The York Retriever Field Trial Club is a small self help organization dedicated to dogs and specifically the retrieving breeds.


Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


AirTo allow the dog to empty his bowels and bladder.

AFCAmateur Field Champion. An AKC Field Trial Title. To attain the title of Amateur Field Champion with points earned in the Amateur All-Age, a retriever must be handled by an amateur and earn fifteen points, of which five must be for a first place. Open All-Age points combined with Amateur All-Age points also count toward the fifteen points required for the Amateur Field Championship. 1st Place – 5 Points; 2nd Place – 3 Points; 3rd Place – 2 Points; 4th Place – ó Point.

AKC American Kennel Club

AmateurOne who trains dogs for the pleasure of it and receives no payment for it.  A person who has not earned any part of his or her livelihood from the training, trialing or handling of a dog in field competition at any level.

Amateur All-Age StakeA field trial stake in which only amateurs, not professionals, are allowed to handle a dog.

Amish TrainingThe art of training a dog without the use of an E Collar.

Angle BackUsually defined as the dog turning and going back at a 45-degree angle from the shoulder instead of turning 90-degrees and going straight back. Ideally, what you really want when you give an angle back cast is for the dog to leave the line he is on, move over several degrees at an oblique angle and then go straight back.

Angle Entry- The path to/from retrieve involves the dog entering water (or cover) at an angle.  They are quite difficult for most dogs because in their mind it's easier, and faster to simply square the shore (or cover) as they begin their swim to the opposite side or cut through the cover.  The finer the angle the more difficult they are to get the dog to do them.

AnglingTo cross terrain or enter water on a diagonal line.

Area of the FallUsed to describe the place where the bird has fallen to the ground and the adjacent area around the bird. The dog should go to the area of the fall and establish a hunt to find the bird without leaving the area of the fall and disturbing too much cover. The size of the area of the fall for any given mark is a matter of judgment. Retriever folks have developed the following as an initial rough estimate:

The area of the fall is a circle around the bird with a radius measuring about 10% (or a diameter of 20%) of the distance from the “line” to the bird, the “line” being the spot from which the dog saw the bird fall. For example, for a 100 yard mark, the area of the fall would have a 20 yard diameter.  Circumstances can affect the size, shape, and even location of the area of the fall. For example, in a double mark, the area of the fall for the second bird retrieved (the “memory bird”) is larger than that for the first bird retrieved (the “go bird”), because the dog must remember the former while retrieving the latter. A strong wind not only changes the shape of the area from circular to conical, but also shifts it downwind so the bird lies nearer the narrow end of the cone. Trainers/handlers make these adjustments to be reasonable in their expectations of their dogs. But no matter how it is defined for a particular mark, the area of the fall sets the boundaries within which the dog should hunt for the bird. As long as he is hunting diligently within that area, he’s doing a good job, even if he hunts quite some time before producing the bird.

AttritionA method of teaching that relies on repeating a concept by stopping a dog each time he makes or repeats an error, and the desired command or cast is repeated until the dog complies.  The dog learns the lesson by doing it over and over until he does it correctly.

BalkRefusal to leave on a retrieve when sent. Also called a "no-go".

BackA command that tells the dog to leave the handler’s side and go in a straight direction away from the handler. Usually used on a blind, although in some areas of the country it is also used for marks. It is also a directional signal that tells the dog to turn and run straight back after being commanded to sit (via whistle or voice) in the field and look at the handler.

Bank Runon a water retrieve, the dog runs along the bank (shore) before entering the water, or runs around the whole pond, doesn't even get its feet wet. Why? Well, the dog may really hate water: But, any untrained dogs will bank run occasionally, given the opportunity (i.e., part way on shore brings it directly in line with the bird, requiring less swimming). So, in the beginning, throws should be straight out from shore, not at an angle, with the dog sitting close to the water.

Basics The beginning commands a dog learns as the basis of advanced work - heel, come (here), and sit. Also, simple handling and lining drills, force fetch.

BaseballA beginning drill used to teach the dog to take hand signals. A precursor for blinds.

Big HuntWhen a dog cannot find a mark and runs all over the field looking for it. Not a good thing.

Bird BolterA dog who picks up the bird or dummy and runs away with it.

Bird BoyThe person who throws birds or bumpers during a trial, test or training session; may also be referred to as the gunner.

BirdinessA desirable quality in a dog that describes a high interest in birds, high desire to retrieve birds.

Blank PistolA pistol with a solid barrel, meant for firing blanks only, to simulate the sound of a gun.

