Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pattern Blinds

Pattern blinds are a set of blinds, usually in sets of 3, that you teach your dog one at a time over the course of several days to help them learn to run long, straight lines.

While I have taught Ty several blinds this spring, and she's done some blind drills last year and this spring, I haven't really done a set of 3 blinds consistently. With the progress I saw during our trip out east, I was eager to get serious about some pattern blinds with her.

I decided going to the Ann Arbor Airport property was a good bet. It's only about 3 miles from home, and there are actually 3 different areas I can potentially use for pattern blinds. I taught her the first one (the left of the 3) on Sunday. It went pretty well. Then I set up a launcher and ran a mark and then all 3 blinds with Gryffin. He had a TERRIBLE time :-\. He was convinced he had to go back to the mark. Now, this is NOT a new concept for him. Clearly, he needs more work on it!

I got Ty back out, let her run the mark and then redid the blind. It was a pretty messy affair, too, but she did eventually get to the blind bumper.

We squeezed in a short session yesterday morning (had to be short because of horsing around getting the flat tire fixed...). Ty did fine on the blind she'd learned Sunday, and then I taught her the loooong right one (I think it's 180-200 yds). We finished up running the left and then the right again. She's still fuzzy about switching between different blinds, but is improving. I ran the blinds with Gryff (no time for the launcher) with somewhat better results than Sunday.

Today I taught Ty the 3rd of 3 pattern blinds. I'm really happy with her progress.I ran the left and right ones with her first, then taught her the center one, then reran the outside ones again. I'm pleased with how well she's stopping on my whistle and mostly taking good casts. She seems to be getting the idea to change direction when I stop her. Then I put out a launcher for Gryff, ran the center blind, did the mark, then ran the outside blinds, then the center one (under the arc). He did much better than on Sunday, though still interested in going back to the mark's location. Then I finished up rerunning the center blind with Ty past the launcher, then did the mark and the two outside blinds. It's cool seeing the many weeks/months of basic work starting to gel for her. I plan to go back on Friday for another session, maybe even with both of my launchers out.

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