Field Dog Glossary ( source: GRCA.org )
The cognoscenti of any sport or hobby have their own special language which indicates they “are in the know” and anyone else is an outsider. If you have always felt that “pop” was a term Esmeralda used for her husband’s father or that “cover” was something that in the plural you pulled up on a cold night, it is a dead giveaway that you are an innocent in the field dog game. The following is a glossary that once memorized, will have you appearing as an authority---persons will come to you for advice and look upon your words of wisdom with awe.
Air: To allow the dog to empty his bowels and bladder.
Angling: To cross terrain or enter water on a diagonal line.
Back: A directional signal given with a raised arm and hand directing the dog away from the handler; the verbal command given to the dog to have him leave the handler---generally used as the command for a blind retrieve although in some areas of the country, it is used to send the dog for marks rather than using the dog’s name.
Balk: Refusal to leave the handler when sent on a retrieve.
Baseball: A drill for teaching directional casts for the dog to take right and left “overs” and straight “back casts.
Bird Boy: The person who places the bird for a blind retrieve or throws the bird or bumper for the dog to retrieve.
Birdiness: A dog with a very high desire to retrieve birds.
1. A retrieve on either land or water where the dog does not know where the location of the bird or bumper is, but the handler does---the handler must direct the dog to the location through whistles and casts.
2. A structure used by hunters to hide themselves or for the gunners to hide behind when a mark is retired.
3. A structure used behind the line where a dog and handler stay until their time to retrieve
Bolter: A dog who runs away from his handler during competition or during training.
Break: A dog trying to leave on a retrieve without being sent.
Bulldog: A bird thrown or shot while the dog is returning from a previous retrieve. It is done to see if the dog will drop the bird he is carrying and switch to the new bird. In addition, it is a diversion for further retrieves. It can be used in Master Hunting Tests and is used on occasion in field trials.
Bumper: Sometimes known as a dummy. It is a plastic or canvas object, usually with a rope attached so it can be thrown, used to simulate a bird.
Call Backs: A list of those dogs remaining in the field trial or hunting test after each series is run.
Cast: The direction given to the dog, with the arm and hand, and/or voice, after he has been stopped on the whistle.
Cast Refusal: The dog refusing to respond to the direction or cast given by the handler.
Chaining: Creating a reliable series of behaviors from simple or complex behaviors. Can be back-chaining (starting with a complex behavior and going backwards one step at a time until the desired behavior is formed) or forward chaining (starting with simple behaviors and building their complexity). This is a term used in behavioral theory which can be applied to dog training. Each item in the chain is a stimulus to the next item or response in the training sequence. An example would be telling your dog to "sit", the marks go down, your hand goes over the dog's head, you give the dog's name, and the dog is then released to pick up the mark.
Channel Blind: A long, deep and narrow body of water the dog must swim without coming to shore, unless directed to by the hander, in order to reach the bird or bumper.
Cold Blind: A blind the dog has never run before.
Controlled Break: This is when the dog makes an attempt to break and is immediately brought under control by the handler.
Cover: Grass, brush or any other vegetation which may conceal the bird from the dog on land or in the water.
Creep: The dog moving forward on the line while marking. If the dog has crept too far forward, many judges will ask you to have the dog return to heel position before being sent for the mark. This verges on breaking.
Cue: A verbal cue to the dog such as “dead bird” indicating a blind, or an instruction such as “way out” for a push bird or “easy” for a short check down bird.
Delayed Bird: This is a bird which is shot after a dog returns to the line after retrieving one or more birds of a multiple mark. The dog is then sent for this delayed bird before returning to the line to complete retrieves of the birds remaining in the field.
Diversion: A mark or blind which is included in a test in order to divert the dog. This makes the test more difficult as the dog can be sent for another mark or a blind after picking up the diversion. A dry shot also can be used as a diversion.
Double: A marking test in which two separate birds are thrown, each in a different location prior to the dog being sent to retrieve.
Dragback: A scent trail left by dogs returning with birds, especially through high cover where the birds’ scent is left on the vegetation.
Dry Gun or Shot: A shot by a gun without a bird being thrown or a flyer being shot.
Entry: The place where the line to the blind or mark enters the water. If this entry is at an angle, it can be called an angle entry. In addition, it is used to describe the method by which the dog enters the water such as a large flying leap, a hesitant way of entering, etc.
Flat Throw: Also known as a square throw---a bird or bumper which is thrown directly across from the throwers. It is neither thrown back nor in towards the line. From the dog’s point of view, it is a 90 degree throw.
