Sunday, May 23, 2010

Land blinds

Emory Road

Today I had Gabriel, Renee's Golden, in the van along with Lumi and Laddie as we were driving Renee first to work at the fitness club where she teaches, then to visit her mother about an hour from our house. I stopped on three of the legs to take the dogs for hikes in various green areas, and on two of them, I left the dogs in the van while I planted a blind (OB), then let them all out and ran Laddie on the blind. The two blinds were in a large field, traversed by a winding paved road, owned by one of the utility companies. Laddie ran one of the blinds in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

SERIES A. Land blind

Series A was a 280 yard blind run in light rain. The line to the blind was diagonally across a rectangular section of field, to the left of a telephone pole on the edge of a slope down to the road, an angle away from the road, across a concrete ditch, across a grassy area on an angle toward the tree line of a wooded section, and across a section of wood chips to the edge of an intersecting wooded section, with the OB planted at wood's edge.

Series A had two challenges: (1) Running the dog just to the left of the pole and to the right of the road, which required the dog to reach the downhill slope at 150 yards from the handler, then run sideways along the slope till passing to the left of the telephone pole. (2) Staying to the left of the wooded section, when a large uphill field invited the dog to run to the right of the wooded section.

Laddie had trouble with the line and needed to be called all the way back in twice, and partially back in a couple more times, but he remained responsive to both WS and casts the entire time, and as always maintained a high level of enthusiasm and engagement.

SERIES B. Land blind

Series B was a 180 yard blind run in what had become a warm, sunny afternoon. The line to the blind was along the left edge of a curving road, then at a sharp angle off of the road and diagonally up a slope adjoining the road, between two telephone poles 10 yards apart, 100 yards across a meadow angling in toward a section of woods, to the OB planted in cover in front of a large shrub at the edge of the woods.

I thought that the challenges of Series B were: (1) To get off the road on a straight line rather than following the curve of the pavement. (2) To run diagonally up the slope adjacent to the road rather than squaring the slope and also rather than following the hill's baseline. (3) To run between the two poles rather than outside one of them or possibly even hunting the base of one of them. (4) To stay on line while approaching the woods on an angle rather than squaring the wood line to the left or running the open meadow parallel to the wood line by veering right. (5) To stop and find the OB in cover rather than darting into the woods or running past the shrub without responding to a handle.

As it turned out, Laddie had no difficulty with any of those challenges. He stayed on an excellent line off the road, up the hill, and thru the telephone poles, then responded well to three WSCs to keep him in a narrow corridor to the blind.

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