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Dogs, Dichromacy and Dummies.

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

This week we had some new dummies delivered from our friends at Field and Fireside

We were super excited as these ones had some special personalisation for Dovemoor, ensuring we can keep a track of our dummies at training events and making sure they don’t sneak off into someone else’s training vest or bag. I’m quite sure we are all guilty of finding trainers or training partners equipment when we next go out dummy flinging, I know I’ve done it before.

Me being able to identify my dummies is important for me, for the reasons above. I don’t want to be having to replace dummies constantly but it’s also important for my dogs.

No, I haven’t magically taught my dogs to read or look for logos but I do need them to identify dummies down in the ground.

When they are starting off in their retrieve training or when I start increasing difficulties to the retrieves, I want to set my dog up to succeed, be able to identify the dummies quickly. Doing this ensures I build confidence in my dog. If I cast them out in a direction there is something there for them to find, this means they put their trust in me as a handler and trust builds confidence and bonds.

In order to gain that trust we start our dogs off on seen retrieves with blue or white dummies, these are easily marked by the dog and seen on grass. We slowly increase the distance between dog and dummy and then up the distraction elements of a retrieve.

You wouldn’t send your inexperienced dog out on a blind retrieve when starting out. This would break trust and knock the dogs confidence.

Why use blue or white dummies?

Dogs have dichromatic vision, this means they cannot see the world as vibrantly as we can. Humans have 3 types of cones in the retina to be able to identify colour combinations of red, blue and green.

Dogs have 2 types of cone, identifying blue and yellow. That’s what is called dichromatic vision. It is not an issue for dogs but is something as dog owners we should be aware of when training our dogs.

Have a look at the images below to help you see from our perspective (top image) and our dogs (bottom image).

Which dummy would you chose to help your dog, build trust, confidence and success?

Add in more distance and it can become harder for dogs to identify what they are looking for against a green backdrop. Their vision at distance can be blurred due to dogs being more near-sighted. Though they can easily detect movement at greater distances and see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) than humans. Call it survival of the fittest.

Once we build trust with our dogs we can then increase the distraction, putting out green, red and clone dummies can get your dog engaging their nose once they’ve followed your cast to an area rather than relying on their eyes. Getting them hunting for an item on command and holding an area is a wonderful display of dog/handler bond. Their noses are incredible but that’s for another day.

Our new dummies will be used in classes, workshops and 1:1 sessions where we are looking at retrieves and really shaping the dog/ handler bond. Increasing the confidence of both while building strong foundations in sending a dog out in a retrieve.

Want to set your dog up to succeed?

Start blue and work your way through the rest of the colours available.

Has your dog lost confidence on their retrieves? Or are you looking to start increasing the distraction and complexity?

Book a Gundog 1:1 session with Becca via our services page.

Want to add some new dummies to your training kit. Check out Field and Fireside. They can cater to all your pet and working Gundog needs.

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