Working through scent
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Thread: Working through scent

  1. #1

    Default Working through scent

    I ran a Q a few weeks ago and it was a nice set up. Memory bird up the middle, nice bird to the left and flyer to the right. Cross wind from right to left about 15-20 mph. Most of the dogs picked to 2 outside birds clean, but the issue was the feathers and scent from the flyer landed all the way across the lane to the long middle bird. There were only 5 clean marks out of 34 dogs. Mine was one, but she did stop and shop for a few seconds before continuing to the long bird. My question is, when training for this kind of problem, do you intentionally run through old falls? Scent up the line to the bird? Maybe set up 3-4 down the line birds to run through and past the scent? looking for ideas.
    The gunner wasnt retired, but it was uphill and we ran from an extreme side hill, so the dogs had a sort of clean line to the bird. Im just looking to try and keep it from happening again. Or if the long gun gets retired next time. thanks!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Cold Spring, MN


    Well some might question how nice a setup it was if only 5 dogs out of 34 got through it cleanly. And without being there to see it for myself, it may well have been a terrific set up or it may have been the best the judges could do. I am not looking to start any fights. I've been there as a handler, stake chair, judge where something comes up that you didn't recognize was going to make a test more difficult or less rigorous than expected. Perhaps that is what happened here. On the other hand, was there a better place to put the flyer, like flip flop the left and right hand birds so the feathers and scent weren't impacting the marking of the dogs. The job of a Marking test is to see if the dog can mark, so when one throws an extra bit of "diversion" in the scent cone from all the shot flyers in there enroute to the middle bird, the judges penalize the dog for honoring their nose.

    But getting back to your question...Sure, train for it. Set up the scenario in training. How do you get your dog through it. My first response would be to get the dog thinking "Long" by routinely giving them that cue when you show them the birds even before you throw the birds. When you cue the dog in on the long middle gun tell them "Long." Then when you are lining them up on the long bird to actually be sent for it, again remind them it is "Long." And then finally, when you send them use a bigger send then you would use on a short bird. If you make it routine hopefully the dog begins to realize when they get that big send after being told it was long that they need to get out there a ways before they start their hunt.

    And lastly, if it was easy to fix, then everybody would do it. Like you said, only 5 of 34 picked it clean. Stand out gun, I would have expected a lot more dogs to get there before breaking down. Gun must have been a little difficult to see or pick out. A white coat should have sucked a few more dogs there.

  4. #3


    When the gunner stood up, the dog could see 3/4 of him. When he sat down after he threw, maybe his head and shoulders were visible. Im only 5-8, but I couldnt see his entire body sitting down. Thanks for the comments.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Bryan Parks's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
    Abilene, TX


    I like a ABCD drill with birds for this..

    picture url
    HRCH Washita's Kimber Locked N Loaded

  7. #5


    I do this drill occasionally, but because I train alone 90% of the time with 3 wingers, its only ABC drill for me. LOL

  8. #6
    Senior Member bamajeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015


    Use ‘duck soup’ to scent the fall areas of the abcd drill. Carol Cassity goes into more detail/strategies in her book about how to use it to enhance your dogs ability to work through scent/dragback
    HRCH Laney's Chocolate Roux MH QAA
    HRCH Full Steam Coaltrain RIP

  9. #7
    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    nowhere Alabama


    Bryan's ABC drill pictured in post 4 is my go to drill for this issue. I will pluck a duck at the fall area of the short bird. This will leave feathers and a lot of scent in the area(Duck soup would also work). Often will leave a crate of live ducks at the short gun station. When I ran a lot of Q's, this was not an uncommon concept.
    Mark Land

  10. #8


    Lets put it this way. There were zero feathers in the kill zone of the flyer. The bird was thrown up and into the wind, so the feathers were literally all the way across the 75 yard line that the dogs had to run through to get the long bird. Im going to scent up some lines and try that. I have always run blinds through old fall, so this will just be an extension.

  11. #9
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003


    Please remember when you judge to consider the effects of the shot birds and feather drift which increases with later dogs.

  12. #10


    Dr Ed, when I was going to the honor spot after running, I told the judge that they were winning this series. One said that wasnt their goal. But the feathers blowing over 50 yards away from the gun station and 75 yards from the shot birds definitely had a huge effect on the dogs. Im sure they wanted the scent from the birds at the gun station to have an affect on the dogs, but the feathers, which should have been taken into consideration with a 25 mph wind, were not.

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