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Thread: Young dog marking drills/concepts

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mountain Duck's Avatar
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    Default Young dog marking drills/concepts

    Looking for some ideas for marking my 7 month old pup. We are geting ready to start FTP in the yard as soon as the weather cooperates. Looking for some ideas for adding a little structure/purpose to my marking setups. Have been doing my yard work on my lunch break, and trying to work in some marking setups in the evening.

    What are some of the first marking concepts you start to teach a young dog? So far most of my concept stuff has been "terrain oriented" Crossing creeks, cover strips, re-entries, etc.......

    Almost exclusively training alone right now till the days get a little longer. I have (2) Two shooter bumper boys. Pup is steady and running stand alones out to ~150-200 yards (light cover) with ducks. Running widespread doubles off the BBs as well.

    Thanks for any help!
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    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    The X marking drill is a good one. It helps teach depth perception. But you need a person to be your thrower.

    Not good at making graphics, but can describe it:

    Bird-boy stands in middle of X with 6 white bumpers. You and dog are at line 40 yds back. All are singles. First, BB throws angle back right, 2. throws angle-in left. 3.Angle-back left. 4. Angle-in right. These are all the points of the X. 5. throws straight out to the side left. 6. throw straight to the side right. The dog has to run over previous falls. Once dog is doing well, move to a different spot and increase your distance.

    Got this out of Carol Cassity's book Building a Retriever. Great Book.

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    Senior Member Mountain Duck's Avatar
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    Thanks Jennifer. That's the kind of drills I was referrring to. Need to get my 7 year old bird girl up to speed quick!

    Been meaning to pick up Carol's book, as I have seen many reference it for the type question I asked.
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    W marking drill. Set up stickmen in W configuration and throw a single from each station.

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    Senior Member polmaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Henion View Post
    The X marking drill is a good one. It helps teach depth perception. But you need a person to be your thrower.

    Not good at making graphics, but can describe it:

    Bird-boy stands in middle of X with 6 white bumpers. You and dog are at line 40 yds back. All are singles. First, BB throws angle back right, 2. throws angle-in left. 3.Angle-back left. 4. Angle-in right. These are all the points of the X. 5. throws straight out to the side left. 6. throw straight to the side right. The dog has to run over previous falls. Once dog is doing well, move to a different spot and increase your distance.

    Got this out of Carol Cassity's book Building a Retriever. Great Book.
    Non argumentative!!
    What if this 7 month old pup gets the 5th and 6th one wrong?...Does ''Carol'' expand on this ? (never read the book sorry, not available here) Just curious? what the handler/trainer would do ,if it doesn't go to plan?
    One Shooter One Spaniel One Retriever

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    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmaise View Post
    Non argumentative!!
    What if this 7 month old pup gets the 5th and 6th one wrong?...Does ''Carol'' expand on this ? (never read the book sorry, not available here) Just curious? what the handler/trainer would do ,if it doesn't go to plan?

    Yep, she says to try these fixes if your dog is having trouble:

    1.Bird boy helps with a verbal "hey hey"

    2.Make sure you're in very light cover (golf course grass or eaten down cow pasture)

    3.Throw big white bumpers for visibility

    4.Practice more with Angle-in (throwing angle toward line) to teach dog to "check-up" on marks.

    This one's mine: shorten distance of dog from thrower.

  7. #7
    Senior Member polmaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Henion View Post
    Yep, she says to try these fixes if your dog is having trouble:

    1.Bird boy helps with a verbal "hey hey"

    2.Make sure you're in very light cover (golf course grass or eaten down cow pasture)

    3.Throw big white bumpers for visibility

    4.Practice more with Angle-in (throwing angle toward line) to teach dog to "check-up" on marks.

    This one's mine: shorten distance of dog from thrower.
    Thanks Jenifer, forgive me! what is ''check-up'' on marks?
    One Shooter One Spaniel One Retriever

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    Senior Member copterdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmaise View Post
    Thanks Jenifer, forgive me! what is ''check-up'' on marks?
    The opposite of running right over them, and hunting deep of the fall.

  9. #9
    Senior Member polmaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copterdoc View Post
    The opposite of running right over them, and hunting deep of the fall.
    Confused!?, hence the question.
    Are you saying, 'The opposite of running right over them (marks) previously? ' , ie 'check up' on the previous ?would be to 'check up' on a previous mark?
    Sorry if this has been covered before in other threads!...maybe just a transatlantic issue , and I apologise if it is sidetracking the Original posters question.
    ..
    My lack of understanding may be due to the fact that (over here) we (I) teach the young pup at 7 months old 'Blind retrieves' before we master any complicated X/Y/Z drill on marks.
    So it is not so much ,like the OP has said, preparation of 'Force to Pile', more 'Get to the pile' over here. Where my question arises, in the further quest' to understand/relate to you guy's and the way you train your dogs.
    Good Topic for me, as The American retrievers are renowned for their marking ability.
    ....
    Sorry to labour the point!...Just don't understand?....Alway's difficult through text! *
    One Shooter One Spaniel One Retriever

  10. #10
    Senior Member copterdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmaise View Post
    Confused!?, hence the question.
    Are you saying, 'The opposite of running right over them (marks) previously? ' , ie 'check up' on the previous ?would be to 'check up' on a previous mark?
    No, you don't want the dog to check up on a previous mark. That would be called switching falls, or returning to an old fall. That's bad.

    If you throw a lot of birds "flat" or 90 deg from the bird boy, and a lot of throws "angle back", or 45 deg back from the bird boy, the dog will develop a tendency to drive even with, or slightly past the bird boy before "checking down" and establishing a hunt.

    This results in over-running marks, and hunting deep of where the bird fell.

    By throwing lots of angle-in marks, the dog will learn to "check down" as it gets close to the bird boy, and instead of over-running the fall, and heading over the horizon, will have a better chance of digging out the bird.

    Of course, if you overdo it, the dog will start hunting short. So, you need to strike a balance, and maintain it as best you can.
    And it's a really bad idea to run marks into the wind. Especially with a young dog.

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