“Jessie” has now advanced to the sixth level of the Training Pyramid. We are now venturing into advanced marking, blinds, and drills. One drill that I repeat with my dog before a Hunt Test or Field Trial is the 5 Legged Casting Drill. It is useful for young dogs to clean up their handling and an excellent refresher drill for advanced dogs. Please see below for a photograph of the drill as well as how to run it.
This is how the drill is done. Give your dog the “Back” command without using your arm. He should turn to his right or left and retrieve the 12:00 o’clock bumper (the back pile). Dogs, like people, are right or left handed. When given a “No Hands Back” command they invariably will turn the same way. That’s fine. Just be aware of which way your dog turns on a “Back” command as well as which way they turn when you give a “Whistle Sit” when the dog is running to a blind or mark.
So if your dog turned to HIS left to the back pile, the next command should be a “Left Over”. You will start to alternate sides always going to the back pile. If he went to his right to the back pile, your next command should be a “Left Back”, next command a 45 degree “Right Back” finishing up with a “Left Back”. You always alternate which side the dog is going.
Give a “Right Back”, next command is a 45 degree “Left Back”, followed by a “Right Back”. I do not use an e-collar to teach this advanced drill. Just a quiet “no” if they make a mistake. As in all drills, if you get into trouble SIMPLIFY. Move on to the next command give “Left Back” followed by a 45 degree “Right Back”, then another “Left Back”. Next command is a “Right Back” then “Left Over” and a “Right Back”. Before reading any more figure out what your next command will be.
That’s right it will be a “Left Back”, then a “Right Over” and another “Left Back”. Continue on “Right Back”, “Left Over” “Right Back”.
If you can figure this out after reading it just once you are a smarter person than I am.
Before we start covering the next concept which is the Wagon Wheel let’s consider how to run a blind. Come up to the line and really examine it. Find the best spot on the line from which to run the blind, then pick a spot out about 10 yards that you want your dog to hit on the way out. Continue to break down the blind into parts. Forget looking where the blind is, if you can keep your dog on your predetermined spots, you will line the blind. Here are some examples.
John Schulte DVM