Field Training can start out with a few bumpers, a whistle, and a leash. But
if one stays in the sport, a great amount of equipment is accumulated.
suitable to carry the dogs to the training or testing grounds are
important. While one might start out with just their normal car and a
crate for the dog, typically one vehicle at a house ends up being just
for dog training. A van can carry several dogs and a great deal of
equipment. Some people go to dog boxes on trucks that are either mounted
on the bed or chassis mounted.
A full sized van
with dog crates in the back
A row of various
types of vehicles at a training day
A Professional truck
with trailer that can carry from 24 to 30 dogs
typically include three lengths --- 15-30 feet long for Basics training,
a six foot leash, and a four to six inch tab. It is useful to have some
bright colors so they can easily be found when dropped on the ground.
Note that there are not loops or knots in any of them that might get
caught on cover and distract the dog. The shortest are used when
transitioning to steadiness when the dog is running in heavier cover or
Three leashes for
Basic and Transition training
Three colors of
bumpers in two sizes. Note that the colored ropes for throwing make
them easy to sort and get back to the right owner at the end of a
Express call name Coal holds a bumper correctly.
of various colors and two different thicknesses are needed. White is used to
start out. Black bumpers are added later for use in varying backgrounds.
Orange is only used for blinds since dogs have difficulty seeing them.
Emma bringing back a bumper from a blind.
For the amateur training alone, there are a variety of remote throwers.
A remote thrower will replace a human out at a station. They operate off
electronic releases so the handler can, in effect, have a mark thrown as
if a bird boy was out in the field. There are single ones such as
manufactured by Lucyana Retrievers, Zinger Winger, and Dogs A Field
Shure Flights. Some throw multiple times without re-loading, such as
Etch-marc for the trainer that has several dogs and does not want to go
out to re-load between dogs.
Some remote throwers such as the Tangelo Tosser need a person out in the
field. The advantage of using them is that the throws can be very
consistent - especially for someone that has problems getting good
height and distance. Most of both the electronic and hand release types
are easily carried in a van or truck.
Five bumpers in
varying black and white combinations can be thrown with a Max5000. The
chair has a coat on it to simulate a bird boy being at the station.
Bumpers can easily have bird wings added to them. Streamers on them aide
in visibility during the arc of the throw.
Starter pistols are used to simulate gun fire. Blank ammunition is used.
In some cases shot guns are used with popper shells. In both cases, all
gun safety use rules are carefully followed since even blank ammunition
can be dangerous.
Whistles: There are a variety of whistles used. Most people
eventually use a Gonia mega-whistle. The reason that a mega whistle is
preferred by most is that it directs the sound away from the handler's
ears. More dog trainers go deaf from whistles than from gun noise. The
shape also sends the sound out more efficiently.
A mega whistle has a
regular whistle in it. The gun does not have an open bore and cannot be
used with real ammunition.
Rain gear, warm clothing, light clothing for hot days, hats to shade
eyes, gloves, boots, and sturdy shoes are all a must to carry out to
when used correctly, are a great advantage in today's field training. An
electric collar is, for all practical purposes, an invisible leash.
Using one allows the handler to have excellent timing in communicating
with their dog. Since the dog is at a distance, it is the best way to
communicate with good timing. This approach is far better than the old
fashioned ways of training that required the handler to run out into the
field to communicate with the dog. Good timing allows the dog to have a
better understanding of what is expected. Careful timing of both praise
and corrections is critical in all dog training.
The correct use of electric collars has enabled sensitive dogs to be
trained. Some of the most well known successful dogs are sensitive
although they have high retrieving desire.
Two samples of
electronic collars and transmitters. The added bright colored tape
and straps aides in sorting out what collar belongs to what
transmitter and helps to find them when accidentally dropped.
An e-collar has
two parts: A light weight receiver on a collar and the handler has a
transmitter with adjustable levels. The levels go from a momentary
fraction of a second at a level so low that it can barely be detected to
higher levels that will communicate when the dog is at a distance and
being highly distracted by various factors.
In correct, up-to-date use, an e-collar is never used for teaching but
only to strengthen behaviors already taught. Modern trainers do not use
it when a dog simply makes a mistake or is confused, but only when the
dog is not making an effort for something it clearly knows what to do.
It is highly recommended that before any use that new people seek
careful education before trying it out. Learning proper techniques first
is true of any dog training --- one should learn guidelines before doing
anything on their own. Dogs are very enthusiastic about wearing an
e-collar when properly conditioned. They soon learn that it means they
are going to do fun work.
Criticisms about e-collars are usually based on observing people who
have little idea how to use them or for that matter have little idea
about training in general. Any tool can be used badly. All dog training
takes time and effort to learn how to do correctly and humanely. Even
praise can be used incorrectly and confuse a dog.
aide in communication between the handler on line and the field. The
purpose is not only to save the voices of the trainers, but to
facilitate communication without distracting the dog. This is
particularly true of working with pups who would easily be distracted if
the handler started shouting directions to the bird boy.
There are multiple
brands and types of radios that are popular
ATVs, holding blinds, and many other items that help with training are
accumulated as a person gets more and more involved in the sport. The
lists on this page represent just a selection of what might be
purchased. There are many companies and many brands that produce all the
equipment. Buyers need to explore what is out there and make their own
decisions about what to buy from whom. All of the above are only
An ATV is a
great aide in training. Baskets on the back and front help carry
the equipment out to distant throwing stations.
Ellie Muth in a
"mule" takes equipment out to the field