Winter returned over the weekend. We did not get snow, but we sure got some cold temperatures. We could have stayed in the cozy warm house, but we didn’t. We headed out to the park with Freighter to get a little training in and to burn off some of his never ending energy.
Thunder and Storm stayed home this time because they had their annual vet visit earlier that morning and we figured we would give them a break. Plus, it was cold and windy. Blasted cold and windy. We wanted to get out, do our thing, and come home to our nice cozy house.
We did not take wingers or any other equipment other than some bumpers. We set up a series of marked retrieves and blind retrieves. Marks are where the dog watches the bumper or bird being thrown and blinds are placed in the field but the dog does not know where they are. For marked retrieves, the dog relies on its eyes and memory, but for blinds, the dog must be directed to the bumper or bird by its handler using a whistle to stop the dog and arm signals to direct the dog.
This was our basic set-up. I numbered the order that Freighter ran this set-up.
We were on a big open soccer field at a local park. The field did not have a ton of features, no high grass and no water features. There was a small hill off to the right of where we set-up and usual parks stuff: soccer nets, some benches, a few trees and a brick storage/rest room building.
The wind was really blowing from behind where we set the line so Freighter was running into the wind. He ran one mark first.
After Freighter ran the initial mark, he then ran two blinds. Hubby was working on pulling him off watching me in the field and turning to run the blinds. The two blinds were kind of close to one another, so Freighter required a couple of handles to drive him past the closer blind. We also know that Freighter can tend to break down on longer blind retrieves so that is something we will be training. He was doing fairly well on those at the end of last season, but then he had a long layoff from training as hubby recuperated from surgery. Running long blinds cleanly should come back as Freighter trains more of those this Spring. Eventually we will add in more features, like cover, water, roads.
I was freezing, but Freighter was not even tired so we ran some additional marks and the blinds over again (which of course he lined because he has a Chessie memory). Freighter had so much energy he was pouncing on the bumpers.
One nice thing about being out in the freezing cold–we had the park to ourselves. But cold is cold so after running the set-up a second time, we packed up and headed home.