daisy and my "go to" goose dog.