Training Group Etiquette (page 2)|
Finding, and keeping, training grounds in this day of development of every scrap of land available has become one of the biggest obstacles to the retriever owner's success. Everyone in the group should share the responsibility of finding grounds and making them available for group functions. In this way, overworking any particular tract of land or water can be minimized. Some land owners are generous and will welcome a trainer to work on their property occasionally. If it becomes too frequent, most will tire of it and ask you not to come back.
For this reason, it is extremely bad form to return to training grounds provided by another member of your group without invitation. Don't even ask as it might put your friend in the awkward position of having to say no.
Every effort should be made to leave training grounds in precisely the condition they were in when you came--no trash, of course, but also no bad tire tracks. Stay on established roads and trails with vehicles, and should a mishap occur, such as getting stuck, repair the ruts to original condition with shovels and rakes. These tools should be included in your training kit.
When asking permission to use someone's land, we always assure the owner that we will pick up trash others have left and dispose of it. It is also important to show your appreciation for the use of land frequently with your thanks and possibly some token gift, if they have refused monetary payment.
In conducting marking and blind tests during a group session it is advisable to agree in advance how much repetition time will allow. The individual who continually requests repeats for his or her dogs at the expense of others' training time will quickly become unpopular.
Keep things moving. Excess conversation between dogs, long coffee or beer drinking breaks, and the like eat into everyone's training time. If necessary, take charge as an organizer, call dogs to the line, keep in touch with throwers and blind planter by two-way radio, and establish a rhythm and momentum in the session. Your efforts will be appreciated.
When working in the field, that is, throwing birds or shooting fliers, act in a consistent manner for all dogs. Stay alert, keep your timing the same, and be ready to help if the handler calls for it. Above all, learn to throw the dummies or birds in the same, correct place every time. Poor, erratic throws will not be tolerated for long by any knowledgeable training group. Get good at it by practicing in your back yard.
When throwing, hazing a dog off the shore, or any other activity where you assist another handler, follow instructions as precisely as possible. Don't improvise! The handler knows what he or she wants for the dog, and must be able to depend on you.
Try to be generous and equitable in sharing and providing equipment. Such things as two-way radios, blank pistols, white jackets, birds, etc. are expensive and the burden for supplying these things should not fall heavily on any individual. Birds are a particular problem. They are costly and hard to find. Do your best to locate and supply at least your share of the birds. Keep an old refrigerator in the garage running to keep used birds fresh as long as possible. If you should be so fortunate as to live where you can maintain a holding pen for live birds and can provide that service for your little club, you will soon be seen as indispensible.
When using equipment supplied by others, treat it with great care. Keep radios dry and firearms clean. Do not set blank pistols down in the sand or dirt, or put them in bags with dummies. Your group should have a protocol for whether radios stay at the station or move with the person, when you rotate in and out of the field. At the end of the session, turn radios off and make sure all equipment gets back to its owner. Picking everything up and putting it away is part of the group's responsibility, and your staying until the job is finished will be appreciated.