Running To A Chair

Last Saturday we ran a couple of interesting blind set-ups.  Our trainer had the gunner (or thrower/blind planter) sit in a chair in the field and plant the blind at his feet.  Once the dogs completed the first blind, then he had the gunner plant a blind the right and sit back in the chair in the field.  The dog ran that blind and then another was plated to the left.  After the dog finished that blind, then they got a mark, or fun bumper.

The first set-up we ran was toward a tree line.  This helped the dogs have a back stop for reference.  The second time we ran this set-up, the gunner and blinds were out in the open field and at a longer distance.  This provided an additional challenge for the dogs.

Here is a diagram of the set-ups.  I put both on the same page so that you can see how they looked in relation to one another.

Blinds 3-15-14

Blinds 3-15-14

What is the purpose of running this type of set-up?  It is one way to add a lot of challenge to a shorter blind.  You see most dogs have been trained not to go to a person standing in the field because the bumper or bird would never be there.  It can be quite a challenge for the handler to change their minds about this.  Some dogs were so reluctant to go to the gunner in the chair that they just zigzagged in front of him.  If it became clear that the dog was not going to get to the bumper, the trainer had the gunner pick up the bumper and show it to the dog and drop it.  This helped the dog understand and see the bumper and finally take the cast to it.

Storm had no problem with this.  As novice trainers, we never knew that you should teach the dog to stay out of a gunner station.  It did cost her a couple of tests throughout her career.  But for this exercise, she lined the blind as if saying, “OK you pointed me at a guy in the field and I will go and see what he has for me!”.

Storm Heading Straight For The Blind

Storm Heading Straight For The Blind

On Her Way Back

On Her Way Back

Good Girl

Good Girl

Once the dog picked up the first blind then it had to go to the blind to the right and retrieve that.  Then do the same thing to the left.  The trick her was to keep the dog from going back to the gunner and the area of the blind to the right.  Storm needed a couple of casts, but took them and had no issues with this set up.

Storm Headed To The Second Blind

Storm Headed To The Third Blind

Stopped

Stopped

Cast Left Angle Back

Cast Left Angle Back

She Sees It

She Sees It

Good Girl

Good Girl

This set-up was not meant to be easy.  Hubby has been working with Storm on lining drills.  The drills and her experience paid off for this set-up.

Freighter had a more difficult time, but it was not unexpected.  When setting up training scenarios, you hope to challenge the dog and not make it too easy for them.  Unlike Storm, Freighter has been taught not to go into the gunner station.  He did a bit of zigzagging in front of the gunner, but eventually he trusted his handler and got the bumper.  He didn’t need the help of showing him the bumper so that was really good!

Freighter Whistle Sit

Freighter Whistle Sit

He Was Given A Back, But Headed Right

He Was Given A Back, But Headed Left

Stopped Again

Stopped Again

Cast Back Toward The Gunner

Cast Back Toward The Gunner

He Has It

He Has It

Good Dog

Good Dog

After he got the first bumper then he had to run the blinds to the sides.  He needed some casts, but did a nice job for a dog at his level of training.  He had a good day.

Headed Toward The Gunner, But He Should Be More To the Right

Headed Toward The Gunner, But He Should Be More To the Right

Stopped And Cast Right

Stopped And Cast Right

He Has It

He Has It

Good Boy!

Good Boy!

Once all dogs ran, the gunner moved and so did the line.  The trick the second time around was to get the dogs past the gunner to the blinds on each side.  This time there was no tree line to act as a back stop, so it provided an additional challenge.

Again Storm had no issues with this.  She took a nice initial line and the casts that her handler gave to her.

Storm Being Lined

Storm Being Lined

Storm Had A Good Day

Storm Had A Good Day

Freighter needed a lot of casts, but again this is more what we would expect.  His handler worked him through it which is the important part and it was a valuable learning experience for him.

Freighter Being Lined

Freighter Being Lined

Freighter Also Had A Good Day

Freighter Also Had A Good Day

We are very lucky to have a trainer who comes up with interesting and challenging set-ups.  Thanks to Darrin for a great day!

After all of that physical and mental stimulation, the brown dawgs were tired indeed!

We are joining the Fit Dog Friday blog hop hosted by SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, To Dog with Love.

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21 thoughts on “Running To A Chair

    • When will the snow melt? That is the question. lol Actually it has melted a lot around here, but we train farther north. The bigger question is when will the ponds open?

  1. Great challenges and it must keep the dogs interested. Hope your snow is starting to melt now. Roll on the good weather. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. That’s awesome – interesting way to mix it up! Storm sounds like a pro. And Freighter is a pro in the making, for sure.

  3. Makes Mom think a bit about tracking now as she knows it takes a lot of time and space to set up tracks and then have the dogs follow them. I’m sure your practicing really makes for happy and tired out dogs!

  4. Wow, that is such impressive training work. My dog loves to retrieve, and I can imagine how rewarding it must be to reach this level of communication with your dogs. Great work, and as always, beautiful photos! No wonder the dogs were exhausted by the end of that day!

  5. Hi Y’all!

    Never seen a dog sent purposely to the gunners station before. Course with Hawk, since he isn’t hunting and I’m usually alone setting up, schooling, and snapping photos of him, a gunners station would never come into play. That’s an interesting exercise and really gave Freighter a challenge.

    BrownDog’s Human

  6. We really enjoy coming here, and your great explanations of the amazing training Freighter and Storm get. So fascinating!

  7. It’s the best kind of tired, isn’t it? I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but we have friends who do field work with their 2 Goldens and Black Lab, and between you and them, your love and enthusiasm of it has truly made me a fan!

  8. I am always so impressed with the training you do with your dogs. Such a high level of commitment! My little dog can fetch a ball…tirelessly…but I’m afraid the only command she knows is “closer” when she drops the ball too far from my feet! At least she responds to that one.

  9. I am always so impressed with the training you do with your dogs! It must take quite a commitment. My little dog can fetch a ball…tirelessly…but the only command she knows is “closer” when she drops it too far from my feet!

  10. Nice job!! Can you explain what the purpose of a hunt test is? If you’ve explained it before, I have forgotten. I know the dogs are trained for retrieving ducks/birds etc that have been shot by the hunter, but why hunt tests? Is that just an extension of hunt training or does it serve a different purpose?

    • I probably talked about it, but never mind questions. :) Yes it is training for hunting. A Senior/Seasoned dog is considered a “finished” retriever, meaning they possess the skills necessary for a good hunting partner. Master/Finished level tests are just a continuation and require some more refined skills and training. Obtaining the titles for a pedigree just show breeders that the dog can do the work. I will say that most of today’s tests do not resemble hunting situations. Some judges try, but others who have no idea or have never hunted set up some crappy scenarios. We avoid the judges that go too fat overboard.

  11. You guys are so very clever! I’d totally have needed to have a sneaky look at your Mom’s map! Tee Hee

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)