To retrieve is to bring to the master an object that is at a distance, carrying it without injury to the master, which object the master may have thrown to the spot or which object may not have been at any time in the master’s possession, such as wounded game that has fallen and perhaps is attempting to escape. The spirit of the chase, to rush upon and capture a moving, living thing is a natural trait of the dog.
Field work embraces four main groups. 1. Bird dogs-all three setters and the Brittany spaniel. 2. Spaniels-all spaniels except Brittany, the Irish water, American water, the English toy spaniel. 3. Retrievers all retrievers, Irish water spaniel and the newly recognized American water spaniel. 4. Hounds-beagle, basset hound, dachshund, harrier, foxhound.
The bird dogs are used on feathered game-quail, partridge, pheasant, grouse and the like, always on land.
The spaniels work on feathered game, also water work on ducks, and may work on fur such as rabbit; they rush into the hiding place of the game and Hush it whereas bird dogs freeze into a point when near the game and await the hunter, who Rushes and shoots.
The retrievers are mostly water workers, retrieving shot game, aItho they are excellent for land retrieving of shot game.
The hounds are used principally for trailing game that lives in the ground; they locate the trail over which the game has run, then follow this ground trail by scenting the spots on which the feet of the game have trod, aided also by the scent of the body as it contacts grass and other objects.
Early yard education produces a better controlled dog in the field, lessening the need of whistle and shouting. By nine to ten months, the puppy’s preliminary training should be finished and he be ready for active field work, altho actual training in the field hardly should begin before the dog is a year old.
These lessons should be given in a vacant room or in a quiet open space outside. It is known as yard work, work preparatory to field work, and principally for puppies.
Especially when the puppy is coming into his second teeth, about the age of five months, he delights to pick up hard objects and chew upon them. Then is an excellent time to begin the first training in retrieving. He has by nature the retrieving habit or the habit of picking up and bringing to his master.