Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blinds with Poison Bird, Pick-up Speed Test

Powerline Right-of-way Near Zion Park

While out exploring, I drove the van down a dirt road and behind some construction mounds, and suddenly came upon an open area rich in training possibilities. The field was dotted with trees, and included areas of high cover, more mounds, even a ditch with standing water. Sight lines up to 200 yards were available in several directions from the SL I selected, and of course, many other possibilities become available by moving the SL elsewhere in the field.

CONDITIONS: Temps in mid-70s, intermittent rain showers.

SERIES A. Double Land Blind with Poison Bird (Lumi, then Laddie)

With the dogs in the van, I put out ODs at 120 yards to the right and 130 yards to the left, with an angle of 75° between them. While running one dog, I kept the other dog on a slip lead tied to my belt. Our sequence was as follows:
  1. With running dog in sit/stay at SL, I walked out a short distance and threw a bird (freshly thawed duck) to the right of the right blind.
  2. I ran the dog on the right blind.
  3. I sent the dog to pick up the duck.
  4. I ran the dog on the left blind.
Lumi required several casts to keep her away from the duck while running the right blind, but remained responsive to WSs and carried the casts better each time. She was not as responsive as I would have liked past 100 yards on the left blind, but with the rain becoming heavier, I put up with it. I thought the rain would get worse and worse and was afraid I'd get soaked if I used WOs, but actually, it stopped a few minutes later.

Laddie lined the right blind, completely ignoring the PB. He was responsive on the WSCs I used for the left blind.

SERIES B. Pick-up speed test (both dogs)

For Laddie, Series B was primarily just a way to have some fun, but for Lumi, it was an opportunity for me to see how her pick-up speed was in conditions more similar to an event than the Adventure Drill we've been running for the last several days.

Since it was a test, I used longer retrieves than I would have in a drill. The first test was a poorman double at 50 and 30 yards, while the second was a poorman drill at 80 and 50 yards. To make the test a more valuable gauge, I threw the 50-yard go-bird of the second test behind a tree, similar to a location that a wounded flier ("cripple" in field jargon) might wind up in during an event.

Laddie had a hunt on the 80-yard memory-bird but aside from that had no difficulty with the test. Though I didn't expect trouble, Laddie's always at risk of getting distracted by some feature of the environment, so I was glad to see that didn't happen. Repairing that problem was my original goal with the Adventure Drill. So far so good.

My real concern was how Lumi would do with her pick-up speed. I was pleased to see that she showed the same prompt pick-up speed on all four of today's marks, as well as the PB, as she's been regularly exhibiting in the Adventure Drill.

It's too soon to break out the champagne, but maybe something has clicked.

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