Training Through Challenges

The second set-up we ran last Saturday was to the left side of the field.  It was a similar set-up to the one the dogs ran on the right side of the field.  The Master level dogs watched a mark but did not retrieve it immediately, instead they ran a closer blind off to the left, then retrieved the mark, then ran a long blind to the far left hand corner of the field.

Set-up To The Left Of The Field

Set-up To The Left Of The Field

As an added challenge the handlers had to try to cast the dogs through two trees in order to get to the Blind #1.  Sometimes the correct line to a blind will be through obstacles, like trees, (may be called a “key-hole blind”).  It is a good idea to practice this now and again.

Another challenge to this set-up was that to get to Blind #3, the dogs had to run very near the area where they picked up the mark (Mark #2).  Dogs are taught not to go back to an old fall so some tried to avoid the area of the mark and go around it.

Also, if you remember, the first set up to the right of the field had a tree line on the edges which acted as a boundary for the dogs.  The left side of the field has no such tree line and many dogs (including ours) ended up past Blind #1 and in the adjoining field.  Once in the field, it was difficult to get them out of it and back to the blind.

I have been at tests where I have seen a blind set to the edge of a field.  Dogs got right to the blind but for some reason they got pulled into the field and the handler couldn’t get them out and back to the blind.  This is a good thing to train, but unfortunately we have limited access to training spots with adjoining fields.

Storm had a lot of trouble with this set-up.  She took a bad initial line, probably because she wanted the bumper (Mark #2) laying out there and visible in the field.  It was also partly her handler’s fault because he had her sitting too close to the snow bank on the edge of the field and it did not allow him space to realign her.  Lesson learned.

Storm Heading Off To Blind #1

Storm Heading Off To Blind #1

Already Off Line

Already Off Line

Stopped And Not Happy About It

Stopped And Not Happy About It

Recast Toward The Trees

Recast Toward The Trees

Made It Through

Made It Through But Headed In The Wrong Direction

Stopped To Get Her Back On Line

Stopped To Get Her Back On Line

On No In The Field Way Past The Blind

On No In The Field Way Past The Blind (The Blind Is To The Left Of The Picture)

Stopped The Blind Is In Front Of Her

Stopped The Blind Is In Front Of Her

But she did not get it even then.  She kind of zigzagged all around it.  Finally…

Success!

Success!

That Was A Work Out

That Was A Work Out

The mark was no problem for Storm.

Mark!

Mark!

Has It

Has It

Fun!

Fun!

Finally Storm had to run the long blind (Blind #3) at the far left corner of the field.  This one gave her a lot of trouble.  She was bound and determined to go back to the far right corner of the field where she picked up a blind in the previous set-up.  As you can see, you can mess with the dog’s mind by setting up different scenarios in the same field.  Our trainer sets up scenarios to challenge the dogs.  You can bet that at tests both dog and handler will be challenged and you want to prepare as best you can.

If you run into issues, you hope it is during training.  You just have to train through it and best to have a professional trainer standing right next to you to tell you the proper casts and corrections to make in order to have success.  It is a valuable learning experience and we are very thankful that we have such a knowledgeable trainer to help us.

Some pictures, (greatly abridged):

Heading Out To Blind #3

Heading Out To Blind #3 At The Far Left Corner Of The Field (She Is Already Turning To The Right)

Stopped (Her Body Language Is Indicating She Is Still Going To Try To Go Right)

Stopped (Her Body Language Is Indicating She Is Still Going To Try To Go Right)

Yep Going Right

Yep Going Right

Was Stopped Again And Is Back On Track (There Was A Lot Of Back And Forth Before She Finally Took That Cast)

Was Stopped Again And Is Back On Track (There Was A Lot Of Back And Forth And A Collar Correction Or Three Before She Finally Took This Cast)

She Is Stopped But In A Better Position Because The Blind Is Behind Her

She Is Stopped But In A Better Position Because The Blind Is Behind Her And To The Right

Success

Success

Another Work Out

Did You Have To Make It Such A Production Storm?

Freighter had less trouble with this and I will have his pictures tomorrow.

16 thoughts on “Training Through Challenges

  1. Devilishly tricky but success in the end. We of course never thought that they’d remember previous challenges in the same place and new ones can be harder for it. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

    • Yes the snow should be gone. For tests there will be a swimming portion so her handler will have to be careful to leave enough space near the pond. It is the same principle.

    • True. Hubby is still working on his handling and other things. Not so hard until you get to Master level. Then the judges give less leeway.

  2. Great workout indeed and some really challenging stuff going on there. I need people to set stuff up like that for me, i can’t think of that stuff on my own. Beautiful pictures. damn snow it just needs to go away.