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Discussion Starter #1
I have been told that Pilot is an excellent marker. He has very little experience but always finds his mark. For example, the last time I took him the "bird" was on the other side of a channel. He ran out, jumped in the water, up the other bank to the "bird". I'm actually focused on obedience with him but I feel like this is kind of a crossover thing.

I tell him to mark, which he does, but after that he looks up to me waiting on my next command. I am being told that he shouldn't look up at me but continue to focus on the mark. I have been told that he could forget where I want him to go. I do plan to get a JH or WC on him eventually. I will never have the time to go further than that probably. This photo is after I threw a bumper for him and he's waiting to be sent. He did this with doubles and got both of them. He's kind of a natural since I've never trained doubles with him.

Is this really something I need to fight him on? I see it as looking to me for direction.
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Looking up at you in heel position should be really discouraged in field work. Say mark when he's looking at the thrower, signal for the bird, and they should throw right away, send him immediately.
Please watch my upcoming webinars on FB they will address this specifically.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’ll definitely watch! It will be all about timing with this one. He doesn’t do well with corrections. It really needs to be a battle worth fighting before I do anything.
 

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There should be no corrections. It's a timing issue with you or your throwers. If you're lining him up and saying mark and waiting too long to signal, or if your gunner is farting around and not throwing right away, that's on you.
Also -- at this stage -- he should ONLY get marks from LIVE HUMANS walking and throwing bumpers and not behind holding blinds or cover. NO electronic throwing devices, no hiding the gunner, and no multiple guns. I cannot stress this enough. If you're doing anything other than this, that is the cause of the issues. All of those factors are awful for inexperienced dogs.
He is used to getting rewarded in obedience for looking at you, so it's not unexpected. In field, simply do not reward it. Only say his name to release him for the mark. If he looks up at you, don't make eye contact. Have the gunner constantly make motion (swing bumpers) so he focuses on them instead of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the advise! Next time I get to train with a group, I'll ask someone to help me with that. Now that I think of it, this was completely skipped over with him at the trainer. Most of the other dogs were beyond that level. Please let me know when you plan another webinar! I had to miss the last one. Last minute family get together.
 

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When I throw for dogs like yours, I wait to throw until the dog is looking at me. If they are still looking away or up at you, I give another hey hey or quack my duck call, anything to get the dog's attention. So ask your gunner to do that. Your dog will quickly learn what's happening. Right now he's a bit confused and looking for information from you and not from the gunner/bird. Like Anney said, you want obvious gunners. Have the gunners wear white t-shirts or white jackets to really stand out.
 

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Rather than using noise to get the dog's attention, use movement. Have the gunner move around, and/or swing a bumper.
Noise is a crutch. We are teaching them to use their eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don’t have helpers when I get to train but he’s getting better after I watched the webinar.
 

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I don’t have helpers when I get to train but he’s getting better after I watched the webinar.
I train alone often, placing the dog on a mat and walking/driving out to throw a one or more marks, then returning to the mat to send. With a young or inexperienced dog simply walking out to throw single marks and sending remotely can be very beneficial.
 

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Like SRW and many others, I frequently train alone; in fact, it's extremely rare for me to train with anyone else during the week (on weekends I train with a group). Although I have launchers and other mechanical devices, I still do a simple exercise where I put the dog on a "sit," then walk into the field, then throw a bumper, then send the dog from there (i.e., I don't return to the dog). Obviously the dog has to be steady, but this is an easy way to get in a few marks. I don't put many factor into these marks because I don't want to get into a fight over missing a factor, but these can be useful.
When starting out a dog on these marks, I make them short, like maybe 50 yards, with big white bumpers.

This drill could help Pilot with his looking up ....
With you in the field, Pilot can't look up at you because you're not there ... your out in the field where he need to be focused. Plus, if you do this in VERY short grass (such as golf course fairway grass) so he can see it on the ground I think he'll be less likely to take his eyes off the bumper.

Just a thought ....

FTGoldens
 

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All what FT said :))))
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He's pretty steady. I'll try that too! I have friends that train too but they always train in the morning while I'm stuck at work. He will get it eventually!
 

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He's pretty steady. I'll try that too! I have friends that train too but they always train in the morning while I'm stuck at work. He will get it eventually!
Use a mat if you don't already. It will help prevent creeping, makes it black and white for the dog. Stay on the mat until sent. It is important to maintain a standard and keep bad habits from starting.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks! I'll take him out when the humidity isn't at 300% and work on it a little!
 

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I just want to comment on the hunt tests you are considering. Getting both the JH and WC is a good starting point for a new pup. These tests are fairly easy, once your pup can mark a fall and retrieve to hand on land and in water you are pretty much ready to go. The falls will not be over 100yds and frequently less.
A few things to prepare for...
The mark will probably be a dead duck, so be sure to introduce your dog to retrieving a cold dead bird. Check the rules, but it is possible one of the marks will be a live duck that is shot for the mark. If this is possible at this level of test, be sure to expose your pup to a bird flopping around on the ground. This scares many new hunting dogs the first time they run into it...finally, be sure to run your dog on marks both land and water where a few duck or goose decoys are in the area. A lot of newbies fetch decoys instead of the mark, I seen this on both water and land marks...so run your dogs marks near some decoys....in JH level, they never have to run through or swim through decoys, they will only be placed to distract the dog....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you. I do know about the birds. I actually have some pheasants and 1 giant duck in my freezer. Both of them were introduced to birds when they were babies and have practiced with them off and on. Took my girl to a WC a few years ago. She was used to doing long marks and blew right by her bird. Once she found it, she had forgotten what she was doing. (She is very unpredictable) It was a valuable lesson for her. I threatened to make her ride home on the roof of the van....not really but I was pretty unhappy with her. I put her back in her crate and pretty much ignored her until we got back to the hotel. For the reset of the week, she did better and earned her first CD leg. We were at the National in Maryland. I would love for her to get a WC or JH, it's all she needs for a VC. She has points in conformation, obedience and agility.

He has been introduced to birds, bumpers, bumpers with wings tied to them, you name it. My biggest goal at the moment is the marks. If I can get it in field, he can do better in obedience. He's 3 now but he lives to make me happy. We will work toward a WC or JH. I have vicious allergies, so it's probably as far as we'll go.
 
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