With our next competition tomorrow, yesterday I picked up two assistants and brought them to our nearest training. My intent was to strengthen Laddie's understanding of water series, if possible, and restore his confidence in taking silent casts on land blinds.
All three of the water series started as tight converging doubles with the site gun retired and water re-entries for both marks.
On the first double, the long mark was not retired but it was a bridge plus it had a difficult re-entry. I tried sending Laddie to the shorter, retired mark twice and both times he took a line toward the long mark and I called him back. Finally we more or less reran it. I had the long gun fake her throw, and the short gun rethrow and then stay out. This time Laddie ran both marks well.
Next I ran Laddie on a 200y land blind with a keyhole at 120y, then a potential wrap behind woods on the right. To strengthen the suction to the right, I placed a lining pole with two 3" white bumpers on the field to right of the blind so that they would become visible as Laddie cleared the woods, and a few yards from the lining pole, I had my two assistants sit in chairs wearing white jackets. Laddie did a good job, including having no trouble with the silent casts as he had the previous day.
The second double was in a different location and orientation than the first but had the same characteristics. Again Laddie tried to take a line to the long mark that was not retired when the short mark was retired, but was able to run the double easily with both guns starting out.
This confused me, because I was certain that Laddie had run such doubles, with a side throw out additional mark to allow the short gun to retire. What was different this time?
I had a theory and it panned out. I set up one more such double, again tight converging marks, again the short gun retired, but with one significant difference from the earlier two series: this time, the long mark was about three times as long as the short, retired mark, whereas in the previous two setups, the long mark was less than twice as long as the shorter mark. Sure enough, this time Laddie took and held a good line to the shorter mark, then ran the longer mark afterwards. So at least for Laddie, now I know how to make a retired short mark more difficult: make it fully half as long as the long mark or longer.
We finished the session with another land blind, or mostly land. In order, the factors were an elevated keyhole over rough footing, a potential wrap around woods to the left, a lining pole and prominent white bumper to the left of the correct line that became visible as Laddie cleared the woods, a thin water crossing with difficult angle entry and the tempting bank run on the left, the line just to the left of a tree (leaving no extra room on the right side of the line once out of the water), and another potential wrap around a section of woods on the left before running the final land segment to the blind. This blind was intended to require several casts, both verbal and silent, and Laddie did another good job on it.
My intent had been to build confidence in this session. I think it succeeded at that for the blinds. I'm not so sure for the marks.