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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so this is a new thing for me. I just learned this week that there are casting styles that people adopt when handling a dog. So my question is...what are they and which do you use and why?

My friend and the pro trainer I am seeing use what is called literal casting. In the field they do not use the over cast except as a 'hail mary' type of thing. It is taught, but once out in the field everything is either back or angle back.
 

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I didnt know there was different styles either. At my club they taught us how to teach our dogs to cast. In a big field you have one person with several bumpers on each side of you and you send your dog off either to the right or the left with the words " hunt it up" the person on the side that you sent your dog does the "hey hey" and brings your dog toward them. As soon as you dog is to that person you blow your whistle 2 toots and the person on the other side does the " hey hey". After every 3-4 times of your dog going back and forth they get a bumper thrown.
 

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I didnt know there was different styles either. At my club they taught us how to teach our dogs to cast. In a big field you have one person with several bumpers on each side of you and you send your dog off either to the right or the left with the words " hunt it up" the person on the side that you sent your dog does the "hey hey" and brings your dog toward them. As soon as you dog is to that person you blow your whistle 2 toots and the person on the other side does the " hey hey". After every 3-4 times of your dog going back and forth they get a bumper thrown.
I don't think this is casting, unless I am confused by your description. Casting is "Over" or "back," not 2 toots. It's taught with the dog sitting remotely, then tossing the bumpers left, right, or back, then casting the dog. You start with just one bumper out, then add two, then have all three directions possible. Generally called "3 handed casting."

I didn't know there were other styles either. I know that the friend I work with a lot does use the over cast, at least during training. Hmm. I'll be interested to see what others have to say.
 

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I didnt know there was different styles either. At my club they taught us how to teach our dogs to cast. In a big field you have one person with several bumpers on each side of you and you send your dog off either to the right or the left with the words " hunt it up" the person on the side that you sent your dog does the "hey hey" and brings your dog toward them. As soon as you dog is to that person you blow your whistle 2 toots and the person on the other side does the " hey hey". After every 3-4 times of your dog going back and forth they get a bumper thrown.
That sounds like quartering (like for upland hunting).
 

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There are essentially two types or classes of casting. They aren't really styles, but rather are divided by functionality.
  • Literal Casting
  • Momentum Casting
A literal cast is given in a vector to match the literal direction from the dog's point of origin (where he's sitting when cast) to the spot of the fall. Many erroneously call this "angle casting", but there are no specific "angles" because it's aimed at being literal. It takes training and lots of practice for both dog and human to develop and maintain this standard.

Momentum Casting is oddly named because it really ignores the dog's momentum, often working against it. It is a purely manipulative type of casting, and was popular in the early days of handling, and continued in fieldwork through part of the 70's. Three casts were pretty much what you had to work with.
  • Back
  • Right straight Over
  • Left straight Over
If a dog were off line to its blind the handler would stop the dog and give an Over, which the dog was to take until it was back in line with the route. Then the handler would stop the dog again and give a straight Back, and so on. It was only manipulation, rather than communication.

Literal casting is more communicative, and normally requires fewer casts to complete a retrieve. How are we so far?

EvanG
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Evan. Now what about literal casting and over casts? I was told literal casting does not like to use over casts even though they are taught.
 

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Pretty much what Evan said. It's not really a style in that someone would say "oh I handle my dogs with literal casts" but more, as Evan said, of what particular type of casting you need for a specific dog at a specific time on a specific blind.
Simple definitions, literal casting is you are literally giving the dog the perfect cast that if he took exactly that line he would get the blind.
Momentum casting is essentially "over casting" ---- the difference between the literal cast and the cast you give is the cast you get. For example, you send the dog on a blind and he is rumbling toward an old fall and the blind is deep and to the left of the old fall. You know that he is an inexperienced, high dog and is very attracted to the old fall. If you gave him the literal cast it would be a very slight angle back left (say, 15º left of vertical). But you know his mind is so on that old fall that if you gave him that cast he would just dig back and continue toward the old fall. So instead you give him a 45º angle back left cast, which if he took that literally he would be too far left of the blind, but instead he splits the difference between your actual cast and the wrong way he was intending to go, and thus heads correctly toward the blind. That is a momentum cast. Another common example is if you need to cast your dog off a point into water to a blind that is inline and deep of the point. The literal cast is a back cast. A momentum cast is an angle back or over that says GET IN THE WATER.

