Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Skimming Cover

Liberty State Park

After a 2-1/2 hour drive to go 9.2 miles, thru first the Battery Tunnel and then the Holland Tunnel, Laddie and I finally arrived at lovely Liberty State Park on the New Jersey shore just a short, scenic view from the Statue of Liberty.

The sun was nearly on the horizon, but we still had a few minutes of sun and then twilight to work on a large, slightly domed field of low cover adjoining an area of high cover on one side.

The area of high cover took a curved shape, creating a perfect opportunity for Laddie to work on the difficult lining picture I call "skimming". The dog must enter the high cover at a very sharp angle, run thru it for some distance, and then emerge again to continue in a straight line from the original SL. A similar challenge occurs when the dog is sent toward a rounded shoreline, and rather than veering slightly to run the bank, must enter the water and swim just a few feet from shore till reaching the far edge of the curve.

Although Laddie learned to run into cover, rather than around it, long ago, I learned in today's work that he does not yet understand these very sharp angles of entry. Instead, he repeatedly attempted to run just outside of the cover, curving around in the low cover rather than cutting into and thru the high cover.

I had several unsuccessful attempts to elicit the correct behavior by calling him back and sending him again, each time moving closer and closer to the entry point. I then put him at the SL in a sit and entered the cover myself, carrying a bumper with me. I pushed thru the high cover on the line I wanted Laddie to take, walked nearly to the far edge, and thru the bumper straight forward and high, so that Laddie could see it from where he was waiting. I was then able to send him and have him take the correct line.

After that breakthrough, we ran the same thing a few more times, the only difference being that I moved the SL further and further back away from the entry point into the high cover.

We had enough time for several successful retrieves. By then, Laddie was panting hard in the hot, muggy air, so we got back in the van and drove back to our room in Brooklyn.

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