Thursday, May 7, 2009

LWLs with Thrower

Stadler's Pond

Today, Nate joined Lumi, Laddie, and myself for our training at the pond behind Stadler's nursery, giving us an opportunity to practice LWL retrieves with a thrower.

First, I had each of the dogs run an LWL with a 15-yard swim with Nate throwing the duck onto a small point. Both dogs had high quality pick-ups and returns.

Next, I had Nate throw the duck into an area of high grass several feet from the water, with a 30-yard swim. I decided to have Laddie try it first.

The first time I sent him, he picked up the duck and got right into the water, but then began to play with the duck instead of swimming back to me. I walked around to where he was, called "Fetch" to have him bring me the duck, handed the duck to Nate, and walked Laddie on lead back to the SL.

With Laddie still on lead, I had Nate throw to the same place for Lumi, and she had an excellent retrieve. I cheered for her as she returned, and gave her some treats after she delivered the duck.

I took Laddie off lead and had Nate throw for Laddie again. This time, he started to pick up the bird but instead of completing the retrieve, became distracted by something behind him and ran to investigate. I rushed over, called him to me, again handed the duck back to Nate, and walked Laddie back to the SL again.

With limited time, I decided to run Laddie immediately rather than running Lumi again. This time, he had a top-notch pick-up and return.

We only had time for one more retrieve, and I decided that Laddie needed the work more than Lumi, so I had Nate throw our longest retrieve of the day, with a 40-yard swim. The first time he threw it, it rolled down the embankment and I had Nate pick it back up because I wanted an inland retrieve. After he re-threw the duck, I sent Laddie. I guess Laddie didn't understand that the first duck wasn't there any more, because he tried to hunt the duck up at the first fall, and required handling to get to the actual bird. But as soon as he got to it, he picked it up and trotted right into the water, then swam back.

It's always nice to have a session of excellent performances beginning to end, for example like yesterday's. But today seemed to be a good step for Laddie. Over the last month, he's missed two qualifying opportunities in a row by not coming back on LWLs, yet he hasn't exhibited that behavior in our private training. Today showed that the presence of a thrower may have caused some of the problem, and we worked our way through it. Hopefully we'll get several more opportunities before our next test on May 16 to improve on this key area that Laddie has a problem with.

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