Casting "Over"

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 follows:

  1. 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.
  2. Distance - The farther away the dog gets from the handler, the more likely it is that he will "scallop back" when given an "Over" cast.
  3. 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.
  4. Water - If given a choice, most dogs would rather run along the shore than take a cast directly into the water.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 mark.

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 conditions.

Practice 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.

Practice Set-up #2
"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 #2.

Practice Set-up #3
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 blind #2.

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.

Practice Set-up #4
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.

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Dobbs Training Center
9627 Spring Valley Road
Marysville, CA 95901
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