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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Transferring the pup from a tossed bird to a find is relatively easily done. While the pup is running toward one of the gunners have the opposite gunner roll a bird in five yards or so in front of him. When the dog makes the turn at the opposite gun, the other gunner will take off his baseball cap and shake it as if it was a dead pigeon in his hand. This will again attract the pup to that gun. However, as the pup gets within a few yards of him he should stop shaking and conceal his hat. The pup now will be attracted by the scent of the bird and will turn upfield making a find in front of the gunner and a retrieve to the handler.

We now have started to develop the windshield wiper pattern. Start to give the dog a find on every second cast. Mix up the amount of casts that he will run before giving him a bird to find. This will cause the dog to run harder and with intensity between the gunners in search of birds.

In the end, a refined pattern means more birds for you and your spaniel. Here Roy French’s dog, FC Denalisunflo Rio comes up with a trapped bird in the 4th series of the 2000 National Spaniel Championship.
Photo by: Geoffrey A. English
Next, you are going to see training sessions where the dog will not make a completed cast all the way to a gunner. The dog will cut the cast short and turn upfield before reaching the gun on a particular side of the field. Simply have the gunner on the side of the field that the pup came up short, roll a clipped winged pigeon in for the pup to find in front of him on the dog’s next cast. Now keep in mind that the gunner may have to shake a baseball cap to attract the dog to make a complete cast. Once the dog realizes that if he does not complete his cast before turning upfield, it could cause him to miss a bird in the field. Believe me, your dog will stay honest to the gunners.

The final stage of pattern drills is to start mixing an array of clipped wings along with live fliers and shooting over your flushing dog. This blend of different disciplined birds should maintain the balance of your flushing dog, which is to instill and maintain good solid pattern work while going onto advanced field training.

About the Author: David Krassler is a native New Englander, who resides in the Berkshire Mountain Range of western Massachusetts. David and his wife, Marcia, have owned and operated Citari Kennel since 1985. Together, David and Marcia offer clients an impressive 35 years of professional breeding and training experience. As a professional trainer, active seminarist, and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, David consistently strives to take the mystery out of the training and breeding top performing field dogs. For more information on Citari Kennel visit
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