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?
In an ideal world the best way to get a dog to mark a dummy is to find someone else to throw the dummy for you. It is important that when you start with this method that your helper does not stand too far away from you – make sure you build up the distance gradually. Get the handler to make the standard “Brrrr” noise to attract the dog and ask them to throw the dummy high in the air so the dog can see it. I use the command “mark” just as the noise is made and use my hand to point in the direction I want the dog to look. The dog will soon begin to associate the command with looking out for something being thrown and eventually with something being shot and falling to the ground.