Sunday, March 9, 2008

Holodeck Training

Holodeck Program
based on guidance from Alice Woodyard and Jody Baker


  • Bring birds.
  • Bring high-value treats for Lumi during group work.
  • Both dogs:
    • 32-yard pile work to two birds and two dummies on long line.
    • Bird-foot dril: orange dummies prepositioned lengthwise at 30 yards, a bird thrown to 15 yards on either side, retrieve a dummy, then the birds.
  • White jacket.
  • Lumi's collar.
  • Load pockets: pistol, ammo, slip cord.
  • No triples.
  • No running Lumi on a blind.
  • Run long gun last.
  • Use slip cord for flyers and honoring.
  • Cue "sit, mark" before first throw of each series.
  • Auto-whistle recall on the first two marks of each training day. Based on how Lumi does, consider switching to contingent whistle for the remaining marks of the day.
  • Attempted break?
  • Head swinging, before or after throws? Which throws?
  • Did dog return uncued? Auto-whistle? Contingent whistle? Voice? Walk out?
  • If the dog did not come straight back, why (for example, RG, parading, Super D, zoomies, diversion)?
  • Pay for flyer if used.
  • Borrow a thrower to run Laddie on an alternation drill.
  • Run Laddie, and possibly Lumi, on T-drill at permanent site.
Before Group Training. To start the morning, we did three drills:
  • Both dogs ran short poorman marks with five birds each (two pigeons, two ducks, and a pheasant).
  • Laddie ran three additional poorman marks at 50-70-50 yards, dummies thrown to either side of a stickman.
  • A little later, one of the other trainers threw two walking singles (dummies) for Laddie with gunshots, and carrying a bag of birds with her. The distances were 35 and 110 yards.
Lumi's did fine, with no dawdling on pick-ups nor any other sign of RG.

Laddie showed low-grade RG with the birds on the initial poorman marks, some snaking with the dummies on the second group of poorman marks.

But on the thrown marks, Laddie was a laser on both marks in both directions, fabulous pick-ups and deliveries with no snaking nor any other sign of RG.

Series A. Because some of the group was going to be competing in a Hunt Test the following weekend, this series was different from those we usually run with the group:
  • All throwers retired behind holding blinds after throwing.
  • The throwers did not wear white.
  • The marks were shorter than we usually run.
Hunt Test marks usually include the throwers sounding a duck call, but we didn't use duck calls for this series. Also, no birds were available so we used white dummies.

Dogs ran the course in different ways depending on their level. Lumi ran it as follows:
  1. 70 yards, the memory-bird of a double, thrown as a long throw into an unusually large patch of high grass
  2. 50 yards, the go-bird of a double
  3. 100 yards, a single run after the double
The configuration was a pyramid:
  • #1 was 30° to the left of #3.
  • #2 was 30° to the right of #3.
Lumi had no problem on the double or the single, except that on the memory bird, she ran thru the patch of high grass and needed help from the thrower getting back. It turns out that every other dog who ran that mark as a memory bird made the identical mistake, and many of them, including some advanced dogs, needed help.

Lumi did not attempt any breaks on the marks, nor while honoring the 50 yard mark as a single for the next dog while on a slip cord.

Series B. Laddie, who has been out of group training for several weeks, ran the same three marks as Lumi did in Series A, but as singles, shortest first, longest last. Notes:
  • Laddie had no trouble finding any of the dummies.
  • On every mark, he picked up the dummy immediately but then looped toward the thrower to run a few steps before turning toward me. On #3, I blew a WS. He did not sit, but turned immediately toward me.
  • I ran Laddie, who was highly excited, on a slip cord for all marks, and he tried to break on #1 and #2. It's possible that the slip cord acted as a cue to attempt a break and that he would not have done so without the slip cord.
  • In contrast to the last times Laddie trained with a group, today he did not attempt to run to any other station besides the one that was throwing, and did not stall, roll, or otherwise freelance on any return.
I had been advised not to run Laddie in group training because of the risk that he would go out of control and discover once again that doing so was rewarding. However, this was an easier series than those I usually set up with Nate and Bryan, which generally include birds, doubles, an longer distances. With today's set-up including no birds, short marks, and all throwers retired, this seemed like the ideal opportunity to begin to re-introduce Laddie to the high excitement of a group training event.

Series C. Lumi and Laddie both ran this series, in which dummies were again used, as singles:
  1. 120 yards, thrown right to left in a keyhole formed by groups of trees on either side of the line to the fall
  2. 140 yards, 45° to the right of #1, thrown left to right by a thrower obscured by the woods into an open area
  3. 170 yards, 90° to the right of #2, thrown right to left by a thrower appearing to stand between two trees onto the other side of a road
For this series, the throwers wore white jackets and threw after gunshots, as is usual with this group.


#1 was thrown too far to the left and behind the trees on that side, resulting in a big hunt. But Lumi persevered and needed no help. She ran #2 and #3 without difficulty.

Lumi, running with no slip cord, was highly excited for this series and released herself on all three marks when the "judge" called a number, rather than waiting for me to place my hand over her forehead and release her. Legal in competition, but not desirable.


Laddie had small hunts on #1 and #3 and came straight back with the dummy on both marks. On #2, the thrower, buried in the trees, used a long, flat throw, and Laddie had a big hunt. He persevered, and when he finally found the dummy, he picked it up and ran toward the thrower at first. I called a couple of times and suddenly he turned toward me and raced back, his body language seeming to say not, "OK, I'll let you pull me away from what I really want to do," but rather, "Oh, there you are, Daddy!"

Laddie, running on a slip cord, tried to break on all three marks, but again that may have been triggered by the fact that he was on a slip cord.

No comments:

[Note that entries are displayed from newest to oldest.]