OK I have been bad about updating Bally's journal, and was out of town about 2 weeks of the past month where we didn't train much.
Since the last entry, I had progressed to running Bally to a pile about 60 yards away, picking up anywhere from 10-15 bumpers per session, both from my side (no real lining up, just me holding his tab, we walk forward about 2 feet and I say "back" when he is pulling to go), and back casts left and right from in front position. I had worked up to giving force at a low or medium 4, and he took it no problem. I must say I never once got an absolute refusal, I did get some confusion where I added collar pressure that I probably could have avoided, but Bally worked through it and never wavered.
I had an internal debate on whether or not to stretch out the FTP, or move on. With my other two dogs, I had issues in this stage of training that we had to work through (Fisher = bugging, Slater = no goes w/ increased pressure), whereas Bally never really did anything consistently bad. On one hand I think I could have created some of those behaviors to work through if I continued on with FTP (which is not necessarily a bad thing), on the other hand, we are now in the thick of summer, and to me intense heat, a lot of collar pressure, and lots of repetitive behaviors sounds like a recipe for a pretty sour attitude -- not something I want to have happen with this puppy!
So we moved on
I started training the single T night before last. Now Bally did plenty of baseball casting on a mini-T and knows his casts well. We moved into our T field where the back pile is 50 yards away and side piles 25 yards off the intersection.
These first two sessions we've only worked on lining and casting to the back pile (center line). The first night I was able to back up all the way to home plate but not without a little confusion, he wanted to look at the side piles, and at one point I got him focused on the back pile, sent him, he went out about 15 feet, sorta spun and got turned around, obviously it dawned on him that the side pile would be closer. I immediately said BACK and nicked him but that only made him try to run to the closest bumper he saw -- the left side pile. I yelled and stopped him and brought him back. I felt bad giving a collar correction when things had gone a little out of control, but Bally bailed me out by being even MORE eager to get to the back pile when I moved up a bit and re-sent him. We finished out the session without incident.
Tonight we trained at about 9:15 pm -- the field has big flood lights -- much cooler (81º -- 77% humidity -- feels like 86º). Again worked on just going to the back pile. Bally was ON FIRE -- I was SOOOOOO happy with his attitude. We were able to work a little bit on focusing on the back pile from the home plate -- no, here, heel, etc to move his head -- for a first timer he did pretty well and not once did he go for a side pile. He was so fast -- even barking as I sent him -- which I've never seen him do before. The first time I thought I accidentally bumped the collar. Please remind me of this in a year when he's barking on blinds......
Yesterday we did marks -- two flyers for Bally and marks over a log.