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    Thread: Blinds Day

    1. #1
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      Blinds Day

      -march-31-red-rock-jpg
      Today was Blind Day. The group (all 16 dogs!) will do marks later this week.

      Distances are rough guestimates (on the conservative side). Cover a mixture of sage, fescue-clumps, some Indian-Tea bush and thorn-thickets, i.e., typical desert vegetation. None of it was an extreme factor. The biggest issues were the horrible wind... (20 mph sustained or more with higher gusts?) and blind #5 that was back-lit and acted as potent suction for #4 and #6. The downhill slope was somewhat an issue since they went straight down it for blind #1, but they had to angle it for #2 and #3.

      The 7 year old MH made it all look pretty much old-hat, which for her it was.

      Rocket Dog did pretty darn good today. First of all, she was a princess in her crate while waiting to run. Second, she's heeling properly to the line. Thirdly, today, she lined up well, did heel-here with me without losing her mind and left the line in good order without vocalizing. She may have squeeked on some handles (the wind was so bad, who knows?) but no barks. A bunch of this (like all of it) is pretty hard for her. So when she was scalloping back or starting to ping-pong, I walked out to her. Much better teaching-learning situation. She got some corrections but was really doing her best.

      HE-HE's. (Handler errors!) I gave her a bad line (wide) on #6, then casted her over right into #5.

      Live and learn.

    2. #2
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      Do you set your training group days up so that one day you work on blinds (cold blinds) and then another day the group will do all marks? When I read this post it got me thinking about balance in my training schedule. This is one area that I find gets out of whack for us. Right now the programme is heavy with drill work due to the long winter. When we move into mark work with different groups then the programme get skewed in that direction. Dennis Voigt wrote about the ABC's of training he uses Attitude - Balance - Control. I think with both our firebrands attitude is not going to be a problem. My trainer told me just to be careful with the collar as she really didn't need heavy correction. She has enough drive that attrition can be used in most cases So I think I can maintain attitude if I can keep control. In Dennis words control means compliance, tractability and willingness to be a partner. It means steadiness and playing the game with you rather than just to get the bird for herself. This is something that we will have to work on consistently. I find that I have lapses and am not always consistent in my training routines. With dogs that will have to be changed because as you said give an inch and she takes a mile.
      As for balance I am interested in how others keep a balance with land and water, marks and blinds, simple vs complex and singles vs multiples.

    3. #3
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      First of all... I adore Dennis Voigt and anything he says is always dead on.

      You and I are going to have difficulty achieving a good balance during cold weather. No water. And for us in the high desert west, shoot... I think by July, most of our favorite places will be just stinky mud. (Oh, well...)

      But yes, we generally do a blind spread on one day, and marks (usually set up a triple) with blinds (usually two) on the next day. So for the big dogs, we have a big-league set up. For the baby dogs, we break it down into singles, and maybe move the line around as needed.

      Please keep me up on how your high octane dog develops and what you do to refine control. I think I'm only just barely getting control on cold blind spreads. "Control" for me, (currently), means her toes are behind my shoe laces and she'll "here" and "heel" with me on line. I don't have a lot of control on handling yet... stopping on the whistle yes, but handling... not so much. But I think that's just her being young and inexperienced. (Each day we do this, I see hints of "Ah, HA!.. Oh, you mean THAT left back!) That's why I have to send her and as soon as she starts slipping handles, walk out toward her. Sometimes smack in front of her.

      Boy, howdy... once she figures out that we ARE a team, that she is not a self-employed retrieving contractor... I think attrition will totally work for her. Please... PUH-lease!!! Just let me just get to the bird! OK, OK, OK... we'll do it your way!!!

      It will be fun.

      Question: Do you have an older dog you are also working? It boggles my mind to work a 7 year old that will take subtle, subtle handles, and then jump into a rip-snorting-rodeo with rocket dog. Argh!!!

