Training day at the club
One of the retriever clubs I belong to trains once a month all year. The club president divides those who sign up into two groups; the group leader for each group designs the series; his group runs that series; and then the groups switch locations and run the other series. Each group has dogs at a wide range of levels. The full setup is designed for training Master level dogs, but the group leaders also offer suggestions for less advanced dogs, even novice dogs, to benefit from training on the same setups, and everyone is welcome to modify the series as desired.
Laddie's first series
Helping the dog learn a "Plan B" by having the gunner help rather than the handler
Preparing to run Laddie's second series
Notes on line mechanics
Method 1. I don't usually point the guns out to Laddie as I used to, instead standing back and giving him ample time to find them, and study the factors, himself. Only if he doesn't find one of the guns in a reasonable amount of time do I point it out to him.
Method 2. After the bird has been thrown, I let Laddie lock in on that mark for a fairly long time, again allowing him to study the factors. He won't get that much time to study a mark during an event, but I'd like him to get in the habit of locking in and using as much time as possible to memorize the picture, turning only when he sees me turn or he hears the next gun.
Method 3. If instead of locking in, Laddie swings his head during the throw or as soon as the bird lands, I use physical and verbal cues to line him up on the bird that just landed and send him to that bird, even though it might only be the first or second bird down. When he returns, I run the rest of the series.
By the way, I know that traditional trainers often deprive the dog of running the mark the dog had head-swung to. My reading about dog training from a behaviorist viewpoint makes me believe that it would be impossible for the dog to associate being taken away from the line without running a mark from a head swinging incident that had occurred even seconds earlier, much less minutes, so depriving the dog of the second mark after sending the dog to the first mark in no way discourages head swinging in the future. Thus in my view, you deprive the dog of something the dog loves to do to no purpose, and you rob yourself of a training opportunity on that second mark.
In any case, methods 2 and 3 can't be used in an event, and method 1 might be frowned upon by some judges in a Hunt Test, though it would be normal in a Field Trial. But I think that all of them add value to training, discouraging head swinging and helping to develop habits that give the dog the best chance of having a solid picture of each mark as thrown.