BlindThree meanings:

1. The bird or object (such as a dummy) to be retrieved that is placed at a distance and which is not seen by the dog. (As opposed to a “marked” fall, which is one the dog sees fall to the ground.)

2. A structure, usually camouflaged, from which birds or other objects to be retrieved are thrown and where gunners and throwers may conceal themselves.

3. The holding blind - A fabric screen put in place for a dog and handler to stand behind to prevent a dog from viewing a test before he has run.

Blind PlanterThis is the person who places a bird or bumper at a designated spot for a blind retrieve.

Blind RetrieveA retrieve of a bird that the dog did not see thrown, the dog is directed to the blind through the use of hand signals, whistle and/or voice commands.

BlinkWhen the dog goes by an object that it has clearly seen and is supposed to have retrieved and refuses to pick it up after locating it. The dog runs out to the area of the fall, looks directly at the bumper/bird, pauses next to it, then leaves and continues to hunt around acting as if he has never seen it.

BlinkingWhen a dog goes to the area of the fall, finds the mark, but refuses to pick it up.

BoltAn escape mechanism a dog attempts when too much pressure is applied and it doesn't understand what's going on, so it decides to "leave" the area by bolting.

Break or breakingThis is when a dog that is being judged (either at the line or during the honor) goes for the bird before the judge has instructed the handler to release the working dog (as opposed to the honor dog). If a working dog breaks or an honoring dog breaks the breaking dog is disqualified.

BulldogA mark that is thrown while a dog is returning from another retrieve. Also known as a diversion. The dog must not switch birds ie: must not drop the first bird he picked up in order to retrieve the diversion bird.

Bumper A retrieval object; typically plastic or canvas, usually 2 or 3 inches in diameter, used to train the dog. They are available in a wide assortment of colors. However, white is the most visible and is generally used for marks. Black or orange bumpers are generally used for blinds. Most dogs cannot see orange well and these are generally used on blind retrieves so a dog does not see them from a distance.

BurnTerminology used to describe an e-collar correction that is continuous instead of a "Nick" which is a momentary correction. Used to correct a known command that the dog is choosing to disregard. There is no physical harm to the dog.

Call BackA list provided by Hunt Test or Field Trial judges prior to the next series in an event. This list denotes those who are invited back to continue participating in the event.  Those who do not make the "call back" have been disqualified for some reason.

Cast/CastingTo give the dog a specific direction to a marked fall or a blind through the use of arm/body movements.  The direction given a dog on a blind retrieve after he has stopped on the whistle.  The handler gives the signal with his arm and/or voice, either a right or left “over” cast or a “back” cast. The dog, taking this direction, is considered to be on cast, or casting.

Cast RefusalDog fails to go in the direction ordered.  The dog does not respond or does not respond correctly to the direction or cast given by the handler.

Channel A narrow body of water.

Channel BlindA water blind run in an area that, due to the close proximity of the bank on both sides, makes it very tempting for the dog to exit the water and get up on land.  A narrow channel.

Channeling A dog that swims down the center of a narrow body of water (channel) lengthwise without touching land.

CheatTo avoid obstacles.

CheatingWhen a dog avoids cover or obstacles en route to or returning from an item to be retrieved.

Check cordA length of cord, usually 20 to 30 feet long. and usually stiff in composition so as to not tangle easy in heavy cover, with a brass snap on one end.  The single most important purpose of the check-cord is to control your dog at a distance during training.

CKCCanadian Kennel Club.

ColdA term used to define the running of a dog on a concept it is familiar with but the exact placement of the object is new to the dog. (Example: Cold Blind). When we train, we generally run our dogs on "cold" marks and/or blinds. Our dogs know how to mark or run a blind, but they don’t know the exact location of this specific mark or blind

Cold Blind Means that the dog has no idea of where the bird is – he didn't see it fall, its location is not part of a "pattern" he recognizes, nor is it at a location he's been to before (a "permanent" blind).

1. A blind retrieve that the dog has never run before.

2. A blind retrieve before running any marks.

Collar ConditioningA process by which the dog is taught how to turn off the electronic collar stimulation and how to respond to e-collar pressure appropriately.  To acclimate a dog to accept electric collar stimulation as a training aid.

Conditioned RetrieverA dog that has been trained to respond to electric stimulation.

