Monday, June 10, 2013

Land blinds in the rain

For some time now, I've stopped recording most routine training sessions. However, this week, I just wanted to record our training in preparation for the Qual on Friday, so I or others can look back on it in the future.

Today I probably would have run Laddie on big land triples if I could have, but I was only able to line up one assistant. So I decided to run Laddie on Qual-level land blinds. I asked my assistant to watch our work closely, and let me know if she saw Laddie slip any whistles or go the wrong way on any casts. It's surprisingly difficult to remember those things when you look back on a blind, even just a few seconds after it's done. Videos are great, though a bit tricky at FT distances. Anyway, an assistant is one way to get the data, assuming she understood what I was asking her to do.

The first blind was 140y, with a tight keyhole thru a gap in a cluster of bushes at 120y out. The second blind was 220y, over diagonal inclines, declines, and ridges, then thru a line of shrubby cover. The third blind was 230y, diagonally crossing a dirt road and the aligned terrain on either side of it, with a wrap on the left at 180y that the dog could veer behind and out of sight.

Laddie, who is an excellent lining dog, had little difficulty with any of today's blinds. When I lined him up the keyhole and sent him "back", he did try to veer around the outside of the shrub cluster at the last moment, but I stopped him in time, repositioned him in front of the obstacle, and then he took the cast into the gap. He two-whistled the second blind. The wrap never became a factor in the third blind because he chose to stay on the other side of the line most of the time.

Unfortunately, neither I nor my assistant are proficient enough in the ways of Qual judges to know for sure that Laddie would have been called back from each of those blinds. That's another example of the fact that, no matter how good your dog is, training without experienced field trial trainers is such a huge disadvantage competing against the better dogs in a stake.


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