Monday, October 12, 2009

Hunt Test Preparation


Time is so short these days, trying to combine training with my new consulting position, taking me to New York the last three weeks. I've found it especially difficult to get around to typing up my training notes in this blog.

Anyway, today Lumi, Laddie and I again trained with Gaby at Cheltenham. This time she brought both of her Senior dogs (that is, dogs training for Senior Hunt Test competition): Buster (yellow Lab) and Gus (Chessie).

SERIES A. Land double with blind

The first throw (memory-bird) was to the left, a duck thrown right to left on an angle-in into high cover at 60 yards. The second throw (go-bird) was to the right, a Bumper Boy throwing right to left at 50 yards. The blind (OD marked with orange ribbon) was to the left of the left mark, at 70 yards in high cover.

Lumi and Laddie both did well on this series. The only problem was that Lumi decided to run to the duck first, then pick up the Bumper Boy's bumper. Since she nailed both of them, I guess it was all right.

SERIES B. Water double with blind

The first throw (memory-bird) was to the right, a duck thrown left to right onto a strip of land making a 60-yard LWL mark. The second throw (go-bird) was to the left, a duck thrown right to left into open water 20 feet down a channel, with the intent that the dog would run 20 yards on land, launch from the end of the channel, and swim out to the bird and back within the channel. The 50-yard blind was to the right of the right mark, an OD on the far edge of a 30-yard swim diagonally across a channel, with an angle entry on the way out and of an angle exit coming back.

The throw for Laddie was too close to the thrower (Gaby), and instead of swimming the channel, he ran the bank and leapt into the water, actually landing on the duck. He came out the same way. Since he's a good channel swimmer, I wasn't worried about it. On the other hand, his returns on the memory-bird and blind were mediocre.

Because Lumi's been having difficulty remembering doubles, I had Gaby throw her memory-bird onto the far embankment, so that it was out of sight until Lumi swam across the channel and then ran across the strip of land. She did need a small hunt, but she didn't seem to forget the bird and didn't need help. However, she took a long time picking it up. It was frozen solid and Gaby said Lumi seemed to have difficulty finding a good grip. While I think that's true, I also think that she could have managed if she'd wanted to.

Lumi also behaved somewhat oddly on her send-out to the blind, as though she were resisting getting into the water. It was cold, but I didn't think it was that cold. On the other hand, she is now on thyroid meds, yeast meds, allergy injections, many joint supplements, and she has a bare spot on her chest from the skin allergy test, so it's possible she has some water-temp sensitivity right now that she doesn't usually have.

Both dogs are showing outstanding technical skills these days but are still having trouble with the most fundamental basic, the pick-up and return. I can only hope that it won't be a problem this Saturday, when they're both entered in their next Senior Hunt Test.

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