On a gorgeous fall day, we continued our preparation for Master tests next year.
Training alone, we used RLs with weighted streamers and frozen ducks for the marks, ODs for the blind.
The terrain was calf-length cover, thorny in places, with uneven footing.
SERIES A. Land triple with reverse hip pocket and blind (Laddie, then Lumi)
The first mark was on the left, thrown right to left at 70 yards. The second mark was in the center, thrown left to right at 100 yards. The third mark was on the right, thrown left to right at 50 yards. The line to the second mark ran just behind (on the left of) the RL for the third mark. After the dog had picked up the three marks, the dog ran a 160-yard blind to the left of the left mark.
The first mark, the final memory-bird, had a row of trees 50 yards further back as a backdrop, providing possible suction for the dog to overrun that mark, since marks are often thrown near the treeline.
All first and second marks were planted in cover. The third mark, the go-bird, was in a tractor wheel's rut.
The line to the 160-yard blind was thru a keyhole formed by a break in a line of trees at 140 yards.
OBJECTIVES OF SERIES A
Series A was designed with several training objectives in mind:
- Practice a triple mark, something Alice has emphasized as a key for Master preparation
- Practice a keyhole blind
- Practice a reverse hip-pocket double, in which the long mark is thrown "on the heels" of the short thrower, that is, so that it lands on a line that runs just behind the short Gun
- If the dog had needed handling on the second mark (the long throw of the reverse hip-pocket), the dog would still need to run with confidence on the last memory-bird, the first bird down and the only bird thrown right to left; this objective was not met in today's session, because neither of my dogs needed handling on any of the marks
NOTE ON RETIRED GUNS WITH REMOTE LAUNCHERS
These days, I rarely use stickmen with RLs, so in effect all guns are "retired". Usually that strengthens the challenge and requires the dogs to pick up visual data such as background scenery rather than depending on the sight of the thrower.
However, today's challenge on the second mark might have been made more difficult if I'd used a stickman at the RL for the shorter third mark, since that might have thrown the dog's line on the longer mark off line or even made the longer mark more difficult to remember. I'll try to bring along a stickman for next time I run a hip pocket or reverse hip pocket.
Though both dogs bowed around areas of thorny ground cover on two of the marks, they both ran to all three birds with enthusiasm, showing confidence in their focus and lines from the moment I lined them up.
As always, both dogs also had exuberant send-outs on the blind. For the return, Laddie has always run training dummies back, and Lumi used to do so. Now that Lumi has been on thyroid medication for several weeks, she has once again been doing so, rather than walking them back as she had been doing increasingly earlier this year.
PHOTOS OF SERIES A
Series A 70-yard memory-bird, first down, last retrieved
Series A 100-yard and 50-yard reverse-hip pocket
Series A 160-yard keyhole blind