I am at a point with Slater (young, fast dog) where in the absence of suction he will take a literal cast. The more suction the more momentum casts I use. There is a fine line here, if you use momentum casts all the time to bail you out, you are essentially lying to your dog and teaching him to ignore your literal cast. So you have to balance his effort and correct or use attrition to get the cast you really give.

With Fisher I try to exclusively use literal casts in TRAINING and save momentum casts for TESTS where I may need a little something extra to fight against some factor in running a blind.
 

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Thanks Evan. Now what about literal casting and over casts? I was told literal casting does not like to use over casts even though they are taught.
When we train our dogs on T work the casts we give are basic (momentum-type) casts. They're simple and easy to learn. To be sure, I believe in maintaining them even when I'm adding my literal casts. One of my favorite maintenance drills for all casts is Walking Baseball. I want my dogs to take whatever cast I give them, and no matter how hard you try there will be times when they will have to be stopped where the only appropriate cast is an Over.

There will also be times when the literal standard is breaking down...the dog won't cast into the wind for example. You'd better be willing to lower your arm and give a bigger than literal cast (a true momentum cast) or your next command may be "No! Here!".

More to come.

EvanG
 
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I'm with what Anney and Evan have described. In T-work my dogs learn to change direction (those momentum casts), and then as I develop their skills we move more and more to literal casting. Now in training, I expect Breeze to take literal casts and use attrition and other corrections as merited when she does not. When we are really in tune I have to be very careful not to overcast as she will really take what I give her--I practiced in a mirror so I could see what she sees and get a feel for the positioning.

In a test, I have to read the factors influencing the dog, and there I will use the cast I need to effect the necessary change. More often than not now that is still a literal cast for Breeze, but there are still situations when I will give her a little more to get her out of potential trouble. In her title leg test for her Master, the water blind skimmed over the tip of a point. Quite a number of dogs had hit the point and then sucked in behind it, towards where a mark had been. Some of the other handlers had stopped their dogs on the point and given them big angles (read, near-overs) off that point. I gave her a bigger angle than what was the true literal cast to the blind, but not near as big as some other handlers had done with their dogs because I knew that she would take most of it, and I did end up having to give one more corrective cast the other way to put her right on the bird at the end, so I probably could have gotten away with given her a smidge less than I had--but in the moment I gave it I wanted her out of that suction, and to avoid the fights too many had already had getting their dogs off that point (I watched 4 consecutive dogs fail that blind!)

Some of the HRC guys I see still use momentum casting. even in a test, but I just don't like it because I hate messing with a dog's momentum if I don't have to--that is one beauty of a dog who will take literal casts--you can let them roll!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for the explanation. So much to learn for the beginner...and it is particularly hard at times since I haven't...or at least I wasn't training with a pro. Also the highest level in my training group is only a SH so there are limitations there as well.
 

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OK Here is a video showing an example of each (and an example of some shoddy handling)


The blind is essentially at the end of the point so the true line is to pass just left of the island in the water. As Fisher heads instead onto the island I stop and give him a momentum cast (0:16 seconds) which is almost an over to tell him GO AROUND the island and stay in the water. Well, like a good dog he actually takes it, (here's where the poor handling that leads to bad habits happens) as he is looking at me like "You're dumb, I know it's not that way" I just give him a back cast rather than stopping him again. At :45 I stop him and give him a literal cast, left back straight to the blind.
This one video made me realize I need to stop giving him momentum casts in training. If I had given a literal cast and he instead dug into the island he should have gotten a correction. A dog at that level needs to be held to a higher standard of literal casting, on the FIRST try.
 

