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(Buddy Smith, Field Trial Hall of ... [cached]

(Buddy Smith, Field Trial Hall of Fame Member) Sporting Dogs [cached]

Buddy Smith is a member of the Field Trial Hall of Fame. THE BUDDY STICK [cached]


Buddy Smith of Collierville, TN is a member of the Field Trial Hall of Fame and is an acknowledged expert in starting and polishing young future champions. In most years as many as one fourth of the starting field at the National Championship at the Ames Plantation are dogs that have been through the famed Buddy Smith Program.
buddy1.jpg Buddy stands a young dog using the Buddy Stick
Buddy, is not a young man and has been training dogs for years with all the tried and true methods, but he is always seeking a new and better way to communicate with his charges. Not long ago he developed and perfected the Buddy Stick, an eight-foot long one-inch PVC pipe with a bolt through a repair link and a brass snap on the end. Buddy no longer uses a check cord or lead of any type. The Buddy Stick is used for heeling, patterning, turning, barrel work, and the introduction to birds, on to whoa training and steadying to wing and shot. It is often suggested to Buddy that he market the Buddy Stick, that it is worth a fortune as the first new, non-electronic dog training tool to be developed in the last 75 years. You can pick up the components at any hardware store and build it in 10 minutes or contact Buddy at 901-853-8376 and he might sell you one. Its proper use becomes second nature to any dog man. Buddy explains, "The Buddy Stick lets you get out in front of the dog, put him to the side, to guide him, to correct him without laying a hand on him. He can't cower and get up under your feet when he is confused about his lessons. You can control his head, his body, his thinking."
buddy2.jpg Buddy shows all-time champion field trial handler John Rex Gates the Buddy Stick.
Buddy is not the first to use a pole in dog training; Mike Gould has made a four-foot version famous for retriever training, and I am told the E.R Shelly used a cane fishing pole to some purpose.
When I mentioned that one day, winning Kentucky amateur trainer/handler, Ben Adams remarked, "I suspect Buddy learned this stick thing on his own, he doesn't read all that much."
We all know Buddy has good reading and comprehension skills, because he can quote from memory long passages from The American Field reports about people and dogs long dead. Not just the accomplishments of his dogs and customers, nor is it limited to the All-Age ranks, but his interest extends to all the pointing dogs.
Buddy keeps different lengths of the Buddy Stick laying about for different applications, but in the main, it is the eight-foot stick that gets the most use. A five-foot one is used around the barrel, if one happens to be handy. A ten-foot one for some dogs that don't seem to learn as well when you are closer, I even saw one that must have been fourteen-feet in length, but never found out its use, perhaps it had just not been cut to the proper length yet.
Buddy explains his abandonment of the mainstay of most dog trainers, the check cord, with, "The check cord is a sure way to get one to flagging. You are pulling him back to you, he is pulling forward, then you are jerking, and he is flopping around out there. He does not learn to stand still, and if he doesn't first learn to stand still, he can't learn anything else." He goes on, "A lot folks lead a dog up to a bird, try to work it from behind, or loop the cord around a tree or something, all the while the dogs is leaning into the cord.
Buddy works the dog from in front, jabs the dog in the chest with a "whoa", then releases then with an "all right" only to stop them after a step or two, or even a half step. It is "whoa", "all right", "whoa", "all right", in rapid succession, until the dog fully grasps the commands. At this point the dogs are gradually conditioned to the e-collar, and it effectively becomes an extension of the Buddy Stick. With the Buddy stick attached, with the end held in one hand and the electronic collar set to its lowest level, Buddy gives a command such as "Whoa", and then tickles the dog with a light stimulation. If the dog continues to move, he gently prods him with the stick, repeats the command and perhaps, adds some higher stimulation.
As the dog progresses through the program, he is allowed off lead, but drags the Buddy Stick as a reminder to retain his manners. It is crucial, to win, that Buddy's dogs point and back with a high head and tail, that they not only point, but that they do so with great style. In "whoa" training, and on to staunchness and steadiness to wing and shot, the Buddy Stick not only retains this important style, but often intensifies it. The dogs have great confidence in what the handler wants, as they were restrained from ever making a mistake and having to be over-corrected. Buddy believes as many management gurus do, as he says "You catch a dog doing something right and reward them with treats and petting, you always set them up to succeed. Never trick the dog into making a mistake so you can correct him, that destroys trust. The Buddy Stick builds trust, since the dog can never make a mistake if you use it properly".
When asked how much a timesaver it is, how much does it cuts down training? Buddy responds, "It still takes a good while to train a dog, but I suspect it will take off about a third in yard training, letting you get to the other stuff sooner."

Buddy Smith is a member of ... [cached]

Buddy Smith is a member of the Field Trial Hall of Fame.

Sporting Dogs [cached]

Buddy Smith is a member of the Field Trial Hall of Fame.

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