Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Double-T with Angle-in

Though a light jacket was enough for today's mild temperatures, it rained all day. We trained on our double-T course at Fair Hill in the morning, but as the rain got heavier, we cancelled our afternoon training.

Today we added the angle-in to the handling cues we were practicing.

Based on previous practice sessions, we also incorporated a majority of send-outs to P2 without blowing WS on the way out. In addition, we used a large number of WS-on-returns (WSORs) and double WSORs (DWSORs). For the DWSORs, I'd stop the dog twice and throw a bird in a different direction each time. Then I'd whistle the dog in to deliver and send the dog to each of the birds, first sending the dog to the last bird thrown, then to the earlier bird thrown.

The combination of straight-thru send-outs and WSORs with birds seemed to greatly increase motivation in both dogs. In Laddie's case, shopping was greatly curtailed, and in Lumi's case, she seemed more confident on her send-outs.

The sequence was as follows:
  1. Thru to P2, WSOR
  2. Thru to P2, WSOR
  3. Thru to P2, DWSOR
  4. WS at P, left back to P2, WSOR
  5. WS at P, right back to P2, WSOR
  6. Thru to P2
  7. Thru to P2, DWSOR
  8. Thru to P2, WSOR
  9. WS between P and P2, throw dummy toward Q1 with dog watching, angle-in right
  10. WS at Q, throw dummy toward Q1 while dog's back turned, angle-in right
  11. Thru to P2, DWSOR
  12. Thru to P2
  13. Thru to P2, WSOR
  14. WS at Q, throw dummy toward Q3 with dog watching, angle-in left
  15. WS at Q, throw dummy toward Q3 while dog's back turned, angle-in left
  16. WS at Q, over to Q1
I understood the directions for how to practice the angle-in as stopping the dog nearly at P2, then cueing an angle-in to a dummy thrown between Q1 (or Q3) and the SL.

However, when I tried that with Laddie on #9, he was confused about whether to pick up P1, Q1, or the new dummy in front of Q1, since all of those were angle-ins from that stopped position.

To eliminate that confusion, I stopped Laddie at Q on the remaining angle-in retrieves, and also stopped Lumi at Q on all of her angle-in retrieves.

In addition to maintaining a high level of motivation, both dogs made almost no mistakes on this drill: no WILs, no slipped whistles. They each had a single refused cast at different points, and in each case were responsive to additional WSs and casts to the correct target.

One last note: I don't think I mentioned that about three days ago, I stopped using lining poles at any position other than P2 and the SL. I didn't notice any decline in performance, and it seemed a more realistic preparation for handling to cold blinds.

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