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Albert F. Hochwalt, Handling


On Handling Technique

The young dog will probably make a point as stylish and probably more intense than the aged campaigner when he comes upon his game, but being untrained and therefore knowing no restraint, he will jump in, flush and chase, and the more of this he does the keener his desire to find game and he develops a passion for hunting. The pupil possessing this passion is a most promising one, for the dog which has no desire to seek for game is worthless and it is a waste of time to endeavor to educate him in the other qualities of the bird dog…

Having a puppy, however, which possesses this instinct to a high degree, the trainer must know when to steady him on his game and that is the crutial time in the bird dog’s life and the most delicate period in his training, for it is at this time when more dogs are made or marred than at any other. It is the period when blinkers are created. The handler must use due caution and treat each pupil which comes to him for training as an individual. Some dogs develop steadiness with little cautioning or correction; others require more time. What may be beneficial for one puppy is ruination to another. The teacher at this stage must know how to govern himself as well as the pupil. The calm, levelheaded man who constantly keeps his temper well in hand may bring a dog through this period and have him steady on his game, still not taking one whit of the natural quality out of the puppy, while another might make a slow, mechanical, pottering dog out of the same animal, and still another ruin him entirely.

Hochwalt always insisted that “the subconscious personality of the handler is reflected in the pupil. Indeed, the close observer following field trials year after year can, almost to a certainly, pick out the trainer of a dog by the latter’s action in the field, even though for the time the animal in question may be in another’s hands. The method of the teacher are recognizable in his pupils. For instance, a dog that has been developed from early puppyhood by a handler who believes in constant coaching by the use of his voice, will come to depend upon this coaching as a necessity and unless he hears the same yelling from his new handler, he will not work in his customary manner, or at least it will take a long time before he can adapt himself to the altered tactics of the trainer who works quietly.”

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Strideaway is an online publication founded in 2008. We are dedicated to promoting the great sport of American pointing dog field trials, in particular American Field sanctioned trials for pointers and setters. Our objective is to present the voices and ideas of experienced trainers, handlers, breeders and other knowledgeable participants and enthusiasts from the past to the present — amateurs and professionals alike. Whether All-Age or Shooting Dog, Horseback or Walking Trials, we place particular emphasis on wild bird field trials and the dogs that compete in them. We present richly illustrated articles and stories, podcast interviews and other types of media on a regular basis with the hope of providing an ever expanding, searchable archive of information relevant to pointing dog field trials.Read article

This website is dedicated to our ever faithful friend and Strideaway contributor, Bill Allen, whose book The Unforgettables and Other True Fables we published in 2010.

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