For Thursday's session, I picked up one assistant and we trained again at our nearest training property. The work went as follows:
Series A. Water double
This was a momma-poppa double. The momma was thrown to the left, from a point over a channel, a bridge configuration. The poppa go-bird was thrown to the right. The line to the go-bird included a difficult angle entry as a water re-entry.
Laddie ran both marks well and without difficulty.
Series B. Water triple
Using a complicated sequence of steps by my assistant, this triple consisted of a retired momma-poppa and a re-entry mark as the go-bird.
First I placed chairs with white jackets at each gunner station. Then Laddie and I came to our start line while my assistant waited at the momma-poppa station beyond the left corner of the pond we were using. He threw the momma LTR on an angle back, then the poppa RTL on an angle in across the corner of the pond.
Next I three a side throw into the water to distract Laddie. As he retrieves it, my assistant left the white jacket on the momma-poppa chair and ran to the other chair. When Laddie returned with the side throw, my assistant threw the go-bird mark LTR on an angle back. The line to that mark included a difficult re-entry. Laddie nailed that mark.
As Laddie was coming back from the go-bird, my assistant ran back to the momma-poppa chair, grabbed the white jacket, and ran back. So when Laddie returned to the start line, the momma-poppa gun station was retired.
I then sent Laddie to pick up the mark on the left, and the the mark at the end of the pond and across a land segment to the tree line.
Laddie did fine on all three of these marks.
Series C. Water triple
Whereas Series B was a momma-poppa water double followed by a re-entry water mark, Series C was a re-entry water mark followed by a momma-poppa water double.
This one was run as follows:
First, my assistant threw from the right gun station, LTR on an angle back. Then I threw a side-throw fit Laddie to give my assistant time to run to the other gun station on the left. Then my assistant threw the momma RTL on an angle back, and the poppa RTL on an angle in as the go-bird.
Both the first and last throws of the triples were difficult re-entries, and in each case, Laddie began to run the bank after he crossed the first water segment. In each case, I called him all the way back to the start line and sent him again, and then he ran the mark correctly.
After Laddie ran both re-entries, I sent him to pick up the momma throw, which was on a line that crossed a channel on a diagonal, then took a land segment immediately in front of and to the left of the gunner, then continued to the side of a large shrub. It had been a long time since Laddie had seen that throw, and it's unusual for me to set up a momma-poppa with both throws to the same side, so Laddie took a line behind the gunner and then ran thirty yards past the shrub on the wrong side. But he then checked straight back to the mark.
Series D. Land blind
For the land blind, I set up a scenario similar to many qual land blinds I've seen: a 200y+ blind along the edge of a section of woods, with the blind planted twenty yards beyond the end of the wooded section, visually inviting the dog to wrap around behind the woods and out of sight, thus a DQ.
Laddie had one slow whistle sit and I walked out to pick him up. After that, his whistle sits were good, and he took good care most of the way, though he kept scalloping toward the woods, as most dogs running such a blind tend to do in my experience. Unfortunately, Laddie did take the wrap and slipped the whistle when I tried to stop him. He can back into sight when I blew a come-in whistle and took a cast to the blind, and that might have been good enough to pass a qual, depending on the judges, but if I'd had more time, I should have walked all the way out and bright him back when he slipped that whistle on the wrap. But that would have taken at least another twenty minutes, maybe longer, and I couldn't afford the time.
Overall I felt this session provided Laddie with a good rate of reinforcement while still practicing a useful set of challenges.