Here's what I've done and my outlook. The ATB's don't seem to be a problem.......yet. I keep them in a pile in the shop and he will pick one up everytime we go outside.......Of coarse, I threw a bunch of happy bumpers to get him used to it.
I've also used them in training set-ups. He seems to pick them up just fine. It's pretty tough though when you throw something rubber in the middle of a bunch of scent from training birds. Of coarse our training group uses real birds but I've used the ATB's when it's Dozer's turn.
So far, I haven't really changed anything up as for training tests. I have had group members toss a bumper under his nose during a set up though.
I know I'm gonna totally screw up here, but here goes. Dozer will be 7 next month and not once has he broke on me in training or competiton. That goes for hunting too. Knock, Knock. :wink:
I've had him in every hunting situation I can imagine except any kind of upland stuff. We'll see how he handles the hunting tests at SRS. Now that I've said what I've said, sure enough he will break.
I've talked with Judy and Danny on what to expect and the only thing they seem to harp on is handling on a mark quickly if you need to.
This is a tough one.........in training, I will not handle. I'm in fear this will cause popping. I'm gonna take my chances in Hot Springs and hope it won't cause any problems.
Your question is good cause I've thought a bunch about what to do. But ultimately I've decided........what I change today may be totally different than what the tests offer. So, it's training as usual for Dozer.
Only thing I will do this week is get an Avery dog blind and run him from that. He lays down, will sit remotely while hunting, hunt from a pit, ect. I don't think I've ever hunted him from one of those blinds though. I don't expect it to be tough for him to use it but I want to cover my bases.