Controlled breakA dog that tries to break but is successfully called back by the handler after a short distance. Permissible but subject to penalty in some hunt test and field trial events

In Junior and Senior levels, the dog may have a controlled break. If the dog leaves for the birds before being released by the handler, but the handler is able to stop the dog by whistle or voice command, the dog and handler will be allowed to finish the series. Yelling NO! is not an acceptable command for stopping the dog. Most handlers will use HEEL! or HERE! To have the dog return to the handler. Judges will also establish an acceptable distance for the controlled break to occur within. If the dog is beyond that point before the handler recalls the dog, or if the dog does not respond to the handler’s commands, the dog and handler will be disqualified. Controlled breaks are not allowed at the Master level or in all age stakes.

CoverIndicates the various ground covers in-between the starting line and the objects to be retrieved.  Can be grass, or any other growth, on land or in the water.

CreepDog moves a short distance in the direction of a mark(s) while they are being thrown and before being sent for the retrieve.

CreepingWhen the dog moves forward on the line but does not break out of control. This is when the dog slowly inches from the handler’s side (or from the designated starting point) a few steps at a time or, by scooting or creeping along the ground as the birds are being shot/thrown, but the dog does not break. Judges will determine at what point the creeping is too far away from the handler and may ask the handler to re-heel the dog before releasing the dog for the retrieve.

CueA voice or gesture from handler to dog used as a reminder.  For example “dead bird” indicating a blind or “mark” indicating that a mark is about to be thrown.

DeadA bird that has been previously shot.  Can also mean a command given to the dog on the line by the handler preparing the dog for a blind retrieve

Dead BirdA cue given to the dog on the line by the handler preparing the dog for a blind retrieve.

De-boltingA term identifying the process used to teach the dog it cannot "run away"/"bolt" from the stimulation caused by the e collar.  Typically, “safe” places are provided for the dog to hide during the exercise, and then the dog is forced out of them, helping him to overcome his fear of pressure.

Delayed BirdA bird that is shot after one or more birds in a set up have been retrieved by a dog.

Deliver to handThis is used to describe how the dog should return with the bird. The dog must carry the bird lightly (no chewing), return to the handler and hold the bird until the handler signals the dog to release the bird into the handler’s hand.  The release should be easy and smooth—no tug of war or repeated dropping and picking up by the dog.  IF THE DOG DROPS THE BIRD, THE DOG MUST PICK THE BIRD BACK UP AND DELIVER TO THE HANDLER.  If the handler picks the bird up from the ground, or touches the bird on the ground, the handler and dog will be disqualified.  The bird must be “fit for human consumption,” which means not eaten, chewed or damaged by the dog.

DerbyDerby Stake. AKC field event or “stake” for dogs over 6 months of age but not over 2 years, as of the first day of the event. A Derby is made up of marked falls only. Marking ability and style constitute the most important factors for placing in the Derby Blind retrieves are not required in the Derby stake. A Derby dog is judged on style and marking ability and is not expected to “handle” to a bird. 1st Place – 5 Points; 2nd Place – 3 Points; 3rd Place – 2 Points; 4th Place –1 Point.

Derby List – The "National" list of Derby dogs earning ten points or more.

DiversionA distraction, of some sort, including but not limited to a bird, a shot, a person moving, talking, yelling or walking, etc. done in dog games to test against switching, or dropping.  Diversions in dog games are commonly a thrown bird as the dog returns from a retrieve. Sometimes these become part of a delayed mark.

Can refer to a “dry shot” which is a blank gun blast that is not associated with a mark or blind retrieve.  Or, there can be a “diversion bird” thrown.  This is when the dog has seen a multiple mark thrown (double, triple, etc.) and has been sent to retrieve at least one of the marks.  As the dog is returning to the handler, another bird is thrown and a shot fired.  The dog now has another bird to remember and retrieve as well as completing the multiple marks.

DoubleTwo consecutive retrieves or marks.  Two objects a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve.  These objects are not thrown at the same time.  A double tests the dog’s memory as it must pick up one object, return to its handler, then go get the other object and bring it back.

Dragback (dragscent) – Scent trail left by dogs returning to the line with birds from a mark or blind, especially through high cover where the bird’s scent is left on vegetation.

DrillA training exercise that contains repetition of a focused theme of training.

Dry ShotA shot that is fired without throwing a bird.  The dry shot will provide a diversion when used with other retrieves.

DummyAn object retrieved by the retriever. (i.e., a bumper).

Dummy CollarA collar that is the exact duplicate of an e collar in size, shape, and weight but cannot produce electrical stimulation.

E CollarA tool used by the trainer and worn by the dog that enables the trainer to make an instant correction from a distance through the use of small amounts of electricity.  It is an invaluable training tool when properly used.  It is also the fastest way to ruin a good dog if used improperly.

