Jump to content
FRIENDLY REMINDER ABOUT HUNTING REPORTS/TOPICS... Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  
sxsneubaum

New Training Project... Need a few ideas

Recommended Posts

sxsneubaum

With the 2017 field trial season coming to a close preparations are beginning for next year.  I have three dogs to train and prep for trials.  

Web is fine, simply need to maintain his training.  

Zee is a 6 month old pup that will be going through the steadying process in early Spring.  Not real concerned about her.  

 

Luna is another story.  She's 2 1/2 years old.  Excellent nose, runs nice,  works as a team, BUT she is a HORRIBLE marker on retrieves.  She looks at me, not the fall.  I have some ideas of how I'm going to get her better at marking.  

 

Those of you that train retrievers what kind of work do you do to get dogs to mark better?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bntsetter

Teach the dog to look out at the mark rather then at you.  I would wager that you have done all the mark throwing from her side.  That way she looks at you and follows the bumper trough the air.  If she is good at hup. Hup her and then walk out in front throw the mark and walk back before sending her.  OR if you have a helper have the helper throw the marks.  Progress until you can have the helper disappear behind some object and she looks out when you give a mark command/call for the object.  Ladder drills can work well for this as well IMO if she is just marking short etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sxsneubaum
1 hour ago, bntsetter said:

Teach the dog to look out at the mark rather then at you.  I would wager that you have done all the mark throwing from her side.  That way she looks at you and follows the bumper trough the air

 

I wish we could wager, because you would have lost.  She is a soft dog and doesn't want to make mistakes so she is always looking at me.  Even on a flushed shot bird and she's away from me, not every time, but quite often she looks at me.   Then when released she doesn't know where to go. 

Part of it is a lack of confidence and it manifests in her looking at me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flairball

Just a thought, but is there any chance you could use her as a pick up dog at a tower shoot? Maybe keeping her at heel behind the guns while birds are dropping around you will get her marking in front. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hal Standish
18 hours ago, sxsneubaum said:

With the 2017 field trial season coming to a close preparations are beginning for next year.  I have three dogs to train and prep for trials.  

Web is fine, simply need to maintain his training.  

Zee is a 6 month old pup that will be going through the steadying process in early Spring.  Not real concerned about her.  

 

Luna is another story.  She's 2 1/2 years old.  Excellent nose, runs nice,  works as a team, BUT she is a HORRIBLE marker on retrieves.  She looks at me, not the fall.  I have some ideas of how I'm going to get her better at marking.  

 

Those of you that train retrievers what kind of work do you do to get dogs to mark better?  

Stand-a- lone marks is my go to drill for sharpen-up marking. Do not over due it. Once twice a month in the off season is plenty.

 

The behavior Luna is showing you sounds ( i  not seen her in action) like a symptom of the steadying process.

Spaniel marking when compare to Retreiver marking is different behavior altogether.

Think about a spaniel jamming their head into the nest of where the bird is, in heavy cover, say some 20 yards from the handler, bird flushes behind the dog the dog is trapped in the brush the gun drops the bird some forty yards away the steady dog is released to make the retrieve which in this case is spot on, How did the dog do it?

For the Retriever he is sitting in blinds or shore station with very little impeding his field of vision birds are knocked down and the dog is out on 100-300yd marks. How did the dog do that?

The best drill for a spaniel is the normal 2 gun 2-3 bird quartering drill, with live fire. Dog have to develop the knack of watching the birds,come off the ground, wings a whirling brush be knock out of the way., In the beginning I prolly would instruct my guns to take the birds quickly.. chop them birds in light cover, give luna a reward quickly for finding the bird,  I would continue this exercise until such time that Luna is looking out for the fall. In the case of not having quality guns, that is simple. have  your "guns" carry deads or clip and  if the miss have them throw a clip rather quickly after the miss. Later as confidence builds I would have the guns ride them out a "little" farther each time. I might even build some anticipation in her after a while by instructing my guns to miss on the 1st barrel and kill on the 2nd

IMHO marking when talking about Spaniels is more about the talent level of the dog than a structured learned behavior, top Reliever folks will tell you the same thing.

By all means take her to shoots let her do some pick up work at the game farm. It is an activity that is for sure.

This a fascinating subject is it not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bntsetter
16 hours ago, sxsneubaum said:

 

I wish we could wager, because you would have lost.  She is a soft dog and doesn't want to make mistakes so she is always looking at me.  Even on a flushed shot bird and she's away from me, not every time, but quite often she looks at me.   Then when released she doesn't know where to go. 

Part of it is a lack of confidence and it manifests in her looking at me. 

