The long awaited time has come! We are now going to take your spaniel through the advance stages of training for the water blind. Your spaniel now should be very comfortable with the following concepts: 1. taking a solid initial line 2. Traveling enthusiastically through water and making a blind find up on the opposite shoreline 3. Making a clean return to the handler and delivering the bird to hand 4. Stopping and taking a cast both in and out of water!
This stage of blind retrieve training for some readers may be sufficient! You are content with the level of training your spaniel has achieved and have no need to continue on with advance water blind training. However for others the final stage of water blind training is essential for qualifying A Master Hunter title in AKC Hunt tests. You never know what you will encounter for hazards at the water blind tests. Additionally for the hardcore waterfowl enthusiast, whom may hunt on salt water marsh during slack tide? Suppose the grasslands are somewhat flooded. You will need a spaniel that will work through high reeds and cattails out into open water for a blind retrieve. Some may find themselves in a situation where they have a downed bird out on a body of water, beyond a small spot of land out in from of your boat.
The advance level of water training will require that you have access to one or hopefully several ponds that have an opposite bank about sixty yards minimum away. We will also seek a body of water with an island and a peninsula. The peninsula will be necessary if you wish to teach the “re-entry to water” with your spaniel. So you may want to start looking for a pond that will handle this re-entry drill. You will need an assistant, some sort of a boat whether it is a flat bottom Jon boat, or a small canoe will be sufficient. Birds will be used here, however some white and orange colored dummies on hand will be needed.
Well let’s get started. Find yourself an area on your pond that will allow you to teach you spaniel a minimum of three lines, which will all have the same starting point. Now keep in mind that we do not want the “find areas” of these lines to be too close to one another! These find areas should be a minimum of forty five degrees apart from one another. The wider apart that they are the easier this concept will be for your spaniel to understand. It will be difficult to find the proper spot to run this drill because many spots that offer the opportunity to run this drill may also give the spaniel a high level of temptation to “bank run” back to you on their delivery. Rather than returning straight and clean to you. So keep this in mind when you are selecting your drill sight.
The purpose of this drill is to teach your spaniel which initial line you wish them to take. Naturally you “Q” Here will be “GOOD” and “NO”. The first stage is to take a machete and clear the exit areas from the water’s edge leading into to find areas of your initial lines. This will assist in giving spaniel a simple visual “landscape Lock” in understanding this drill. The technique here is for the spaniel to take the initial line that you have chosen for them. Preventing switching on the initial line once your spaniel has entered the water for the blind.
We will teach one line at a time starting with the longest line first. We will also use the “marked blind” technique that was taught during land blind schooling. Have your assistant hide from plain sight in the find area of the blind retrieve. Take your spaniel to the starting point of the line. Once you are ready, signal for your helper to step out into plain sight and toss a white pigeon up into the air and disappearing into the cover out of sight. When the pigeon disappears into cover give your spaniel the “DEAD BIRD” command. Now go through the sequence of commands and send your dog for the retrieve. Continue this drill until you are running this water “pattern blind” COLD. Now use the same technique and introduce then second and finally the third line. Remember always start with the longest or first line that you taught being ran first. Then move on to the second line and so on.