Although I haven't had time to write up every training session, Laddie and I have continued to train together continuously, sometimes on consecutive days, sometimes with a rest day or two. We've trained in the group I mentioned recently whenever possible, we've trained with as many as three of my own assistants, we've trained at a variety of locations, and we've trained on a wide variety of skills, from retired converging water triples, to re-entry challenges, to land and water blinds with many kinds of factors.
Meanwhile, Laddie is dealing with a number of areas of discomfort. DW Renée has a new puppy, a beautiful British Cream Golden named Ryley, now nine weeks old, and I'm adamant about keeping them apart, which means Laddie doesn't have the access to Renée and the household he's had his whole life. He seems to have an infection in one ear, mild I believe, but causing some discharge and regular head-shaking. From one or more of the locations where we trained or completed the last few weeks, he has insect bites all over his body, including his ear flaps and paws. And he has at least four hotspots, including one quite large on his cheek.
With temps climbing into the 80s and 90s most days, and school hours limiting scheduling options with my assistants, plus time pressure from both my full-time job and my consulting work, it would be easy for me to forego so much training. But I've entered Laddie in a qual for next Friday, and I'll do what I can to help him prepare.
Today was a typical challenge. The weatherman is calling for 90°+ by noon, but none of my assistants were available for an early session, and I haven't been able to make contact with my new training group. So my choices were to run Laddie in high temps at midday, or take him out early by myself. I opted for the latter, and we headed for the nearby abandoned golf course a little after sunrise.
There we ran three poorman land triples and there land blinds, keeping Laddie out of the stagnant water in the various ponds and ditches. To run a poorman triple, I would put Laddie in a sit at the start line, then walk out and throw each of marks, then come back to him and run him on the now-retired marks. Though probably not as beneficial as running a triple with real gunners, I included a tight converging double in all of the triples and two of them in the last one, so I believe they were still useful pictures for Laddie to practice, and exercised both his memory and his tolerance for frustration with difficult configurations.
As for the blinds, all featured rolling terrain and patches of thick cover. In addition, two featured potential wraps, two featured keyholes at distance, and one featured both. Laddie had no slow sits and no refused casts, making all of the blinds look easy though I don't think they were.
I'll rest Laddie the remainder of the day, and see what training I can arrange for the rest of the week.