Monday, September 5, 2011

Another fine training day in the field

Marshbanks GRC is having our annual WC/WCX field test next Saturday @ Spencerfield near Concord, so we had a pond clean-up work day this morning and training after. About 8 of us met up with weed-whips and clippers and spent a couple of hours clearing out giant burr bushes, goldenrod, wild roses and blackberry bushes (ouch!). We really improved accessability. Then we moved up to one of the rolling hay fields that has a dozen or so big round bales and did some marking drills. The cover wasn't too high, so the young dogs got some great experience with running down and up hills to a reasonably visible target (big white bumpers), plus past the bales. The Big Dogs did two sets of converging in-line doubles. Then we did a WC double set up and then a triple for those who wanted to do it (I didn't. Little ran the 3 marks as singles VERY nicely, plus had her first exposure to gun fire out in the field). Then the Big Dogs did 4 slot blinds - using hay bales to define the path. Gryff lined 3 of the 4 - it is SUCH a thrill to be back working him so much and we are both in heaven. The next 2 dogs lined the 1st one, and had a fair bit of handling for the other 3 blinds. Ty had a very poor initial line on the first one and I could tell she was weanying out some, but I did get some nice casts from her and kept my patience with her. On water, I let Ty watch a blind get planted (several bumpers thrown out into a big patch of water lilies), then put her away. The path to the blind was about 20 yds of land diagonally across a swim-by pond corner of the pond, angling across a point with about 40 yds to the water lilies. Gryff took a good line to the point, but when I stopped him and gave him a left back, he jumped in and headed for the right shore. I recalled him to the point, got him back to the same spot, repeated the cast, and this time got the correct response. With Ty, I walked her out to the point and ran her from there first. Her initial line wasn't super, but she got into the water lilies without too much horsing around. I left her sitting with her bumper on the point, walked back to the other side and recalled her to there, then ran from there. As she likes to do, she squared her entry into the pond. Because I'm trying to avoid too much nit-picking, especially early, I let her swim across. She arrived about 10 yds to the right of where I'd sent her from. She got up on the point, turned left, moved down to that spot, turned, jumped in and swam right to the lilly pads without any intervention from me. We quit on that happy note. I had Jan throw a couple of marks for Little just in the water near the 2nd point and ran the mark 1st from the 1st point, then walked her back around and had Little repeat the mark, getting out and back in. She did a very fine job on it, reentering with no problem at all.

The solid week of training every day sure does pay off! I think Gryff is back in pretty fine form, Ty is getting braver, and Little has made some really nice strides.

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