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Thread: Improving marking in puppies?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tollwest's Avatar
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    Default Improving marking in puppies?

    What should I be doing to improve marking in my pups (5 months old, a Chessie & a Toller)?

    I had Luna & Cirrus out in the fields for the first time today (finally it has thawed enough!)

    They both had lots of enthusiasm for chasing the bumpers (just hand-tossed fun bumpers) but both had a tendency to stop short on every throw and ended up having quite a hunt.

    These were not far throws (I have wussy girl arms). I was throwing a 2" dark olive green cordura bumper, on 1-2" snow, so contrast should not have been an issue (except for my bad throws that landed in the spots of soggy dead alfalfa/mud/puddles rather than on the snow LOL)

    I plan to be back out there tomorrow with my hubby to start them on proper marks...what should we be doing to best develop marking ability?

    Up til now, their retrieving has pretty much just been indoors. (damn winters!)

  2. #2
    Member Clark's Avatar
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    I'm no pro, a total newbie in fact. But I would shorten up the marks to where it almost guarantees success. Get them used to having a bird boy throwing marks. Its only been one day...Give it some time.
    Chris N. Clark

  3. #3
    Senior Member Joe Brakke's Avatar
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    Keep throwing marks. Good marking = experience. Using a gunner will help. Start throwing in close, angle in, don't move the gunner, then straight out off the gunner, when they start having issues stop increasing distance. Repeat a couple throws/marks in those same areas. As they get better, it can be in that same session, throw to a angle behind the gunner but still to the left or right. As they get confortable with that distance then move the gunner. After awhile, introduce to cover and terraine changes. These are all barriers to young dogs. Encourage to move pasts these preceived barriers. Don't feel bad if you need the gunner to help out with a hup hup and movement to the area of the fall.
    Joe B.

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    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    try to work the pups from an uphill vantage..so they can clearly see where the bumper lands and see it right until they get to it.

    Try a paint roller with a black sock on it...

    I also think that hand thrown marks are also harder for puppies to follow...so as soon as you can, try to transition to a gunner that makes LONG FlAT throws.

    Juli
    God answers prayers all the time. Even the ones we don't know we asked. God is Good (always)

    "There are only two ways to live your life.
    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
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  5. #5
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    Long flat throws and "fire drill" the puppies. Meaning, have hubby keep tossing bumpers until the puppy gets to the area of the fall.

    Wean off of "fire drilling" once puppies are getting to the fall area with confidence.

    Angie

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    As stated above, start with real simple throws (nice and flat) with few distractions.

    Have your husband get the dog's attention (duck call, hey-hey, etc.) and don't toss the bumper until the dog's eyes are locked on to your husband.

    Make sure your husband has another bumper in his hand if/when your dogs start to break down and need a little help (have him toss the 2nd bumper and give a "hey-hey").
    Stray labs make great pets.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Miriam Wade's Avatar
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    No expert either, but don't forget to "cue" your dogs so they know to look out for a mark. Hold them steady and quietly tell them to "mark". Let them go for the bumper while it's stll in the air and release them on their name.

    If you really think that where the bumper is landing makes it hard for them to see when they get there-work on your throws & use a color bumper that's going to give them a reward right away for having gotten out there. Right now-you want them to trust thier eyes first & foremost. They can learn to hunt later.

    This is redundant, but when the pup locks on to the bird boy-a soft "Good" & then signal for the throw. If the pup is having a hard time focusing-have the bird boy "Hey Hey" and swing the bumper and make arm motions.

    At this point you want to make it fun & easy, so you have a pup that struts out their confidently to his marks. That confidence will pay you back someday when he gets to "big dog" marks!

    Have fun!

    M
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    Senior Member badbullgator's Avatar
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    My first suggestion would be to get a couple of labs.....but....
    all the above advice is very good. Make sure the winger/bird boy is well defined and the dog know where the mark is coming from. Keep em simple
    Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
    Corey Burke

  9. #9
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    I don't think anyone has mentioned that you should be throwing marks on short "golf course" grass. This helps build confidence quickly. In addition, it teaches them to run to the bird and not the gunner.
    Jason Brion
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Juli H's Avatar
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    try a black and white bumper, or put a white flag on your green one....(since you have a mixture of snow and bare ground)

    I like the fire throw drill too....that can really help them figure it out...
    but like Angie said, wean them off as soon as you see that confidence..

    Juli
    God answers prayers all the time. Even the ones we don't know we asked. God is Good (always)

    "There are only two ways to live your life.
    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
    The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    - Albert Einstein

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