There is one more concept we must teach “Jessie” it is about Poison Birds. As in all our drills we start with something she knows. A Poison Bird is one that may not be picked up until another has been retrieved. Go to a Permanent Blind she knows. Have her run the permanent blind, now put a thrower off the line to the blind and have them throw a mark. Use the term “Leave it” turn her to the permanent blind and send her. If she starts to go the mark, either move up and send her again or if she is advanced enough in her handling handle her to the blind. In time she will learn the term “Leave it” start looking out where the blind could be. I do not use the term “No” to call them off a Poison Bird because you get a picky judge that will call “No” intimidation and drop you from the test.
Once she really understands the concept of “Leave It”, here are some examples of drill to teach the Poison Bird concept.
Poison Bird Drill
- Run Blind (B)
- Fire Diversion Shot - Run Blind
- Throw Bird to Mark 1. Send dog to Mark, let dog get close to Mark, handle to Blind.
- Have dog pick up Mark 1.
- Throw Bird to Mark 2. Send dog to Mark, let dog get close to Mark, handle to Blind.
- Have dog pick up Mark 2.
- Throw Bird to Mark 2.
- Tell dog "Leave it" and run Blind.
- Pick up Mark 2.
Here is another example of a Poison Bird Drill.
In each instance you are teaching the dog “Leave It”, then run the blind. You will know when you have arrived when the mark is thrown and you turn to the left blind and the dog immediately turns with you to line up for the blind.
John Schulte DVM