Glossary of Retriever Training Terms
AFC - Amateur Field Champion.
Air - To allow a dog to go to the bathroom.
Amateur - One who trains dogs for the shear pleasure of it.
Amish Training - The art of training a dog without the use of an E Collar.
Angle Back – Usually defined as the dog turning and going back at a 45-degree angle from the shoulder instead of turning 90-degrees and going straight back. Ideally, what you really want when you give an angle back cast is for the dog to leave the line he is on, move over several degrees at an oblique angle and then go straight back.Attrition – A method of teaching that relies on repeating a concept; the dog learns the lesson by doing it over and over until he does it correctly.
3 Hand Casting - A beginning drill used to teach the dog to take hand signals. A precursor for blinds.
Balk – Refusal to leave on a retrieve when sent. Also called a "no-go".
Back – A command that tells the dog to leave the handler’s side and go in a straight direction away from the handler. Usually used on a blind, although in some areas of the country it is also used for marks. It is also a directional signal that tells the dog to turn and run straight back after being commanded to sit (via whistle or voice) in the field and look at the handler.Basics – The beginning commands a dog learns as the basis of advanced work - heel, come (here), and sit. Also, simple handling and lining drills, force fetch.
Big Hunt - When a dog can not find a mark and runs all over the field looking for it. Not a good thing.
Bird Boy - (BB) The person, male or female, throwing the item for the dog to retrieve.
Blind Retrieve - The art of guiding a dog to an item it did not see fall through the use of voice, whistle, and body movements.Birdiness – A desirable quality in a dog that describes a high interest in birds, high desire to retrieve birds.
Blink - When the dog goes by an item that it has clearly seen and is supposed to have retrieved. The dog runs out to the area of the fall looks directly at the bumper or bird, then continues to hunt around anyway..... "I can’t believe my dog has just BLINKED that bird!?!?!?"
Bumper - A plastic or canvas item, usually 2 or 3 inches in diameter, used to train the dog. Available in a wide assortment of colors. White is generally used for marks. Black or Orange Bumpers are generally used for blinds.Break or breaking – This is when a dog that is being judged (either at the line or during the honor) goes for the bird before the judge has instructed the handler to release the working dog (as opposed to the honor dog). If a working dog breaks or an honoring dog breaks the breaking dog is disqualified.
Burn - Terminology used to describe a type of e-collar correction. Usually differentiated, in most training circles, from the definition of a "Nick". Used to correct a known command that the dog is choosing to disregard.
Call Back - A list provided by dog game judges prior to the next series in an event. This list denotes those who are invited back to continue participating in the event. Those who do not make the "call back" have been disqualified for some reason.
Cast - To give the dog a specific direction through the use of body movements.
Cast Refusal – Dog fails to go in the direction ordered. The dog does not respond or respond correctly to the direction or cast given by the handler.
Campaign or Campaigning - The pursuit of a title for a dog. "They will be campaigning several nice dogs this year."
CERF - Canine Eye Registry Foundation. A registry created to evaluate and clear breeding dogs of hereditary eye defects including Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Displasia.
CH – Abbreviation for "AKC Champion" (bench or show champion).
Channel Blind - A water blind run in an area that, due to the close proximity of the bank on both sides, makes it very tempting for the dog to exit the water and get up on land.
Cheating - When a dog avoids cover or obstacles in route to or returning from an item to be retrieved.
Cold - A term used to define the running of a dog on a concept it is familiar with but the exact placement of the item is new to the dog. When we train, we generally run our dogs on "cold" marks and/or blinds. Our dogs know how to mark or run a blind, but they don’t know the exact location of this specific mark or blind.
Collar Conditioning - A process by which the dog is taught how to turn off the collar stimulation.Controlled break — A dog that tries to break but is successfully called back by the handler after a short distance. Permissible but subject to penalty in some hunt test and field trial events In Junior and Senior levels, the dog may have a controlled break. If the dog leaves for the birds before being released by the handler, but the handler is able to stop the dog by whistle or voice command, the dog and handler will be allowed to finish the series. Yelling NO! is
De-bolting - A term identifying the process used to teach the dog it can not "run away" from the stimulation caused by the e collar.
Derby – Derby Stake. AKC field event or “stake” for dogs over 6 months of age but not over 2 years, as of the first day of the event. A Derby is made up of marked falls only. Marking ability and style constitute the most important factors for placing in the Derby Blind retrieves are not required in the Derby stake. A Derby dog is judged on style and marking ability and is not expected to “handle” to a bird. 1st Place – 5 Points; 2nd Place – 3 Points; 3rd Place – 2 Points; 4th Place –1 Point.
