Friday, April 9, 2010

Steadiness training

Mt. Ararat Farms

Today we trained with Gaby and her dogs at her dairy farm. Gaby is a wonderful training partner, and today that included the generosity of providing live pheasants for us to practice steadiness, and kids to act as bird boys for our land series.

SERIES A. Land double with flyer, plus land blind (Lumi, Laddie)

For Series A, the first mark was on the right, a duck thrown left to right at 70 yards with the thrower standing at the edge of the woods and throwing into calf-high cover. The second mark was on the left, a flyer pheasant hen thrown right to left at 45 yards from a holding blind. After both birds were picked up, the dog ran a 90-yard blind to the left of the left mark, with the line to the blind passing close to the fenced corner of a horse field and with the blind planted in calf-high cover under the canopy of the treeline.

Our intent was that each dog would run the series, then honor the next dog. The sequence turned out to be:
  1. Lumi at the line with one of Gaby's dogs honoring. Lumi tried to break on the flyer but was unable to because I was holding her tab. I walked her gently but silently back to the van, had her get in, and left her there while I took Laddie from his crate and walked him back thru the barn to the setup. I believe that this was quite disappointing to Lumi, because she had shown enormous excitement at the opportunity to run the series. Hopefully she associated her loss of that opportunity with the fact that she tried to break.
  2. One of Gaby's dogs ran the series while I was trading dogs.
  3. Laddie ran the series without attempting to break. He nailed both marks, then lined the blind, all with his usual over-the-top enthusiasm.
  4. Laddie honored Gaby's dog, again without attempting to break, but did try to run to a bird behind the SL when released from the honor. That's something we need to work on.
  5. I again traded dogs, and this time Lumi was steady at the line. She had no difficulty with either mark, though her line on the memory bird wasn't quite as good as normal for her. She handled adequately for a Senior test on the blind.
  6. Lumi honored Gaby's dog running the series yet again. As with Laddie, she did not attempt to break, but she did try to break into a run to get to a bird behind the SL when I called "Here" after the honor.
SERIES B. Water single (Lumi, Laddie)

Series B was a 60-yard single with a pheasant thrown right to left. The line to the fall had diagonal entries and exits to the water and a 50-yard swim.

Lumi required several calls to complete the pick-up and return. Gaby, from her vantage point as thrower, felt that Lumi was having some difficulty dealing with the pheasant's feathers getting in Lumi's mouth as she tried to pick up the bird.

Laddie seemed to have had the same issue, but he had less trouble dealing with it and returned on a single CIW.

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