Entry Two meanings:

1. The spot at which a dog enters the water on either a blind or mark. If it enters the water at a close angle to shore, it is called an “angle entry.”

2. A dog’s manner of entering the water is called his “water entry.”

Establish a huntWhen the dog goes to the area of the fall for the bird, but does not find the bird immediately, the dog gets into the area and starts to use its nose to locate the bird.  This is perfectly acceptable behavior, however, if the hunt becomes too broad, so that it is out of the area of fall as established by the judges, the judges may score the dog lower on perseverance or marking (remembering where the bird landed).

Factors Elements that can throw a retriever off course on a mark or blind.  They include: wind, water, terrain, cover, and diversions.  Most advanced training concentrates on teaching the dog to deal with these factors.  The more advanced the dog, the more they are able to overcome various factors to hold the line.

Fall – (a.k.a. Area of the Fall) – The spot on the ground or water where the object to be retrieved fell.

FCField Champion. An AKC Field Trial title. To earn this title a dog must accumulate 10 open points, including a win. 1st Place – 5 Points; 2nd Place – 3 Points; 3rd Place – 2 Points; 4th Place – 1/2 Point. He may be handled by either an amateur or a professional.

FetchThe dog moves quickly towards the bird or bumper and picks up the object without hesitation.  Also a command for the dog to pick up the object.

Field TrialA working competition for retrievers. The AKC/CKC licenses individual clubs to give retriever field trials at which championship points are awarded. Competition for retrievers for which dogs are judged on ability and style in retrieving birds.  In retriever field trials, they are judged according to standardized objectives, and also against each other. Placements are 1st through 4th. AKC field trials started around 1931 and are considered by some to be the “big league” of field competition. With regards to retrievers, accurate marking is of primary importance. The marks range from 150 yards to upwards of 450 yards. Gunners and handlers wear white coats in the field to make them identifiable to the dog. However, guns will “retire” or go out of sight once the mark is thrown. A dog that marks the fall of a bird, uses the wind, follows a strong cripple and will take direction from his handler is of great value.

Field WorkDog training generally conducted away from the area around the kennel or yard. Includes concept work or marks and blinds.

FlagA visual attractant to help a dog identify either a pile of bumpers or a blind retrieve.

FlareWhen a dog avoids continuing on a straight line on which he was sent due to pressure applied previously in that general area.

Flat throwAlso known as a “square throw.”  A bird or bumper thrown directly across from the thrower, i.e., neither back nor in — from the dog’s point of view it is a 90° throw. Other types of throws are angle in and angle back throws.

Flier (Flyer)A live bird released into flight during a field event and shot for the dog on the line. This is allowed in the US but not in Canada.

Flier (Flyer) StationA point in the field from which a bird is released and shot to be retrieved.

Flower Pot MarksTwo marks thrown from the same gun station in different directions.  Also called a "Momma-Poppa."

ForceAn influence that causes motion or a gain against resistance.  If used properly force can correct a behavior in a dog.

Force Fetching(a.k.a., FF, Forcing, Force Breaking, Conditioned Retrieving) The process of teaching a dog to Hold, Fetch, and Give on command.  Generally accomplished after the adult teeth are in place in the 6 – 8 month age range and basic obedience and Collar Conditioning are complete.  This is the foundation for beginning to teach a dog the concept of retrieves.

Force to a PileAn extension of Force Fetching.  Pressure of some sort is applied in association with a command to go to a pile of bumpers.  Helps to create the obligation upon the dog to so when sent to a blind retrieve.  When done properly, a dog can develop dependable and positive attitude toward his work.

Force TrainingThe training which teaches a retriever that he must pick up, hold and deliver to hand any object that he is commanded to retrieve.  It is usually done fairly early in a retriever’s training program.  A dog who has had a thorough a course of force training is said to be force trained, and should make a totally reliable retriever.

Fountain Two marks (a double) are thrown from two different gun stations in opposite directions, one right, one left.

FreezingA dog that refuses to release a bird to his handler is said to "freeze" on the bird.

Freezing on the WhistleWhen a dog working on a blind retrieve stops and sits to the whistle and refuses to take a cast — refuses to move at all, but just sits there — he is freezing on the whistle.

GalleryThe spectators at a filed trial or hunt test.

GiftA term describing a test or series in which the judges set up something that dogs whose owners expect some trouble cruise through with no problem.

Go-As-SentDog takes a straight line, overcoming diversion factors and remains on the course he was sent on.  This is one of the themes of advanced retriever training.