Derby List – The "National" list of Derby dogs earning ten points or more.
Diversion - A distraction, of some sort, including but not limited to a bird, a shot, a person moving, talking, yelling or walking, etc. done in dog games to test against switching, or dropping. Diversions in dog games are commonly a thrown bird as the dog returns from a retrieve. Sometimes these become part of a delayed mark.
Double - Two items a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve. Items are not thrown at the same time. A double tests the dog’s memory as it must pick up one item, return to it’s handler, then go get the other item and bring it back.
Dual Champion – A retriever who has won a Bench Championship and a Field Championship title (not amateur). This title is used as a prefix to the dog’s registered name.
Dummy Collar - A collar that is the exact duplicate of an e collar in size, shape, and weight but can not produce electrical stimulation.Eraser Bird – A mark that crosses the line to a previous mark; by throwing a mark across a
E Collar - A tool used by the trainer and worn by the dog that enables the trainer to make an instant correction from a distance through the use of small amounts of electricity. It is an invaluable training tool when properly used. It is also the FASTEST way to ruin a good dog if used improperly.Factors – Elements that can throw a retriever off course on a mark or blind. They include: wind, water, terrain, cover, and diversions. Most advanced training concentrates on teaching the dog to deal with these factors. The more advanced the dog, the more they are able to overcome various factors to hold the line.
Fall - (a.k.a. Area of the Fall) - The spot on the ground or water where the item to be retrieved fell.
FC - Field Champion. An AKC title.Field Trial – A working competition for retrievers. The American Kennel Club licenses individual clubs to give retriever field trials at which championship points are awarded. Competition for retrievers for which dogs are judged on ability and style in retrieving birds. In retriever field trials, they are judged according to standardized objectives, and also against each other. Placements are 1st through 4th. AKC field trials started around 1931 and are considered by some to be the “big league” of field competition. With regards to retrievers, accurate marking is of primary importance. The marks range from 150 yards to upwards of 450 yards. Gunners and handlers wear white coats in the field to make them identifiable to the dog. However, guns will “retire” or go out of sight once the mark is thrown. A dog that marks the fall of a bird, uses the wind, follows a strong cripple and will take direction from his handler is of great value.
Field Work - Dog training generally conducted away from the area around the kennel. Includes concept work or marks and blinds.
Flare - When a dog avoids continuing on a straight line on which he was sent due to pressure applied previously in that general area.Flier (Flyer) Station – A point in the field from which a bird is flighted and shot to be retrieved.
Force Fetching - (a.k.a., FF, Forcing, Force Breaking, Conditioned Retrieving) Teaching a dog through the use of classical conditioning (stimulus/response) methods to pick up and hold an item until told to release it. Generally accomplished after the adult teeth are in place in the 6 -8 month age range.
Force to a Pile - An extension of Force Fetching. Pressure of some sort is applied in association with a command to go. This process is done to prepare the dog for running blind retrieves. . .
Gift - 1) A term describing a test or series in which the judges set up something that dogs whose owners expect some trouble cruise through with no problem.
GRHRCH-Grand Hunting Retriever Champion. A UKC/HRC title denoting that a Retriever has qualified in the annual HRC Grand event.
Heeling Stick - A riding crop or other item carried and used on the dog to remind it of it’s proper place. This is not used to abuse the dog, rather provide a gentle, but firm, reminder of the place.
Hold - A command used during conditioned retrieving by some to insure that the dog knows that he must hold, in his mouth, any object placed there.
HRCH - Hunting Retriever champion a UKC Hunt title.
HR - Hunting Retriever a UKC title.
GMHR - Grand Master Hunting Retriever. A NAHRA title.
Go Bird - The last item the dog sees thrown. In a multiple mark situation, it is generally the first item a dog will pick up.
Handler - The person releasing the dog to make a retriever.
Hand Signals - A series of hand/arm motions used to indicate to the dog which way you desire it go.
Hard Mouth - The action said to occur when a dog uses too much force in picking up or holding a bird. This action renders the bird unfit for human consumption and is a major problem. Difficult, but not impossible, to cure once the habit has been formed.
Head Swinging – When a dog looks away from a mark before being cued to do so by the handler; head swinging is a bad habit and is detrimental to marking.
Hidden Gun - A mark thrown by a Bird Boy when the Bird Boy is totally concealed from the dogs view. The dog hears a shot or call and sees the item to be retrieved thrown by does not see a Bird Boy.
Honor - When a dog must observe another dog making a retrieve. An honoring dog should watch the entire sequence of birds decoying, flying, being shot and falling without interfering through sound or motion with the "working dog".
