Saturday, June 20, 2009

Training Day, Blinds, Focus Drill in Front Yard

Morning: Cheltenham

This morning, we joined a sister club's training day. With plans at home for the afternoon and a lot of dogs in the advanced group running a complex land series, we had to leave before the water series started.

CONDITIONS: Temps in 60s and 70s, another day of pouring rain, standing water everywhere on course, marshy, knee-high cover. No retrieval article was visible until the dog was within a few feet.

[Note: Each handler informed the acting "judge" how that handler wanted to run the test for the particular dog. Here's how my dogs ran it.]

SERIES A. Land triple with double blind (Lumi, then Laddie)

The first mark of the triple, the more difficult memory-bird, was on the left, thrown with a winger from inside a wooded area left to right at 70 yards, with the fall in front of more woods. The second mark was in the center, hand thrown left to right from behind a holding blind into an open area at 110 yards. The third mark, the go-bird, was on the right, hand thrown right to left at 30 yards. I sent my dogs to the right mark, the left mark, and finally the center mark. After the dog picked up all three birds, we waited in a holding blind while the first blind was planted, then we came out to run that blind. The first blind, at 50 yards, was on a line to the left of the left throwing station, with the line running beside the tree line on the left and ending at the point where the tree line curved around and across to the right. The second blind, at 160 yards, was on a tight angle to the left of the center throwing station. Besides the difficult terrain, the long blind was also difficult because it was 10 yards inside a stand of trees. All three marks were ducks, while both blinds were ODs. Duck calls and gunfire were used with all throws.

LUMI. Great enthusiasm throughout the series, no head-swing, the only dog in the group to run pin-point lasers on all three marks despite the fact that only a few of the dogs ran the series as a triple. Excellent job on the short blind, for which Lumi required a single WSC. Poor job on the long blind, with intermittent slipped whistles and poor casting. Ended her turn by making the honor look easy.

LADDIE. Usual exuberance, no head-swing, short controlled break on go-bird, excellent first and third marks (right and center), brief hunt on the left mark, lined the short blind. Great job on the long blind (three WSCs), perhaps the best of all the dogs that ran that blind. Two disastrous returns, with Laddie lying belly-down in puddles. Stood up when bird was thrown while honoring, but no attempt to break.

Afternoon: Oaks Area 2

SERIES B. Double land blind (Laddie, then Lumi)

The first blind at 140 yards was thru open meadow ending at a mid-point of a hedgerow. The second blind at 140 yards was thru an offset keyhole formed by a space between two trees in a line of widely spaced trees.

Evening: Front Yard

SERIES C. Focus Drill (Lumi only)

This evening we moved the focus game we've been playing in the living room to our front yard. Lumi ran two "triples", doing an excellent job of keeping her eyes on each thrown article until I turned to throw the next one. The articles were a Dokken, a toy made from two tennis balls, and a plush ring.

Slow Pick-up

Although I've noticed before that Lumi sometimes shows reluctance to pick up an article that's lying in wet grass, today her behavior was especially noticeable during Series C. When the article was lying on the driveway, she picked it up and returned without hesitation. But for the first article thrown onto the lawn to the side of the driveway, she approached it slowly and then firmly resisted picking it up, even when I walked out right beside her and cued "give it" repeatedly. Eventually she did pick it up and we ran back to the SL together, and after that she did better on the other three throws that landed in the grass.

I wonder whether this incident bears any relationship to Lumi's general problem with slow pick-ups, or whether this was a special case.

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