Go BirdThe last object the dog sees thrown.  In a multiple mark situation, it is generally the first item a dog will pick up.

Gun ShyFear of loud noises such as gunfire to the extent that a dog is not able to perform its retrieving task or hunt.

Gun StationLocation of one or more gunners in the field who throw/shoot a mark.

GunnerA responsible and capable shot gunner who must shoot each live bird (or, with a dead bird, shoot blanks) from various designated points in the test.

GunsThose who shoot or throw the birds at a field trial, hunt test or in training.

HandleTo direct a dog to a bird/dummy by using a whistle, voice and/or arm signals.

Handler The person releasing the dog to make a retrieve and directing the actions of the dog. He is one part of the team.

Hand SignalsA series of hand/arm motions used to indicate to the dog which way you desire it go.

Hard MouthThe action said to occur when a dog uses too much force in picking up or holding a bird.  A dog that is very rough on, abuses, or eats the birds when sent to retrieve.  This action renders the bird unfit for human consumption and is a major problem.

Head SwingingWhen a dog looks away from a mark before being cued to do so by the handler.

HeelThe old definition meant to “walk by my side.” Trainers for hunt tests and field trials now use "heel" to get a dog to catch up when lagging behind and use "here" to back up when forging ahead such as when going to line at a test or trial.

Heel PositionDog is by the handler’s side, traditionally the heel position is on the left hand side but dogs can heel from either side.

Heeling StickA riding crop or other object carried and used on the dog to remind it of its proper place.  This is not used to abuse the dog, rather provide a gentle, but firm, reminder of the place.

Here This obedience command means to come directly to me.

Hidden GunA mark thrown by a gunner when the gunner is totally concealed from the dogs view. The dog hears a shot or call and sees the object to be retrieved thrown but does not see a gunner.

Hold A command used during force fetch by some to ensure that the dog knows that he must hold, in his mouth, any object placed there.  Hold means keep your mouth still when holding an object.

Holding BlindA blind or series of blinds erected prior to the "line" in an effort to keep dogs and handlers available to run the test.

HonorWhen one dog must watch another dog retrieve while remaining steady.  An honoring dog should watch the entire sequence of birds decoying, flying, being shot and falling without interfering through sound or motion with the "working dog".

HonoringWhere a dog has to watch another dog run while waiting calmly and quietly (without additional commands) at their handler's side while the other dog takes their turn.  The act of sitting quietly and steadily on line while another dog works.

Hot BlindA blind that has been placed before marks are thrown and which may influence dog to leave the area of the fall for the marks.

Hunt TestNon-competitive field designed to reflect a typical day in the field (camouflage, duck calls, etc.).  Dogs are judged against a standard and either pass or fail.

IndentA term used to identify the placement of a shorter mark in relation to the other marks in the field.  A triple is thrown, the first is 150 yards away, the second is 75 yards away, and the third is 125 yards away.  The second mark is called "indented" relative to the two longer marks.

Indirect PressureA technique where the dog is corrected on one command for failure to respond to another.  Most e-collar corrections for cast refusals are given with the “sit” command.  That is, if you give an “over” and the dog goes straight back, you might stop the dog with the whistle and give a “nick” as the dogs sits.  He is getting corrected on the sit whistle for his failure to take the cast.

InlineGuns are all in a straight line, not the throws of the marks.  There can be variations of the inline concept including throwing direction, shift in placement of gun stations, retriever guns, terrain considerations, throwing order as well as factors such as wind and weather.

InstinctBehavior that is naturally ingrained in an animal.

J.A.M.In AKC judges’ award of merit is awarded to the dogs that complete all the tests in a satisfactory manner but to not achieve one of the four placements.  This is field trial designation. In CKC it is called a CM - Certificate of Merit.

JH – Junior Hunter -  An CKC/AKC title used as a suffix on the dog’s registered name. The Junior Hunt Test consists of two single marks on land and two single marks on water. For a title, a dog must received 4 qualifying scores at a licensed  test. This is the beginning level in the CKC/AKC Hunt Test program.

JudgeThe individual who establishes the tests for dogs and evaluates the dogs’ performance.

Licensed TrialA field trial licensed by the CKC or AKC at which championship points are awarded.

Limited StakeThis is a field trial stake that is limited to dogs over six months of age that have placed or been awarded a JAM or CM in an Open Stake, or that have placed first or second in a Qualifying Stake, or placed or been awarded a JAM or CM in an Amateur Stake that is carrying championship points.

