Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Water marks: corners and reentries

Yesterday, Laddie and I traveled with a single assistant to the closest training property with technical water. There we made a complete circuit of the property, stopping along the way to run about ten water marks that would challenge Laddie's "water honesty," that is, willingness to swim across a section of water to stay on line to a mark rather than running around the water.

Eight of the marks were thrown from a corner of a pond up the shore, so that Laddie needed to take an angle entry into the water and swim across the corner. Two others required Laddie first to swim across a channel, then over a small amount of land to reach a point of reentry into a second section of water and across a corner to the mark. Those two marks were the fifth and tenth of the set Laddie ran.

All were run with a bird-girl in a white jacket firing a pistol and throwing a white bumper. I used setups with the longest land entries I could find, so that Laddie was as far from the influence of my proximity as possible when he reached the water entry.

Of the first seven marks, Laddie ran two correctly the first time. For all the others, he tried to "cheat" around the corner. In each case, I called out "No!" then called him back to heel and sent him again. In four of those five cases, he ran it correctly the second time. For the one that he again started to cheat, which was the sixth mark of the day, I called him back a short way, then used whistle and handling cues to handle him into the water.

The last three marks of the day were as difficult as any of those that had come before, and the last was a diagonal swim across a channel before crossing a point of land and taking a reentry across a corner of water. But Laddie ran all three of those correctly the first time, with no need to call him back or handle.

At last he was running those situations the way he'll need to if we run into one of them in a trial.

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