Saturday, May 30, 2009

More on Devon's field training

On Wednesday, we had a good field session with a permanent blind and a sight blind with factors. I've done this permanent blind about 7-8 times starting last fall when I first taught it to her. But it's been the two times this spring that we've done it when I felt like Devon actually understood the concept.

After she did the permanent blind, I turned her 90 degrees and asked for a sight blind. I used a black stick in the ground fence post with bright pink streamers hanging 8-10 inches at the top. I put the post in front of a tree and put two orange and two white bumpers under it. 

The sight blind was about 65 yards away from us when I sat Devon and asked her "Where?" She had to go through knee high cover, then an open dirt patch and then back into cover before she found her bumpers. Devon seemed to lock right away, so I sent her. Much to my complete shock, she lined it! I was thrilled!

I decided to repeat it, and this time she surprised me, too, but not in a good way. She locked, she sent, she ran her line; but as soon as she got to the dirt patch, she got distracted and went to the left sniffing. I blew a sit whistle and she blew me off! I yelled at her to sit, and she still ignored me. So I walked toward her and she started eating something. I'm sure she was distracted by cat or raccoon scent and/or poop.

When I reached her (and she hadn't heard me coming), I grabbed her collar and told her to sit. Boy did that ever shock her! Me coming to get her and getting a hand on her and making her sit was more than enough correction for her to know she was in deep, deep trouble! 

At this point you might be wondering why I didn't give her a collar nick. That would have been an affective and warranted correction. However, the collar battery was dead. I realized it when I put it on her at the beginning of the session. 

From the point of correction, I had her sit and then gave her a right back to the blind. She did a nice job and got her bumper. We went back to my original point, and I ran it two more times. The next time Devon took a few steps to the right (opposite) of her point of correction and the last time she ran it straight. I would still call it a great session even with the correction.

Today we did another three in a row drill. I used the blind posts instead of buckets. The posts were 25 yards apart. I was about 30 yards from the first post and 65 yards from the farthest post on the angle. 

From the left, Devon does this drill very well. However, from the right we had to battle suction on the middle post. She sucked in twice before I started walking up. She sucked in two more times before she was successful, which was almost 30 yards closer to the post. Once she got it, I backed up halfway then all the way back to my original spot. Once at my original spot, she was able to go between the middle and farthest post just fine.

Although this problem was frustrating, I have to say she is far better on this drill than in the past. Before when she's struggled I've had to walk up and I've not been able to get all the way back to my original line. I really see such great improvement in her skills. That success combined with yesterday's success at lining in the water and for a bird on a blind, I can see we're getting closer to that goal of an SH after her name!

No comments: