With Austin along as my only helper, I thought today would be a good opportunity to work with both dogs on running a blind after a bird has been thrown, but before the bird has been retrieved. I believe such throws are called poison birds (PBs). I don't know whether PB would be picked up in a test; I always have my dogs pick them up after they've run the blind.
First I put out two ODs at one location, and two ODs at another location 20 yards away. That was a mistake, I should have set them further apart. No harm was done, I just needed to alter how I ran Series B a little.
SERIES A. Land blind with poison bird (Laddie, then Lumi)
The throw was on the right, a WD thrown left to right at 60 yard. After letting the dog watch the throw, I had the dog move to my other side as information to the dog that we were not going to run the bird that had just been thrown at this time. I then ran the dog behind the thrower, that is, just to Austin's left, on a 120-yard blind. When the dog returned with that dummy, I sent the dog to pick up the one that had been thrown.
Laddie veered slightly right when sent on the blind. I blew WS, and he took a nice angle-back left cast. Running full-blast as usual, he ran past the intended blind, ignoring my WS, and picked up an OD from the other blind, another 20 yards further along the same line. I viewed that as a set-up error, since both the dogs interpret a whistle near a blind as a cue to pick up the bird rather than sit, and that's all Laddie was doing. He did a great job of ignoring the PB when running the blind, then pinned the mark when sent on the second retrieve.
Lumi needed several WSs and angle-back-left casts to keep her away from the PB, but she remained responsive and enthusiastic the entire time and eventually was far enough along that she was able to get on a good line and stay on it. She had no trouble finding the intended blind and bringing me one of those ODs. Then she, too, pinned the mark that had been thrown as a PB when sent on it.
SERIES B. Land blind with poison bird (Laddie, then Lumi)
Series B was intended as a mirror image of Series A, and somewhat shorter. The mark thrown right to left as a PB was at 50 yards, and the blind run behind the thrower to his right was at 120 yards.
Two notes on Series B:
- Laddie apparently remembered where he had picked up the blind from Series A, and that another OD was still there. As a result he tried to veer left to that blind when sent to the blind for Series B. But when I blew an insistent WS and cast him to the right, he took the cast and seemed excited to discover that another OD was also waiting for him in that direction. Of course, Laddie always seems excited.
- Lumi ran her blind nicely, but overran her mark, which was thrown in the shadows. It looked like she would need a long hunt, and I know many trainers would have let her find the dummy that way. I have seen her hunt and I felt confident that she would find it eventually, but I decided instead to use one of my pet theories: That it's good once in awhile to have the thrower help, even if the dog could have found it herself, because it reminds the dog that throwers don't throw their articles very far, so there's no point in ranging 200 yards away on hunts.
[to be uploaded]