A dog's handler is not always his owner, not always the person shooting
over him, and not even always the person training him. Rather, the handler
is the person telling the dog what to do, and to whom the dog is looking
for guidance in the field. It's certainly possible that the handler will be
the only person in the dog's presence, but the time to truly think about it
is when there's more than one person in the field.
The most important thing is that the dog is answering to one person. If the
dog is being cast off into the field
by one person, that's the person whose voice should be reaching out to the dog,
calling the dog in, and whose gestures and other signals should be influencing
the dog's actions.
In a training setting, the instructor may be standing nearby and providing
verbal pointers, but it will be the handler who is physically putting hands
on the dog, working the check cord,
and using an authoritative voice to issue commands. The dog will
know who's in charge, and the other people in the field should play along
by not chiming in with their own commands to the dog.
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