Monday, August 17, 2015

A water blind, three water singles, and two more water blinds

Today a friend invited me to train with a small group on a fabulous technical pond, once used I believe for a National.

My friend said that if I arrived earlier than others, I could run Laddie on a blind, so that's what I did. Then, with the group, he ran three water singles with guns out as if for doubles. Finally he ran two more water blinds.

The grounds and sky were beautiful, but temps reached the high 80s. We trained both experienced dogs and inexperienced ones on various setups, so it was a long and physically demanding day for the trainers as well as the dogs.

I won't take your time to describe the setups in to much detail unless someone asks me to. I'll just mention that the marks and the last two blinds were designed by the highly experienced and successful trainer who led our group, and he made challenging use of the many points of land that crisscross the pond, in three cases also making use of the full length of the pond.

Laddie's work: He did a good job on my blind. He nailed the first single. He tried to cheat the fourth re-entry of the second single the first time he ran it, so I called him back and had him run it again, and this time he nailed it. Then he nailed the last and longest single, going over a point and then making a long channel swim between points in both sides.

When he then ran the blinds, he took great initial lines on both of them. The first featured a difficult re-entry which he ran perfectly without a whistle, lining the blind. The second was another long channel swim, then over two points. He one-whistled that, needing the whistle because he intended to swim around the point after getting thru the channel on his initial line. At the lead trainer's suggestion, I handled Laddie toward the point crossing as soon as it was clear that he was planning to stay in the water, so that he wouldn't have a chance to feel reinforced for that decision, a good lesson for me. The trainer also suggested that if Laddie had good momentum, which he did, that I should not handle him over the points, which I otherwise might have done, and that also worked out well.

I felt this was an excellent training day for Laddie and me. For Laddie, he was able to be successful without help on several retrieves, yet learned a better way to run a couple of them. For me, it was a friendly, supportive group with advice that was high quality yet compatible with my training approach. Like, wow.

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