LineThree meanings:

1. Retrieving Line – The location from where you send and receive the dog while it is working – Also known as “Point of Origin.”  The line the dog must stay behind, while under judgment, before being sent for the bird.

2. Line to the Mark or Blind – An imaginary straight line from the point of origin and the bird on either a blind retrieve or mark.

3. The Line – Direction the dog is sent on for a blind retrieve.

Line MannersA term used to describe how a dog acts while sitting at the "line" under judgment.  Vocalizing (barking or whining), jumping, excessive fidgeting or soiling the line are all examples of poor line manners.  A dog and handler can be excused for excessive vocalizing or other detrimental behavior.

Lining the BlindA perfectly run blind; the dog successfully completes a blind retrieve without requiring any whistle commands or hand signals from the handler.

Literal CastingA cast that, if taken properly, would lead directly to the blind.

Loose HuntHunting outside the area of fall for a significant period of time.

MarkFour meanings

1. The fall of a bird/bumper which a dog should watch, remember and retrieve when

released to do so; a thrown bird or bumper.

2. The dog’s ability to see and remember where a bird fell (to “mark” the bird).

3. A cue used to communicate to the retriever to "get ready", "pay attention", something's about to fall or be shot.

4. An object a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve. Usually a game bird or a training bumper.

Mark the PileThrow a bumper to the pile to show the dog exactly where he will be sent.

Memory BirdThe first object in a multiple mark situation, other than the last item, a dog has seen thrown for it to retrieve. In a multiple mark series, the memory bird(s) is not the last bird down. Usually, the last bird down is picked up first by the dog. He must then remember where the others are on his own.

MH – Master Hunter - An CKC/AKC title used as a suffix on a dog’s registered name.  For this title, a dog must receive qualifying scores at 6 licensed or member tests. If the dog has already received a SH, the dog need only qualify 5 times.  The Master Hunt Test consists of land blinds; water blinds; multiple marks on land (triples or quads); multiple marks on water (triples or quads); multiple marks on both land and water; a walk up; diversion shots and/ or marks and an honor. The Master Hunter represents a truly complete hunting dog.

Mild restraintOnly allowed at the Junior level. Junior dogs may be brought to the line on a leash and the handler may lightly hold the leash until signaled by the judge to release the dog.

Mama-Papa / Maw & PawThis is marking situation where two marks are thrown off one station in opposite directions.  Also called Flower Pot Marks.

MomentumThe force or drive that a retriever exerts in order to drive to a mark or blind.

Money BirdThe absolute last item, in a multiple mark situation, the dog picks up. Called "Money Bird" because in a Field Trial, if your dog doesn’t get it, you get no money! This is the key bird in a multiple marking setup.

Multiple MarksMore than one mark is thrown before the dog is sent (allowed to retrieve).  For example, on a DOUBLE, the first bird down is called the 'memory bird' and is followed by a second fall (go bird).  Almost all dogs pick up this last one first.

NickA correction applied with an e collar set to a "Momentary" setting or a tap and immediate release of the button for those e collars without a "Momentary" setting.

No BirdA term that refers to a poorly thrown mark and the judge indicates that the mark was not acceptable and it will need to be re-thrown.

No-Go – See Balk. This term is used when a dog is sent on a retrieve and he does not go; commonly called balking.

“No-No” Drill – Any drill that is attrition based, designed to teach straight lines through obstacles.  Dogs learn in this type drill from repetition with NO pressure, just recall & send.  You set dog up behind a log or other obstacle, then, send it for a mark on line with the obstacle.  If the dog flares (tries to avoid the obstacle) you call him back with a simple “NO, NO” (thus the name) and then resend.  "No" says to a dog that what he is doing at that moment is wrong.

ObstacleAny physical factor that a dog must contend with while on the way to a mark or blind.  Typical obstacles are: logs, rows of cover, water, hills, ditches, roads, etc.  Also called a "Hazard".

Open All-Age StakeThe toughest and most important stake at a retriever field trial, open to professional and amateur handlers, in which the field champions as well as young hopefuls are competing. Marks and blinds are long and technical in nature, up to 400+ yards. Dogs must gain one “win” and points in order to obtain the coveted title of field champion.

Open StakeThis stake is open to dogs over six months of age.

OverDirectional signal given to dog by handler.  The handler's right or left arm & hand are raised horizontally from the waist telling the dog to move in the direction indicated by the arm.  Most common on blind retrieves but can be used as a term to send the dog on a mark or a remote send.

PatternA drill designed to teach a specific routing or routines, such as lining or casting.

