Finally the sun was out for a training day. It was still cold, but the sun made a big difference.
Since it was a decent day, a lot of people showed up for the training, including a lot of Chessies, (and a Standard Poodle). We all laughed that there were more Chessies than labs. If you are a Chessie owner, you get the joke.
Even though there were a lot of dogs, we kept moving and got in several training scenarios. The first two were medium-long singles, but with a twist. A “Bubba” gunner was stationed about 10-15 feet out in front of the dogs. I had never heard of a “Bubba” gunner before. It was explained that these are not common in a Senior level hunt test but are sometimes placed in the Master level tests. Normally the popper guns are fried from each of the bird stations out in the field; however when a Bubba gunner is used, that gunner fires all of the necessary shots from where he/she is stationed out in front of the dog and no poppers are fired in the field. The issue for the dog could be that it takes the focus off where the mark lands because the dog has glanced at the Bubba gunner.
Thunder At The Line--Bubba Gunner to the Left of Dog/Handler
Thunder was fooled by the Bubba gunner on the first mark and ended up hunting past the mark. However, he did much better on the second mark, found it and brought it right back. Part of this scenario was for the dog to honor the work of the dog which follows. In the next picture, you can see a Golden Retriever honoring Thunder.
Thunder At The Line (Golden Honoring)
Storm did fine with the Bubba gunner and all but ignored it. She has always been a bumper-a-holic, (meaning she has ALL of her focus on the bumper). Her issue is remaining steady at the line because she can tend to creep and worst case, break completely. The next picture shows her fanny not on the ground as it should be.
Storm At The Line (Cheating)
This is something the trainer has been working on with her. The next time she came to the line, he gave instruction on how to correct her creeping and she was much better.
Storm At The Line (Better Sit)
Because Storm was seated and focused, she went right to her mark and made a nice straight return.
Nice Mark Storm
The next scenario was handling. The more advanced dogs honored the beginner dogs while they ran a simple mark through the decoys. Then the more advanced dogs were handled to a blind off to the far left of where the beginner dog had fetched its mark. The issue for the dog is that once it has seen a mark fall and a dog pick it up, it is then sent to a completely different area to pick up a bumper that it did not see fall (blind retrieve). Most of the advanced dogs did very well on this.
Thunder and Storm are at an intermediate level, so they did not watch any marks or dogs before they were handled to the blind retrieve. Thunder’s handling is coming along and improved even during the course of the day. Storm was handled by the trainer since he has been working with her on her handling. She is also really coming along.
Storm-Given A Left Back
Storm Got It
Good Girl Storm
The next scenario was a double mark, both being thrown at the same time, one right, one left. Both Thunder and Storm got the first mark easily, but had to be handled to the second. These were very advanced marks. It would have been nice if Thunder and Storm had watched the second mark fall, but since they did not, it was a good opportunity to work on handling.
The last scenario was a long single. No problem for Thunder and Storm, out to the mark and back with no hunting.
Nice Return Storm
Good Boy Thunder!
There was ample opportunity to work on honoring and Thunder is getting steadier each time. It was a very productive training day. Unfortunately, the group training will soon come to an end because it moves to weekdays and we are not able to attend those. We will continue individual training, but this group has been a lot of fun!