Saturday, April 18, 2009

Water Blinds


Gorgeous day, sunny with temps in low 70s.

SERIES A, B, and C. Double LWL water blinds (Lumi, then Laddie)

With limited mobility because of my sore legs (no diagnosis yet), I decided to focus entirely on water blinds for this session. For each series, I set out two chukars in one shoreline location, two more in another shoreline location, and then ran each of the dogs on each of the blinds. For Series A, I ran the four blinds in the sequence Lumi, Laddie, Laddie, Lumi. For Series B and C, I ran Lumi on both blinds, then Laddie on both blinds. For all three series, I moved our SL for each blind according to the goal of that particular set-up.

I intended all six blinds as practice for Laddie on LWL re-entries after picking up the bird. He had no problem re-entering the water on any of them, and I fired the starter pistol and cheered as he began to swim on each re-entry. I did the same for Lumi on some of her retrieves, though I don't know whether the gunshot makes any difference to her. It may, and I see no harm in it. It definitely made a difference for Laddie last fall, and while it may not matter any more, it may still be helping. Again, I see no harm in it.

The first four retrieves (that is, Series A and B), gradually increased difficulty level on bank-running. It was possible for the dog to run the bank on any of them, but the first one would have been a long way around, whereas by the fourth one, the dog was making an angle re-entry into the water after picking up the bird and then swimming parallel to the shoreline, less than 10 yards away, during the entire swim back.

The last two retrieves, in Series C, were not particularly tempting for bank running. The first presented an extra LWL challenge because after the dog got back into the water with the bird, he/she had to swim thru several clumps of vegetation before entering the open water. That's the kind of situation where Laddie might have been tempted to drop the bird in the water and play with it, but he swam right thru it without stopping.

I chose the set-up for Series C to match the water double in last weekend's WCX, where I had to pick Laddie up when he refused to come back on the first mark. Though the retrieves were the same, the situations had many differences. For one, the WCX was marks, whereas today was blinds. The weather was cold for the WCX, whereas it was warm today. Perhaps most importantly in terms of why Laddie stalled at the WCX but came straight back today, the WCX had gunners near the falls, judges, other trainers and dogs, and spectators, whereas today we trained alone. I wish I could arrange for some group training to prepare for our next Senior test on May 2, but I don't know how to arrange it.

Today's six retrieves also increased gradually in distance, from 25 yards to 40 yards. Both dogs have swum water blinds of nearly 200 yards, but since they've had little swimming this year, I th0ught it best to build their distance gradually over the next few days and weeks.

No comments:

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