Freighter’s first hunt test of the season is fast approaching.  It is time to work on skills that may have become a bit rusty over the long lay off while hubby recovered from surgery last Fall.  Blind work is one of the skills that can become rusty, so it is time for tune up blind work.

For blind retrieves, the bumpers are set out in the field but the dog does not know where they are.  The dog is directed to them by their handler using arm signals.

For our tune up blind work, we picked a field near our cabin.  This field has a natural gas pipeline running through it which is marked by a series of poles.

Our Training Field
Our Training Field

When Freighter was first learning to run blind retrieves, he was running toward big white or black stakes to help him understand where he needed to go to make the retrieve.  As he became more proficient, we changed to smaller orange states which are difficult for a dog to see, or no stakes at all.  Once a dog can be handled to a blind, the stakes are really for the handler so he/she can spot the blind location in the field.  However, sometimes there are things in a field which look like blind stakes (in this case the poles marking the pipeline).  A dog may be fooled and ignore their handler’s direction thinking the poles mark the blind.  So it is great training to incorporate these kinds of distractions into training.

Our Set-Up: Three Blinds
Our Set-Up: Three Blinds

In addition to the poles, there was also a lot of scrub bushes in our training field as you can see in the photo.  Again, these add distraction. The dog should ignore distractions and maintain the line he was given to the blind retrieve.

Also there was a road that runs down the field.  Making a dog cross a road adds further difficulty to a set-up.  In our set-up, hubby set-up three blinds which required Freighter to cross the road at an angle.  Requiring the dog to carry a line which crosses something like a road at an angle also adds difficulty.  Anytime you have a change in terrain, it can add difficulty and young dogs may actually square up to the road to cross it, but we wanted Freighter to carry the line and cross at an angle.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Being Lined Up To The Blind

Freighter was sent to the middle blind (blind #1) first.  Hubby did that because it could make the next blind (blind #2) more difficult.  Once the dog knows the position of a blind, he may want to head back to it.  Hubby set blind #2 just to the right of the first blind but far enough away that Freighter should have an easy time if he followed hubby’s direction.

chesapeake bay retriever
Hubby Has Given Freighter The Line To The Second Blind (Blind #2) And Releases Him
chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Heads Out
chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Is Moving Fast

Hopefully Freighter will carry the line and cross the road at an angle on the way to blind #2.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Crosses The Road At An Angle

Once Freighter crossed the road, hubby stopped him with a whistle blast because he was starting to head back to the first blind.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Was Stopped After He Crossed The Road

Hubby recast him to blind #2.  You can see the orange post of the first blind to the left of Freighter by the tree line in the next picture.  Freighter is on the correct line to blind #2 here so you can see it in relation to blind #1.  You can also see the white pole marking the pipeline, and Freighter may be headed toward it thinking the blind is there.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter On A Better Line To Blind #2 (You Can See The Orange Post Marking Blind #1 To The Left In The Photo)

So hubby stopped Freighter and recast him one more time away from the white pole.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Stopped Once More With A Whistle Blast
chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Has Blind #2
chesapeake bay retriever
Nice Work Freighter

Once Freighter had blind #2, he was sent to retrieve blind #3 which required him to run parallel to the road.  This was a long blind.  Freighter does well with blinds that are 50-60 yards long, but he is very rusty on longer blinds so we wanted to stretch him out.  Blind #3 was much longer than the other two, (probably closer to 90 yards).

Blind #3 also had a few hazards such as bushes along the way.  At one point Freighter got hung up in one of the bushes.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Was Stopped Inside Of The Bush
chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Was Given A Cast To Go Around The Bush

If you look closely at the above picture, you can see the blind stake at the far clump of bushes behind Freighter.  Freighter did a bit of ping-ponging once he got in the vicinity of this blind.  We definitely need to get him working on longer blinds.

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter Has The Blind

It was a good day of tune up blind work for Freighter and pointed out things we need to work on ahead of the test next month.

8 thoughts on “Time To Tune Up Blind Work

  1. The image of Freighter behind the bush is hilarious – “How did I end up here?”

    It’s surprising to see Freighter be serious. The intensity on his face is wonderful.

    1. He is pretty serous when he works. I think I normally post pictures of him retrieving marks which are a bit more fun for a dog than blinds. Marks are exciting with bumpers or dead birds thrown in the air and usually a shot and duck call. Blinds are just blah….bumpers laying in a field.

  2. It is so interesting all the different challenges you can add in, and amazing to me if they do get it right every time!

    1. LOL they don’t always get it right, but we get through it. It took me a very long time to understand that in training you want them to make mistakes so they can learn. Test on the other hand. You hope they are perfect.

  3. I would go around those hazards, but my crazy sisters would be like Freighter and try to run through them and get hung up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *