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  1. #1
    Senior Dog TuMicks's Avatar
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    Basics, Basics, Basics!!!

    So here we are in Texas again. My little trailer is parked on the grounds where the 2020 National Field Championship will be held. (Which is as close to an NFC as I'll ever get!) The water levels are pretty low, but we've had several inches of rain this week and I can tell the difference. Naturally, the rain is falling, (good) but the weather is getting colder (not so good) and we may have to wait until spring to really appreciate the ponds for training purposes.

    Anyhow, I'm in a place where there is an abundance of retriever people and getting a lot of good advice. And what am I learning? What I already should know, but sometimes you just need to get smacked upside the head... or get another set of eyes watching you and telling you what you're doing wrong (because 99% of the time it's me not the dog.)

    I'm doing a lot of solo (i.e., just me and Rocket Dog) drills. Hillmann's "star drill" (5 piles of bumpers, lining, stopping on the whistle, handling), did some wagon-wheel drills to mainly practice how I receive the dog, move left and right, take the bumper/bird, etc. 7 bumper lining drill, etc. There is a marking practice that is for angle back throws, flat throws and inward throws. RD and I do them in a "back to home-plate" fashion which is certainly handy. And we've developed some pretty complex school blinds, big white stakes where she is running long and straight and confidently over or through some demanding factors. I train with a group once or twice a week. And we are working a LOT on heel-sit-heel-sit and so forth since line manners are still our weak-point and will be forever, I think.

    Basics, basics, basics!!!

  2. #2
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    Our season is hit and miss right now but we too are working on some basics, especially with Elle. Wednesday we set up a couple of ABC drills and boy were they telling. After a season of marks you would think an ABC would be a piece of cake, not so. M blew a couple of the long marks on the first drill. She had marked but decided she needed to check something out on her way and did a huge banana into the mark. Then on the short mark she blew right by and headed back to the long one. The left side of that set up was done well. On the second she again had problems with the long station and I had to handle her to it.
    We too did the marking practice drill after. One of the guys does it a little different. He sets up two stick men then throws three white bumpers on the first side and then orange on the opposite. It was really interesting watching the dogs. Elle wanted to run long the first time but she caught on and checked up for the short mark on the second side. Ron's young dog is having to develop a rational hunting pattern. He tends to run all over the field if he misses a mark. This drill helps him establish an elliptical or figure 8 hunting pattern.
    I still have a 10 blind pattern set up for lining and handling plus a couple of difficult schooled blinds. We got snow last night so I don't know how many more days of field work we will get in.
    Next week I will sign them up to do indoor obedience work. Would like to try to get their CDX and Rally excellent by spring but not to sure.
    Keep us informed with all the great work you are doing with RD.

  3. #3
    Senior Dog TuMicks's Avatar
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    Wow... snow already. You gotta be tough to be Canadian. It got down to 35 here. Since my trailer is not rated for winter it has single pane windows and little insulation (as in none). If I heat it at night, I have rivers of condensation dribbling down the walls... so I don't waste the propane.

    The FT people are largely running their circuits and not as many of them are training locally. (Bill Hillmann is in a neck-and-neck slugfest with another derby dog named Rain. He's driving all over the country trying to accumulate enough derby points the make high point dog. Not sure how that all works since Shadow is younger than Rain. Anyhow...)

    I'm working with some HT amateurs and doing some day training with a local HT pro. There's a gal with two MH's whose running Qual's. We trained together today doing "Key Relationship" drills. Have an obvious gunner in the near-mid distance who throws the same mark over and over. Dog gets the mark, runs a blind behind the gun. Gets the mark again and runs a blind under the arc. Watches the mark, runs a poison bird blind off the toe of the mark... then picks the mark up then gets another mark and blind and that's that. Her dogs knew these blinds, whereas RD was running them all cold... even so RD did a decent job. I'm constantly reminded though that I am a lousy handler. (Ugh!) I need lots of practice since I am running a Master in 2 weeks!!!

  4. #4
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    I can feel your pain as Brooks has pretty much horrible line manners. He can do all the work to competently run a SH test, but I am hesitant die to the line manners. This is our winter project and I'm hoping we can run some senior tests next spring.

 



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