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Mock trials are something that we really like because they give us so much information on where we stand in our training – what works in a “real” situation and what needs more training. We’d like to share a little bit regarding the layout of such a a tiral and what our training journal looked like for a mock cold game trial we had a couple of years ago. Below you see Åsa and Mio’s notes before the trial and her thoughts after the trial.

Instruction to helpers

BEGINNER CLASS

Distractions / mind this   (I want these extra distractions, I will do X before casting, etc.) If a mistake occurs   (what do I do if a mistake occurs, what do I want the steward to do, f ex lift up the game, etc.)
Marked retrieve on landShot. Send when she feels calm and steadyIf she moves forward at the shot, I’ll not cast her but turn around, ask for her to heel and then try again.
Marked retrieve in waterNo shot. Send when she feels calm and steady. If she delivers to hand, have food bowl ready as placed out reward.Same as above. Not tired. No gull.
Heeling  Reward as often as neededWill not go to the designated place until heeling well
Hunting / picking upNo shot. Only four kinds of game; pigeon / crow / jackdawIf she doesn’t take the game, I’ll go out and help her. If she switches game, I’ll go out and try again.
Holding an areaShot. Take my time when setting her upSame as for the marked retrieves. Won’t cast her more than a maximum of 4 times before interrupting her and trying again
Calmness / SteadinessReward behind the dog when the other dog takes off for its marked retrieveIf she whines, I’ll make the distance greater

Want to be filmed Yes No
Want protocol Yes No

Åsa’s comments on the mock cold game trial:

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The most important thing for this trial was steadiness, both when heeling, when marking and at the shot. I was happy with both her steadiness and her heeling throughout the test. I rewarded often during heeling and she held up throughout the test, although she was really excited at first. She tends to heel wide if she picks up a scent, but she doesn’t forge ahead much. She was steady at all shots, so we reached our main goal for this mock test.
She nailed the first two marks and she delivered nicely to hand. I was pleased with my decision to not have shots fired with the water marks, since I could feel her getting even more excited. . She retrieved both birds nicely, but the distance between the water and me was too great so she dropped both pieces of game in order to shake herself off. Having placed out food bowls didn’t work. We would have needed to work more to get that to work in a trial situation. I should have placed myself closer to the water for the deliveries.

The picking up part begun well, I think the speed was ok and she quickly and cleanly delivered two pieces of game. She picked up the third piece of game from the set up next to us and dropped it at my feet, looking slightly disgusted. She needs to learn to hunt more efficiently and she needs to cover new ground better.

Until the casting part she’d worked well and kept herself together. However, in the casting part, she lost her head completely and really wasn’t with me. I had to get really close to be able to cast her. The last bird during the picking up also proved difficult, so she was definitely tired after hunting for so long.

We need to work more with different kinds of game and deliveries from water. Shots and distractions around water, and also transitioning between hunting and casting, will be our main focus moving forward. She’s going to need better balance and endurance, so that she doesn’t burn out in the beginning.


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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