Saturday, October 1, 2011

Land triples, water double

Cheltenham, light rain, 50s.

Today was another club training day, with nine dogs in the advanced group, giving us enough time for two land series and a water series and still finishing up in early afternoon.

Since these were mostly Hunt Test trainers, we used duck calls and hidden guns, except for the two go-birds where I asked the throwers to stay out (see below).  All today's training was done with bumpers.

Laddie and I didn't run these setups like any of the other dogs, so I'll just describe how we ran them.

For the first series, I asked for the throws to be made around the horn, starting on the right. I requested the final thrower to stay out. After all the marks were down, I ran Laddie on a blind between the second and third marks. Then I had Laddie pick up the marks outer-outer-inner, that is, shortest to longest, go-bird first. Finally, I ran him on a blind outside of the first mark.

For the second series, I asked for the throws to be made around the horn again, this time left mark first. For the first mark, I started with Laddie in the holding blind and asked the thrower to place his bumper in cover where it would have landed if thrown. Then I brought Laddie to the line and asked that that thrower pretend to make a big throw, complete with gunshot, but not actually throw anything. Next the middle gun threw, and then the short mark across a road on the right. Once again I asked the last thrower to stay out. I then ran laddie on a blind between the two guns on the right, and then had him pick up the marks in the reverse order thrown, again shortest to longest. For the middle mark, he ended up picking up one of the bumpers that had been placed on a mound 30y to the right of the second mark, the same place he had picked up his second blind earlier and now being used as a senior/master blind for some of the other dogs. I decided not to interfere with his completing that retrieve, trading it as though that was the actual throw. I was pleased with Laddie's nice line on the money bird. The fake throw didn't seem to have confused him at all.

Laddie ran the water series as a double followed by a longish blind. The  first mark down required the dog to run a short land segment, take a difficult angle entry into the water, swim a wide channel to the end, run across a narrow strip of land, and then re-enter water into a cove where the bumper had been thrown on an angle back, not visible after it landed until the dog was on the strip of land. The second mark was also thrown on an angle back. It was thrown into open water, with the line to the mark passing close to the point of the peninsula from which the throw had been made. Strong wind and current quickly pushed that bumper toward the peninsula, so even though that was the go-bird, the line to the mark got tighter and tighter to the point as Laddie was swimming.  Although Laddie remained clear if the point, I decided to handle him once it appeared to me that he was uncertain whether to go on or off the point, my intent being to eliminate the uncertainty and perhaps reinforce his previous training and current inclination to stay off points on marks.

Laddie then picked up the memory-bird, taking the angle entry into the first water nicely, bailing out a bit early on the channel swim, and immediately launching into the far cove to the bumper. Finally I ran Laddie on a blind under the arc of the go-bird. I was pleased with how he did. He took an initial line onto the point, sat when I whistled, took an "over"  off the point directly into the wind, stopped in the water after a few yards and looked at me when I again blew a sit whistle, and took a good "back" cast across a relatively big expanse of water straight to the blind.

It was great getting some group training in. I couldn't compare Laddie's work to the other dogs because we were running the setups differently, but I thought Laddie did a fairly good job all day.


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