It is interesting to me that you pointed out that you train on primary selection for control. I am assuming this is something you teach dogs at an advanced level that already have a good grasp on secondary selection.
Do you think that this control at the trial is is key in pulling out difficult birds?
My introduction to field trial training came from Jack Martin who instructed me that while he trained using primary selection everyone was going to secondary selection. This was the mid-nineties. His admonishment to me was that if I chose to teach Primary selection I would have to train for it and use it religiously for it to work consistently. I assume this is because of the control it takes to be able to pick the shortest bird first in any situation. As this was when Lardy was winning every trial and national hands down using secondary selection this is the method I have chosen,and have since learned much more from other individuals.
While I think the control is less with secondary selection as the dog gets to run freely to the last bird down and then relinquishes control to the handler to select the next bird down. It is a kind of working relationship nonetheless.
This would lead me to question the effectiveness of ideal selection as I have seen it described. do you think that would break down the relationship and let the dogs natural desire to smoke over the short birds kick back in? As well as maybe causing other control issues in other areas?