TEACHING YOUR RETRIEVER TO MARK THE BIRD
Single marks is the best exercise to teach the dog to mark the bird as the dog is focused on only one gunner and one bird. Having two or more gunners in the field can cause the dog to gaze back and forth between gunners disrupting his marking ability.
In order to mark the bird, the dog must remain steady to the gun. His rump should stay on the ground – no creeping allowed. Wait a moment before sending him to the mark. If the dog is sent too quickly, the next time he’ll leave before you give him the signal and finally he will break as the gun goes off. Don’t let that happen otherwise you have a chronic problem. However, if your dog does break, follow him into the field, take the bird from him and return the bird to the gunner. Take the dog back to the line and repeat the exercise until the dog can stay on his own. Keep in mind when repeating the mark it needs to be executed exactly as the first time. If the mark is in a different location it will be confusing to the dog.
Jean Smith's Retriever Training Course
Teach Me Please Dog Series Inc.
P.O. BOX 1515
St. Helens, Or. 97051