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Thread: When to evaluate a puppies marking skills

  1. #1
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    Default When to evaluate a puppies marking skills

    Wanted to throw this question out the group,

    At what age or at what stage in the training program do you start really evaluating your puppies marking ability?

    I have a 16 week old puppy with a lot of drive, she's marking off of the gunner at distances between 40 to 70 yards. If the gunner sees that she's pulling into him/her another bird or bummper is thrown.

    I have to say I'm really happy with how pup is currently running and even marking. At this point I believe I'm really training for momentum rather than pin point marks. I don't believe it's possible to truly evaluate a puppy who is so excited that she's swinging her head and basically trying to break free from the hold that she cannot possibly be concentrating on the mark itself.

    And just for the sake of conversation I'm only throwing my puppies marks in light cover or flat golf course type lawn conditions.
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    Senior Member archer66's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer to your question but I have found out that it's not fair to the pup to expect much when training with white bumpers on snow like I did today....lol....

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    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    I hope some seasoned owners and trainers weigh-in on this. It would be interesting to hear some experienced opinions.

    My pup is now 11 months old and really coming into her own and nailing difficult marks. She was a go-getter from day one, cart wheeling when she hit the dummies/birds, but when we started (too soon) to stretch her out and test her on more difficult marks, we could see, it was a struggle. So neat to see she has developed that skill. Also fun when you realize pup really does have a good memory on multiples.

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    Senior Member John Lash's Avatar
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    When your pup is doing well at 70 yards, move in to 50 and throw the marks (white bumpers) as far away from the gun as they can throw.
    John Lash

    "If you run Field Trials, you learn to swallow your disappointment quickly."

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    Senior Member JusticeDog's Avatar
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    I don't even like questions like this. I don't even start to care until they are about 16 months old. too many other things to worry about... ie: peeing outside, sitting, retrieving in general. Everyone with a new retriever puppy gets hung up on distance. One person kept saying, "I did a 300 yard mark with Fido (8 or 9 months old) .... " My reply was "really? Mine doesn't pee in the crate!" Concentrate on building a solid foundation, desire, and a work ethic. Leave the distance to later.
    Susan

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    Well said Susan - there is so much to teach a pup around the house/yard/mat - I keep telling my puppy buyers - get the fundamentals right and the rest takes care of itself (usually!)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Henion View Post
    I hope some seasoned owners and trainers weigh-in on this. It would be interesting to hear some experienced opinions.

    My pup is now 11 months old and really coming into her own and nailing difficult marks. She was a go-getter from day one, cart wheeling when she hit the dummies/birds, but when we started (too soon) to stretch her out and test her on more difficult marks, we could see, it was a struggle. So neat to see she has developed that skill. Also fun when you realize pup really does have a good memory on multiples.
    Taking a pup from seven weeks old through puppy training, young dog basics, transition, derby and qualifying into the all age stakes is a many years process. During that process you are constantly analyzing many, many attributes. Marking ability is important, but it is just one of those many attributes. When you have a young pup who obviously shows he is a great natural marker that is something to be excited about, but a dog needs skills way beyond the simple ability to mark in order to suceeed in our sport, so I don't get overly excited with my natural marker. Developing a young dog is a constant step by step process where you constantly analyze, build on strengths and minimize weaknesses, and every step of the way you are worrying and waiting for some fatal flaw to rear its ugly head, definately not for the weak of heart.

    To answer the OP's question; I have had dogs show remarkable marking ability from a very young age, three to four months while other dogs I have owned, developed into good markers after years of training and experience running trials, sometimes that later dog becomes the more complete dog. You can relish that talented young marker but don't dispair if your dog doesn't appear that great early on, it is a long and bumpy ride to the complete dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A team View Post
    Wanted to throw this question out the group,



    I have to say I'm really happy with how pup is currently running and even marking. At this point I believe I'm really training for momentum rather than pin point marks. I don't believe it's possible to truly evaluate a puppy who is so excited that she's swinging her head and basically trying to break free from the hold that she cannot possibly be concentrating on the mark itself.

    .
    I agree with what Susan and John say, albeit I think John minimizes marking when he says it is just one of many attributes. It is one of many attributes but I feel it is on a higher or more important plane than the others and can be "the deal breaker" so to speak.; on the dogs ultimate potential

    I think I'd be working on steadying this pup up now in order to avoid fighting that issue for a long time, and also to be better able to evaluate his abilities

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    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smillerdvm View Post
    I agree with what Susan and John say, albeit I think John minimizes marking when he says it is just one of many attributes. It is one of many attributes but I feel it is on a higher or more important plane than the others and can be "the deal breaker" so to speak.; on the dogs ultimate potential

    I think I'd be working on steadying this pup up now in order to avoid fighting that issue for a long time, and also to be better able to evaluate his abilities


    Sorry didn't eman to minimize the trait, I just think people overreact at what they percieve at a very young age. Marking ability is the most important thing a retriever can have. I'm coming from a postition where it is assumed that based on breeding alone, FC-AFC sires and Dams, that any pup is going to be a good marker in the end, it's just that some pups show a remarkable ability early on, while some others take time to develop into good markers. Also a good marker who is tractible on blinds and very honest in the water might well be the better overall dog compared to that fantastic marker who is overconfident and less tractible on blinds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    Sorry didn't eman to minimize the trait, I just think people overreact at what they percieve at a very young age. Marking ability is the most important thing a retriever can have. I'm coming from a postition where it is assumed that based on breeding alone, FC-AFC sires and Dams, that any pup is going to be a good marker in the end, it's just that some pups show a remarkable ability early on, while some others take time to develop into good markers. Also a good marker who is tractible on blinds and very honest in the water might well be the better overall dog compared to that fantastic marker who is overconfident and less tractible on blinds.
    Agreed, with the exception I would change "any pup" to "almost any pup" from FC-AFC sires and dams is going to be a good marker in the end

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