In November 2007, Lindsay Ridgeway developed a series of performance tests as a method of training Lumi and Laddie, his two Golden Retrievers, for field sports. This is the journal of their progress through that series and beyond. Contact: LDRidgeway at gmail dot com.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I'd hoped to get some group training in with Laddie today, but only one other guy showed up at the property, and he was doing different things with his dog than I wanted to work on with Laddie.
So instead, I set up a series of single retrieves, sometimes a WB or OB planted, sometimes a WB thrown. Some of them are shown in the satellite view below. Because temps reached the high 80s, most of the work included some swimming.
I ran Lumi on a few retrieves as well, just for fun.
If you click the blue link at the bottom of the map, you'll see a page that gives the approximate sequence Laddie ran the retrieves, the distances, and an indication of which direction the retrieve went. You can also click the blue lines on the map to see which line is which.
Notes on Laddie's Performance
[I'm referring to these as blinds, but I made the WB or OB clearly visible on all of them. In today's drills, I was interested in Laddie's lines, not in control for situations where he doesn't know where the bird is.]
A (200-yard channel blind). Laddie has run this blind from shorter distances several times before. This was the first time we've run it from the mound near the barn. Laddie stayed away from the points on both sides on his own, without handling.
B (220-yard land blind). Laddie has also run this blind before. It goes from the mound near the barn, down into a depression, across a swim-depth ditch that narrows to the left, uphill across another wet area, and further uphill to the blind near the crest. If the dog gets off line to the right or goes too far, she can get out of sight. In the past, Laddie has required multiple casts to prevent him from cheating around the big ditch to the left. Today, I only needed a single cast "back", just as he started to veer left.
C and D (two skimming blinds). Our work on the Skimming Drill is paying off! Laddie required no handling on either of these retrieves.
E (180-yard channel blind). I had Laddie run (swim) this retrieve twice. The first time he got out of the water on the left 30 yards from the blind. The second time, he still required some handling, but he stayed in the water the whole way out.
F (340 yard land/water blind). Laddie has swum the water portion of this retrieve before, but that was from inside the road. Today, we ran it from the top of the hill near the barn. Laddie required handling to get past the first point, and also to get onto the second point, but he responded in both cases, which I think was good work at those distances.
G (180-yard land blind over a mound). For this retrieve, the dog runs from one mound near the barn, down a hill, across a road, over a second mound, and then picks up the blind on a third mound, all in a straight line. Laddie had considerable difficulty with this retrieve, repeatedly trying to round the middle mound to the left or right. After several tries, I shortened it up enough for him to succeed, and then had him rerun it from increasing distances till he finally ran the full route. However, I am not happy with how many times I expected him to be able to take the middle mound on his own when he wasn't ready, and had to call him back to try again. As a result, on the last retrieve he popped three times, clearly not confident in his understanding of what was required to avoid being called back. Hopefully we can work on this or something similar soon, and rebuild his confidence on this picture.