Pattern Blinds  - blind retrieves the dog learns by repetition.  They are usually taught blinds where the dog knows the location of the blinds and which are repeated.  They teach the retriever how to get from the line to a blind and build momentum. 

Pattern FieldA series of bumpers placed in the same location every time, generally in the shape of a (t) or a double (t) where two lines, separated by 40 - 50 yards intersect the centerline. Used to teach handling skills to dogs.

PerseveranceOne of the qualities scored by the judges.  Willingness to get to the area of the fall and hunt until the bird is found and retrieved.  Can also be referred to as “courage” or “hunting” abilities.

Pick UpWhen the handler calls the dog back to the line before he has completed his series, usually because the dog is failing the test. The judges ask the handler to “pick up” his dog based on the dog’s performance.

PigA slow moving, disinterested retriever in the field. A retriever with no style.

PileA group of bumpers placed near each other. A pile is used in repetitious type drills where the handler is repeating a concept. The bumpers should be placed far enough apart that the dog picks up the first one it comes to without looking through the rest of the pile, and then will quickly return to the handler.

PinWhen a dog runs directly to the fall and picks up the object without a hunt.

Poison BirdA mark the dog must ignore to successfully complete the assigned task, usually a blind.  It’s call "poison" because, in a Test, if the dog picks it up, it might as well be dead because it will be out of competition.  A bird that must not be retrieved until after a certain order, typically a poison bird is a mark that must not be retrieved until the dog has picked up a blind.

Popping When a dog is sent for a mark or a blind, runs part of the way, but then turns, and sits or stands, looking at its handler for instruction. This can be considered a lack of perseverance or trainability and will be scored accordingly.

Professional ( pro ) – One who derives any portion of their income from the training of dogs.

PremiumA notice sent out by the Club holding an event. This notice usually includes the time/date/place of stakes being held, entry cost, Judges names, directions and other information concerning the event.

Punch BirdA term used to identify the placement of a longer mark in relation to the other marks in the field. A triple is thrown, the first is 100 yards away, the second is 200 yards away, and the third is 125 yards away. The second mark is called a "punch bird" because the dog must go short, then short, then long and "punch" through the short bird marks.

Quad Same as for double and triple only now you are throwing four objects. Four consecutive objects that must then be remembered by the dog and handler.

Qualifying Stake/Qualified All AgeFor dogs that are over 6 months old that have never placed or been awarded a JAM or CM in Open or Limited Staked or placed in an Amateur Stake or won two first places in qualifying stakes. This event is commonly viewed as the steppingstone to all age events, although some say it is a pronouncement that the dog is now proficient enough to be competitive in all-age events. The qualifying is one event where you can see the greatest variability in the difficulty of each series. There is typically a set of land marks, a land blind, water blind and water marks. The designation of QAA means that you can run a Limited or Special all age stake.

RecastWhen a dog makes a start toward a marked fall, but stops within a short distance (usually 15 feet) and returns to—or is called back by—its handler. The dog is then sent again to retrieve the mark. This is allowed at the Junior or Senior level in hunt tests if the recast seems to be due to confusion by the dog as to whether it was actually released to retrieve or not.

Release CommandUsed to signal the dog when it is no longer working and can relax

Remote CastA cast that is given while the dog is in front and facing handler; a blind usually starts with the dog being sent back from the heel position, after that initial cast all casts are remote casts.

Retired (As in a “retired gun” or a “retired mark.”) In field trials, gunners/throwers hide so they don’t give the dog any clue as to where the marks landed.

Retired GunUsed in field trial multiple marks. After the gunner has thrown the object to be retrieved, the gunner moves to a concealed location so when the dog returns to the line and looks out to their mark, they are hidden from view.

Secondary SelectionWhen the handler decides which bird will be picked up next. They may not follow the order in which they were thrown.

SeriesA group of retrieves marks or blinds. Generally, you must pass each series to be called back for the next group.

SH – Senior Hunter -  An AKC/CKC title hunt test title used as a suffix. The Senior Hunt Test consists of one land blind; one water blind; one double land mark; one double water mark; a walkup in AKC; an upland test in CKC; a diversion shot and/ or mark and an honor For a title, a dog must receive 4 qualifying scores at a licensed or member test if the dog already has a junior hunter title. Otherwise, a dog must receive 5 qualifying scores if they do not already have a junior hunter title.

ShoppingThe retriever picks up and drops various bumpers at the pile during yard work, “deciding” which one he wants to pick up.