I wouldn't be putting money on it until I saw the dog in action, ;)  But to your problem  sounds like she is looking for the command.  waiting on you.  and watching you for the command.  What happens if you "unsteady" her. i.e. give the command quickly.  will she pick up the birds quickly then?  I still think I would go back to retriever style marking drills with her.  Yes she's not a retriever but you just don't do the drill for as long a period of time. simple marks that happen from out there and build from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sxsneubaum

Hal your assumption is fairly accurate.  I've been thinking the same thing that it is from the steadying process.  It was easy to steady her and this is the by product of teaching her to steady.  This is a fascinating subject with a great deal of nuance.  I train mostly alone, it's not often that I have guns, so I will be doing most of it myself.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cockerfan

I've got some ideas...but being there in person would be a lot easier to see what's happening.

 

I use a dummy launcher almost exclusively when working on marks. I'm sure you're using one too. Assuming you're using a dummy launcher, here is how I'd start out trying to get her to mark. 

 

1) On a mowed field, hup her and walk about 20' in front of her. Launch a dummy very low to the ground at a slight angle away from you (enough of an angle that she can see the dummy, but still see you at the same time). The dummy should be bouncing along the ground and looking very exciting. I'm guessing it will hold her attention. Slowly change the angle so eventually she's no longer able to watch you and the dummy simultaneously.  Then move to a more aerial launch angle. She should be doing a better job watching the dummy at this point. 

 

2) When you move to birds, use clip wing pigeons that will fly about 50 yards. Go about 20' in front of her. Toss the bird, fire a shot, send for the retrieve. Do this about 5-10 times, and I'm guessing she'll be way more interested in watching the bird than you. I'd also do this on mowed ground initially. We want success early on. 

 

What were some of the solutions that you had in mind already?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hal Standish
14 hours ago, cockerfan said:

I've got some ideas...but being there in person would be a lot easier to see what's happening.

 

I use a dummy launcher almost exclusively when working on marks. I'm sure you're using one too. Assuming you're using a dummy launcher, here is how I'd start out trying to get her to mark. 

 

1) On a mowed field, hup her and walk about 20' in front of her. Launch a dummy very low to the ground at a slight angle away from you (enough of an angle that she can see the dummy, but still see you at the same time). The dummy should be bouncing along the ground and looking very exciting. I'm guessing it will hold her attention. Slowly change the angle so eventually she's no longer able to watch you and the dummy simultaneously.  Then move to a more aerial launch angle. She should be doing a better job watching the dummy at this point. 

 

2) When you move to birds, use clip wing pigeons that will fly about 50 yards. Go about 20' in front of her. Toss the bird, fire a shot, send for the retrieve. Do this about 5-10 times, and I'm guessing she'll be way more interested in watching the bird than you. I'd also do this on mowed ground initially. We want success early on. 

 

What were some of the solutions that you had in mind already?

 

 

Nice example of stand-alone marking drills it's a good beginning, Cockerfan! with any marking exercises there is really no reason to duplicate and repeat marks. so what the solo trainer can do is move around. Set the dog down march out a 45 degree angle say 20 Yards to begin with throw a mark across the the perpendicular to the dog. The dog is forced to take their eye off you and watch the fall of the bumper or clip. in very short order you should be able move off 100 yards from the dog. 

 

Bird-in-mouth marking drills are excellent teaching drills as well. I usually will do a few of those prior to a bird work exercise as a warm up for me and the dog gets us both clicking on the same page.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Vander

Im not sure I understand what trial game you play and distances involved. I have trialed labs a long time and in my experience its hard to make a poor marker a good marker but they can improve. 

Im not a fan of handler thrown marks either with a launcher or by hand, for me the distances are not adequate but more importantly their focus tend to be on me and not coming from the area of the fall. ID encourage you to enlist some help to throw birds/bumpers for you. The thrower should be prepared to  get the dogs attention and throw another bumper if the dog gets hung up or stops to look back for help. Throws should be either angled back or in towards the dog. Flat throws seem to be more challenging. 

Another thing I have found helps poor marking dogs is to make the birds easy to find but hard to get to. Have the throw land on open ground that is beyond cover. Start with thin cover and work up from there. Increase the distance from the cover to the bird as well. Im not exactly sure why this helps but it has for me. I suspect that it increases the dogs concentration. In any case its mandatory for a trialing lab as bird placement has gotten very complex.

Hope this helps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sxsneubaum
18 hours ago, cockerfan said:

I use a dummy launcher almost exclusively when working on marks. I'm sure you're using one too. Assuming you're using a dummy launcher, here is how I'd start out trying to get her to mark. 

 

Jordan I'm not to launchers with her yet.  Believe I need to give her confidence in shorter retrieves.  Currently I'm out in front, standing with my profile to her and tossing in front of me and varying distances.  

 

Also I don't believe in repeating marks so always moving.  

 

Some of the solutions I've thought of is during quartering, starting with dead birds then progressing to clips,  keeping her in front and tossing the birds.  Starting in a mowed field into the wind.  Then when she understands what the point is begin progressing into cover

The idea of the low angle jumping and rolling dummy from the launcher is a great idea.  

