Sunday, March 21, 2010
Today's temps were again in the 70s. The FT group was training at Cheltenham again, but I needed to do some work at home, so I decided to take care of that first, and then bring the dogs to Cheltenham for some private work.
We worked for about two hours, with Laddie getting the lion's share of the work. Since I'm now confident in his ability to come back across channels without marooning, my focus was on difficult cheating situations, such as running across the corner of a pond when the dog could avoid water with a small veer to one side or the other. Several of the setups involved the requirement to get back in the water with the duck -- that is, they had no opportunity to run the bank on the return -- and Laddie was completely reliable on all of them.
When a bank-running opportunity was available, he sometimes took it, but he also sometimes came straight back across the water without any handling cues from me. In fact, at the end of the day, I sent him on a long retrieve thru an S-curve channel, and once he was safely thru the curve, I turned my back and started walking to the van, thinking that Laddie would probably pick up the burn and run around on the land route to get back to me. But when I glanced over my shoulder a few seconds later, I saw that he was in the water and swimming back thru the S-curve to return. I rushed back toward him and cheered, letting him know how proud I was of that return.
During the session, I gave Lumi a few retrieves over water where no obvious bank running opportunity was available, and she came back across the water without difficulty on all of them. I also gave her one long channel swim with a difficult angle entry and the fall in an area with underwater debris, and she swam it well. In any situation that had a bank-running opportunity, Lumi invariably took it. That's OK. I've decided that as long as she will swim back when necessary, I won't object when she runs the bank if that's available.