Training Tip #34
From: Total Retriever Marking with Mike Lardy
Walking singles are single marks thrown by one thrower who moves after each retrieve. The thrower should move far enough to avoid situations where the dog goes back to a previous fall (hunting an old fall) or gets confused by scent from a previous retrieve. Generally the fall areas for walking singles with a young dog should be 20-30 yards apart. One way to do it is to have the thrower move to, or a few yards beyond, where the last fall area to throw the next one.
We introduce young dogs to various new situations with walking singles. They can be stretched out to greater distances, run through various cover types (picked corn fields, grain stubble fields, alfalfa, cover strips) and varying terrain (rolling hills, ravines, gentle ditches, roads).
Walking singles are a useful marking tool that you can use throughout a dog's training career. Walking singles are great for sharpening marking, building attitude, and physical conditioning.
We begin our training each winter with several days of long walking singles. This is a good conditioning for the dog.
Keep in mind:
Do not throw the marks angle-back. Flat throws encourage a dog to run at the mark, rather than the gun.
Do not start yelling if our dog gets lost on a hunt- just have the gun help.
Do not routinely repeat any mark your dog has trouble with. This only fosters the idea that a bird can be found where he found one before. (see Training Tip #7)