Sunday, August 2, 2009

Steadiness with Fliers, Blinds

Clevenger's Corner

Today, as Lumi, Laddie, and I often do on Sundays, we again trained with Carole and Dyna, her Bernese Mountain Dog, and with Dave, who shot chukars for us. Lumi and Laddie ran the series described here, while Dyna ran similar set-ups modified as appropriate.

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

For Series A, Dave shot a chukar flier, throwing left to right at 40 yards. After the dog picked up the bird, the dog ran the blind (OD) at 130 yards, on a line under the arc of the flier and across a downhill slope. After picking up the blind, the dog honored the next dog.

First, I ran Lumi on the mark and blind. Next Carole ran Laddie on the mark so that I could have Lumi honor. Finally I ran Laddie on the blind and had him honor as Carole ran Dyna.

Lumi ran a good mark and blind, and honored well. However, on the mark, I used an especially long count after the bird was down before releasing her, and after a few seconds, she attempted break before I put my hand over her head and called her name to release her. Since I was holding her tab, she was unable to break. The amount of time she waited before attempting to break was probably long enough that she would not have been disqualified in most Senior tests, but obviously she needs to wait until she is explicitly released rather than self-releasing based on her own estimate of time.

Laddie ran a good mark and honored well. However, on his blind, he had a long, looping WS and I walked out to pick him and run him again. The second time, he again had a looping WS and WO, though his loop was smaller than the previous one. Finally, on his third attempt, he sat well for all his WSs.

SERIES B. Steadiness practice (Lumi only)

Since Dave had brought along an extra chukar, I had Lumi run another mark, again thrown left to right but this time at 30 yards. On the first throw, when the bird was shot, Lumi attempted to break before I released her, though she was unable to because I was holding her tab. Dave walked over to the fall to pick up the bird, then returned to his throwing position and threw it again, firing a round of live ammo. Again Lumi attempted a break after some delay. We repeated this sequence several times until Lumi's performance was satisfactory, and then she was released to perform the retrieve.

In order to increase difficulty and better prepare Lumi for competition, after the bird was down, I not only waited a long time, but I also made various gestures, such as lunging forward a few inches, moving one of my hands and the other in front of her face, and so forth. By the last throw, Lumi remained rock steady no matter what distractions I tried, and at last I placed my hand over her head and called her name to send her. She raced off joyfully, picked the bird up, and ran back to deliver it, which I rewarded with a few happy throws.

SERIES C. Double blind (Laddie, then Lumi)

For Series C, the first blind (OD) was to the left at 110 yards. The line to the blind was over undulating terrain and thru a keyhole formed by two large bales of hay. The second blind (OD) was to the right at 120 yards, again over undulating terrain and again thru a keyhole, this time a slanted keyhole, formed by bales of hay.

SERIES D. Land blind (Laddie only)

Because of Laddie's inconsistent WSs, I ran him on one more blind, this time at 230 yards. The line to the blind slanted across a downward slope, ran next to several bales of hay (the ones on the right within 5 yards of the line to the blind), and ended in front of another bales of hay and an area of woods.

I again used two WOs for Laddie on this blind, resulting in improved WSs at longer and longer distances.

West of Zion Park

In the afternoon, the dogs and I went to a power-line right-of-way beside Zion Park, a few minutes from home. There we ran the following:

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

The first blind (chukar) was to the left at 110 yards. The line to the first blind ran at a slant across mowing lines and thru a keyhole formed by two giant power-line towers.

The second blind (chukar) was 130 yards at 90° to the right of the first blind. The line to the second blind ran at the opposite slant across mowing lines, thru a line of telephone poles, past a large earthen construction mound on the right, and past several trees.

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