How to Avoid Diversions in the Field
Teaching dogs to distinguish between a diversion and a bumper or bird behind them in the field can be difficult, especially for an excited retriever. Here, Mike Stewart from Wildrose Kennels describes how to avoid diversions in the field with a tried and true training drill that guarantees your dog will be successful while developing good habits.
This drill requires two large, white bumpers and an area where two lines of fencing meet at a 90 degree angle. The fence should be large enough that the dog cannot jump over it or through it. The beauty of this drill is that it sets up the dog to win, and when performed correctly ensures that the dog goes to the oldest bird each and every time.
First, create a trailing memory for your dog by having him or her watch you drop a large, white bumper at each end of the fence. In the middle of the two bumpers should be a 90 degree angle created by the fencing.
After you drop your second bumper, return your dog to the area where the two fences meet and create the 90 degree angle. Position your dog such that his or her back is to the oldest bumper and the angle in the fence prevents your dog from accessing the freshest – and preferred – bird.
Have your dog sit, then hold your hand up and send your dog back. Since your dog is unable to access the other bumper, he or she has no other option than to go back for the oldest bird. This method provides an easy way for your dog to distinguish the diversion and back. Perform this drill until your dog develops the right habit and understands the pattern you are looking for during diversion training.