Sunday, April 10, 2011

Walk-up diversions, de-popping

[Transcribed from @LindsayRidgeway tweets]

Rolling Ridge

Nate came out to throw for us (yay!). Overcast, 53°, wind calm.

First, a couple of walk-up diversions, then, for balance, a couple of de-popping marks. Details:

A) Using my van as a holding blind, began walking toward right of field. Nate, from behind holding blind on the right at 30y, blows duck-call excitedly, fires pistol twice and throws white bumper LTR into open area in clear sight of dog. Instead of sending dog to that mark, I run Laddie on difficult 110y water blind to the left, featuring sharp angle entry after steep descent down embankment, shoreline suction, and several geese on water who are giving ground only reluctantly. After blind, Laddie is sent to diversion.

Judging by Laddie's vocalizations, this was a frustrating set-up for Laddie, but he showed excellent control on the blind.

LESSON: In this series, I learned that the key to keeping Laddie from breaking to the diversion bird when I'm trying to swing him to my other side to run the blind first, is the same as preventing a dog from breaking after a no-bird is called, namely, an emphatic "sit" as many times as needed for dog's body language to show he/she is in control.

B) Again using the van as a holding blind for the walk-up, this time the diversion mark was thrown on the left side of the field, LTR at 60y. Then I ran Laddie on a difficult land blind on the right side of the field, on a line 45° to the right of the line to the diversion bird. The line to the blind featured two angle entries into high cover, rough footing, and wet, swampy terrain at the second area of high cover, with the blind planted on the far side of a shallow creek. I sent Laddie to pick up the diversion bird (white bumper) after running the blind.

C) 350y mark thrown first, then a short throw to the side. Long gunner retires while dog picks up the short mark. Line to long mark hilly, includes run along side slope, and ends in large field of high cover. Design intended to maximize uncertainty, requiring dog not to pop despite that uncertainty. Laddie did nice job, needed longish hunt in high cover without leaving area of the fall, and most importantly for this exercise, never looked toward start line, that is, never popped.

D) Similar set-up to (C) but mirror image, 320y. This time, the line to the mark crossed a creek and thick underbrush. Laddie ran this with great confidence, seemingly completely unconcerned, possibly unaware, that gunner was retired. Nice ending to an excellent session.

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