Cor­rect use of wind

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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