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And she always has to be handled out to a retrieve.

I have a spaniel that loves to hunt and flush game

What can I do to improve this problem?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: To improve your gun dog’s ability to mark you should enlist the help of a friend.

The friend should be equipped with a starting pistol and a game bag with no more than six dummies.

Both you and your helper should be standing on flat ground and both facing the same way about 15 metres apart.

Get your friend to fire a shot and throw a dummy forward at the same time.

Always position yourself so that the gun dog is facing the same way and as the dummy hits the ground give your gun dog a voice command ‘fetch’.

As your gun dog is then returning with the dummy, reposition your friend at a 90 degree angle and repeat the exercise.

This will teach your gun dog to concentrate on the shot and to look forward towards the fall area, and not look back at the handler and misjudge the fall area all together.

As your gun dog progresses you can increase the distance and time delay before you send your gun dog for the retrieve and this way it reinstates steadiness and your gun dog’s ability to concentrate on the fall area.

Once you are confident that your gun dog is marking every retrieve down with perfection on this flat ground, change location and repeat.

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