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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most videos or books I have read say not to move to handling until your dog is proficient at marking because the dog may not ever learn to mark correcty and could rely to much on the handler insead of themselves. My lab is to the point where marks in the yard are no longer beneficial, so we have moved to field with heavy cover, longer marks, water, etc. However, due to my schedule I can't make it to the field everyday to train more difficult marks. Typically, only a few days a week.

So my question is, is it ok to teach basic handing in the yard during the week on days I can't make it to the field, or is this going to have a negative impact on her marking skills.

Thanks in advance for any advice and input.

KRD
 

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IMHO, retrieving/marks is the most important and fundamental quality needed in a retriever. Whether you just want a duck dog or a hunt test dog or a field trial dog, building up the dogs enthusiasm and proficiency for watching the birds go down and negotiating cover, terrain, water, mud, ice etc... to be able to get to the area of the fall and recover the bird and deliver to hand is why we have retrievers in the first place. This is why so much time is spent from the time a pup gets home at 8 weeks old until they're retired, on bringing out the and developing the dogs natural marking ability.

You don't say anything about your dog as far as age, level of training or if you've settled on a particular program so it's hard to give advice with the info given. What I will tell you is that every single program I'm aware of has a sequential program that starts with a solid foundation and builds up from there. Trying to build the roof before the walls are up is counter productive. If you don't have a program yet, find one and follow the progressions step by step. You're dog will learn to handle soon enough once he has the foundation and tools to start building the walls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the late response, thanks for the those that responded. I have decided to continue working on marking and put off handling for basic handling for a while.

Any suggestions on drills to increase the level of difficulty of marks in the yard on days I can't make it to the field to train?

KRD
 

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Sorry for the late response, thanks for the those that responded. I have decided to continue working on marking and put off handling for basic handling for a while.

Any suggestions on drills to increase the level of difficulty of marks in the yard on days I can't make it to the field to train?

KRD
don't know how to make yard marks more difficult without seeing your yard.

i have a marking fool. but we pushed and pushed and built up the "go" in him at an early age. long marks 3 days a week is what we get. i want him looking out to the gunner stations and not stopping short. generally though in light to moderate cover. i want him to see the bird coming down and hitting. for my 12 month old 200 yard marks are minimum now depending on terrain and cover. we are in hill country so sometimes its not feasible to stretch out too far.

making marks harder? you gotta read your fields. learn what sucks dogs in. learn whats gonna potential make a dog stop short. learn to read a field. best thing is to find someone that's been doing it for years and watch them set up marks and ask them why they set them up that way. my pal joe overby on the forum has helped me tremendously in setting up more effective marking set ups to challenge and push the dog, and its paid off.
 

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KRD throw away those books you've been reading and get a comprehensive program. In Lardy's TRT for instance you will learn that you should not handle on marks until your dog has a firm grasp on handling in the field. Probably mid to late transition. This doesn't mean that you only throw baby marks in the yard. I run my pup that is just starting simple casting on the same marks as my big dogs. Just run them as singles and may move the line a bit to open it up or shorten it up a bit. We ran three singles off multiple guns in moderate cover at distances from 125 to 200 yards. The dog hasn't been taught to sit on a whistle much less cast in the field. So we have the bird boy help if needed by: standing up, hey-hey, fake a throw, throw another bird, etc. help as little as possible but as much as needed.

Don't try to train this pup with a series of disconnected drills. Get a comprehensive program.
 

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BALANCE

Basic handling skill work is one category of daily work. Marking is another. They are NOT incompatible. That kind of thinking is horribly out dated. Mark your dog every day, and get him out of the yard to do it. Find as many new places as you can, whether or not they seem like big deal training fields. Just get him out of the yard.

In the meantime, if you have done your basic skills so far, including a full course of FF, start 3-handed casting. And yes, by all means, find a modern program of training that is complete and sequential. Let me know anytime I can be of help.

Evan
 

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KRD throw away those books you've been reading and get a comprehensive program. In Lardy's TRT for instance you will learn that you should not handle on marks until your dog has a firm grasp on handling in the field. Probably mid to late transition. This doesn't mean that you only throw baby marks in the yard. I run my pup that is just starting simple casting on the same marks as my big dogs. Just run them as singles and may move the line a bit to open it up or shorten it up a bit. We ran three singles off multiple guns in moderate cover at distances from 125 to 200 yards. The dog hasn't been taught to sit on a whistle much less cast in the field. So we have the bird boy help if needed by: standing up, hey-hey, fake a throw, throw another bird, etc. help as little as possible but as much as needed.

Don't try to train this pup with a series of disconnected drills. Get a comprehensive program.
I agree with Glen. I start marking my pups very early concurrent with yard work which I keep separate. These are pups that are so small I have to hold them up in front of me to see marks and hold them steady because they are'nt steady yet. I run them long and short, through cover and water and over terrain. That said I am very carefull to make sure there is no way the dog can cheat cover or water because we haven't built the handling tools into the dog yet, and therefore would have no means of dealing with it. Believe me, 90% of untrained dogs will cheat if given a chance.

While all this "puppy marking" is going on, we are going through the program leading to a dog that will handle well. We are not teaching the dog to handle just to run blinds, no, our main purpose at this point is to teach handling skills so we can teach the dog to mark properly. After the dog understands handling we can run those cheating marks and handle accordingly.

To answer your question I would continue what we call yard drills in your back yard and try to balance that out as much as possible with fun marking in the field. After you are finished with your yard program, you can put both together in the field and add dicipline to the marks.

John
 

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KRD throw away those books you've been reading and get a comprehensive program.
BALANCE

Basic handling skill work is one category of daily work. Marking is another. They are NOT incompatible. That kind of thinking is horribly out dated.
I agree with CaptainJack and Evan. Only marking them will lead to an out of control marker. Get them used to the idea of being under control from right after cc and force fetch. Roughly from 6 or 8 months old.
 

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You've gotten good advice - one additional thought. Handling isn't just for blinds and forgotten marks, it's a tool for teaching marking concepts and dealing with factors. Until you're through transition to field handling, your only option for dealing with water cheating, bank running, scalloping with wind and hills, ditch squaring, etc is attrition. You need to advance in marking and handling on parallel tracks so your handling is ready when needed to teach advanced marking. Moving forward on marking alone only serves to reinforce bad habits that you're not equipped to correct.
 

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Pick and follow a reputable program!!and stick to it. Listen to the others advice!!Good luck.
 
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