The older one uses a sextant. The two new agers use a GPS.
Good humor...but I seriously wondered about this also. Particularly when the dog sees a mark from a good vantage point, then runs through heavy cover and somehow knows when to stop and hunt for the mark. An awesome thing to see....
Duckdog's Fast Autofocus
GMHRCH-III WR North Star's Deuce of Diamonds
MHR WR Pondview's Bar None 1994-2006
BUT... it's obviously learned or "honed" in training. We have heavy sage brush here. I think our dogs start to see the falls in relation to the cover (multiple big clumps.) BUT take them to a mowed field, and they lose perspective and get confused. It was a real revelation to me. Lesson is, lots of terrain and cover conditions to input more data into their brain-boxes.
They reference the terrain in the area of a fall - same as we do.
Whispering Hills Kennels
Then how do you explain the dog that trains in one environment, (all sage and cactus) then goes to a test held on grounds with deep grass cover, rolling and featureless, yet marks as well if not better than training at home?
Dogs learn in pictures somewhat. When I built my new kennel I used panels that were two foot shorter than the old panels, so my new kennel was shorter. When I told my older dog to kennel he would run over to the same spot on the concrete that used to be inside the front gate and sit. I would have to tell him kennel again and point inside the gate to get him to go into the kennel. He did that for a pretty good while.
They also appear to be situational learners. If you throw marks the same distance for too long the dog will run the same distance from you and look for the bird.
Which brings up the question, how many different locations do you train in before you consider the dog to have mastered a command?
For example a dog that heels correctly in the yard will not have the same level of performance in a new locations with new distractions.
I think binocular vision, like a human is the answer. They are able to triangulate to a distant point. Don