Sunday, July 20, 2014

Big field and angled beach

After a club training day last Sunday, and anticipating group training this weekend, and also taking scheduling constraints into account, I rested Laddie Monday and Thursday, ran big converging double on a hay field on Tuesday morning, and took Laddie and one assistant to a training property on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons.

In those afternoon sessions, we worked on the challenge of an angled beach, that is, not veering off while swimming in order to square an approaching shoreline even though starting on line means staying in the water longer.

Like most if not all training, this work involved using setups that the dog could easily execute correctly except for one particular facet, so that the trainer can clearly communicate the one change in the dog's behavior that would allow the dog to obtain reinforcement by achieving the dog's goal of getting to the bird, or in this case, a bumper thrown with a gunshot by our assistant.

Given Laddie's particular skill level, the high afternoon temperatures, and my desire to get in as much practice as possible while Laddie remained fresh, this meant a short land segment, a short swim to an angled shoreline, and a proportionately long final land segment to a lining pole with a ribbon tied to the top, to such the bumper had been thrown, so that the desired line was always clearly visible.

Over three such sessions, using as many locations on the property as I could find to produce such setups, Laddie made continuous progress on understanding the desired concept, resulting in more and more successes without the need to stop him and either call him back or use a cast to correct his line.

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