Holding Blind - A blind or series of blinds erected prior to the "line" in an effort to keep dogs and handlers available to run the test.
Hunt Test – Non-competitive field designed to reflect a typical day in the field (camouflage, duck calls, etc.). Dogs are judged against a standard and either pass or fail. Those that pass, earn points toward a hunt test title.
Indirect Pressure – A technique where the dog is corrected on one command for failure to respond to another. Most e-collar corrections for cast refusals are given with the “sit” command. That is, if you give an “over” and the dog goes straight back, you might stop the dog with the whistle and give a “nick” as the dogs sits. He is getting corrected on the sit whistle for his failure to take the cast.
Indent - A term used to identify the placement of a shorter mark in relation to the other marks in the field. A triple is thrown, the first is 200 yards away, the second is 100 yards away, the third is 250 yards away. the second mark is called "indented" because the dog must go long, then short, then long again. A difficult concept to teach.J.A.M. – Judges’ award of merit is awarded to the dogs who complete all the tests in a satisfactory manner but to not achieve one of the four placements. A field trial designation.
JH - Junior Hunter. An AKC title.
Line - (1) The starting point for dog tests, trials, and training. (2) The line segment from Point A to Point B from the starting point of tests, trails, and training (Point A) to the item to be retrieved, be it for marks or blinds (Point B).
Line Manners - A term used to describe how a dog acts while sitting at the "line" under judgment. "That dog really pinned that mark, to bad he has the line manners of a goat!"
Literal Casting - A cast that, if taken properly, would lead directly to the blind.
Mark - An item a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve. Usually a game bird or a training bumper.
Memory Bird - Any item in a multiple mark situation, other than the last item, a dog has seen thrown for it to retrieve.
MH - Master Hunter. An AKC title.
MHR - Master Hunting Retriever. A NAHRA title.Momentum – The force or drive that a retriever exerts in order to drive to a mark.
Money Bird - The absolute last item, in a multiple mark situation, the dawg picks up. Called "Money Bird" because in a Field Trial, if your dog doesn’t get it, you get no money!
NAFC - National Amateur Field Champion. An AKC title.
NFC - National Field Champion. An AKC title.
Nick - A correction applied with an e collar set to a "Momentary" setting or a tap and immediate release of the button for those e collars without a "Momentary" setting.“No-No” Drill – Any drill that is attrition based, and does not rely on the e-collar for corrections.
Non-slip Retriever – A retriever that won’t leave your side until commanded to do so. Not just an issue of obedience but also practical in the sense that a dog who breaks, bolts or runs out prematurely upon hearing the shot will not be able to mark the fall. It is also a safety issue. Accidentally shooting a dog that has broken into the hunting field has taken place. He should sit quietly on line or in the blind, walk at heel, or assume any station designated by his
handler until sent to retrieve. When ordered, a dog should retrieve quickly and briskly without unduly disturbing too much ground, and should deliver tenderly to hand. He should then await further orders. Commonly referred to as “steady”.
North American Hunting Retriever Association - (NAHRA) A non-for-profit organization set up to provide the average hunter a place to show case his/her retriever in a non-competitive environment.
Obedience - Comprises a broad spectrum of commands some of which include: Sit, Stay, Kennel, Heel, Down.Open All-Age Stake – The toughest and most important stake at a retriever filed trial, open to professional and amateur handlers, in which the field champions as well as young hopefuls are competing. Marks and blinds are long and technical in nature, up to 400+ yards. Dogs must gain one “win” and points in order to obtain the coveted title of field champion.
Pattern – A drill designed to teach a specific routing or routines, such as lining or casting.
Pattern Blinds – A series of objects (bumpers, birds, etc.) placed in the same location every time, generally in the shape of a Crow's Foot. One of the handling drills first taught in the Transition Stage of Training.
Pattern Field - A series of bumpers placed in the same location every time, generally in the shape of a (t) or a double (t) where two lines, separated by 40 - 50 yards intersect the center line. Used to teach handling skills to dogs.
Pin - When a dog runs directly to the fall and picks up the item with out a hunt.
Poison Bird - A mark the dog must ignore to successfully complete the assigned task, usually a blind. It is fairly common in the FT and upper levels of HT games to see this concept. It’s call "poison" because, in a Test, if the dog picks it up, it might as well be dead because it will be out of competition.
Pop - When a dog stops and looks back to the handler for guidance or direction without being commanded. A bad thing.
Professional - One who derives any portion of their income from the training of dogs.
