Dropping to shot

Your puppy must now be taught to drop to shot. Using a blank-cartridge pistol or a shotgun, you simply give a sharp command to drop and immediately throw up the gun and fire. In a very short while the shot acts as another signal to drop, although later on when the ‘real thing’ is being hunted you will probably find your pupil stands rather than drops to shot. Provided no movement is made this is all right, but insisting upon a complete drop is better. Naturally, no puppy should receive these gunfire lessons until he is completely confident and unafraid of the report. Further steadiness practice can be given by throwing the dummy into cover of gradually increasing degrees of thickness and firing the gun whilst the dummy is in the air, thus simulating real shooting conditions. The pupil is despatched to retrieve after a wait on the drop, and as progress is made so the retrieves can be made more difficult by being made longer and longer and the cover more formidable. Always whistle up the pupil at the moment his head goes down to pick up. Artificial drag lines can be laid with the dummy at this juncture, thus giving the pupil a ‘line’ to follow as he will later have in the field when sent for wounded birds. The line should be laid upwind at first, out of sight of the pupil and without yourself fouling the scent. This can be ac accomplished by using a long pole, or fishing rod and line, with the dummy attached and held as far from you as possible, or by getting an assistant to hold the other end of a long rope, to the centre of which the dummy has been tied. Later on, when experience has been gained, dead birds and rabbits can be used in just the same way.