Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Water Work

My training partner Corinne (she has Tollers) and I spent about 4 blissful hours training water at a mutual friend's technical pond (abt an hour from home for me). We started with working on swim-by in the corner of the pond designed for it. Ty had several days of swim-by last summer, but then I stopped field work abruptly to return to obedience. I never had the sense last year that she "got" the how and why of treading water, but I saw some nice effort today, the best I've seen from her. I've done 2 sessions this spring of sending to a pile across 20-30 yds of water with a small amount of stopping and casting back. Seeing how well she did today (not brilliant, but she has something of a clue), I hope to get out to a local pond tomorrow and do some more work on this. Gryff's responses showed me that I've been casting him too quickly (he was doing auto-casts and just generally not keeping his focus on me for very long), so I worked on that a fair bit, with verbal reminders and praise when he showed good effort. I plan to do more of this as a warm-up with him before running water blinds the next couple of weeks, to remind him that this is a TEAM effort :-).

Next we did a marking drill designed to work angle entries and re-entries. The gunner stood on a long spit of land to throw into the bay behind the spit, so the dogs had to cross the spit at an angle, but once they did that, there was the bumper pretty obvious to them. Ty had a no go on the first one, but a verbal correction got her going. Gryffin's prior experience was obvious on his first mark, because he drove hard to get out there. The last one I did required an angle across the corner of another little bay, and he started to run around. I called him back and resent, and he was excessively honest and entered more to the left than I really wanted, but I let that go, since I think it was an honest effort to be right.

Next we set up a couple of water blinds, one that started through the swim-by area and exited out the opening, and also had another "slot" created by an island and a huge patch of water-lilies. I was pretty happy with his effort on that blind. I moved down the shore to the left and sent him to the same destination but this time presenting more of a channel blind picture. We had run a blind to that general area several years ago hideously badly, so it was nice to see he's learned a few things since then :-). Finished up with one that required an angle entry, then a cross over of a small spit of land and the a swim past an island. With Ty, I had her swim the length of the swim-by area as a channel blind. Her entries were poor and lacking effort, which tells me I probably need to revisit the water force with her.

We finished up doing a land blind through ridiculously high grass.

Fun, fun, fun!

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