Saturday, January 23, 2010

Land Retrieves

Mt. Ararat Farm

Today, Lumi and Laddie trained with three of Gaby's dogs, but only two per series. Gaby's three dogs are a yellow Lab named Buster, a Chessie named Gus, and a nine-year-old black Lab she just adopted named Zap. Buster and Gus have their JH and each is training for a first Senior ribbon. Zap is highly accomplished Field Trial dog with an FC that Gaby hopes to run in Master Hunt Tests when winter is over.

SERIES A. Triple

The first throw was in the center, thrown right to left at 70 yards. The second thrown was on the right, thrown left to right at 40 yards. The third throw was on the left, thrown left to right at 50 yards on a sharp angle back.

Series A was an easy, confidence-building drill. The primary beneficiaries were intended to be Gus, who was learning that if he runs straight to where he thinks he saw the bird fall, it will be there, and Zap, who was learning that sometimes a triple has no long (FT-style) marks.

SERIES B. Double blind, one with poison bird

First the thrower got in position at 40 yards in front of the dog, The thrower held a frozen duck and was equipped with duck call and pistol. Then the dog was brought to the SL and run on the first blind, 90 yards on the left of the thrower, diagonally across a road, and with a diagonal entry into a corn field. Next, the thrower threw the duck left to right at 40 yards. Next, the dog was expected to ignore the thrown bird (making it a "poison bird") and run a blind on a line to the right of the fall at 240 yard. The blind was at the seam between the meadow we were training on and a corn field, which, if the dog squared, would cause the dog to turn left toward the poison bird. After the dog ran the second blind, the dog was to be sent to pick up the poison bird.

Not one of the dogs was able to run the second blind; every one of them managed to pick up the poison bird without the handler being able to prevent it. I guess that test was a bit too difficult.

SERIES C. Blind with poison bird

Before we ran Series C, Gaby brought Zap back home and got Buster instead. Gus ran all three series.

For Series C, the thrower stood 40 yards from the SL and quietly threw a bird a few feet right to left. After letting the dog watch that throw, the handler turned the dog 90 ° to the right and ran the dog on a 120-yard blind up a hill. Then the handler sent the dog to pick up the poison bird on the left.

All of the dogs were able to run this series successfully.

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