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    1. #1
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      Another day, another drill

      -drills-4-13-16-jpg
      I couldn't go out to the field today. So we returned to the park and repeated this drill. I spread the farthest flags out a bit. Wowzers... these two dogs are like day-light and dark. Bridget you never know if she's in a notional sort of mood and will maybe no-go, spin, pop, etc. And Rocket Dog... well...

      This park is so convenient, I think I'll be returning to this on days when I can't do anything with the group. Over time I'll remove flags, and eventually have no flags and orange bumpers, and then maybe add a few flags here and there as distractions. Bridget got bumfuzzled on #4 and 5. I handled her to them and repeated. With RD, similar situation, but I called her back and relined her. Had I done that with Bridget, she might begin to pout. (Oh, I'm such a poor-little thing and now you've got me confused...) As it was she was bugging. But we worked through it.

    2. #2
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      This looks like one of the drills in Dennis's CD. You can even cut you angle down more by moving the line to the right more. We start with short to long and then make them run long to short having to run passed the short bumpers. This was a good drill for the indoor arena.

    3. #3
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      Excellent idea. I think I first saw something like this on a Hillmann DVD. It takes me no more than 10 minutes to set up and there are so many different ways to use it.

    4. #4
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      I just went out and ran three schooled blinds with M. Grabbing a little time between cooking for the picnic trial and revisiting the dentist (he was off sick yesterday).
      She has been a little sticky lately demonstrating some confusion on cold blinds. So today we set up three with lots of factors. I sat her at the line , walked out half way and called her and then lined her up. What I am finding is the less I have to say the better she does. So we are working on sit, line, no dead bird or other commands. Once she has swung her head to the blind and locked on I send her. I am not even putting my hand down. Just using my leg as the guide to line up and when those eyes and nose are pointed in the right direction a quick send. Once I send her and she is on the right line I start to back up to the original line and then send her from there the next time. She did extremely well this morning so over the next couple of days we will use these as memory blinds and I will add a mark or a poison bird to see if it is running a blind in conjunction with the marks that is throwing her.
      Another thing you can do with the drill you are running is to put orange bumpers between the white.
      There is just so much to do before the real trial season begins.

    5. #5
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      Gosh Anna! You're cooking too???!!! Wow. I hope they all appreciate your hard work.

      We're getting ready for our big Sierra Nevada Retriever Club Hunt Test Double Header. Because we don't limit the Master entries, we get a lot of folks that will come out. Honestly, I didn't appreciate how much our HT Committee and Chairman do to make the test a success. But FOOD is really important. During our event, we will have a HUGE barbecue and raffle/auction. Our chairman and her husband really cultivate merchants who make some splendid donations. And all the club members bring stuff to auction off. (I always bring a case of Merlot and a case of Chardonnay.) And honestly, it is just a fun, fun part of the experience.

      Members will work their butts off before, during and after the event. We all bring our RV's and travel trailers and it's strictly boon-docking. No hook-ups. But it's practically a small town by the time everyone (participants and club members) arrives.

      Now, like I said... it's a bunch of fun. But now that I'm getting out a bit and starting to run at other clubs, I'm like... guys! Where's the barbecue and booze and raffle and party? I think a HT or field trial should include a party.

      I distinctly remember eons ago when I ran FT's in PA, OH, NY... on Saturday evening when everyone was digging into their coolers and chilling out, one of the pro's with a big expensive rig would turn on NPR radio and we'd listen to Prairie Home Companion and Garrison Keillor. Just that small sort of kicking back and enjoying each others' company is really an important part of the game. Maybe if we did more of it, we'd have more participants.

    6. #6
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      The "tailgate" is almost a thing of the past up here. As the club members dwindle it was the one thing that was cut. It is too bad because it is a time as you say for everybody to kick back and relax. The one club that hold their trial here has started a pot luck on Saturday night. They supply the meat and everyone chips in what ever they have. It has been a great lot of fun. Maybe next year we will reinstate the tailgate at the trial I am chairing. The problem is the venue we use for the event no longer allows people to use the kitchen, orders from our health unit. It doesn't have 4 sinks.
      This weekend we will do lunch for the handlers. Pulled pork or beef on a bun. I started the stock to make asparagus soup today and a friend will make a big batch of coleslaw. I am cheating by making cakes from cake mixes for dessert. We like to eat almost as much as we like to train. I am really looking forward to Sunday as the weather calls for temps of almost 70. I heard the frogs for the second time this evening. The poor devils had to go back to sleep last week but I think they are now out for good. They are my favourite harbinger of spring.

