Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday field drills

My training partner Corinne and I went to a nearby hayfield today for some field training drills. The weather was picture perfect - coolish temps, sunny, and breezy.

We started out with a marking drill, an X drill. We set it up so that the dogs had to run across the side of a hill in order to hold their line to the mark, something that many dogs don't do very well. There were also some gentle up and down - sort of a roller coaster effect. As I expected, Gryffin faded down the hill, which made him have to work harder to hunt up his bumper. Ty did a better job on the marks than he did.

Then we set up a blind drill: we set a pile of orange bumpers at about 100 yds/ We again set it up so the dogs would have to run along the side of a hill. We added a couple of chairs, one on either side of the line to the pile of bumpers. The chairs were about 60 yds from the line. We sent our dog to the pile for a retrieve, then added a mark from the left chair thrown to the left followed by another send to the pile. This gave the dog a double temptation to fade to the left (having just run to the left to retrieve the mark and having the hill sloping to the left). After that pair of retrieves, we did another mark thrown from the right chair across the line (so again throwing left).

I wasn't surprised by the results - Gryffin, who has the most experience, got more and more confident and speedy as we worked through the drill. He ended with a Poison Bird set - Corinne threw a mark from the right chair across the line to the pile, I stepped back, told him to "leave it," relined him up towards the pile, and then sent him to the pile. Once he completed that retrieve, then I let him retrieve the mark.

Corinne's two dogs did quite well, though they required some more handling than did Gryffin. Ty needed the most handling, but we muddled through. Since she's still very green in handling out in the field (as opposed to in my yard), I was pleased with the results.

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