Saturday, August 16, 2008

Field training @ Omega Farms

I spent the day at Omega Farms in Webberville, Michigan at the Marshbanks Golden Retriever Club's field training day. We started the day with Marshbanks member Al Hogan giving a review of how to operate a popper gun safely and how to use the Tangelo launchers.

Then we headed out to the so-called Heart Shaped Pond, site of one of the Senior tests we ran last year. It has quite a bit of grass growing out in the pond, which makes the dogs have to hunt some. We set up three stations, a medium-length one from the left side of the pond, a long one from the right shore and a short one also from the right shore. The two longer marks came from launchers, while the short one was hand-thrown.

I ran Gryffin first on a delayed triple, with the short right bumper as the memory bird. He retrieved the medium left mark, then after delivering that one, locked on to the memory bumper. The middle mark was thrown, and he noticed it about the time it splashed into the water. He completed the second and third retrieves in fine form. After his initially dismal marking at last weekend's Challenge, it was good to see him in good form.

I ran Ty on a single fro the left station and then a double with the short right mark as the memory mark. She did a fine job.

Once everyone had done the marks, some of us stayed and ran a few simple land marks through several cover strips, one of the great training features at Omega Farms. I set up 3 land blinds, which 3 of us ran. My friend and training partner Corinne William's two Tollers are really coming into their own on blinds, and Neon lined two of the blinds. I taught Ty one of the blinds (she's not quite to the cold blind stage, but moving closer to it), so that we could practice going across strips. She did great.

Al, Corinne, and I then went to another pond (the one closest to Bell Oak Rd) and set up a couple of water blinds. There was a brisk wind out of the west. Al and I ran one from the east side of the pond across a corner, across a dike of land and out into an area of tullies to the north. Gryff did a fine job, taking a great cast off the dike all the way to the blind. Then we ran one to the south side, one which I'd had huge problems with Gryff early last year. It's great to see how much he's improved since then :-).

What a great way to spend a summer day!

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