Wow, very long time since an update.
Bally did pass that first master test in Tallahassee. He failed the next one at Fall Line, but then went four-for-four during May & June to finish his MH 5-of-6 tests.
After we got back from our summer trip in early July, I took a big hiatus from any dedicated field training. Lots of traveling in August, September and October. Finally we're back home, no traveling plans, and the weather is perfect. Back to field training.
My goal is to run Bally in Quals in the next year. Nobody has written the book on how to do this with a show-bred golden! I have compiled a list of things I want to concentrate on, to avoid the trap of trying to do everything, which is impossible. My main goals are to TEACH with motivation and momentum, not overface, but yet be willing to correct for lack of effort. If he can't come back after a correction for not trying, then this isn't a game he needs to play. My goal is to keep it simple. If Bally THINKS he can do it, then he CAN do it.
Another biggie is to get more consistent with my cues and body language at the line to help the dog be correct.
My list of things to concentrate on is simple and short:
Initial Line drill in water
Singles off multiple guns in a setup formation
Long bird first
Hard memory bird run as single first : retired, interrupted double/triple, poison bird
Shorter technical water marks
Longer simple water marks
Long simple land blinds
Long entries into water
Technical factors at a distance
Blinds separate from marks (*I want Bally to think MARKS when he sees white coats....and he has no problem running blinds off suction, so I think this will make things more clear for him)
Today we had a really nice training session by ourselves. I started by putting out a white stake with a pile of bumpers halfway down the long side of a channel coming off of Middle Pond. I first lined him to it from about 50 yards away from the other side of the channel (the channel is maybe 20 yards across so a short swim to cross to the other side of the channel). We then kept moving left and farther away with each send. Next was from the road, about 75-100 yards to the channel, then to the flat part where the road peters out, about 150 yards to the channel, then up on the dike next to the fence which is at least 200 yards from the channel. My whole goal is to get Bally comfortable with long land entries on water blinds. For the three longer sends I did have to handle but each one he finally took that last cast and launched into the water. On the last one I couldn't even see the stake anymore, much less the water in the channel or the dog once he got out there, but he came back wet with a bumper! We had fun
Bally wants to introduce our new addition, "Brix" http://k9data.com/pedigree.asp?ID=798043