July 18, 2008
Recently, I have been brainstorming about a way to make the "click" on
lining a blind more obvious to Gunny. A drill has evolved that seems
to be effective.
Here is a summary of the entry in the Kwick Training
Journal (the photos may help):
July 17th - set up a new drill called the "No-No Push/Pull Road Drill"
to work on Gunny's "lock"
1st identified the visible 25 yard pile pile from between two stickmen on
what will be the far side
of a gravel driveway (referred to as road from now on) Gunny lined the
pile a few times
2nd lined the pile again going between 2 bumpers placed on the near side
of the road, but from
a position where the pile is the target and these two bumpers are clearly
out of his peripheral
focus, after crossing the road. Gunny No-No'd the
stickmen and lines the pile
3rd Gunny's next run is from a line far enough back of the diversion
bumpers to need to be
push/pulled to the center (away from them).......he splits the visible
diversion bumpers this side
of the road, crosses the road, No-No's the stickmen & lines the pile,
which is not visible from the "third" line because the road is higher than
both "grassy" sides (not unlike running out of a ditch
note: Gunny never picks up the two bumpers he is "pushed" or "pulled" off
of, he has essentially three things to "click" on, the correct one is
straight ahead & not immediately visible (but he has
a clear mental picture of its existence), with the tree line in the far
background he is locking on a direction
note: Gunny was giving me three distinct "clicks"....off the
cues....."no"..."no" and "good" which
was the primary goal
note: The fact that the pile becomes quickly visible is kind of like a pop
up blind. It is an
immediate reward for making the right "lock".
note: An early spring 2009 modification
involves changing pile to orange bumpers after learning the drill routine
and transitioning to maintenance.
Step #1 - Identify the Pile
Step #2 - "No-No" the
bumpers & Stickmen
Step #3 - "No-No" Push/Pull Lining
The Analysis and Rationale
I have figured out a reason this may be effective. When doing a wagon
wheel split, the dog will look down at the near bumpers and must raise his
head to look longer. In this drill all the "attractants" are at eye
level.......because they are "up" on the road or beyond. The dog is
looking forward at the same level.......at something or "out". The premise
is that it is more difficult to ask
a dog to look up when he has been looking "down" (i.e. bugging).
This morning something unusual clarified this idea. My pup had just
finished a water lining drill and was being walked back to the van. We
passed beneath the second story, raised deck of the owner. He and his wife
started talking. The pup was jumping all over the place and barking trying
to figure out where the voices were coming from. He never looked
up......only straight ahead. Gunny was confused.....there was no one
Now if a pup has to learn to look up......it seems looking out (at
nothing) might be just as difficult. So anticipation must be developed,
distractions must be ignored and looking in the right direction must be
Daisy is my three year old. Up until about three days ago she was taking
cues and "looking out"
on blinds really well. I think she is about to come in heat and has become
a bit "buggy" on her blinds. Her focus seems to have diminished.
So this morning, I ran her on this drill. After about five or six goes,
the "Stevie Wonder" disappeared. She was sitting up tall and looking out.
Her attitude changed dramatically. The attraction of the stickmen and
visible bumpers gave her something to look at....a focus. I could "no" her
off "something" rather than "nothing" a lot easier. That left the pile of
bumpers "out there" that she could NOT see as the "good". Anticipation was
the new focus, and since
everything was at eye level.....looking out was easy. Daisy was not
confused, and her attitude improved.
key is having "things" at eye level
when sitting high.
With "reps", I can see where this might help break the pattern of "huge,
January 18, 2009.....my recently purchased copy of Carol F. Cassity's
manual....."Building A Retriever" Drills and More arrived. In it,
there were a few similar drills. So, I guess that is good.