Friday, July 3, 2015

Three triples next to a pond, and a treeline blind, at a golf course

Today I picked up an assistant and drove with him and Laddie to a nearby, recently abandoned golf course. Though not close in quality as a training locale to a dedicated retriever training property like the farm where we've been training recently, the golf course is much closer and we had it to ourselves, except for a lone runner who came thru at one point. Since today is a federal holiday I was afraid we might run into too many other trainers at the farm.

Since Laddie was knocked out of his last two trials after arriving at the last series, the water triple, at or near first place, we've been focusing on water triples (or, in some cases, doubles) for the last several sessions. However, I haven't been using three assistants because of the expense or, in some cases, lack of availability.

I've used a number of strategies for running a triple with only one or two assistants, as described in the last few posts. Today, I used one of those strategies, and I also introduced a different strategy for two of the triples: I had my assistant throw a momma-poppa, and then I left Laddie in a sit while I went to the go-bird gun station to throw the last mark, and then returned to run Laddie on all the marks.

Here's a description of the three triples, followed by a treeline blind, we ran today:

Series A. Water triple

I started by putting out two chairs with white jackets. My assistant threw a momma-poppa from the first chair, then I threw a side-throw so that he could move to the other chair, and there he threw the go-bird. The line to the go-bird included an angle entry across a thin slice of the pond. Laddie started to run the bank, so I called him back and re-sent him. He then ran a good line. The same thing then happened on the poppa, which was thrown in the middle on a line that was under the arc of the go-bird (something I've never seen in an event, but that's what I set up). That mark was longer than the go-bird but also featured an angle entry across a thin slice of the pond, and again, Laddie got it wrong the first time and right the second time. Finally, Laddie nailed the long memory bird on the left, which included diagonally crossing a water-filled ditch.

Series B. Land/water triple

I left the first chair from Series A where it was, but moved the second chair to the opposite side of our start line, which I also moved some distance to change the angles. I positioned my assistant at the new chair placement and showed Laddie both gun stations, then called for the first bird, the momma of a momma-poppa thrown by my assistant. This mark had no water segment and was in open field, away from any features. Next I called for the poppa. Then I left Laddie at the start line and walked to the chair we'd used for the Series A momma-poppa, and threw a mark similar to that poppa as the go-bird. Finally I returned to the start line and ran Laddie on all three marks.

This time, Laddie ran the go-bird correctly the first time, but he again needed two tries on the middle bird, starting to run the bank the first time I sent him. Finally he nailed the momma, which turned out to be too easy for any useful training as far as I could see.

Series C. Land/water triple

I again positioned two chairs with white jackets and positioned my assistant at one of them. He again threw the momma of a momma-poppa as a land mark for the first throw, though this time on an angle in, which I hoped might provide some training benefit as a check-down. The poppa was thrown to the edge of the pond into a clump of reeds. Next I left Laddie at the start line and went to the other chair, threw the go-bird, and returned to run Laddie on all three marks.

Although the go-bird was another difficult angle-entry with an easy cheat, Laddie ran it correctly the first time. The line to the middle bird was another difficult angle-entry with an easy cheat, then a shoreline swim to a point that the line was outside of, then another shoreline swim to the mark. Laddie took the water entry correctly the first time, and might have completed the entire mark correctly without handling. But I thought he was veering too close to the shore after he passed the point, and I didn't want to reach the shore so I blew my whistle and cast him back away from the shoreline. He took the cast and completed the mark on a good line. He then nailed the memory-bird, the check-down providing no noticeable challenge. He just ran straight to it.

Series D. Treeline blind

Once again I set up a land blind to end the day's work, and once again I had the line run past a treeline (today's was on the left) that ended with an opening that would tend to act as suction for the dog to wrap around the trees and into that opening. Today's blind was 300y+, hilly, and started with a short land segment to a diagonal crossing of a ditch, with a large branch on the far shore that Laddie would have to run around and off line, then get back on line. The rest of the blind was wide open on the left as the dog approached the woods, then past the woods to the blind. Laddie needed about ten whistles to make a zig-zag run of the entire blind within a reasonably narrow corridor, but had good whistle sits, reasonable casts, and no auto-casts. He didn't attempt to wrap around the woods at the end, and remained in control the whole time to the blind.

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