I tried several ways with the launchers a few summers ago. The wet weather caused bad problems with the carded pigeons so I had to do something that would work as well. Here is what I come up with.
This has worked real good for me and it gives me great control over the birds. I use four launchers and I try to make them act like the carded pigeons would act.
Out of the four launchers, some days the dog will not get a chance to point but one bird. On the wild flushes that I make happen with the launchers and pigeons I just stop the dog and make it stand still to watch the bird fly away. This really puts the dog to pointing fast. The wild flushed birds give me the control I want with the dog around birds.
Once the dog is stopping to flush, then when you do have a point on the launcher, the dog remains steady to wing at the flush.
I also carry some extra birds with me in my vest or bird bag. Once the dog is reliable and steady to wing then I sometimes drop a bird from the bag as I am flushing, maybe 2 birds. Sometimes I do this after the dog has stopped to flush on a bird. I walk out in front and drop a pigeon and let it fly away. This works good to keep the dog high and tight in a stop to flush situation. This is all done with dogs that are ready to break.
With pups and young dogs not ready for serious training, I don’t work them this way. All the dogs that are worked on the launchers are on checkcord, not running free.
Once the dog is green broke then I give them some freedom to work the bird dragging the checkcord. I get them close to the area where I have a launcher then drop the checkcord and let them advance up and work the bird on their own. Once they are good with this then I checkcord them on loose quail a couple times to see how they react to the quail, it normally takes a few times before they settle in a work the quail good. After that no more launcher work, all the work will be on free released quail.
All through the training on the launchers and pigeons the dogs are learning stand still and handling. They are also taught the ecollar at that time around birds but off birds, no scent involved. This is the best way that I have come up with to work on launchers.