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Thread: Correct side of the gun

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    Default Correct side of the gun

    Total newbie questions. Another thread mentioned teaching the dog to go to the wrong side of the gun. What's the correct side of the gun? Do you always shoot to one side? Wouldn't lining to the bird, assuming the dog ran striaght, always get you to the correct side fo the gun?

    Sorry if those are stupid questions.

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    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    The correct side of the gun referrs to the dog going to the side where the mark is thrown. If the bird boy(gun) is standing on the pitchers mound and throws toward 1st bast for example, then the dog should stay on the first base side of the gun(assuming that the starting point for the dog is home plate. A dog that goes to 3rd on its initial cast is said to hook, wrap or go to the wrong side of the gun. A straight line is the shortest distance between 2 points.
    Bob Gutermuth
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    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    also - after dogs get lots of marks, they learn that 'the gun station' - or the area surrounding it, will have a bird...if a dog is not marking well (or is being lazy), but knows the bird is 'somewhere around the gun station', he will often make a circuit around...sometimes the dog will start on the right side of the gun - where the mark was thrown - and broaden the hunt to include the back side of the gun if he can't find the bird....

    lots of things can cause a dog to go on the wrong side of a gun....diversions- such as terrain, water, old marks, etc.....

    when training pups we try to keep them on the 'right side' of the gun by having the gunner watch the pup and throw another bumper as soon as the pup looks like he's going to backside the gun station.....or sometimes the gunner just needs to fake a throw..depending on the age/exposure/experience of the pup/dog.....

    Juli
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    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    And another thing...

    it is important that pups/dogs get marks that are thrown to the left or right side of a gun...this is why it is nice to set up 3-5 stick men in a field and have marks thrown to the right on some, to the left on others...

    Juli
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    Senior Member Jason Glavich's Avatar
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    I got lured into this thread and thought it was going to ask if a left handed shotgun was wrong sided gun...
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    Thanks for the replies! Another probably foolish question... Wouldn't it theoretically be better to teach the dogs using hidden guns most of the time simply to prevent them from developing a crutch on the gunner's presence? Seems like if you really want to focus on marking, then you'd take away other cues that the dog could use instead of a solid mark.

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    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Hidden and retired guns is an advanced concept, for after good marking skills are already developed.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    Hidden guns are a more advanced concept, in order to bring out the dogs marking ability, they need to know exactly where to look, a gun in a white shirt or coat that is highli visible to the dog gives it a reference point for marking.
    Bob Gutermuth
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    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainsmom View Post
    Thanks for the replies! Another probably foolish question... Wouldn't it theoretically be better to teach the dogs using hidden guns most of the time simply to prevent them from developing a crutch on the gunner's presence? Seems like if you really want to focus on marking, then you'd take away other cues that the dog could use instead of a solid mark.
    This is probably true if you are teaching a dog to only mark at relatively short distances. If you want to teach a dog to mark at longer distances, you need to be sure that the dog can "mark" the mark. If they don't see it, it's hard for them to show that they have "marked" it.

    Another big reason for the dogs to go to the wrong side of the gun is fading with a crosswind. As someone mentioned earlier, they can get lazy and run to where they think the gun is...and they can learn to fade to the downwind side.

    Teaching a dog to pick up a right to left thrown mark, with a crosswind blowing left to right, without going on the wrong side of the gun can be a challenge at a distance. Throw in another mark tight to the "wrong" side of the gun, and you have a good chance for a switch, hunting an old fall, etc.

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    Senior Member Mark Littlejohn's Avatar
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    I have a regular training partner whose dog has mastered the art of working off the gun station / winger. He never hooks a station, but using Bob's example, on a pitcher's mound to 1st base mark, will run tight to the gunner if the wind is from 1st to 3rd base, and run fat of the mark if its the opposite wind. Helluva hunting dog, but not exactly stylish in tests.

    We've been working him on straight downwind marks only, a lot of pinched in marks, and often blocking the flight of the throw behind a tree, allowing him to only see the beginning and landing in attempt to make his marking more pinpoint.

    My belief is that this dog saw way too many remote winger thrown marks early on. I honestly think he could find a winger thrown mark blindfolded. Point is, keep it simple at first, with the goal of teaching the dog to run directly to the landing spot. Then avoid your marks becoming too repetitive; mix up how, where and the way the marks are thrown as you increase the challenge.

    ml

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