Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Water work


Although today was a work day, the dogs and I made the drive to Cheltenham so that we could work on returns for water retrieves. It wasn't the most efficient use of time: an hour to drive there, almost two hours to drive back in traffic, and only 45 minutes of actual training time. I couldn't afford to stay away from my home office and work longer than that.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, with air temp of 65° and water temp of 58°.

SERIES A. Water work (Lumi, then Laddie)

Today we moved our water work to a wider channel than the one we've been using. This one is nearly 30 yards wide, my 100' line barely long enough for the exercise.

Instead of a duck, I used a canvas training dummy. Leaving the dog with line attached at the SL, I walked across the foot bridge, threw the dummy with a gunshot, returned to the SL, and sent the dog. Once the dog had picked up the dummy and re-entered the water for the return, I fired the pistol again and threw an OD high in the air and inland behind the SL. As the dog climbed on shore, I took the dummy the dog was carrying, removed the line, and sent the excited dog to pick up the OD. When the dog brought back the OD, we had a rousing game of tug.


It was a good thing that Lumi had a line on her, because for some reason such as the extra distance or change of location, she initially stalled after picking up the dummy. She responded instantly when I lightly tugged on the line and we completed the exercise.

We then reran the exercise on a nearby section of the same channel, and this time Lumi didn't stall on the far side. I threw a double for her with two ODs while she was swimming back.

Then I brought her back to the van, running little retrieves and playing tug as we walked, dried her thoroughly, let her into the van, and gave her some bites of string cheese.


Laddie showed no hesitation at all on his return after picking up the canvas dummy. In fact, he used a style of looping pick-up so that he was on his way back as he was picking up the article. He ran to the water, jumped in, and immediately began swimming.

I was so encouraged that I decided to run him on another nearby water retrieve that was next to the end of a channel, giving him a temptation to run the bank on his way out or on his return. The distance was also longer than we've been doing lately, too long for my 100' line. It was 35 yards of swimming and another 10 yards from the water to the fall. Although I couldn't use the line, I would have been able to run to Laddie and prevent him from completing the retrieve if he had stalled.

As I expected, that turned out to be unnecessary. Again he grabbed the dummy off the ground while spinning back toward the SL and ran to the water, where he immediately entered and began swimming.

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