“Jessie” has reached the fifth level of the Training Pyramid. Now we have a solid foundation to teach handling after all the drills we have completed. Go to a large field with light cover and establish a Sight Blind or Back Pile that is 150 yards long. Once the dog really knows this blind we can add in other factors. Our dog knows how to run past other gun stations. Our set up will look somewhat like the Baseball Drill. Please see the diagram below.
Run the Sight Blind. Make sure you start close enough so the 2 Over Blinds are not an influence. Run the Sight Blind several times. Now send your dog from the line but give the Whistle Sit at X. Just as you did in the Baseball Drill give a Right Over while moving to your Right. The dog may well start to go back to the Sight Blind. This does not call for a correction. Stop the dog and move closer to him. Continue to give the Right Over Command until the retrieve is completed. Move back to the Line and run the Sight Blind again. A good rule of thumb is to run 3 Sight Blinds for every Over command.
In time your dog will be sitting on the whistle and taking perfect Right Overs. Once you have accomplished this, move on to the Left Over using the same process. This Drill is called the “T Drill” and it is the most important drill in handling for the dog to learn perfectly.
Once “Jessie” has accomplished the “T Drill”, the next obvious step is to complicate the situation. We add in 2 more stations to the drill to create the “Double T Drill” shown below
The first step as always is to run to the Back Pile. “Jessie” knows this pile because she learned the Single T Drill at this location. Now send her and stop her at the Whistle Sit 1. Give her a Right Over. The next blind will always be to the Back Pile. Send her again and stop her at Whistle Sit 2. Give her a Left Over. Run the Back pile again. Alternate your Overs between Left and Right, Long and Short, always running to the Back Pile on alternate blinds.
John Schulte DVM