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Thread: Improving/Maintaining Marking

  1. #1
    Senior Member Stephen Whitley's Avatar
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    Default Improving/Maintaining Marking

    What do YOU do to improve or maintain your dogs marking skills? Do you do marking drills? Or, is it a matter of doing marks that are set up to enhance the marking skills?
    Stephen

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ed Hogan's Avatar
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    I would have to say doing marks that enhance the marking skills. Lots and Lots of singles, some with factors,some without. Thrown at diferent angles,lengths etc. My personal favorite is going to a very large,flat hay field. The grass needs to be atleast 18 inches tall and throw marks of all kinds. The dog has nothing to reference the mark against, he has to mark it. I always have the wind to his back so he can't cheat. Doing this one will let you know real quick if the dog has good depth perception.

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    My routine is singles 15-20 per week.
    I use walking singles for puppies then singles off of multiple visible guns tightening these marks as the dog becomes more experienced eventually getting to a combination of visible and non-visible guns throwing singles.
    I like to use a "M" or "W" pattern for my multiple stations with a random order of the marks and the direction of the throws to allow for a variety of concepts. The non-visible thrower marks IMHO helps to teach a dog to trust/focus/concentrate to where he is lined up eventhough he doesn't see anything ,yet.
    Terrain, obstacles, retiring throwers, re-orientation... can all be introduced along the way.

    Tim
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Miriam Wade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Carrion View Post
    My routine is singles 15-20 per week.
    I use walking singles for puppies then singles off of multiple visible guns tightening these marks as the dog becomes more experienced eventually getting to a combination of visible and non-visible guns throwing singles.
    I like to use a "M" or "W" pattern for my multiple stations with a random order of the marks and the direction of the throws to allow for a variety of concepts. The non-visible thrower marks IMHO helps to teach a dog to trust/focus/concentrate to where he is lined up eventhough he doesn't see anything ,yet.
    Terrain, obstacles, retiring throwers, re-orientation... can all be introduced along the way.

    Tim
    Tim-

    Can I ask how often you do multiple setups? Do you have a set routine the week prior to a test/trial? Lastly-do you use birds or bumpers more?

    M
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    Miriam,
    I run singles off of multiples about 4-5 times/week. My daily Mon-Fri routine is usually 1-2 doubles or 1 triple followed by a multiple single set up. This is usually with bumpers on launchers since I training alone.
    Saturaday & Sunday we try to make bird days with real people throwing. Due to a variety of dogs at different levels these marks can be done as triple-double- single whatever you think your dog needs.
    Trial time doesn't change much just a little more attention to line mechanics for the young one.

    Tim
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

  6. #6
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    My favorite was running marks off complex multiple set up's, all as singles, with blinds between the gunners.

    Next would have been the walking marking drill, where one person wanders all over an alfalfa field, never repeating a mark, but throwing one square, one back, one in, all from different stations.
    A Lab's best friend is the person holding the food dish.

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    Senior Member TroyFeeken's Avatar
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    We try to throw dead birds for young dogs as much as possible until they're through transition and older in life. With marking skill improvement, adding the extra scent of a bird and a cross wind or a wind at their back helps enough for once they're in the area but isn't the driving factor to the area of fall.
    Cody's Gunslingin' Cosmonaut MH QAA (Shooter)

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    Senior Member DSemple's Avatar
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    When you watch the truly great marking dogs at the line, the dogs that pinpoint a lot of their falls, the dogs that know which blade of grass to look under after running 300 hundred yards, you see that they are never just looking in the direction of the falls from the line before being sent, they stare with an extreme intensity at the exact spot each bird fell.

    They stare like they are a Hawk and can see that bird actually lying on the ground amongst the cover after the fall. And, when they return to the line with one bird, before being sent for the next, you can see that they picture that spot of the previous fall in their mind all over again.

    Now, Iím not a dog so I donít know exactly how they see, or how they reference where a fall is in relationship to other objects, but I do believe that you can improve a dogs marking ability by encouraging them from a very young age to focus on exactly where each bird hits the ground. You want to teach them to stare at the falls with that kind of intensity and excitement, so when they are lining up for the memory birds they re-visualize that picture again.

    You do this first and foremost by putting your dog, in training, in the position from the line to be able to see that clump of grass the bird is going to land in. That means picking slightly rolling terrain and sending your dog from elevated positions where they can see the whole arc of the throws, the depths of the falls, and see the cover move where the bird hits it. For the pups, you also want them to be able to see the location of the fall the whole way as they are running to it.

    You want the falls to be high and exciting. Get yourself a bird boy with a real arm, or a good mechanical thrower and use dummies, or birds that really stand out against the background.

    In training donít call for the birds as fast as they do in trials. Slow it down. Give your dog time to stare at each bird (mark) between the falls. Let them burn that picture in.

    On the line, before sending your dog for the first mark, and in between birds, give your dog time to calm down and refocus on the exact fall of each mark. Let her stare at the spot where each bird hit the ground again, before sending her anew.

    While great markers are born, most dogs can greatly improve.


    ....Don
    Just for the record I have very fine dogs. Some of the best in the whole country....or at least on my own block anyhow.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroyFeeken View Post
    We try to throw dead birds for young dogs as much as possible until they're through transition and older in life. With marking skill improvement, adding the extra scent of a bird and a cross wind or a wind at their back helps enough for once they're in the area but isn't the driving factor to the area of fall.

    I find that my dogs mark dead birds much better than bumpers. I think they can see them better and hunt them up better. Maybe they just like them better... But they can't mark what they don't see.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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