Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Marks and Blinds

This morning, we trained with Barbara and Deuce, her yellow Lab, at Fair Hill Area 1 (Series A). In the afternoon, we trained with Nate at Oaks (Series B), with Bryan videotaping. Summary:
  • Series A. Blind-mark-blind (both dogs)
  • Series B. Blind-mark-blind-mark-blind-mark (both dogs)
Series A. The set-up:
  1. 100-yard blind (orange dummy at lining pole)
  2. 80-yard mark (duck, thrown toward the line of #3)
  3. 100-yard blind (orange dummy at lining pole)
#2 was 22° to the right of #1. #3 was 15° to the right of #2.


Lumi has not been running blinds in private training for awhile, and had no-gos on both #1 and #3.

On #1, even when she went out, she was tentative and required several WSs and casts. Unfortunately, she also slipped 2-3 of the early whistles.

On #3, she was much better. Once she went out, she went fast, then responded immediately when I blew a WS and took a single cast to the blind.


Laddie line #1. On #2, he responded instantly to a WS, but my cast accidentally took him out of sight (I didn't realize the land dropped off behind a ridge). He returned on a whistle recall and found the dummy on the way back.

Although I didn't bring clippies to this session, Laddie's performance was full of energy and purpose, and his pick-up, return, and delivery with the bird as well as the dummies were fabulous.

Series B. Series B was run at the Oaks field, the most distracting of our local venues. The set-up:
  1. 100-yard blind (orange dummy at lining pole)
  2. 50-yard mark (duck) thrown away from line for #3, position marked with a chair
  3. 120-yard blind (orange dummy at lining pole)
  4. 80-yard mark (duck) thrown toward line for #5, position marked with a stickman
  5. 120-yard blind (orange dummy at lining pole)

Laddie ran the course first. Although I was pleased with his overall performance — good enthusiasm, pinpoint marking, no drops of either bird — there was, of course, room for improvement:
  • On #1, Laddie temporarily diverted toward something during his return.
  • He then dropped the dummy before completing his delivery.
  • On #3, he slipped a whistle as he approached Nate.
  • On #5, he took a line wide to the left, apparently diverted by a white pole in the distance.
Nonetheless, considering that this was only the second series he's ever run combining marks and blinds — the first was this morning — I thought he did reasonably well.

Here's a video of Laddie running Series B:


I thought Lumi ran Series B pretty nicely. I saw two flaws:
  • On #1, she slipped a whistle, and I responded with tweet-tweet-tweet-sit, which Lumi doesn't like. As it turns out, we didn't need another whistle sit today, but from previous experience using tweet-tweet-tweet-sit, I would guess that she would not have slipped the next one.
  • On the send-out for #5, Lumi had an initial no-go. It seems that Lumi does not yet fully grasp the concept of mixing marks and blinds, nor our cue for blinds ("dead bird") in that context, and she was waiting for Nate to throw another mark. She seemed to figure out what was called for when I took a few steps forward and then called her to join me, a sequence we've often used after a wrong initial line and no-here on drills that involved lining such as the double-T.
On the positive side, I was pleased by Lumi's response when, based on a suggestion from Alice some time back, I called "back" as Lumi was trotting with what looked like some uncertainty on her send out for #5. Lumi immediately broke into a gallop.

Here's a video of Lumi running Series B:

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