Thursday, March 8, 2012

Early spring water work

Seneca Creek Park

Though it's still technically winter, we had temps in the low 70s today, so I decided to try Laddie on some longish swims, 120-150y. We trained at a regional park where, fortunately,  I  was able to obtain permission to train Laddie off lead from the park manager a few weeks ago.

I found a stretch of shore with a slight point of land protruding at midpoint and ran Laddie in blinds to 2" orange bumpers in both directions. I was able to handle him on and off the point the second time. 
A bystander began asking questions, and after awhile, I asked her to throw a double for Laddie. Wearing my white handlers jacket, she threw a 3" white bumper as memory-bird on the far shore, and a go-bird as far out into the choppy water as she could throw a 2" white bumper.  I forgot to tell her to say hey-hey, but Laddie saw both throws.

The challenge in the go-bird was that the bumper was invisible from the distance. Laddie had to hold his line in 15-20 mph winds, gusting to 40, blowing into shore, and yet compensate for the current carrying the bumper back toward the thrower. I don't actually understand how he figured out the trajectory, but after the long swim, I saw him swimming back toward me. Had he given up? No, soon I saw the bumper in his mouth. He had apparently swum straight to it and had not needed to hunt in the waves.

The challenge on the memory-bird was the point of land. The strong wind and current pushed Laddie hard toward shore, but as on the blinds and the first mark, he shouldered into them, refusing to give in. He held his line all the way to the far shore, arcing out just a little to stay clear of the point.

I felt good about his work.


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