Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking birds

Rixeyville, VA.  Overcast, high 40s, light wind.

Today, it was just Dave, Laddie and me. 

A) Bumper Boy with stickman used for #1 at 160y. Dave in white jacket threw a pheasant at 30y for #2. Then he shot a pheasant flyer at 30y for the go-bird. Laddie picked up the marks, then ran a blind at 240y.

I moved Laddie to the side of our previous SL, cued "sit, just watch," and Laddie watched as the same three marks were thrown. Then I took a step that placed me between Laddie and the flyer and heeled him back to the van for some chasing games with his softball. Dave picked up the birds.

B) Bumper Boy and stickman used for #1 at 90y. With the bumper lying there, I ran Laddie on a blind at 130y, the line just "behind the gun" of the first throw. Then Dave threw a pheasant at 30y and shot a pheasant flyer at 40y. Laddie picked up the two short marks, then the longer memory bird.

Laddie's performance: Laddie had a slow sit when racing downhill on the first blind, and a slipped whistle 20y from that blind when he had apparently scented or spotted the blind, which was marked with a lining pole. He also had a looping line to the bumper the final mark of the day, though on the outside, not getting behind the gun. Aside from that, his performance was excellent: nailing marks, taking whistles and casts, and steady both working and honoring each series. 

Today, Laddie wore his tab but I never touched it. Instead I leaned over Laddie enough that I'd be able to push him back down if he tried to stand, which he didn't. My intention is to gradually fade that stance till Laddie can honor a breaking bird with me standing erect several yards away. We have several months to work up to that before Laddie competes again in the spring. Since the tab is currently irrelevant to our training, I may eventually start running Laddie without it, but for now I'll continue having him wear it in case we need to go back to restraining him that way.


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