Sunday, November 27, 2011

Honoring flyers with remote handler

Rixeyville, VA.  Sunny day, 56 degrees, light wind.

Today, Dave brought four chukars, but no training buddy.  I had Lumi & Laddie with me, goal as always for our Sunday sessions was to work on Laddie's steadiness, especially on honor.

Possible configurations for Laddie honoring Lumi included running Lumi on a long line while standing in normal honor position with Laddie (which I considered risky to Lumi and too unnatural a picture for Laddie's event prep), and having Laddie on a long line while running Lumi on a tab (which I considered risky for Laddie). As a third option I discarded, I was pretty sure Lumi would break if I tried to depend on her to watch a triple with flyer go-bird.

So, based on Laddie's recent excellent history of steadiness, I decided to have him honor with no handler while I ran Lumi on her tab. Laddie, as usual at practice, was wearing his tab, but I never touched it all day.

We ran two triples, similar but different distances, orientations,  and positions. In each case, we used a Bumper Boy and stickman for the long memory-bird, Dave threw a pheasant for the second bird, and Dave shot a chukar for the go-bird.  Hilly terrain made all falls invisible from SL. The go-bird fell at 100y from Laddie in Series A, at 25y from Laddie in Series B.  Series B was a real breaking situation even for a normal honor, and this was a remote honor.

I think that for the honoring dog, it's difficult to watch the working dog run across your line of vision to the go-bird, and it's also difficult to watch the working dog run away from you toward the go-bird. We have seen both in trials and practice both.  Today, I had Laddie watch Lumi run away from him toward the flyer go-bird.

For each series, first I ran Laddie on the triple. Then I got Lumi out of the van.  I set up Laddie in honoring position 5y from the SL.  I stood in my normal honoring position at Laddie's right flank and said, "sit, just watch [our honoring cue]," several times. Leaving Laddie there, I then ran Lumi on the triple on her tab at the SL, though keeping my eye on Laddie the entire time.

Laddie was explosive as always on his marks, but he didn't even creep while working, much less break.  Honoring while sitting all by himself, he was alert but relaxed and never even stood up.  I'd even say he looked a bit bored when honoring in the second series.  Wow!


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