Sunday, February 24, 2013

Convergent memory-birds at Byron's farm

This morning, Laddie and I trained with the same FT group again, this time at Byron's farm. I'm so grateful we're having opportunities to train with other FT trainers again.

Today we ran a long key-hole blind, then an FT-scale triple, then a Master-scale triple complete with duck calls and hidden guns, and finally another FT-scale triple — this time in indent configuration, around the horn with the middle gun retired — with two more key-hole triples, one Master-scale and outside the triple, the other FT-scale and behind the middle gun.

Between yesterday and today, I noticed something that for some reason I haven't really appreciated in the past: what a difficult concept convergent memory-birds within a triple or quad can be. I think it seems to be especially difficult if the two marks are different distances and within a relatively tight angle, but not in line.

I also noticed that retiring the short gun makes it worse, assuming you want the dog to pick the short mark first. The reason I say this is that with the long gunner visible, the dog is likely to select the long mark as the first one to run. But if you want the judges to see your dog nail every mark, depending on the wind, you may not want the dog to head for the long mark first, because the dog might suddenly change direction on the way out because of catching sight or scent of the short bird. So the dog needs to learn to pick up the short mark first in that picture.

In addition, I think retiring the longer gun may actually make setups like those easier. Leaving the long gun out makes it more likely the dog will "lie", that is, take an initial line as sent to the retired mark but then, catching sight of the long gunner, swerve over in that direction.

Convergent memory-birds: Definitely something for us to work on.

NOTE: Although I highlighted convergent memory-marks in this post, I guess any setup featuring relatively tight memory-birds with the short gun retired is worth working on, and having the longer gun retired in those situations makes the setup easier for the same reason as mentioned above.

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