Friday, May 28, 2010

Skimming Drills

Rolling Ridge

In the morning, Laddie and I trained on a field in the Rolling Ridge subdivision near home on Brink Road.

Series A and B were mirror images of one another. In each series, I used three LPs and four WBs. I placed one LP at the SL, a second LP and two WBs on a line that went near but not thru a point of high cover, and the last LP and two WBs on a line that went thru the high cover a few feet from the point.

I then sent Laddie from one side to pick up all four of the bumpers, in this sequence: past the cover, thru the cover, past the cover, thru the cover. Then I put the bumpers back out and ran him to the same locations but from my other side.

Seeing the difficulty Laddie had with this drill, and the importance of this skill in FT competition, I wonder why I've never heard of anyone running this drill before. I've given it a name: the Skimming Drill. I can see many ways to vary it and to increase performance criteria:
  • With a point of high cover to skim
  • With a rounded edge of high cover to skim
  • With a pond's squared corner to skim
  • With a pond's rounded shoreline to skim
  • In water with a point of land to skim
  • In water with a rounded edge of land to skim
  • With white, orange or black bumpers
  • With or without a lining pole
  • From near the entry point to increasing distances back from the entry point
  • With the target near the exit point to increasing distances beyond the exit point
The goal is to get the point where the dog is able to run all of those pictures without handling.

Black Hills Regional Park

Series C was another skimming drill with high cover.

Series D was another skimming drill, but this time at a rounded edge of shoreline. Laddie made progress during Series D, but for the water retrieves, he never got to the point where he could cut straight across the curve of the pond without handling. In addition, he never got to the point where he could take the sharply angled entry without either running the bank or squaring the shoreline, so we needed to run every water retrieve for Series D from water's edge.

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