One of the best drills we can do with “Jessie” now that we are approaching the top of the Training Pyramid is the Wagon Wheel Drill on land and water. There are many variations of this drill. The basis of the drill is to teach the dog to line on a different series of blinds each of which have different factors or challenges to negotiate. Let’s give a few examples.
I was not able to photograph all the stations in the above example but it will do to explain the basis of the Wagon Wheel Drill. Place a number of white stakes in the field. In this example we are using the west end of T 9 at Denverton. We are running from the parking lot of T 2. We have placed out 10 bumpers for “Jessie”. Five of the bumpers are long and five are short. We first have her pick up the long bumpers. She has been taught in prior drills to run past shorter gun stations. Do not go from right to left or left to right. Alternate sides so you don’t fall into a pattern. In the above photograph we pick up long stations 1, 2, and 5 first. After she has retrieved all the long stations, pick up the short ones with the order being 6, 8, and 10. As you can see you have taught he to do many things with this drill. Swim or run by short blinds, take channels, go through cover, run down a road and then go back into cover. Try to incorporate as many factors as you can in each drill. Here is another example.
Again start with the long bumpers always alternating from one side to the other. After all the long ones have been retrieved, pick up the short ones. How many different concepts do you see?
Let’s go back to marking. “Jessie” has been taught to do multiples. She has learned to do them by putting a series of singles together. Never start out with a young dog on multiples so you can show off your star pupil to your training group. You are there to teach, not to brag.
There are numerous drills to teach a dog to learn how to mark multiples. One requires a number of people at different stations. Each person throws a mark. Each mark is different, one may be a 45 back, another a flat throw, still another an in throw. Each throw will alternate from one station to another. Here is an example. Just follow the numbers as they represent the order of the marks. The first station throws mark 1, the middle station throws mark 2, station 3 throws mark 3, station 1 throws mark 4, station 3 throws mark 5, and station 3 throws the final mark 6.
The most common multiple is a long bird (Memory Bird) up the middle with 2 shorter birds on each side of the long bird. She can do this because we have taught her to run past marks that she has already picked up. Remember we always start with singles.
I start with the long bird first (M) as a single and them come back and do M1. I finish up with the Flyer M2. Put the dog up while everyone else runs their dog. Now come back and depending on the level of your dog, run the short double and then the long bird or run it as a triple.
Here are some more examples of multiples that can be run as singles or multiples.
John Schulte DVM