    7. #7
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      Interesting about the health department. I would say nasty things about over-regulation of eating situations, but one of the lab owners/trainers/trialers/judges I respect the most actually is a health inspector for restaurants, etc., wherever food is served.

      Our HT is so far out in the boonies that no one can complain about our lack of sinks. (In fact, it's so far out it would be tough to figure out what agency has jurisdiction!) The meal is fully catered. I suppose the caterer has a license and operates thereby. I will hasten to say that we charge enough that it covers our expenses, and I think we throw in some raffle tickets or some such thing. So we are not absorbing the costs.

      We will be doing full potluck dinners for all the workers on two of the nights. My contribution is desert for 50 or so people. (I am such a lousy cook. It will be store bought and everyone should be grateful.)

      I think our HT committee and chairman (and her husband) have been doing this for so long that they have it down to a science. It is an effort that never ends, building relationships with federal and county land agencies, cultivating retailers and wholesalers, building relationships with judges across the country, communicating with the AKC, even veterinarians and fire/rescue people. (For instance, the club "bit the bullet" to buy defibrillators for each stake. We have had some medical emergencies over the years. And these require maintenance and regular certifications and so forth. So our chairman has worked out a deal with the fire department near our HT grounds to certify the units annually.)

      Holy smoke it was cold today. Dropped below freezing and dumped a few inches of snow on us overnight. And wind... Oh. My. Word. Brutal. But within the next three days, it's supposed to be above 70. I did not go training today at all. But I think we are going to do a big blind spread tomorrow with all the gang. After that, depending upon the two dogs... I may go back to the park and just run through the drill to lock it in to their heads a bit.

    8. #8
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      It is amazing just how much work goes on behind the scenes to make HT and FT's run so smoothly. Without the volunteers and workers that keep things going from year to year the games would be in even more trouble. We are become more dependent on private properties as the antis just don't get what we are really doing and how much our dogs love it. We are lucky in that we are close enough for 911 service at our venues. We had a long time trialer that was getting up there in years and in failing health. He brought a doctor with him to the trials and one time he got so excited about his dog going to the line that he jumped out of the van and fell in a ditch on the side of the road. The doctor jumped out to help him, hit the automatic locks with the van still running. Luckily the gentleman wasn't hurt and a couple of the handlers carried him into the line fireman style so he could see his dog run. It was harder to get a CAA tow truck to come and open the van than it would have been to get an ambulance.
      We are headed out this morning to do some marks. I got a call from one of the few hunt test pros up here, who would like to join us. The property he uses is really wet at this time of year and it is really easy to get stuck. He will invite us to his place once the weather dries it up.
      Heard the frogs last night, still were chirping at 3:00 when I let the dogs out. Just one more night of chirping and spring will be official or so the old saying goes.(have to hear them 3 nights)

    9. #9
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      I went to an event (it was an ultramarathon... I was the support team for one of the runners) in Vermont once and could not believe the volume and persistence of the frogs croaking at one another. We have nothing like that here in NV. I planted daffodil bulbs last fall and they have all bloomed. So that's my sign that spring is here... sorta... except when it snows!!!

    10. #10
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      Well... what do you know. It really is possible to see incremental growth in understanding and some team work on the line.

      -blind-spread-4-15-16-jpg

      So this is typical Red Rock Desert terrain and vegetation. Nothing is exact. Growth of bramble, weeds, sage brush, desert peach... all is sort of random. The longest blind was maybe 175 yards. The line was crammed up on the edge of the drop-off, and crowded by some brush and weeds. So RD had to really move with me. And sunny gun! What do you know? She lets me quietly no-here... no-heel... dead bird... that's it... Back. B1 was really tight to the road, angled down along the embankment. She did not roll down it at all as much as I thought she would. She did need two quick right hand backs, but that was it. B2 she had to angle down the steep embankment, ignore B1, and angle up the ridge. Again, her initial line was really good. Never gave in to going perpendicular up the ridge. B3 was a snap, more in the bowl. B4 was tricky because the wind was strong from left to right, and it was very easy to lose sight of the dog behind some brush if you couldn't make her/him push through it and not hook in to the blind on the left. B5... she lined (but she, of course, knew where it was). B6 was simply longish, through cover. No problem.

      I honestly think that drill in Las Brises Park is showing some dividends. And we haven't even scratched the surface of all the possibilities, like the ones you discussed.

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