    4. #4
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      I have 3 older dogs. 2 chocolates that are semi- retired because one has bad knees and the other never quite became a team player. He was trained by a different pro and he and I just never seemed to establish that I was the top dog with him. He loves to hunt but it is on his terms. My black female is now 9 and I see her slowing down. She has her HRCH WCX QFTR (QAA) and needs a couple of master passes. I made the mistake of sending her to the Grand a couple of years ago with a first time handler. I don't know what went on maybe nothing but she just was not the same dog when she came home. We have been working to get the attitude back. It may simply be her age. I will finish the MH (if she quits breaking on the flush) and run maybe a couple of Amateurs with her this season and then she will join the retirees. She has been a great dog to work with in obedience as well.
      Dennis is a terrific person. He came over to train on the property and brought his horse Scamper with him. What a hoot. Dennis would load up the wingers on Scamper ride out and set them up, come back to the line, run the marks while Scamper grazed then repeat the process. Better than an ATV. I wasn't sure he would get Scamper home as my sister was in love. He brings his trailer and stays here when he is running the trial held here or one that is only about 15 minutes from us.

    5. #5
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      -2015-04-02-19-45-51-jpg

      Here is our blind set up from today. Winds was blowing hard, gusts up to 40mph. He is just learning to run blinds and handled the wind well. Middle blind is about 180 yards.
      Last edited by indybindy; 04-02-2015 at 11:03 PM.

    6. #6
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      Very cool to use Google Earth! When we go to our technical pond, that would be such a neat way to document our set-ups. Thanks for the idea. I will post my blind set up from a couple days ago. (My computer is down until a charger arrives Monday. I'm on my tablet). I missed marks day because of a foot injury. With Easter weekend, I've been busy with church stuff. So, only the two blinds days this past week. I hope the lay-off doesn't cause Rocket-Dog to get less well behaved. I don't think it will because she has just shown more respect and a better working attitude. (But then... we didn't have any marks and no feathers. That will always be the acid test for her.) Still, gotta get back in the groove and keep up the training tempo.

      I am such a fan of Dennis Voigt's. (So jealous!) I am not sure what he's doing with Retrievers Online. Is it now a website?

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by indybindy View Post
      -2015-04-02-19-45-51-jpg

      Here is our blind set up from today. Winds was blowing hard, gusts up to 40mph. He is just learning to run blinds and handled the wind well. Middle blind is about 180 yards.
      That ain't trivial. Handling into that sort of wind is a big deal. I can't really say how well my youngster does with it since she's just really learning to handle. Bridget, my MH is very steady and handles like a dream. Being from Northern NV, wind is just a fact of life. So that will never throw her. What sort of cover were you dealing with?

    8. #8
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      Wind as a factor can be challenging. In the second set up did you run in a right to left order gradually turning the dog's line more into the wind or did you start running more into the wind and moving to a cross wind? Here on the farm the front field is very open and the wind seems to stick to a prevailing direction. The back field is like a big bowl and the winds are constantly changing. If you run from a high spot they are in one direction and if you move to a low spot they are total different. One of our training group really worries about wind directions and I always think that the dogs need the wind challenge because inevitably at a trial or test the wind will shift and be in the dog's faces. My first old guy hated to cast into the wind.
      I am looking forward to getting out later today to do some work. The last two days have been beautiful but I have been tied to the kitchen. This morning we got up to a dusting of snow and a coyote not 30 yards off the deck. My husband is out putting the run on the pack now. We have already lost one dog (my old guy) to an attack right in the yard so I don't want them up around the house at all.
      Tomorrow I hope we can get our first long marks of the season in.

    9. #9
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      We pretty much take them in the order I numbered them unless there is some screw up (like you picked up #3 thinking you had #2... duh!) We typically make the spread more or less short-long-short-long-etc. so that they are consistently running through scent from one they just picked up. And this being a drill we do often, though in different places and terrain) they learn from constant attrition... "if you've been there once, don't even think about going back!" The other drill we did last week that I will post when my real computer is fixed, involved some sloping down, and some up, and a road they had to angle across. My MH has gotten sloppy about taking the angle, and we need more work on that. With Rocket Dog we had much bigger and more basic fish to fry.

    10. #10
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      We did a chinc drill today with 4 short and 4 long. I had done the short ones with the young one before the snow came last fall and was really pleased with how she remembered them. We added the four long today. Started by picking up all the short and then ran the longs. She had to run between two shorts to get the long. First one took a bit of handling but once she got the idea we were fine. I am pleased with her basics. I now have to maintain and build on them. Tomorrow we will run marks and a couple of cold blinds. I hope to set up the 4 corner drill as well and will run it on Wednesday. She needs to review the no no drill and learn about the brush box and running through a hole in the turkey blind before I can put all components out on it.
      Haven't had the wingers out since way last fall they will need an overhaul. I really don't like using them.

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