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gspman

Marking question for you retriever/spaniel guys

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Hey folks,

Here's my situation. I'm doing some play retrieving with my 11 month old GSP pup who absolutely loves retrieving games. When I throw the ball or dummy I allow her to immediately take off for the retrieve. The problem is that she watches the ground where she thinks the dummy will fall instead of watching the dummy as it sails through the air. I think this could be a marking issue in a real hunting situation.

It would seem to me that the dog would mark more accurately if it focused on the dummy in the air instead of focusing on the area where the dummy may (or may not) land. My solution so far is to throw the dummy at a lower trajectory so she can view the dummy as she is running. Then I will gradually raise the trajectory until she is watching the dummy and not the ground. Additionally, occasionally I'll make her sit and then toss the dummy and then she seems to track the dummy in the air much better.

I'm wondering if you lab/spaniel guys have ever noticed this and if you think it's a real issue or something not to be concerned with. If it is an issue can you recommend some training solutions?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

gspman

[This message has been edited by gspman (edited 06-25-2004).]

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For my 9 mo. lab, when we are "training" she sits through the whole flight of the dummy and is not sent on the retrieve until I give her the "fetch" command. I can throw out FOUR dummies and she seems to remember where each one is laying. She has very little circling or sniffing. Now that is when we are in a formal training session. It is a total different story when we are doing "fun bumpers". She gets so excited and runs off so fast that she sometimes has to look for a couple minutes before she finds ONE. Now that is after faking directions and tossing it the opposite way that she is running. I think as long as you use some structure to your fetching, she will be ok. This could be accomplished by using different bumpers, locations, a mat for her to sit on, or about anything to show her that this is not always a game, but her job sometimes. When I take Libby hunting, it will be set up like our formal training so she should act accordingly, at least that is the plan!

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It was darn near impossible to teach my dog to mark until she was at heal the entire flight of the bird. just my .02 cents

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I think this is common with most dogs. I have 3 springers and all of them do the same thing. I would say that it is not a real issue yet. If the dog has problems marking while at heel, then I might start to be a little concerned.

As a side note. Nothing like finding a good web site like this and replying to a post without introducing myself. My name is Brian. I look forward to reading posts on this HSOforum and offering any advise that I can. I am no expert my any stretch of the imagination. Just a guy who likes to hunt and work with my hunting dogs when I get a chance.

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Have someone else throw the bumper at a distance. More realistic scenario and will give you a better read on the dogs marking ability. Hopefully have another litter of labs on the way and as soon as they have the chase the toy game down, my wife and I do the two person game with the pups. This is all before they go to their new homes.

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The problem the dog is having is picking up the bumper in flight,He/She has it in sight then loses the bumper.

When was the last time you shot a bird that just rolled up into a cylinder and fell right to the ground?

I use a "tail" on my bumpers with my young dogs and they seldom miss a mark. The tail simulates like a wing flopping, the closer to normal movement of an actual hit bird,You can buy a black and white tail(s) to attach to a bumper you have or make your own, I buy them because I do alot of training but to make one just zip tie a piece of cloth or 2 about 1-1 1/2 in wide and 6 inches long, I have also seen colored duct tape used, fold a 12 in long piece in half (6") pop a hole in the end about 3/4" up and zip tie it to the bumpers eyelet.

As the pup grows you will be able to stop doing this, The dogs eyesight will become more accute in what to look for.

Good Luck, It all takes time and no 2 dogs are the same.

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I really don't think its that big of a issue..

My springer will take off like a bat out of hell whatever I throw for her to retrieve if I dont tell her to heel.

She will halfway mark it but the big thing her nose does the rest.. If your dog has a good nose I wouldn't think you will have a problem in the field at all...

Hand signals all always there if worse comes to worse...

good luck

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A dogs ability to mark is a huge issue for me I guess, I often hunt with 2-5 other people with 1-3 of my dogs and there have been times when we have hit 4,5 and 6 birds at a time with 2 dogs, the ability to mark cuts the retrieving time into a fraction of the time it takes to handle, I have gunned in, won and lost field trials and where the ability to mark and retrieve quickly is the deciding factor.

Bottom line is the pup is 11 months old, as time, training and experience progress so do a dogs abilities.

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Thanks for the advice boys. Sounds like it's not a real issue yet. I'll stay the course until I have indications that this is something I need to work on.
gspman

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