Thunder Equipment - Drills
In order to have a successful competition or gun dog understanding and training decheating is essential. This process teaches your dog to run straight to marks and not be deterred by obstacles, either water, cover, trees, etc. From a hunting perspective how many people have seen a gun dog run all over the field and scare or fail to recover game due to getting lost or confused because of cheating factors. A dog who runs straight to fallen game and straight back is a major asset.
The Thunder 500 can help with this process by allowing an individual by themselves or group of people the opportunity to throw repetitive marks that represent cheating scenarios giving the trainer the opportunity to teach their dog about the benefits and responsibility of going straight. The clearest example is water cheating where the launcher is set up so the dog has to run through or angle into a piece of water without running around or cheating the water to pick up a mark. This is a critical skill for competition and, although artificial for a hunter, it gives the dog a very clear learning picture of what requirements the trainer is attempting to communicate. Repetition is the name of the game for this drill and a multiple shot launcher is the ultimate tool.
Blind momentum is a key attribute. People love to watch a stylish dog run blindly to an object they haven' seen fall, take whistle and hand signals, and retrieve objects and return to the handler. Experienced handlers know this is a complex task to teach, can be stressful for dogs to learn, and momentum and desire can falloff over time. Thunder launchers can be very helpful. Once your dog transitions to "cold" blinds - post drills - maintaining momentum is a key focus. Here is a great drill that you can use to teach blinds and maintain momentum. Hide your launcher at a distant location and line the dog up for a blind facing where the bumper will fall. Handle them as you would for a normal blind. When they reach a definitive point in the blind, stop them with a whistle, give them the "back" command, and as soon as they turn shoot the bumper. You will immediately see their momentum, attitude, and speed increase. Repeat this a few times in different areas and watch their momentum and attitude increase substantially.