Premium - A notice sent out by the Club holding an event. This notice usually includes the time/date/place of stakes being held, entry cost, Judges names, directions and other information concerning the event.
Punch Bird - A term used to identify the placement of a longer mark in relation to the other marks in the field. A triple is thrown, the first is 100 yards away, the second is 200 yards away, the third is 125 yards away. The second mark is called a "punch bird" because the dog must go short, then short, then long and "punch" through the short bird marks.
Qualifying Stake/Qualified All Age – For dogs that are over 6 months old that have never placed or been awarded a JAM in Open or Limited Staked or placed in an Amateur Stake or won two first places in qualifying stakes. This event is commonly viewed as the steppingstone to all age events, although some say it is a pronouncement that the dog is now
proficient enough to be competitive in all-age events. The qualifying is one event where you can see the greatest variability in the difficulty of each series. There is typically a set of land marks, a land blind, water blind and water marks. The designation of QAA means that you can run a Limited or Special all age stake.
Remote Cast – A cast that is given while the dog is in front and facing handler; a blind starts with the dog being sent back from the heel position, after that initial cast all casts are remote casts.
Retired Gun - Used in multiple marks. After the Bird Boy has thrown the item to be retrieved, the Bird Boy moves to a concealed location so when the dog returns to the line and looks out to their mark, they are hidden from view.
Secondary Selection - When the handler decides which bird will be picked up next. Used mostly in Field Trials but is a useful tool in the Retriever Training Tool Box.
SH - Senior Hunter. An AKC title.
SR - Started Retriever. A NAHRA title.
Steady - (steadiness) The term used to describe when a dog sees a bird or birds fall while remaining in the position commanded by the handler. A steady dog should remain steady until commanded to do otherwise by the handler. Usually, a steady dog, commanded to do otherwise is told to complete the retrieve with a "go" command.
Suction – Any factor that causes a retriever to deviate from a line to a blind; suction can occur from an old fall, terrain, water, wind bird boys are some factors that may act as suction to a bird or bumper.
Swim-by – A drill for teaching control around the water. The handler requires the dog to take a “more-water” return to enforce water/shoreline discipline.
Switch - A dog is sent to mark, establishes a hunt, then leaves that area and establishes a hunt in the area of another fall.
Tight Hunt - When the dog runs directly to the area of the fall and after a short hunt in a small area directly around the fall, finds the item. A very good thing.
Triple - Three items a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve. Items are not thrown at the same time. A triple tests the dawg’s memory as it must pick up one item, return to it’s handler, then go get the other item, bring it back, then go get the third item and bring it back.
Two-Down-The-Shore - Generally, a water double thrown so as after picking up the go bird, the dawg must swim by the go bird fall area and pick up the memory bird. This is a tougher concept than it sounds and is a basic concept for advance dawg work.
UH - Upland Hunter a UKC title.
Quad - Same as for double and triple only now you are throwing four items.
Under-The-Arc - When the line to a blind takes the dog between a mark and the Bird Boy who has thrown that mark, the dog is said to have run "under-the-arc."
Walking Singles - A single mark thrown by a Bird Boy for a dog and, as the dog is released, the Bird Boy walks away from the area of the fall. This teaches the dog to concentrate on the item thrown and not the BB.
Walk Up - A mark or marks that occur while the dog is in motion, progressing with the handler. A typical walkup will expect the dog to cease progress upon the first mark and shot, usually in a sitting position, and to remain there until all marks have fallen and the handler commands the retriever to pick up a mark.Warmed Up - Running a dog on a mark or blind that it has run in the past. "Yes, I’d like to do this mark as a double, but, let’s Warm Up the memory bird first."
White Coat - A term used to identify those people who participate in Field Trial events. Used because, in part, handlers wear white coats so as to be easily identified by their dawg when the dawg is a great distance away.
WR - Working Retriever. A NAHRA title.
Yard Work - The term used to describe any number of drills that can be done in and around the kennel area. Baseball and OB are but two examples.
Brucellosis – A contagious canine venereal (STD) disease, which can cause sterility.
Estrus – Heat cycle of a female dog also ovulation period.
Line Breeding – The mating of a dog within g the same breed within the same line or family, toa common ancestor. For example, mating a dog to his granddam or a btich to her grandsire.OFA - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. An organization which maintains a registry of hip and elbow data to help determine that joint confirmation is ideal and free of hereditary defects. Typical OFA hip ratings, in order of preference are: Excellent and Good followed by Fair. Initially spawned in an effort to curb the prevalence of Hip Displasia occuring in many large breed dogs.
Whelp – The act of giving birth to puppies. Also the name for a newborn pup.