Hunt tests and hunting are similar to some extent.
However, the differences are quickly recognized by a dog. In addition,
training for hunt tests or hunting presents another set of expectations.
Teaching a dog to deal with all three requires a balance.
The question becomes.....Are all rules the same in a dog's eyes and mind?
To teach a dog to wait and be patient while training would require slowing
down the process. By doing so the training session becomes more like
hunting (and not practical). While hunting waterfowl there are times
when not much is happening. A dog has time to recognize "not doing anything"
is normal. However, hunt tests build to a specific burst of effort which is
over quickly. Waiting and "doing nothing" is not an expectation. The concept
of focusing and being patient is foreign. The dog's focus is
Therefore, it would seem reasonable to allow a dog to learn how to deal with
excitement by slowing the "ups and downs" in the moment. Not knowing
how to deal with excitement causes issues........repeated behaviors create
expectations. Faulty expectations are difficult to extinguish. Therefore,
the Long Wait Drill is an attempt to blend training, hunt tests and hunting
into a "semi-unpredictable" routine so as to build positive expectations.
Waiting is the focus and anticipation is tempered with experience.
The setup for the Long Wait drill consist of three remote wingers, one or
two cold blinds placed according to a dog's experience, a few positions from
which a dog will work from (a dog hide, Ruff stand and/or an HRC bucket), a
popper gun (using primer loads), duck/goose calls, full body duck & goose
decoys, "faux" shrubs (to hide the wingers) and at least two holding blinds.
Creativity is based on available equipment.
If the drill is going to be run by more than one trainer
(many dogs), they have to be willing to take the time....easier said than
done. Thirty minutes per dog is a lot longer than most realize.
Recognize time as the most critical component of the drill.
It is not a marking drill. Factors are not important. Distance is close for
a reason, and
real birds are necessary. Marks can be thrown as singles or multiples.
Blinds can be influenced or not. How the drill develops depends on the skill
level of each dog. There are dry pops which can later be used for the
cold blinds. A blind may be run poison, or straight up or not at all.
Sometimes, the mark (or marks) remain on the ground for many minutes.
The dog can be kept in the hide, be called out to retrieve or sit beside the
bucket. The dog is never allowed to use the line as a launching pad.
The dog learns things are not always the same. However, retrieving is
by invitation. You are calling all the shots (so to speak).
The dog can easily be taken back to a holding blind and start over (at any
time). OB reminders are normal..........just stop and do a quick "review".
Since the marks are close in, there is no reason a trainer cannot just go
out and pick up a bird as the dog watches from the line (if it is a land
setup). There is no rush............that's the critical component.
is given time to think about what is expected based on your selection and learns how to deal with adrenalin.
Performance is not driven by a predictable "ready" - 'set" - "go" mode.
seem to take on the attitude of "Whatever you want to do next....I'm
The really cool part about this drill is the trainer learns how to
slow down, pay more attention to the dog and see what's going on with
his/her emotions as well. If you look closely at the first photo,
there is a video camera in the picture. Observing yourself in action can be
This has become a once a week drill and because of its flexibility.....it's
note: another drill was a precursor to this page
Training Session (link)
Here's the You Tube link to an eight minute
segment of a Long Wait Drill (2
& Kate - The Long Wait Drill (Link)
(August 13, 2010)
The Hunt Test
3/4 remote wingers,
decoys, popper gun, cold
blind(s), real birds, duck/goose
calls, HRC bucket, dog hide,
holding blinds, Gunz Up CD
depending on skill levels
focus on steady, waiting,
control & patience
April 5, 2010
April 2010 (Link)
"Long Wait Drill"
"Long Wait Drill"
(August, 2009- 1st time)
July 13, 2010
"water - 2 dogs"
August 13, 2010