Correct use of wind
I cannot get my year-old spaniel to quarter properly when I set him off hunting. Though he works a figure-of-eight pattern, he does not always turn into the wind and that makes him turn back instead of forward. Turning off the wind means he is not casting out very far on that side and is obviously missing lots of ground — and hence game. Is there any way of correcting this?
At his young age his nose has not had time yet to gain enough experience at working scent properly. He is also so focused on you that his concentration on scent has not fully developed. Usually the pattern of a dog, which is turning back in towards the handler, can be altered by a change of the handler’s body position. As he passes, you turn away from him so that when he turns at the end of the cast he sees the back of your shoulder and this encourages him to sweep back towards you. As you know he is going to turn the wrong way on the left cast, change the way your body moves and face him as he begins to turn — this should encourage him to stop turning and give him confidence to continue out further. This will extend his range quite quickly and hopefully teach him to turn into the wind at the end of each cast.
Only work him during this training in ideal scenting conditions and on ground that holds game, so that he is fully switched on to fresh scent. This will stop him watching you and increase his focus on the scent going into his nose. Most spaniels, by working into the wind on fresh scenty ground, will soon develop a smooth natural hunting pattern needing little help from the handler. PR
The puppy needs to focus on scent, not you