Head swinging question
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Thread: Head swinging question

  1. #1

    Default Head swinging question

    I have seen video of a sire and dam and noticed that they did some head swinging. Is head swinging a learned habit or can it also be hereditary?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Kansas City, MO


    "Head swinging" is often a term applied to acts that are not really head swinging. On multiple marks, esepcially on stand-up (visible gun station) marks, and even more especially when on station is a flyer, dogs that have been exposed to a lot of it will swing their heads off the dead bird stations and lock on the flyer. Even without the flyer, many dogs will head swing to the closer/more obvious gun station. It's a conditioned response. I don't believe it is something that is cured, so much as it is managed.

    What people refer to as head swinging many times is a dog swinging its head side to side, instead of looking ahead when being readied for a blind. That is a symptom of bugging, and does not relate to head swinging.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Ft. Worth, TX


    Head swinging as most often used is when a dog takes his eyes off the thrown bird in anticipation of the next mark being thrown and will turn his head.

    Some dogs have a tendency to head swing using the same training as others that do not. I asked Dave Rorem about this and he said it "can be" an inherited trait. Below is an old thread about head swinging.

    Mike Lardy has an excellant article in his Volume III of his Retriever Journal articles "Twenty Ways to Control Head Swinging"

    Wayne Nutt
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  6. #4


    Thanks for the replies.

  7. #5
    Senior Member J. Walker's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Tennessee, USA


    I don't know that this answers your question but in Mike Lardy's Total Retriever Marking, it was observed by one of the "hosts" that NFC AFC Storm Riptide's Star, "Rascal," wouldn't stay locked on a bird for the count of two that is the standard Lardy referenced in the video. He basically said that you just have to make allowances for some dogs as long as their performance doesn't suffer.
    "When a good trainer stops learning about dogs, he stops being a good trainer." the late Gene Hill

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