Wednesday, May 20, 2015

First day of seminar

Laddie and I are back at the same location where we previously had to stop on the second day of a five day seminar because Laddie was injured. That left us with a three-day credit, which conveniently matched up with the three day seminar we're participating in this week, beginning today.

I arrived a few minutes early and ran Laddie on a single tune-up blind, 120y with a keyhole at 90y. I was prepared to walk out, pick him up, and re-run the blind if his sits were slow, but they weren't.

With the group, we then ran three series, as follows.

Series A. Two water singles and a water double

One of the stations was throwing two birds, one to the left and one to the right, as a momma-poppa double, with the two singles, one long and one shorter, both to the left of the double, as the singles. The sequence was short single, momma-poppa double, long single.

The pro encourages all of us to run each setup as we feel is best for our dogs, and I didn't feel that was a good sequence of throws for Laddie. First, I know that Laddie, like other dogs I've seen at every level, is inconsistent in his likelihood of success on running momma-poppa doubles without either handling or help from thrower, and second, I've never seen a momma-poppa double in a qual, though I have seen them in Master tests and even a Senior once, though not at field trial distances. Third, I wanted to start with two singles, and then make the decision of whether to run the last two marks as singles or a double after seeing how Laddie did on the singles.

Accordingly, I asked for the left-most single first, and then outside throw of the momma-poppa station as a single second. Laddie nailed both of those, so I then asked for the long mark, and the inside throw from the momma-poppa station, as a double, with the long gunner retired. Laddie nailed the go-bird and ran a nice mark on the retired long mark.

Series B. Water triple

Here again, I ran Laddie on the same setup as the other trainers, but I ran it differently than the others.

The setup consisted of a long water mark on the left, a medium-length water mark in center with most people running that with the gun retired, and a shorter water mark on the right. Everyone else ran that either as a double made up of the right two marks a long single on the left, or as three singles.

For Laddie, I asked that it be thrown as a round-the-horn triple, with the intention of running the middle retired gun as the first memory-bird (after the short go-bird), and the long mark as the final memory-bird. That had the advantage of challenging Laddie to run the middle retired mark while the long gunner was visible.

Laddie nailed the go-bird, needed a handle to avoid cheating water on the retired mark but otherwise ran it well, and was nice and watery around the points of land but then needed some hunting on both sides of the gun on the long mark, but the pro said he'd still run it well, I guess considering the difficulty of the configuration.

Series C. Double water blind

With the exception of one dog who ran a slightly modified version of the longer blind, everyone ran the two water blinds the same way, the shorter one first, then the longer one. They were on a fairly tight angle to one another, and both involved several water re-entries. The pro told us these were all-age blinds, and I felt Laddie did a reasonable job on both of them, with good line mechanics, fairly good initial lines (not his best, but not terrible), tight whistle sits, and generally good casts.

But he did have two problems none of the other dogs had. First, he vocalized on one or two of the early casts on each blind. I still don't understand why he vocalizes, and I don't understand why he's more likely to do it on the first cast or two while rarely doing it after that. The first time he did it, I called him back, but when he did it again, I commented to the pro, "We can't work on everything," and I let it go. He was in agreement with my rationale, which made me feel a lot better than he might realize.

The other problem was that on the last re-entry of the long blind, the dog would have to launch into the water thru a thick curtain of reeds and would then disappear for some time. If the dog continued straight, as several of them did, then the dog would be in good position to complete the last 30y or so of the blind, finishing that swim, pushing thru more reeds, and running a few yards on land to a lining pole and the bumpers. But Laddie, like one or two of the others, came visible at land fall to the right rather than in the middle of the water, and had to be cast back into the water, then stopped again on line, and sent back to complete the blind. My feeling was that if other dogs could launch into that water and carry straight, Laddie should have been able to as well. On the other hand, today was the first time he's been in water for several weeks, and given the difficulty of the blinds, his performance wasn't really that bad. At least, that's the indication I felt I got from the pro.

Because we had a small group today, we were able to fit all of this work -- a total of six water marks and two water blinds -- into six hours. And because all of the retrieves included a significant swimming, the heat, which reached the low 80s, wasn't too bad. Today might have been a bit much for Laddie's conditioning, and I guess he'll sleep well tonight. But I saw no hint of soreness, so knock on wood, we should be in good shape for tomorrow.

No comments:

[Note that entries are displayed from newest to oldest.]