Sight Blind – A blind the dog can see before being sent either by being visible, or having a visible marker at the location.

SingleA single retrieve or mark.

Slips A WhistleThe dog does not stop on a whistle to be given a cast by his handler. Sometimes the dog cannot hear the whistle due to great distance or running water, and other times the dog doesn’t want to hear the whistle (this is known as a whistle refusal)! 


Steady (steadiness) The term used to describe when a dog sees a bird or birds fall while remaining in the position commanded by the handler. A steady dog should remain steady until commanded to do otherwise by the handler.

In the Senior and Master levels, the dog must be steady without restraint (no collar, no leash, no contact with handler).You may hear or see the phrase, “steady to wing and shot,” which means the dog will sit or stand by the handler when a bird is flushed (or thrown) into the air and when shots are fired i.e sit to flush.

Steady to ShotA steady dog holds even after you shoot.

Steady to WingA steady dog holds even after the bird flushes.

Stake Each field event has several levels or stakes of competition. For example, the Amateur Stake is for non-professional handlers and the Derby Stake is for young dogs.

StickingA very slow release of a bird, to the point you’ll question whether or not the dog will give up the bird.

StyleOne of the qualities scored by the judges. How the dog proceeds to the mark and returns to the handler. The dog should be enthusiastic and willing to complete the task. The dog should also respond quickly and obediently to any directions from the handler. A stylish dog is eager, moves well, has a good water entry and generally is a pleasure to watch.

SuctionAny factor that causes a retriever to deviate from a line to a blind or a mark; suction can occur from an old fall, terrain, water, wind bird boys are some factors that may act as suction to a bird or bumper.

Swim-byA drill for teaching control around the water. The handler requires the dog to take a “more-water” return to enforce water/shoreline discipline.

SwitchA dog is sent to a mark, establishes a hunt, then leaves that area and establishes a hunt in the area of another fall or to a bulldog.

Switching – This is when the dog has gone to the area of one fall and has established a hunt, but then leaves that area and goes to the area of another fall. This can happen on a multiple retrieve (double, triple, etc.) or can happen if a dog has retrieved one single, is sent for a second single but after establishing a hunt, returns to where the first single was retrieved.  This is a disqualification.

Test DogA non-competing dog that is run first to demonstrate the mechanics of the tests imposed by that days’ series- to show what the terrain is like and what challenges to expect.  The test dog also shows strengths and weaknesses of the test to the judges before actual scoring begins.

The Linethis is the area designated by the judges for the dog and handler to approach for the test. The handler may be required to reach the line, sit the dog and signal when ready, or the handler may be told by the judges that the scoring of the event will start as the dog and handler are approaching the line (called a walk-up test). “The line” can also be used to refer to the preferred path from the starting point to a mark or a blind retrieve. Handlers or judges may refer to “lining the dog,” which means positioning the dog by the handlers side handler’s side so it will run the direction desired toward a mark or a blind.

Tight HuntWhen the dogs runs directly to the area of the fall and after a short hunt in a small area directly around the fall, finds the item.

Trainability One of the qualities scored by the judges. This is measured by obedience, control, responsiveness, steadiness and delivery.

Triple Three objects (bird, bumper, etc.) a dog sees thrown for it to retrieve. These objects are not thrown at the same time. A triple tests the dog’s memory as it must pick up one item, return to it’s handler, then go get the other item, bring it back, then go get the third item and bring it back.

Two-Down-The-ShoreGenerally, a water double thrown so as after picking up the go bird, the dog must swim by the go bird fall area and pick up the memory bird. This is a tougher concept than it sounds and is a basic concept for advance dog work.

Under-The-ArcWhen the line to a blind takes the dog between a mark and the gunner who has thrown that mark, the dog is said to have run "under-the-arc."

UnsteadyA dog that breaks from the line before he is sent or moves while honoring another dog’s work.

Walking SinglesA single mark thrown by a bird boy (BB) for a dog with no other gunners visible and, as the dog is released, the BB walks away from the area of the fall.

Walk UpA mark or marks that occur while the dog is in motion in the heel position with the handler. A typical walkup will expect the dog to cease progress upon the first mark and shot, usually in a sitting position, and to remain there until all marks have fallen and the handler commands the retriever to pick up a mark.

Whistle RefusalFailure of a dog to respond to a whistle command.

Wipe-Out Mark (Wiper Bird) – A mark that crosses the line to a previous mark; by throwing a mark across a line to a memory bird the memory bird is wiped out.

Yard WorkThe term used to describe any number of drills that can be done in and around the kennel area.



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