Hunting and Holding an Area



This exercise is done most easily if you have a knowledgeable assistant.  However, it can be done on your own if necessary but only at a shorter distance unless you employ a hand held tennis ball thrower.  The purpose of the exercise is to increase the dog’s persistence in hunting on a scent and in a given area particularly when indicated by the handler.  It is also useful in making the dog believe that the handler knows more than he does rather than the other way around.  This in turn increases control on both the recall whistle and in being able to hold the dog in a specific area to hunt rather than running about wild if a retrieve is not quickly found especially on poor scenting days or in difficult terrain.



Dog must be steady to the thrown dummy

Owner must be able to walk dog away at heel, or on a lead, after a dummy is thrown.

If working on your own dog must be able to stay out of sight of the handler or can be tied up and stay quietly out of sight of the handler at the appropriate point in the exercise.

Dog must be a confident retriever who will hunt fairly persistently although this exercise will further improve this.

Dog must have some understanding of the hunt command or whistle signal.

Dog should understand the recall whistle although this exercise will tend to improve this as the dog will eventually be rewarded if he is called back into the hunt area and finds the dummy.

Dog should have completed memory retrieves (see exercise on memory retrieves and back command) prior to this exercise.

Start on a good scenting day neither too dry, too wet or too cold.


Dog to sit at owners side at point A

Marked dummy to be thrown to point B.  (Handler and thrower need to be fairly exact about the area about 20 to 25 yards is right to start with).

Dog sent to retrieve dummy.

Dog to sit at owners side at point A

Second marked dummy to be thrown to the exact same area at point B.

Dog to be walked away at heel and then remain out of sight of point B whilst dummy is up by assistant or by handler as dog is left staying.

Dog is walked back to the original send area at point A.

Dog is sent for retrieve

As dog gets to area handler to give hunt command or whistle signal

Dog will hopefully hunt the area of fall on the scent where dummy originally lay.

Anytime the dog moves out of or beyond the area of the fall the handler to whistle dog back.

At an appropriate moment without the dog seeing and when he is not quite in the area the dummy is thrown back into the area at point B.

The handler continues to give the hunt command or whistle signal

Dog picks the dummy and returns to handler.

Exercise can be repeated at different distances and on different ground.

Note: change area frequently and don’t over do the exercise or the dog may anticipate what is going on and you will lose the element of surprise.