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We are working on casts with Quinn and Gabby. We do backs and overs only. However my observation of watching the experienced handlers is most do angle backs unless they really need the dog to get back on line then an "over" is used.

We have done exercises recently, or should I say they have as they are more sophisticated than my dogs our our handling, where they have to handle "obstacles". Going through a narrower tree passage, over and obstacle in their path etc. Here was where I saw them use a lot of "overs" when the dogs were trying to go around said obstacles.

What I do when I watch, I get behind the handler (a fair distance) and I watch the dog on the path, and try to think when "I" think they should stop the dog, and what cast to use if they do. Trying to learn all I can. When to stop I guess takes a ton of experience.
 

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This one video made me realize I need to stop giving him momentum casts in training. If I had given a literal cast and he instead dug into the island he should have gotten a correction. A dog at that level needs to be held to a higher standard of literal casting, on the FIRST try.
But you've learned a couple good lessons. One is that a video camera behind you is a great handler-training tool! We do things as handlers sometimes that we can't believe until we watch ourselves.

I wouldn't have been too critical of your handling here. Is Fisher in early Transition?

EvanG
 

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Is Fisher in early Transition?
I can answer that for Anney. No. Fisher has his MH and has run a few Quals, including one coming up this weekend. :)
 

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Thanks :)
The only transition Fisher is in is retirement :)
You know I watched the video right now and while you can't see the blind on the point you can see when Fisher gets there as he shakes off and there is a big backlit POOF of water. I admire my own dog and his infinite cuteness LOL
 
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Distances on video can be deceiving, but your blind looked pretty short; perhaps under 100 yards. That's why I asked about developmental level. So, have we all got a good "handle" on casting types?

EvanG
 

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Distances on video can be deceiving, but your blind looked pretty short; perhaps under 100 yards.
Do blinds have to be long to have the dog learn something? Or to practice something?
 

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Do blinds have to be long to teach something? Not being smart, just asking...
I can answer for how I train. In training I like my blinds to be longer for a couple of reasons.

For one, I do not want the HT length limit to be the edge of my control with the dog. If you only train at 100 yards, the dog expects not to have to go further, and control can begin to erode at that distance, especially in a test setting where so many temptations are present and there is no corrective tool available. If I have control of my dog at 150, 200, 250 yards in training, then that control is less likely to erode at 100 yards in a test.

My second reason is that with young dogs, you want momentum first. The problem with short blinds is that you have less room to get them to the target, so if they are having trouble getting the line you have to stop and correct them more often, which is counter to momentum--it requires too much precision in too short a distance, which can lead to popping and other nasties. On a longer learning blind (but one with relatively few factors en route for a young dog) you have more leeway to let them get a change of direction and carry it for a while (ie "enjoy the cast"). Then as a dog gets more skilled in taking literal casts you can demand more precision, or add more challenging factors enroute to push them off line. I would rather follow the dog up if they are having difficulty (and ponds with points are great for this too.)

I'll do shorter water blinds with the dogs if we are doing a drill that requires a lot of repetitions as there the point might be about getting that angle entry, or skimming the shore, etc, and involve a lot more swimming, in which case long blinds would be too tiring and take away from the lesson. But once they have the skill down, you can bet they'll be doing a big blind with that lesson in it!
 
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Do blinds have to be long to have the dog learn something? Or to practice something?
I hope you understand that I asked a question, not passed a judgment.

In answer to your question (though I don't get the impression you really wanted to know), generally no they don't. But that question is really too broad for a specific answer. For a fully trained dog nearing retirement, distance almost has to become a component of a useful blind in order to contain adequate factoring for it to be useful.

Netotiating factors and maintaining momentum are the primary goals for running blinds in training.

EvanG
 
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