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Glossary of Sporting Dog Terms

Bumper(s)or Training Dummies — Taken from the bumpers that boats often hang over their sides to keep them from bumping against other boats and docks. They are cylindrical in shape, and range in sizes from about the size of a cucumber to larger versions about 12 inches long and 1" to 2 1/2" inches in diameter. They are typically made of plastic or stuffed canvas. They have a rope attached to them to make it easier to throw them farther distances. When training in the field, handlers will often "scent" them with duck scent purchased in outdoor shops to help reinforce the dog's ability to find the "bird" or "bumper" by using their natural tracking abilities.

Handler — The human competitor in the Big Air team. The person that throws and encourages the dog to run and leap off the end of the dock.

Running the Dog — Term used for working with a dog in competition. Handler's often ask each other, "Which dog are you running today?" or, "How did Lady run for you?"

Jump Distance — Dogs in Big Air will run and leap off the end of the dock, most often in pursuit of a bumper thrown by their handler. The Jump Distance is measured from the end of the dock to the closest point where the dog breaks the water (not including their tail).

Steady — The term used to describe a dog that will stay in place, watching the bumper or bird fall, until released by the handler. This is very hard for the dog, especially retrievers, who want to retrieve very badly. This is usually a sign of a well-trained dog. Often, retrievers will whimper or even bark waiting to be released, such is their desire.

Line — The place from which the handler sets his dog up and releases him from.

Mark — A dog will "mark" the bumper where it falls, or memorize exactly where it is and run straight to it and then back to the handler.

Dog Titles:

FC — Field Champion

AFC — Amateur Field Champion

MH — Master Hunter

SH — Senior Hunter

JH — Junior Hunter

WCX — Working Certificate Excellent

WC — Working Certificate

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