Ideal Training Area for a Hot Day
It was 84° when we arrived, but there was a strong breeze and shade. All three dogs were staked out and
relaxed before the start. This area is called the "Swim-by Pond DTA" . It is three minutes from my house,
has a large, grassy area with a "perfect" pond. It is 14 feet deep, spring fed and cool even when the "temps"
are high. Also, there are trees which provide shade, sloped areas for terrain changes, a small, easy to
jump over creek and best of all I don't have to walk far to get set-up.
Daisy (12 months old), Taffey (5 years old) and Kooly (2 years old)
(top to bottom)
Daisy is first as I want to repeat and finish off her force to water training.
Kooly gets a refresher course in
an attempt to work on his responses to pressure. Both sessions go well. Daisy is a super trainer and "flies"
through it. Kooly immediately categorizes it as work, a drill and not fun. That's why he is continues to be
profiled as a "project".
Taffey is last by design and she will begin by taking part in a three dog drill which is up next. She has
been convinced for years that life revolves around her and she is in charge. One of her training changes
has been to focus on modifying expectations.
The next drill is a steadying drill with mainly Daisy in mind, and it involves the other two dogs. However,
it is still an excellent maintenance exercise for them. Today we are going to use the water. Daisy is on a
place board in between Kooly and Taffey. After a loud duck call, a Dokken is thrown with an "in your
face" presentation. (I have another area where a training pistol is used to increase the level of excitement.)
Words "Dog" and a couple of others are "barked out". Taffey gets the first retrieve. This is duplicated for
Kooly and finally Daisy gets her turn. The routine is then repeated once more, with maybe a different dog
being first or second. No one moves a muscle and it goes off without any need for corrections. They've
done this before, but it is the first time on water. Their expectation is "I will get mine......eventually."
(left click on thumbnails for full picture)
Three Steady Dogs
This One Was Taffey's
Kooly's Turn (and Taffey
could care less )
Who Is Next? It Must Be Daisy's
The next session up was a quick de-cheating swim. A white bumper for Daisy and
Kooly was set-up
across the pond for the "parallel drill". Taffey went last and she got an orange bumper to work with.
Kooly, Taffey and Daisy each took a good line and returned parallel to the shore. Wow, I liked that.
Ready to Exit
After every short lesson is completed the dog gets staked out for a breather.
The last session is my own
variation of the wagon wheel drill. A place board is at the pitcher's mound and bumpers are mixed into
six positions (angle backs. angle ins and overs) much like a juggler would continue to add more objects
to a multiple object juggling sequence. It is very similar to the three handed casting drill where we use
only two bumpers. In this drill, the dog retrieves from the place board and returns to it after delivering
a retrieve. That bumper is returned from whence it came and another cast is given to the dog.
Daisy is first and she dearly loves drills. Therefore, this is fun and she "flies" through it. She accepts a
few incidents of attrition, but even with those she maintains a high degree of enthusiasm and looses
no momentum. We finish up with a fun bumper flipped into the swim-by pond (cool down segment).
Kooly is something else....again this is work, I might make a mistake, "woe is me" and "egads" when
will this "freakin" drill be over........pretty much sums up his body language. With animation, loud
cheering and "pom-poms" a shakin' we manage to get through the drill. A fun bumper into the pond
signals an out burst of total relief and Kooly changes from hot melted caramel into X-Dog as he flies into
the water with an airborne leap. So I throw a few more for effect........while wondering what would happen
if for a whole month we did ZERO drills, only do walking baseball (which he has categorized as fun)
and throw marks (which are in his fun column, too)? After all, we are working on expectations and dog
training is supposed to be fun.
Taffey is last, she gets to do this just for the exercise. She gets six quick orange bumpers and picks up
her casts nicely (except for a couple of "Oops! I'm not paying attention misses"). Full tilt every second
and looking for more......that's why she always goes AFTER Kooly.
Daisy and Taffey really don't care what I do.............Kooly needs a con man.
I pull up the stakes, pack all the "stuff" in the van, say a quick thank you to the owner and make the 3
minute drive home. The weather website reveals that it is now 89° degrees. The cool water, short breaks
on stake-outs in the shade and a nice breeze compensated for the high temperature. The dogs are
comfortably sleeping now in the cool house. Geez, it's only June!