In the sessions since my last post, Laddie and I, training alone, have begun to generalize his new-found ability to run cold blinds involving on-and-off points without vocalizing. To do this, we run mixture of such blinds with poorman sand remote singles, repeating a particular retrieve only if Laddie needs to be called back, for example for barking on a cast or running the bank on a re-entry.
I've been gradually increasing distance and difficulty. As a result, some of today's blinds, and some of the marks, were more difficult than many of the water blinds and marks we've had in Quals, though of course we rarely see singles in Quals.
By the way, by "poorman" marks, I mean that I leave Laddie in a sit at the start line, go out and their the mark or marks, and then return to Laddie's side to send him.
By "remote" marks, I mean that I call out his name to send him, from either the position I threw from or a position as I'm walking back to him. He then delivers to wherever I wait for him.
Now that we are working on generalizing rather than training Laddie's new skill (taking casts without vocalizing), Laddie's success rate, which corresponds to Rate of Reinforcement (ROR), is higher than it usually has been for the last month since we started devocalization training, and I think it subtly shows in Laddie's lighthearted demeanor. These sessions are less frustrating for me as well, and seeing the quality of Laddie's work on some of these challenging setups is highly rewarding.