Some thoughts on Laddie and water:
- Laddie likes to cool off in water when he's hot. This has nothing to do with retrieving and is in fact a training challenge. I designed a drill a couple of years that seems to have put that issue behind us most of the time, though occasionally it still crops up.
- Laddie is so crazy about going out to a thrown article that he'd probably run thru a brick wall and look like he was enjoying it. It is a waste of time to judge Laddie's attitudes about water based on his send outs on marks, especially the go-bird.
- Although it's pleasant to think that Laddie's vocalizing is actually exuberance based on a love of water, it's hard to see the huge problem he used to have with LWL returns, and his new problem with going OOC at the line, in that light. Those clearly were and are avoidance behaviors. Not necessarily of water, but of something, and water looks like an excellent candidate.
- Eventually Laddie became able to perform LWL returns, and as I continue to strengthen his response to "heel", I may be able to eliminate going OOC at the line as a concern in competition. But should I ignore the underlying reason for the behavior in the first place, wherever it may be, perhaps water aversion?
- If I could somehow develop in Laddie a powerful affection for going to an unseen target, comparable to his attraction to a thrown target, it could conceivably solve both the OOC issue and the vocalizing. This is not to say I know how, but it seems to cover the data points on where Laddie is with water. He might still not like water per se, but it wouldn't matter.
More on that last point in future posts, hopefully.