Yesterday I took Laddie and two assistants out to work on tight angles between retrieves - in this case, a hip-pocket double, plus a land blind under the arc of the short mark and therefore on a line in the middle of the already tight angle between the two marks. I hadn't designed the second series yet, but I typically use a mirror image of the same concepts on another part of the field.
Unfortunately, however, we were working in the midst of a thunderstorm watch and a lightning flash appeared in the sky as Laddie running the blind. Naturally we all headed for the van that was the end of that session.
Since Laddie had not had much work, I felt it wouldn't be too soon to run him on a couple of long blinds this morning before work, with lower temps and no storm.
Therefore I took him to another new field I found in addition to the field I mentioned in a recent post. This one is a future construction site, and is big enough that I was able to run Laddie on a 330y blind in one direction and a 550y blind in another.
Laddie ran both blinds in a fairly tight corridor, but I placed lining poles, with ribbons at the top, on one side of the line to each blind every hundred yards, creating a lot of diversions, and that meant using a lot of whistles. As I've mentioned previously, I can't wait for Laddie to break off line when i know a diversion is about to become visible, because if I do, by the time I react, he's already gone too far. The greater the distance, the more necessary it is for me to stop him in anticipation of a break, because it takes a noticeable amount of time for the sound of the whistle to reach a dog at longer distances.
In retrospect, I now question whether adding a continuous stream of diversions was a good idea. On the one hand, it gave us lots of practice at control in a short amount of time, and perhaps will make Laddie more resistant to diversions in the future. But on the other hand, it meant that Laddie never got up much momentum. While Laddie has been doing this too long for me to worry about damaging his motivation in one fairly innocuous session, I could imagine him beginning to believe that a steady stream of short carries interrupted with whistles is a normal rhythm for a long blind. I would much prefer him to have the expectation of long carries and minimal whistles, which I'm certain is his preference as well.
Hmm, one more training puzzle to solve. I guess the answer, as usual, is balance. In this case, that would translate to occasional sessions like today's, mixed with sessions on other days not containing many diversions and therefore making possible long carries and few whistles.
At least I hope that's the answer.