You need to train push backs in water as well.

You need to train push backs in water as well.

We did several great exercises in England at the Castleman’s gun dogs / Dogs for Life’s summer camp. Among other things, we did a double marked retrieve exercise that turned in to casting further out (a so called push back which means that we “push” the dog further out on cue).

Here is the exercise:

First, throw a double marked retrieve on a line. (Imagine that you are standing at 6 o’clock and that one marked retrieve lands in the middle of the clock and the other one lands on 12 o’clock.) Then cast the dog to retrieve number 1 and then number 2.

Next time send the dog so that she retrieves number 1 and then cast her to number 2, but stop her where number 1 was before, and then cast her further out (a push back).

If you want to do this exercise even more tricky you can take the dog to the same place the next day and send the dog to the same spot, but the dog should not have seen that you have put something there. Finally, you can try to cast the dog to blind retrieves in new places, and also to do the same thing in water.

When the dog is better at the task you can try to increase the distance, both between the starting point and number 1 and between the starting point and number 2. You can let the dog see when the marked retrieve is thrown at number 2 and then you cast the dog but stop her at number 1, where you have already put a dummy without the dog seeing it. That way you can train both the stop whistle and the hunt whistle with distractions.

Först hämtas nr 1, sedan stopp på platsen för nr 1 och därefter push back till nr 2

This is what the exercise looks like

If it is too difficult for the dog and she doesn’t stop, ask your assistant to pick up the dummy that the dog is heading for (if you don’t have any assistant you either have to train in such a way that you know that the dog will succeed or you must have a long leash so you can stop the dog if she runs in the wrong direction (just remember to attach the leash to a harness and not to the dog’s collar). If the dog makes mistakes, you make the exercise easier, you can for example repeat the stop whistle a few times at number 1, where you are going to stop dog later, so that the dog recognizes the spot. Reward the stop whistle generously and vary the exercise so that you sometimes walk to the dog and give her tidbits, throw a ball, or play with her and then cast the dog further out towards number 2.


Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training
Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training

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