Saturday, May 1, 2010

Poison-bird Singles

[Laddie and I continue to train every day, but I haven't had time to update this training journal every day. Examples of things we've worked on:
  • 300-yard+ blinds in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in twilight and usually with other people and dogs, some off lead, dotting the field
  • Training with Gaby and some of her dogs, sometimes with other trainers as well; for example, yesterday we practiced several set-ups in which the dog would run one or more land-water marks as well as a land-water blind, each of which would require the dog to go past a point without touching it, to go over a point, or combinations of both in the same retrieve; distances were in the 100-200 yard range
  • The Walking Recall drill that I invented this week and hope to describe in our companion blog, The 2Q Retriever; Laddie and I now use this drill for lunchtime walks in Brooklyn as well as strolls across the rolling hills of ProspectPark
Power-line Right of Way, Fieldcrest Road

Today Laddie and I went to a field a few minutes from home, under the massive array of power lines that runs thru our part of the county. We've often trained under those lines, which run for many miles. We've never trained on this particular stretch before.

SERIES A. Poison-bird single
First, I used the Bumper Boy (BB) to throw a mark right to left angling sharply back, with the fall at 50 yards. Then, I had Laddie run a 130-yard blind "behind the gunner", with the line to the blind passing slightly to the right of the BB, diagonally down a long hill, diagonally across a wide depression, with an area of impenetrable shrubbery angling in on the right and a ditch, backed by a treeline, angling in on the left. The line ultimately passed the point of the shrubbery on the right, crossed the ditch, ran diagonally uphill a short distance, and lay a yard or so inside the treeline. After Laddie ran the blind, I sent him to pick up the mark.

SERIES B. Poison-bird single
First, I used the BB to throw a mark left to right angling, with the fall at 50 yards in a large, sloped depressing. Then, I had Laddie run a 150-yard blind on a line 180° from the line to the mark. The line to the blind went over the crest of a grassy hill, passed close to the point of a section of woods, ran thru knee-high cover and between two shrubs so close together that the foliage touched at the top, approaching a white split-rail fence angling in on the right, and under the branches of some trees at the edge of the woods where the blind was planted. After Laddie ran the blind, I sent him to pick up the mark.
Line Mechanics for Poison Birds
I thought I'd mention a convention of line mechanics that I use with both Lumi and Laddie when running them on interrupted marks, that is, marks that act as PBs until after the dog has run one or more blinds.
The convention is that I have the dog watch the mark or marks on the side that the go-bird is thrown as normal. For example if the go-bird is thrown left to right, the dog watches the throw or throws from my right side, and will eventually run the marks from there as well.
But if I'm going to have the dog run a blind after watching the throws, but before picking them up, I have the dog switch to my other side to line up for the blinds. I believe switching sides before being sent helps the dogs understand that they will be running a blind or two before being sent to pick up the marks.

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