With darkness falling around 4:30 PM and my work preventing me from getting out during the day today, I thought we'd work on a short course with a reasonably difficult job for the dog: when running a mark, to switch instantly to handling mode and carry a cast in a completely different direction.
We ran two series, mirror images of one another. In each case, the sequence was as follows:
- With dogs in the van, I planted two frozen ducks at the blind location, 100 yards from SL.
- I brought dog to SL and left dog there.
- I walked out, threw a poorman mark with a frozen chukar to about 50 yards. Threw it high so dog could see it against the sky in the twilight.
- Walked back to SL. Dog was focused on chukar. With whistle in mouth, I sent dog, who raced toward chukar. Halfway out, I blew WS.
- If dog didn't stop, I called out SIT and went out to pick the dog up, then sent the dog again.
- Once dog stopped, I cast the dog to the blind, 30° to the left or right of the line to the chukar.
- If the dog didn't carry the cast, I intended to use a WO for that also, but it didn't come up today.
- When the dog got back with the blind, I sent the dog to pick up the chukar.
- Walking back to the van, I gave happy throws with the chukar several times.