Wingers and Puppies
Training puppies alone is a fairly common practice. However, the usual hand thrown
marks produce an unnatural presentation and soon become physically limiting. The
next step in the progression of marking are throwers (gunners) in the field. They can
supply the variables necessary to cope with the individual talents of a pup. These
"variables" are called "helping". This would include noise, physically providing
motion toward the area of the fall, throwing another mark and a whole bunch of
other hints designed to produce success.
Training alone requires some adjustments. A natural presentation is easy to produce
with a winger, noise is possible, but "help" is not available. However, if wingers are
used judiciously by dealing with their limitations, they can become a useful part of
training a young dog. The first marks for a pup should be in short grass and very
visible. Wingers are perfect for a pup that is already retrieving well.
Here are some set-ups using wingers early on. Once the pup gets use to them, the
trainer can incrementally change the set-ups in terms of difficulty. Older pups may do
quite well with winger thrown marks. The key is to not become totally dependent on
wingers. In other words, it is sound practice to train with groups when possible and
especially if a dog's marking begins to fall off. Help is good.
The following photos represent different stages in using remote wingers with pups.
If they are used carefully, wingers may become an integral part of training programs where
training alone is necessary. I have a good pair of boots and the ATV helps.
(left click on thumbnails for larger view)
Daisy 11 weeks old
Kooly's winger marks
(six months old)
remote wingers set-up
Daisy at 7 months old
Daisy at 15 months
(still a pup)