Sunday, March 7, 2010

Training with field trial group


SERIES A. Double land blind (Laddie and Lumi)

This was a double blind set up by one of the group members: 130 yards to the right, 280 yards to the left. As an added diversion, a bird crate with a couple of ducks in it was sitting 50 yards to the right of the line to the longer blind 200 yards out.

I ran Laddie on the set-up first. Then I ran Lumi, but only on the shorter blind to the right.

SERIES B. Triple (Laddie and Lumi)

The set up was a 400-yard mark down the middle, with much shorter marks on either side. Running as the first team, I planned to run Laddie on the long mark as a single, but when I saw that the gunshot was barely audible, the thrower was barely visible, and the throw itself was entirely visible, I decided not to run Laddie on that mark. We then ran the other two marks as a double.

I ran Lumi on the shorter of the two marks as a single.

SERIES C. Triple (Laddie and Lumi)

The set-up was a 230-yard mark down the center, a 180-yard mark slanting uphill on the left, and an 80-yard mark angle back into a cluster of trees on the right, with the line to the mark across a bowl down to the property's big pond. All throws were left to right, which was downhill toward the pond.

I ran Laddie on the set-up as a triple. He did OK on the first two marks, though he had some confusion on the mark on the left when he found a training dummy left behind by someone in the past, then the bird that had been thrown. He picked up the dummy, but dropped it and picked up the bird before returning.

After Laddie returned the second time, I asked the center thrower to wave a little, but my radio was broken and he didn't hear. I should have gotten someone else to call for the waving, but Laddie seemed to be looking the correct direction so I sent him. Unfortunately, he veered down the bowl and into the water and reeds to play instead of staying on line to the mark. I ran toward him and called and he immediately came out of the water and ran to him. I then ran with him 50 yards forward of the SL, this time called back to the other trainers to request that the thrower wave, and sent Laddie, and his retrieve was fine. As he returned, I raced back to the SL, arriving just a few seconds before he caught me.

When it was Lumi's turn, I ran her on the double made up of the two outer marks. She nailed the go-bird, as had Laddie. When I sent Lumi to the memory bird, she became distracted by the center gun and needed help from the thrower on the left to get back on line, but then she did fine.

I had both dogs honor the next dog in both Series B and C.

SERIES D. Water work (Lumi and Laddie)

Series D was a repetition of yesterday's water work, just on a different and slightly wider section of the channel. In this case, I didn't put any tension on the line for either dog, and both dogs immediately got back in the water as soon as they picked up the bird.

I think it's possible that one or both dogs are line wise and that they might not return so readily without the line. But I feel that that does not necessarily mean that they are not gradually learning a good water return that in the future will work just as well without the line. I can imagine a situation where the dogs are aware of the line during the current series of water retrieves, but that over a period of time, they become habituated to the line and don't really pay attention to it. Meanwhile, they're getting into the water of their own volition. Perhaps at this time it's an avoidance behavior so they don't have to feel any tension on the line, but the behavior could gradually become habitual with the dogs gradually forgetting why it is that they're performing the behavior in that particular way.

It's also possible that the dogs are not line wise and even now would be getting back in the water immediately on most occasions. However, other than the inconvenience and psychological barrier (for me) of setting up the line each session, I see no reason to run them on these water retrieves without a line at this time. They'll have occasion to run water retrieves without a line in group work, and even competition, soon enough.

Rolling Ridge

SERIES E. Double land blind (Laddie only)

On the way home, I thought I'd get a little more work in for Laddie, since he still seemed full of energy. I set up a double blind, 160 yards to the right, then 300 yards to the left.

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