The Double Rise Retrieve
By Joe Law
28 January 2011

All the tests that are set in Retrieving Ability Trials (RATG) and Retrieving Trials (RT) are based on situations that would occur while hunting.Double Rise

Retrievers, unlike some other breeds of Gundogs, were not originally bred to work in front of the gun but were specialists in working off lead at heel with the hunter and only retrieving game after it had fallen and then only when sent.  Retrievers were particularly important and of great value when game fell in areas that were not easily accessible to the hunter such as in heavy cover and swampy wetlands.

Furthermore, as most game birds exist in flocks, hunting opportunities will often result in more than just one bird falling to ground.  In these situations it is difficult and often impossible for the dog to simultaneously mark the fall of more than one bird meaning that after one bird is retrieved, the dog needs to be trained to return to the area of the original fall and continue to search for other game that may have fallen in the same general area.  This is a different test to the Double Mark where birds fall in different and well-separated areas and the dog has had time to accurately mark and remember the two separate falls.

The Double Rise test is described in the Retrieving Trial rules as follows:

    A Double Rise Retrieve shall consist of a retrieve where one item of game is cast as for a Mark Retrieve at which two shots are fired in succession and before the dog is sent to retrieve. While the dog is returning with the first item of game, a second item of game is cast or placed no further than ten (10) metres from the fall of the first item of game, but at a greater distance from the Firing Point. The second item of game shall be retrieved immediately after the first item of game is delivered to hand. On the second leg, a handler may cue the dog using hand and voice to return to the area of fall of the first item of game. Having sent the dog for the second item of game, the retrieve should not be treated as a Blind Find Retrieve.

In Retrieving Ability Tests the rule is fundamentally the same although no gun is carried and shots are not fired.

On the second leg of the Double Rise test, it is important for the handler to have developed and trained the dog to respond to a distinct set of cues for this test.  Dogs can be trained to respond to both visual and verbal cues but in most cases, dogs understand visual cues more easily than verbal cues.  A good trainer pays great attention to the body language used and supplements this with distinct verbal cues.  Once the dog understands the nature of this test, it will immediately return to the area from which it has retrieved the first article of game and will continue to search for another using both its nose and eyes.  It is not desirable for the handler to use any further commands or signals once the dog is sent for the second retrieve as, theoretically, even the handler is not exactly sure where the fall lies and it is the dog’s natural game-finding ability that is now being tested.

As in all retrieving tests the dog will be judged from the moment the lead is removed from the dog and will conclude only when the handler with game in hand or bag has returned to the starting point.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Dogs NSW magazine, October 2012.

This page is provided by Working Gundog Club Inc. (Affiliated with Dogs NSW)