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Helping Dogs With Marks

One of the major advantages to bringing your dog to Training Day is that you have people out in the field to help your dog workout problems .

When sending our dog on a mark we want them to see and mark the bird, go to the area of the fall and establish a hunt.  If we handle the dog on a mark we are teaching it that we are going to help it out which is the last thing that we want it learn.  We want it to learn that if it is focused and persistent it will find the bird on its own without any help from the handler.

As field workers it is important for us to pay attention to what is going on so that we can provide assistance when the dog needs it. The following steps should be taken when the dog is out of the area of the fall and we are directed by the line to help the dog out:

  1.  Stand up and step out of the blind.  This will, hopefully, draw the dogs attention to you and remind the dog that there was a bird out there and it came from that direction.  You may need to yell "Hey Hey" to get the dogs attention.  If that doesn't work....

  2. Slowly walk towards the area of the fall continuously watching the dog to determine if what you are doing is helping or not.  WE WANT TO HELP AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.  WE WANT THE DOG TO DO AS MUCH ON THEIR OWN AS THEY CAN.  If the dog is not paying attention to you as you slowly take steps towards the area of the fall yell "Hey Hey" just to get the dogs attention.  If the dog continues its hunt in another area....

  3. Take a couple steps closer to the bird, yell "Hey Hey" and fake throwing the bird to where it sits.  If that doesn't work...

  4. Pickup the bird and throw it for the dog as you again yell "Hey Hey".

Note that the above should only be done with direction from the line.  The group lead will ask the handler if they want help and then direct you according.  It is important that you are paying attention to where the mark lands and to the running dog so that this all can be done with minimal distraction.