 

2 hours ago, Jim Vander said:

Im not sure I understand what trial game you play and distances involved. I have trialed labs a long time and in my experience its hard to make a poor marker a good marker but they can improve. 

 

 

Jim, Springer Spaniel field trials.  The distances are anywhere from 30-80 yards.  I have tried to throw so she has cover transitions to run through, but she hesitates.  She's not far from it, but starting pretty basic.  The more I work with her, I'm not sure she's a poor marker.  I'm starting to think she simply doesn't understand what is expected of her.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Vander

So considering your thought about possible confusion, does she like to retrieve? Re reading your comments in the thread I tend to agree with your thought about her understanding whats expected. If she is lacking in desire you  might try happy bumpers where you fire her up and throw bumpers for her without worrying about her being steady. I have seen dogs who were steadied to soon or had poor understanding of sit being an absolute command and had alot of pressure applied which effected their desire. Im not saying this is  the case but something to consider. In any case I would be inclined to make this as happy and on the edge of out of control as possible to get her out there.  I would seed the area of the fall with multiple birds or bumpers spread out in say a 10 yard area, so that she is successful as soon as she gets in the area of the fall. Your not really going to be able to tell whether its a marking issue until she starts getting into the area of the fall. If a combination of happy retrieves seems to help get her rolling the next step I would take is holding her very gently at the line by her collar or training tab, having someone throw for her making lots of attention getting noise and letting her go while bumper is in the air.  This could cause steadiness issues but there is no good way to do this all at once. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sxsneubaum
21 hours ago, Jim Vander said:

So considering your thought about possible confusion, does she like to retrieve? Re reading your comments in the thread I tend to agree with your thought about her understanding whats expected. If she is lacking in desire you  might try happy bumpers where you fire her up and throw bumpers for her without worrying about her being steady. I have seen dogs who were steadied to soon or had poor understanding of sit being an absolute command and had alot of pressure applied which effected their desire.

 

Yes she likes to retrieve.  She doesn't lack in desire.  She lacks in confidence the farther she gets away from me. 

The interesting part is that there was no pressure in steadying her, NONR.  She steadied in one or two sessions and I don't use  an e collar. She gets it, but almost too well. 

21 hours ago, Jim Vander said:

I would seed the area of the fall with multiple birds or bumpers spread out in say a 10 yard area, so that she is successful as soon as she gets in the area of the fall. Your not really going to be able to tell whether its a marking issue until she starts getting into the area of the fall. If a combination of happy retrieves seems to help get her rolling the next step I would take is holding her very gently at the line by her collar or training tab, having someone throw for her making lots of attention getting noise and letting her go while bumper is in the air.  This could cause steadiness issues but there is no good way to do this all at once. 

 

 

I like this idea.  Never thought of seeding the area for a marked retrieve.  Of course the area is seeded when training blind retrieves, that's a good idea. 

 

Another idea I had, was when I get to the point of shot marks is tossing and shooting pigeons.  I'm not concerned if there's a steadiness issue.  She is a project and one that may not pan out.  I have nothing but time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bmeador

Do you know anyone close that has an automatic bumper launcher you can borrow?  I use Bumper Boy launchers.  They have a remote that you can make the launcher quack or squeal before the bumper is launched, then a blank goes off as the bumper goes.  It works wonders in getting a dog to look into the field to mark.  I can set it up and do 200 yard marks easily!  If you were close I'd be glad to loan you mine for a bit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dauber
22 minutes ago, sxsneubaum said:

 

Yes she likes to retrieve.  She doesn't lack in desire.  She lacks in confidence the farther she gets away from me. 

The interesting part is that there was no pressure in steadying her, NONR.  She steadied in one or two sessions and I don't use  an e collar. She gets it, but almost too well. 

 

I like this idea.  Never thought of seeding the area for a marked retrieve.  Of course the area is seeded when training blind retrieves, that's a good idea. 

 

Another idea I had, was when I get to the point of shot marks is tossing and shooting pigeons.  I'm not concerned if there's a steadiness issue.  She is a project and one that may not pan out.  I have nothing but time. 

 

Interesting topic SxS.  This is something that has appeared in most of my Cockers  to some degree after steadying.  I recognize it as the “pack-drive” switch with dog a bit too much into “pack”. 

I don’t worry too much about it other than to do more “drive” drills. I do the dead bird/clip find things. I do the tossed live fliers and shoot them, then I will have them sit then roll in a flier let them flush then shoot bird.  

I tell you the quail hunting the last few weeks had really honed my packs marking. They all struggled the first few days then learned they had to really focus on the small bird. 

Good luck, I’m confident this will pass as she gains confidence and gets more into “drive”. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×