Friday, July 10, 2009

Land Blinds with a Spontaneous Adjustment

Oaks Area 3

Although I haven't had time to type up my notes for several days, Lumi, Laddie and I have continued to train daily, mostly with land blinds and the Adventure Drill. I'll type them and post them with the correct dates when I have more time.

For now, I'll just describe today's brief session:

SERIES A. Double blind (Laddie, then a combination of Lumi and Laddie)

The first blind (OD) was on the right at 80 yards, in front of a tree at the back of a cluster of trees and up a short hill.

The second blind (duck) was on the left at 130 yards in an open area. The line to the blind was past a hedgerow nearby on the left, creating suction to wrap around to the left, then across a downward slope, taking the dog into a depression, then across an upward slope bringing the dog back to the original elevation, and then further back to the blind, planted in high grass.

Laddie lined the first blind, then almost lined the second one. But when I blew a safety whistle (a combination of a WS and CIW, tweeeeeet . . . tweet-tweet-tweet) on the second one, it turned out that Laddie hadn't spotted the bird yet and went into a hunt, becoming unresponsive to WSs for several seconds while he tried to find the bird he was scenting.

Next I ran Lumi on the short right blind. She required two WSCs, but was responsive on both WSs, also taking and carrying accurate casts to get thru the keyhole and up the hill. She also ran all the way back with her OD.

When Lumi got back, I came to the spur-of-the-moment decision that Laddie would benefit more from re-running the left blind than Lumi would benefit from running it for the first time.

In Lumi's case, she had just run an excellent blind already somewhat more difficult than any Senior blind we've seen, so if she didn't run any more, we'd be ending on a high note. In addition, Lumi does not enjoy running on hot days, and it was unlikely that she'd do as well with the difficult second blind. So for Lumi to run it would at best leave us no better off than we already were, and at worst might leave a poorly executed and physically uncomfortable experience as her final memory of the day to carry with her into the evening.

Meanwhile, Laddie was as game as ever, and he and I needed to get into better sync with his WSs. I figured that even if he took a perfect line, perhaps remembering that another bird was at the old location, I could still stop him and then cast him back again. As luck would have it, he did take a great line for the first 70 yards, then started to veer left behind the hedgerow. I blew WS, cast him back, and had three more opportunities for WSCs as he zig-zagged across the two slopes and finally back to the bird. I thought he ran a nice, tight blind, and by his body language, Laddie seemed to find our teamwork as gratifying as I did.

So it seems the strategy of having Laddie run three blinds to Lumi's single blind worked out well for both dogs. It was a good session.

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