Monday, May 4, 2009

Fundamentals on a Wet Day

Oaks Area 3

I had planned to train both dogs almost exclusively on water for the next several days, but it didn't work out today. After several days of soaking rain, I felt likely to get stuck if I tried to take the dirt road to Stadler's pond, and we didn't have enough time to go much further. So I took the dogs to the smallest of the Oaks fields, and found that one of the depressions had filled with rain water, forming a shallow pool.

I had each of the dogs run a couple of "channel blinds", though they weren't really "channel" because the dogs weren't swimming, and they weren't really "blinds" because the dogs knew where the duck was. But since both dogs did try to "run the bank", I felt it was still good practice calling them back when they veered toward higher ground, and re-sending them until they took a straight line.

In addition, I had Laddie run a 100-yard blind through a stand of trees and over several elevation changes, mostly so I'd have a chance for a WSC, which he responded to beautifully. Wanting to rest Lumi's hips and wrist, I decided not to run her on the blind.

But as we walked back to the van, with me throwing Laddie's puppy dummy and playing tug with him, I also repeatedly threw a duck a few feet with Lumi in a "wait" and then sent her on her name and came up beside her as she was reaching for the bird. If she took any extra time at all to pick up the bird, for example by trying to turn it over for a better grip, I said "nope" and reached down to pick the bird up myself. But if she grabbed the bird without hesitation, I laughed and said "Yes! Great job!" and ran away from her a few feet inviting a chase, and then took the bird, said "Wait", and tossed it away again. In that way, Lumi ended the session without about a dozen excellent pick-ups in a row.

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