Flushing: This is when there are live birds in the field and the dog is sent to find them and “flush” them into the air so the birds can be shot by the gunners. This occurs during upland hunting. Occasionally judges will simulate this condition during hunt tests.
Force Fetch: A training method which convinces the dog he must retrieve when told to retrieve. The word “fetch” is considered a command, not a request.
Fountain: Also known as a Momma/Poppa throw. Two marks are thrown from one gun station, one to each side.
Freezing: This is the dog’s refusal to give up the bird to the handler. The dog appears to freeze on the bird and ignores all commands to release it.
Guns: The persons who throw and/or shoot the birds during trials or training.
Handle: Directions given by the handler to the dog such as handling on a blind. The handler does this by blowing a whistle which is giving the dog a sit command. When the dog sits and watches the handler, the handler then will give a cast or command of one kind or the other to the dog.
Happy Bumper: A bumper thrown in play or as a reward or encouragement for the dog.
Hardmouth: A dog that is very rough on, abuses, or eats the birds when sent to retrieve. This is a disqualifying fault.
Holding Blind: It is an enclosure for the dog and handler to stand behind while waiting to go to the line during a trial or hunting test. It is to prevent the waiting dog from seeing the tests before running them.
Honoring: A dog remaining seated on the line while another dog is sent for the bird or birds. The honoring dog must not interfere with the working dog.
Key Bird: The bird in a multiple mark which is likely to prove the most difficult bird for the dog to retrieve successfully.
1. This is the spot designated by the judges from which the dog is sent for retrieves or blinds.
2. The dog running in a straight line from his handler to either a blind or a mark.
Line Manners: The dog’s behavior while coming to the line; while on the line waiting for the marks to be thrown or while waiting to be sent on a blind; upon returning to the line with the bird; and when leaving the line after delivering the bird(s).
1. Setting up the position of a dog before running a mark or blind.
2. Running a perfect line to a blind retrieve without whistles or casts being given by the handler.
Mark: A fall of a bird, watched by the dog, which he should remember and retrieve when so ordered. Multiple marks can consist of two, three, or four birds (double, triple, or quad).
No Bird: This is when a bird is either shot or thrown and the dog is not sent for the bird because it is felt by the judges to be an unfair mark. The dog is then allowed to return to the line and rerun this set of marks.
Over: The dog moves in a lateral direction upon being given that direction in a cast by the handler using his arm and hand and/or verbal command.
Pattern: Drills repeated by the dog to teach specific routines such as casting or taking lines.
Pin: The dog going directly to the bird without a hunt.
Poison Bird: A bird thrown as a mark which the dog is told to ignore in order to run a blind(s) first. On some occasions, the dog is then sent to pick up this mark after running the blind(s).
1 When the dog stops on a retrieve or a blind and turns and looks to the handler for direction without a whistle having been blown.
2. The firing of a gun at the same time a bird is thrown to simulate the shooting of a bird.
Quartering: Covering the ground in a systematic method looking for game.
Rat Trap: Device used for holding a bird and keeping it afloat for a water blind.
Recast: A second attempt to send the dog from the line for a mark.
Retired Gun: Where the gun disappears from sight after having thrown or shot a bird.
Shore Break: A method for teaching the dog not to avoid water, ie., stay in the water and not run the shore.
Sight Blind: A blind the dog can see before being sent or a blind which was first thrown as a mark. This is a way to start young dogs on their blinds.
Sluice: Shooting a bird once it is down on the water.
Square Bird: See “Flat Throw”.
Steady: A dog that does not leave to retrieve until commanded to do so.
Style: A dog’s manner of retrieving, running blinds, water entry, etc., which indicates his strong desire, his speed and perseverance, and his attitude. A stylish dog is a pleasure to see working.
Switch: Leaving the area of one fall after hunting there to go to the area of another fall. It is also a switch to put down one bird to pick up another. This could occur, for example, during a bulldog when the dog on his way in to the line drops the bird he has just retrieved to pick up the bird thrown as the bulldog. This is a disqualifying fault.
Trailing: This is when there is a crippled bird that is running or moving out of the area. The dog picks up its scent and tracks/trails it down, fetches it, and brings it back to the handler.
Walk-up: Used to simulate hunting----the handler, with the dog at heel, continues to move forward before the birds are thrown or shot. The dog is not brought to the line and sat before the birds are shot. Usually as the birds are in the air, the handler may tell the dog to sit, but cannot send the dog until the judge so orders.
Water Refusal: The dog not entering the water after being sent for a mark or a blind where the line to the mark or blind is through water.
Whistle Refusal: The dog failing to respond to the whistle when blown by the handler