Monday, June 30, 2014

Follow up on yesterday's group training day

When I reread yesterday's post about Laddie's work at the group training day, I saw that it did not seem to reflect my generally positive feeling about Laddie's work. So I thought I'd explain that Laddie was running perhaps the most difficult versions of each series.

For example, for Series A, as far as I know, none of the dogs ran the long blind on the right under the arc while the poison bird was still down, and if any did, it was only one or two of the most advanced dogs. But unlike Laddie, many of the dogs ran the shorter blind on the right without the poison bird down. In addition, as far as I know, no dog ran a tighter line on either of the blinds, and several required significantly more handling.

For Series B, no other dog ran it as a full quad with all the memory birds retired, and as far as I can remember, everyone except Laddie who ran #2 (the water mark) with the gun retired had the gunner un-retire, and in several cases even throw another bumper, before sending the dog. Yet Laddie was one of the only dogs, or perhaps the only dog who completed the final land segment to the fall without a hunt. Also, Laddie was not the only dog who got on the last point and then tried to run the bank, and at least one dog, and possibly several, actually did run the bank since the handler did not or could not bring the dog back.

Finally, many of the dogs ran #1 (the longest mark) with the gun out, and most or all of those few who ran it with the gun retired as Laddie did also had big hunts, and in some cases also needed help.

In other words, while Laddie's work was not perfect, it was actually quite good despite the fact that he was running particularly difficult versions of the setups. 

Given how much more experience some/most of those trainers have than me, and given how much more experience with all-age trials some of the dogs have than Laddie (who broke on the first series of his only all-age stake), I think it's fair to question whether I used good judgment in running the versions that I did. I felt that Laddie and I benefited from the training, but given that we choose pretty much the most difficult options, I wonder if a more experienced trainer working with Laddie would have opted for easier versions.

One last note. I mentioned in the earlier post that Laddie has little experience with quads, but this morning I realized that that's not entirely true. Evey morning I take Laddie into the front yard to run one or more little marks before letting him air to get him used to coming straight back even when he feels a need to mark or eliminate, since we were once dropped from a qual after three good series with the explanation from the judge, "too much airing on returns."

Well, after Laddie got his MH, I began running most of those morning exercises as little quads. So Laddie has had an opportunity to practice counting to four.

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