A mixed day at training today.
We headed for Dan's, since it was reasonably mild (31 degrees, right above my cut-off point, LOL) and there was no wind.
Started off with marks in the "clump field". This is a horrible, horrible field but great for training. We had used it once before, so I knew it was going to present problems for the monster boy.
The field is basically mowed, but it has been "sort of" tilled and there are till lines and about every 5 feet there is a big clump of dirt/grass that is lying on the field. There are literally thousands and thousands of these clumps in the field. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your focus) they look like birds lying on the ground, so it's very tough for the dogs.
We ran a fairly simple double first, and Tito did fine with it. The go-bird landed outside of the clump field, and the memory bird was only a short plop about 40 yards away.
Next came a big single in between the 2 previous marks (which were spread pretty far apart), about 125 yards thru the clumps. Of course, Tito ran to a big clump that he thought was the bird, which took him well off the line, then he ran from clump to clump for a few seconds, and then...STOPPED AND POPPED. Just stood there. He was about 20 yards from the bird.
We waited a few seconds to see if he would recover, which he did not. Dan yelled at him to go find the bird, and Tito did.
So we re-ran the same mark, and the little brat popped again, in the same spot, over the same clump. This time Dan calmly walked out there, grabbed Tito by the ear, and "encouraged" him in the direction of the bird. Which Tito ran right over and picked up and came back with it.
The theory was, if he is going to stop and look for help, he is NOT going to enjoy the help he gets.
Then we turned the winger 180 degrees and ran another big single, and this time although Tito got distracted by the clumps he put up a great hunt and stayed with it until he found the bird. So hopefully <fingers crossed> he realized that stopping and asking for help was going to be a lot more unpleasant than just hunting until he found the bird.
The next mark was about 100 yards but fell outside of the clump field. This one went across the 4 wheeler road, into some fairly low (about 6 inch) cover on the other side of the track. About 10 yards to the left of where the mark fell was some dense cover, about back high for Tito.
The point was to be sure Tito did NOT run the 4 wheeler road. Duh, of course he didn't. Tito doesn't do that. No, he headed toward the mark, crossed the road on a nice angle like he was supposed to, and then headed toward the cover. Which is what Tito ALWAYS does.
Dan said that in all his years of training, and all of the dogs he has trained, he has never seen a dog consistently head for cover the way Tito does (it was NOT a compliment). He said most dogs take the easy way out, and most would have run the road because of the angle. No, not my dog. He takes the hardest route possible, into very dense cover.
He hunted around in the cover briefly, then came out closer to the mark, seemed unsure, headed back into the cover, then came back out and found the bird. A very, very nice hunt with no popping. We were very pleased with him, even though he headed for the cover because he was able to recover on his own and was successful.
So on that note, we ended marks and did some upland stuff. We used homing pigeons and quail.
The monster boy is getting pretty good on being steady to flush now. Very good progress on that considering we've only done 2 short sessions. He sometimes will sort of "squat" rather than fully sit, but he's getting the idea very nicely.
And Dan told me that Tito really, really needs to do more than 8 or 10 marks per week (the ones we do at Dan's) if I expect to see meaningful progress in a decent time frame. Sigh.
CH Rosewood Little Giant, VCD2 UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP MFP T2BP TD DJ VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG (born 3-10-2007), also UCH HR UH UUD NN UJJ URO1 UHIT a.k.a. "Tito" (the Tito Monster)
waiting at the bridge:
My first dog, and my most special girl
Gibson's Golden Girl, CD, CGC, TDI ( 3-20-1997 - 11-22-2013) a.k.a. "Tiny", "Queen B"
and my heart dog
Gibson's Golden Guy, CD, CGC, TDI ( 01-31-1998 - 01-02-2012) a.k.a. "Toby", "HRH"