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7 months too young

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Discussion Starter #1
I have been working with my 6 1/2 month old BLF doing marked singles in 8-12 inch grass at about 50-75 yards with real birds. She's doing quite well, but would like any advice on how to refine her skills besides practice. It seems like she'll "nail" a few, and then she'll "blow" a few. It may be the set-ups, a visability issue a coupple of times, I guess she's not 6 ft tall. But I'm looking for a more accurate mark, not a 8 foot vacinity, "sniff","sniff", I got it. Am I asking too much at her age?, and is 7 months too young to CKC hunt test?
 

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hi misty,

i think most pups this age are not ready for a real-life hunt test. usually basics are still being taught at this age and that's the foundation our dogs are built on.

my dogs (i'm on my third,so you're not talking to a pro) are usually in some stage of lengthening at this age. 90% of their marks are on grass no more than 4-5" tall, or in open water with a "square" entry using large white bumpers. i want them to learn to use and trust their eyes. believe me, they learn to use their nose without much help from us! before we start real big dog marks they are lenghthened to around 200 yds on land and 100 or so on open water. this momentum is important to nourish as it will help your dog to learn to "look out".

good luck, and slow down and teach. they're learning every waking hour. teach them right and you'll be grinning! :wink: -paul
 

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I agree with Paul.

The risks outweigh the benefits of running events with a puppy that age. You can certainly do it, but your time would be far better spent training.

Evan
 

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Paul's answer made me think of a question kinda sorta related to the original question in this post.
Hypothetical situation: Older pup, say 1 yr or so, lots of drive, hunts with his eyes on marks. Will circle round and round until he sees the bumper, just doesn't use his nose. Dog gets right much marking work and has for some time - just doesn't seem to be figuring out how to use the nose, just races around until he sees it which sometimes results in some really huge hunts. My question is, can you (and how should you) teach him to use his nose? I thought with experience he'd just figure it out, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Any thoughts or opinions or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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this is a different situation. i think i would try throwing some short marks in the dark. close enough to hear the thump or splash. i would use thawed birds for this. 2 or 3 sessions will turn that nose on! i used to teach my dogs to trail in prep for nahra trail tests after sundown, and it worked well. i wouldn't overdo it ,though-paul
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Lucky I guess

I'm lucky that my BLF started using her nose really early, but it seems that she'll use her nose more that relying on a solid mark. This brings me back to my original question on marking drills. Don't get me wrong she's fun to watch work in a light wind with her nose down tail up and that sharp turn when she gets the strong scent. I love watching a good hinting dog work.
 

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misty, you might try using high visibility bumpers so your pup can see them from a ways off. Birds are sort of camoflaged to dogs because they're colorblind so White or Black/White bumpers are best, most dogs can see them in mowed grass from quite a ways.
 
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