Friday, April 24, 2009

Land Singles and Blinds, Indoor Retrieves

Afternoon: Stadler's Nursery

SERIES A. Two land singles and a double blind (both dogs)

The first mark was to the right at 60 yards, with Austin throwing right to left. The second mark was 90° to the left at 70 yards, with Nate throwing right to left. The planning was that after the dog had run both singles, I would then send the dog to the first blind at 90 yards, on a line thru the area of the first fall. Finally, I would send the dog to the second blind at 80 yards, on a line to the left of the left mark. The thrown marks were WDs. The right blind was a duck, while the left blind was a chukar. The wind was blowing from the direction of the blind and mark to the right.

I intended to run Laddie on the entire series first, then Lumi.

Laddie made a good outrun to the right mark and an excellent pick-up, but instead of coming straight back to me, he ran to the center area between the two marks. I later realized he needed to go to the bathroom, but because he did not come straight back, I ran to him and called him to me. I slipped on his lead and quietly walked him to an area 80 yards from the SL where he would be able to watch Lumi work.

Next I ran Lumi. When the right mark was thrown, she swung her head to look at Nate before the first mark fell. I used a hand cue to bring her gaze back in the correct direction and sent her. She made a good outrun but overran the dummy. Before I realized what was happening, she had reached the duck that had been planted as the right blind. I had intentionally run from downwind of that blind so that we would be able to run it as a Downwind Drill, but I outsmarted myself, because Lumi's head-swinging resulted in her mixing up the blind with the fall of the mark. Not wanting to discourage a good retrieve, even though it wasn't the one I intended, I simply accepted delivery of the duck, then ran Lumi on Nate's mark and finally the left blind. I had Austin pick up the dummy he had thrown for Lumi.

Finally I ran Laddie on the entire series, and he did a great job on every aspect of it. On his returns, I used a new posture I've only begun to use only for Laddie's returns, in which I crouch down and reach forward with both hands toward Laddie, as welcoming a gesture as I could think of. Hopefully, I'll be able to return to an erect posture for taking delivery in the future.

SERIES B. Downwind drill (Lumi, then Laddie)

Since Lumi hadn't actually run the Downwind Drill in Series A, I set up a new blind at 60 yards from a new SL that was again downwind of the new blind. I blew WS for each dog when the dog was at 45 yards from the SL, then sent the dog on with an angle-back cast. Both dogs responded well to the WS and the cast.

Evening: Home

SERIES C. Indoor retrieves (Laddie, then Lumi, alternating for each article)

Hoping that some indoor retrieval practice with odd-shaped articles might benefit both dogs' pick-up of birds in the field, I ran the dogs on short poorman retrieves of each of the following articles:
  • My keys
  • An antique metal ladle
  • A calf-high rubber boot
  • A 15" diameter straw basket with a high, looping wooden handle
Both dogs performed well on all retrieves. The only time they showed hesitation was when trying to figure out how to pick up the object. Neither dog showed any reluctance to pick any of the objects up, and once they'd picked the article up, they carried it straight back to me. I gave each dog a bite of string cheese to reward each delivery.

When the four retrieves were over, I had Lumi lie down and gave her an old dog bed she likes to chew on, while I played a high-energy game of tug with Laddie.

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