By Jim and Phyllis Dobbs
Many dogs take a very good "Over" cast in the yard but when you take
them to the field the cast becomes short or nonexistent. In the field
there are many things that can cause this problem. Some conditions that
can interfere with the dog's willingness to obey an "Over" cast are as
- Balance - The "Back" cast is emphasized so much during field
training that the "Over" cast deteriorates. When this happens the dog
will frequently go back when given an "Over" cast.
- Distance - The farther away the dog gets from the handler,
the more likely it is that he will "scallop back" when given an "Over"
- Wind - Dogs do not like to go directly into the wind. It isn't
unusual for them to give you a cast refusal when cast into the wind.
- Water - If given a choice, most dogs would rather run along
the shore than take a cast directly into the water.
- Old Falls - When given a cast that would send the dog past
an old fall, the tendency is for the dog to suck back to the old fall.
From the dog's point of view he wants to return to the place where he
was successful at finding a bird.
- Marks - Sometimes a situation necessitates leaving a mark and
picking up the blind first. However, a mark is so attractive to the
dog that he will resist taking a cast that directs him away from the
In order to thoroughly prepare a dog to take an over cast, he must be
trained to take the cast, even when he is being sent into what he perceives
to be an adverse condition. We have set up some drills that will help
teach your dog to take an "Over" cast in the field even under these adverse
Set Up #1
Casting "Over" at a distance
The farther the dog is away from you when first stopped, the more likely
it is that he will scallop back instead of taking your "Over" cast. There
is an obvious connection between distance and diminished control. In this
set up send the dog to pick up blind #1 first. Then send him toward blind
#1, stop him with a whistle sit (w/s) and send him to Blind #2. Gradually
move back increasing the distance to the blind and to the point at which
you give the "Over" cast. Move back gradually so that you can maintain
your ability to control your dog.
"Over" into the wind
In this set-up we have added the influence of the wind. First, send the
dog to blind #1. Next, send him toward blind #1 but this time stop him
with a whistle (w/s) and cast him "Over" into the wind to pick up blind
Casting "Over" into the wind and away from a mark or an old fall
In this set-up we have added the influence of a mark or an old fall.
First, have the dog pick up the mark and then send him to blind #1. Next,
send him toward the #1 blind but this time stop him with a whistle (w/s)
and cast him over to blind #2. Sometimes have the dog leave the mark and
pick up the #1 blind first before being sent for the mark and then to
When running the dog on this set-up, he is being cast past the area of
a fall. If you practice often on this type of set-up, the dog will handle
better when you have to cast him "Over" away from a mark or an old fall.
Double AA casting drill
As a preliminary step, send the dog for blind #2 from here (the spot
where you will stop and send him "Over" in the next step).
You want to identify the blind for the beginning dog or he will have
too much difficulty casting into the wind and water and past an old fall.
The "Double AA" casting drill uses the set-up in #3 as a prerequisite.
In this drill we have added the condition of casting into water.
Start by having the dog pick up blind #1, then throw and pick up the
mark. Next, send him back toward the #1 blind, stop him, and give him
an over cast into the wind and into the water toward blind #2. The cast
will also go past the old fall.