A reader writes: I am having a few issues in getting my 10 month old springer to mark the fall of a training dummy. He has very good eye focus and is reluctant to take his eyes off me, but as a result he does not watch the dummy's flight when I throw it. Have you any suggestions?
As mentioned, a possible cause is because the steadying process has been started too early, and the dog has been chastised for running in. Therefore, the dog would rather look at the handler in case something bad happens. If this can be identified as the cause then the solution is to go back a few steps and return to the training field. As soon as you throw a dummy, send the dog straight away – preferably while the dummy is still in the air. Do not throw the dummy too high in the air to start with, a dog’s instincts are very tuned in to movement and if you keep throwing the dummy at a lower angle it will catch the dog’s eye. By sending the dog straight away you will be building up its confidence again.