Thursday, March 13, 2008

T-Drill with DCT, DD Combo-Picture, and Marks

Today, Laddie and Lumi ran their T-drills at Fair Hill in the morning. The we went out to the field next Oaks Landfill with Nate in the afternoon, so that Lumi could run her second combination-picture diversion drill (DD) and Laddie could run some marks:
  • Series A. Laddie and Lumi T-drills
  • Series B. Lumi combo-picture DD
  • Series C. Laddie marks in the distracting Oaks terrain
Series A. We finally lengthened the T-drill backline to the full 110-yard distance recommended by Alice in her description of the drill. Laddie ran the drill at that length. Lumi, who has much less experience on our Fair Hill T-drill course than Laddie, ran at lengths in the range of 90-100 yards.

Today we added three more retrieves to the T-drill, for a total of 15. The purpose was twofold:
  1. To increase the ratio of send-thru retrieves, without stopping the dogs at P, in order to improve motivation and speed up the send-outs
  2. To introduce a new element suggested by Alice
The new element is a disciplined casting transition (DCT) maneuver as follows:
  1. As the dog is on his/her way out on one of the non-stop send-thrus, pick up a spare dummy.
  2. As the dog is returning with a retrieved dummy, blow a WS with the dog about 20 yards from the SL.
  3. When the dog sits with the dummy in his/her mouth, turn and throw the spare dummy at 90° to the backline.
  4. Call the dog to heel, take the dummy he/she is carrying, and send him/her to the spare dummy.
The DCT was appealing to me for several reasons:
  • It adds a new challenge to the drill, which my dogs seem to enjoy.
  • It increases the amount of WS practice the dogs get during the drill.
  • It promotes generalization of the WS by introducing a new location and a radically different context.
  • It adds extra non-stop retrieves to the drill, namely to the spare dummy, increasing motivation.
  • It ramps the dogs toward future training in disciplined casting, in which the dog is handled while carrying an article.
The sequence both dogs ran was as follows:
  1. WS at P, then right back to p2
  2. Thru to p2
  3. WS at P, then over to p3
  4. Thru to p2, then DCT
  5. Thru to p2
  6. WS at P, then left back to p2
  7. Thru to p2
  8. WS at P, then left back to p2
  9. Thru to p2, then DCT
  10. Thru to p2
  11. WS at P, then over to p1
  12. Thru to p2
  13. WS at P, then right back to p2
  14. Thru to p2, then DCT
  15. Thru to p2
I also sent the dogs pseudo-randomly from right versus left heel, using the following pattern:

No wrong initial lines (WILs), no slipped whistles, no cast refusals
, executed the DCT correctly every time.


Several WILs on longer backlines, corrected by "no here", sitting Lumi, walking toward P, calling her to heel at the closer point, and then sending her from there.

No slipped whistles, no cast refusals, executed the DCT correctly every time.

Series B. Lumi combination picture drill with piles and marks.

The course consisted of three poles eighty yards from the SL, with two white dummies at each pole. The poles were positioned as follows:
  1. 30° to the left of #3
  2. 30° to the right of #3
  3. The center pole
Nate was positioned 40 yards from the SL to the left of the line to #3. Three times, he fired and threw birds right to left, over the line to #3.

The sequence was as follows:
  1. Send Lumi to #2, #3, and #1 (right to left) so she will know where the piles were.
  2. Nate throws mark, Lumi retrieves.
  3. Send Lumi to #1.
  4. Nate throws mark, Lumi retrieves.
  5. Send Lumi to #2.
  6. Nate throws mark, Lumi retrieves.
  7. Send Lumi to #3.
For step #1, I decided not use "no here" when Lumi would take a WIL, and instead handled her to each pole, using 2-4 WSs and casts per pole. No slipped whistles, no refused casts, just wrong lines or scalloping.

Lumi lined every mark and every send-out to a pole after that, with the exception of step #7. On that send to pole #3, she veered to the fall from all Nate's marks. I blew a WS, cast her on an angle back, and she lined the pole from there.

Lumi showed an upbeat attitude and good speed thruout this series.

Series C. This series was intended as three marks, plus as many additional do-overs as might be needed if Laddie had any problems. The purpose of the drill was to continue reducing Laddies resource guarding (RG) when retreiving in the highly distracting terrain at Oaks.

The set-up consisted of three positions for Nate as thrower:
  1. A chair 30 yards from the SL
  2. A stickman 50 yards from the SL
  3. A stickman 70 yards from the SL
Nate threw birds from each position in turn, all throws left to right.

To see how Laddie would do without a prompt, I used no whistle on any of the throws. Laddie grabbed each bird on the run and raced back to me. The only RG was head tossing that became wilder when he got close to me with each bird. He remained responsive to cues and maintained his enthusiasm. Yesterday, which was an improvement on the first time we trained on this field earlier tis week, we had to shorten the first mark and run each mark at least one additional time. Today, we didn't have to rerun any of the marks.

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