Last week we had an unexpected day off from work due to a power outage. We headed to the local park where Freighter encountered marks, blinds and soda bottles. How do those things go together? Let me explain.
Training With Marks, Blinds & Soda Bottles
We set up double marks and a blind which ran under the arc of the fall of one of the marks. When the dog runs a blind under the arc of a mark, it adds difficulty to the blind. We were running in an area where there was a hill on one side and some bleachers on the other side and a goal post out in the field. When we set-up we did not see that there was a soda bottle in the field near the path to the blind. The windstorm the day before knocked over some of the trash cans and there was some debris in the park. When we are training, we usually leave any debris in the field until we are finished. It makes a good diversion for the dogs. Once we are finished, I pick up the debris and put it in the trash if there is a can handy.
This was our set-up.
As you can see, the soda bottle was very near the path to the blind, but not so near that Freighter was running over the bottle.
First Freighter ran the double marks. I threw them as numbered and he retrieved them in reverse order, so he watched me thrown mark #1 then mark number #2 and retrieved mark #2 and then mark #1.
Mark #1 was up on the hill.
These were fairly easy marks. The meat of this set-up was in the blind. A blind is a bumper set out in the field so the dog does not know where it is. The handler uses arm signals to direct the dog to the bumper.
Would Freighter be sucked over to the soda bottle? Sure enough, Freighter saw the bottle in the field, mistook it for the bumper and headed to it. Hubby stopped him to put him back on line to the actual bumper. It took a couple of casts to get him back on track.
So the fact that Freighter had to run a blind under the arc of the fall of a mark did not trip him up on this blind–the stupid soda bottle did. That tells us that Freighter could probably use some poison marks with blinds. For a poison mark/blind combination, you throw a bumper but do not let the dog pick it up and run a blind next to it. You want to keep the dog away from the bumper that is the mark as they are on the way to the blind.
Poison marks with blinds can be run on cut grass in the park because you want the bumper that you throw as the mark to be visible to the dog. Of course now we have returned to winter with freezing temperatures and snow, so this training will wait a bit.