Thursday, July 16, 2009

Devon and blinds

After the break throughs from last week, I was anxious to get to more blinds this week. On Sunday, I gave Devon her first truly cold blinds. We were at a fellow Golden Retriever club member's home, and there was a lovely tree standing alone 80+ yards out in a field. A perfect target! We put orange bumpers under it and a bird house about 60 yards away on another line.

Devon was incredible! She lined both of these cold blinds the first try! I was jumping up and down I was so excited and proud of Devon!

Of course, I couldn't just let the training session go with a perfect blind. I asked Steve to take a white bumper and throw a "wipe out" mark across the line of the blind. He did and Devon retrieved it. They aren't called "wipe out" marks for nothing! Sure enough, the mark completely wiped out Devon's memory of the line of the blind and caused suction when I sent her.

On both blinds, the second time I had to handle Devon to the blinds. Once she handled, she lined them the third time out without the wipe out mark. I was really pleased with this session.

On Monday, I went to another location where I could set out blinds at a distance. I set one at 125 yards, one at 140 yards and a third at 130 yards. I marked all three with a black post with bright pink streamers. I know from experience I can see these posts and Devon cannot until she's right up on them. However, they gave me a good target to send to.

Before I got Devon out, I got my "fairway" to each blind, so I knew how far to let her drift. I lined her up for the 125 yard blind, sent her, and she went out in a straight direct line just as she had the night before. I was thrilled! She definitely has learned what she's to do on blinds!

She ran straight for 90 yards before she broke down and drifted left and I had to whistle sit her. She turned and sat like a dream. Awesome, one over and one back and she'd have it. I carefully put my over cast out and yelled "over" and walked to my right. Devon sat like a beautiful statue and watched me walk. Nothing. No movement at all. HUH? I've never seen that!

So I repeated my over command and again nothing. Three times and I knew I'd have to do something different. I'm not sure if she had never handled that far away from me, or what. I walked up closer, about 30 yards, and said, "Devon! Over!" Well, on her name, Devon came it. Darn it!

So I had to resend her to the blind because she wouldn't sit on her way in. This time it wasn't quite as pretty, but she handled to it. The next time she lined it. Good girl!

The other two blinds were much harder because of the suction from the previous blind. The middle blind she got on several handles the first time, two handles the second time and lined it the third time. We had quite the battle on the first send because of the suction from the first blind.

The third blind was a repeat of the middle one with extreme suction from the previous blind. On the third send, I got her to two whistle the third blind and I knew that was the best I would get.

Overall, I was pleased with Devon's blind work this week. She's really getting her job and we're starting to handle pretty well as a team. I think I'm going to stop marking the blinds with sticks and just do cold blinds the next time we train. I do think the blind markers made the suction worse because once she knew they were there, she looked for them.

No comments: