Anyone who has ever trained a dog knows that training challenges are bound to pop up during the course of training. There may be a skill or concept that the dog just cannot seem to master. In Freighter’s case, his training challenge is in line marks. However, just because a dog has trouble with a concept is no reason to give up. You just need to work on it and hopefully one day the dog will master the concept.
With that in mind, we headed out to a field near our cabin to do some training on in line marks. In line marks are marks where the dog watches as the bumpers are thrown so that they fall in a line with one another. When bumpers fall in a line like that, one bumper may wipe out the dog’s memory of the other.
Freighter has struggled with in line marks. He has no trouble getting the close one, but then does not push past it to retrieve the farther mark. We mix up our training scenarios, but we have been training this frequently hoping that one day it will click with Freighter.
This was our first set-up this past Saturday. It was a triple with 2 of the marks in line, then we set up a double blind which required the dog to run under the arc of the marks. In line marks and blinds run under the arc of marks are advanced concepts.
Hubby wanted to see how Freighter would do with this kind of advanced set-up. If he smoked it, then it was too easy. If he struggled, then we have an idea of what we need to work on. We would decide on the next training set-up based on how Freighter handled this one.
The marks were thrown as numbered in the diagram…#1-#2-#3. Freighter was sent to retrieve them in reverse order…#3-#2-#1.
Freighter retrieved mark #3 with no problem, then he was lined up to mark #2 which is the farthest bumper.
He headed out.
He was moving fast when he either saw or smelled mark #1.
In his head, Freighter must have thought he was wrong and the bumper fell closer than where he marked it. He ended up retrieving mark #1 first, but in his head, he thought that was mark #2.
This is what makes in line marks difficult. The dog can be fooled as to which bumper he actually picked up. He must learn to push past the closer mark to get the farther one because it is still out there.
Once Freighter retrieved mark #1, hubby lined him back up to mark #2. Freighter headed out, but broke down in the area he retrieved mark #1. He did not push past it. Hubby handled him to mark #2 which he retrieved. Freighter had no issue with the blinds. He did a nice job on those.
So this scenario showed us that Freighter’s struggle with in line marks continues. However, hubby had an easy time handling him back to mark #2. Freighter did not resist being pushed farther back even though he though he still needed to pick up that closer bumper. Freighter did so well on the blinds, that we decided that our next set-up would concentrate on in line marks.
Whenever you encounter training challenges, it is important to deal with them. Often this means going back a bit and simplifying. Come back next time to see what we did for the next set-up.