Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hunt Test Preparation

Mt. Ararat Farms

Training with Gaby and her Lab, Buster, we ran four series to help our dogs prepare for a Senior Hunt Test this Sunday.

SERIES A. Double blind, one land, one water

The first blind was to the right at 60 yards. The blind slanted across a downhill slope and ran past a tree on the downhill side, offering the risk that the dog would cross in front of the tree, or wrap around behind the tree after passing it.

The 130-yard second blind was 90° to the left. The second blind crossed a pond, included a swim past a point on the left, and went thru high cover at the water entry and exit.

Photos of Series A

20090908 Series A 60-yard blind
Series A 60-yard land blind

20090908 Series A 130-yard blind
Series A 130-yard water blind

SERIES B. Land double and blind

Before the marks were thrown, the dog was positioned near a section of high cover, and the handler moved ten yards behind the dog and even with the Bumper Boy that would be used for the second mark.

After the dog and handler were positioned, the memory-bird (duck) on the left was thrown from a holding blind, left to right at 120 yards. Then the second mark (go-bird) was "thrown" by the Bumper Boy, coming from behind the dog and landing in the high cover 20 yards in front of the dog, 90° to the right of the memory-bird.

After both marks were down, the handler either walked up to the dog and sent the dog to each of the marks (that's what I did) or sent the dog while still ten yards away (that's what Gaby did).

After the dog had retrieved both marks, the dog was run on a 130-yard blind (OD) on a tight angle just to the left of the holding blind that had been used for the memory-bird.

A possible diversion, especially for Laddie, was the pond, which was just to the right of the lines to the memory-bird and the blind, but none of the dogs attempted to divert to the pond at any time.

Photos of Series B

20090908 Series B 20-yard go-bird
Series B 20-yard go-bird

20090908 Series B 120-yard memory-bird, 130-yard blind
Series B 120-yard memory-bird (red line) and 130-yard blind (blue line)

SERIES C. Converging water double

The memory-bird for this series was on the right, thrown by a Bumper Boy right to left. The trajectory was difficult to see from the SL because of high cover at both edges of the pond, and the fall was in high cover on an embankment that sloped down and away from water's edge.

The go-bird for this series was 90° to the left of the line to the memory-bird, hand-thrown left to right into the water just a few yards in front of the dog.

While the marks were being thrown, the dog was positioned in a sit in front of a holding blind at the SL, while the handler stood behind the holding blind. After the marks were down, one of the handlers (myself) walked around the holding blind to release the dog to the go-bird, while the other handler (Gaby) sent the dog while remaining behind the holding blind.

Photos of Series C

20090908 Series C 15-yard go-bird
Series C 10-yard go-bird

20090908 Series C 50-yard memory-bird
Series C 50-yard memory-bird

SERIES D. Offline drill across water

Series D was a handling drill similar to one I've used for my dogs in the past, but with the additional factor of a pond crossing. The drill consisted of three blind retrieves, as follows:
  1. The dog was sent across the pond, then whistled to a sit at 50 yards. The dog was then cast on a right Over to an OD marked by orange tape 30 yards to the dog's right.
  2. The dog was sent across the pond and the field beyond, then whistled to a sit at 100 yards. The dog was then cast on a left Over to an OD marked by an orange tape 30 yards to the dog's left.
  3. The dog was sent across the pond and the field beyond to a duck planted in front of a tree at 150 yards.
Photos of Series D

20090908 Series D 50-yard blind
Series D 50-yard offline blind

20090908 Series D 100-yard blind
Series D 100-yard offline blind

20090908 Series D 150-yard blind
Series D 150-yard blind

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