Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Preparing for the NAVHDA Utility Test: Giving it another go around working Remaining by the Blind, Steady by the blind, Walk at Heel

This morning Jim and I made the trip up to New Jersey to train with Bob Corsaro. We were joined by our usual training buddy Steve Fiasco and his pup Cleo's brother and litter mate Bruin. Rafael Cabrera was also there along with his new 12 week old Llewellyn Setter puppy Biscuit!! Yay!! Puppies!! I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of my day. This is my time to warn you that if you get too excited, have high blood pressure, can't go on roller coasters, can't handle insanely cute baby animal pictures please do not continue reading this blog. Turn back now. This is your last chance. But if you are like me then please feast your eyes on some puppy love pics.

Biscuit is cute. He also has quite a prey drive. He comes from Lynnhill Llewellyn Setters in Saegertown, PA. Bob took this little guy into the field and put out a pigeon or two for him. At 12 weeks old you could see him searching and starting to use his nose. There's no doubt this pup has a bright future! Congrats on the new puppy Rafael! P.S. Keep bringing him around so I can get my puppy fix, thanks.

As far as the big dogs we walked them at heel, worked steadiness by the blind, and put them on a duck drag. We did everything we worked on last week but threw in few additional variations. Practice makes perfect.

Random cute pic of Cleo and her brother Bruin

The pups getting some love from Steve

Below is a pic of Jim walking Cleo at heel through the stakes. Bob had Steve and Raf stand out along the stakes as if they were NAVHDA judges. Up until this point Cleo has only had to walk through the stakes without any kind of diversion. Bob wanted to get her used to lots of people and possible aversions. When she walked through they took turns throwing a bumper or walking across her path in front of her. You want practice to be twice as hard as the test. 

Cleo did well with the stakes and walking at heel. This past week Jim took her down to a local pond set up the stakes and had her do it by the waters edge. He said her energy level was through the roof but that she was still able to walk through just like we need her to.

Steve walking Bruin through

Bob with Sadie who by the way must be the happiest tail wagging dog to ever walk the stakes

We also spent sometime having the dogs sit in the blind and fire off some shots. For the NAVHDA UT test they need to remain steady by the blind. Cleo sits and does a really good job until she hears the second shot. Then she always stands like she is on red alert. The NAVHDA handbook has this to say in regards to movement, "A dog under complete control will remain quietly at the blind awaiting the return of the handler. A dog who stays quietly in the blind with only minor changes in position, should not be penalized. A dog that takes only a few steps away from the original position, but remains in the immediate vicinity of the blind may receive a Prize I score, but not the maximum score. One that completely abandons the blind for any reason is deemed unsatisfactory. Whining or barking are to be penalized."So even though her standing is less than desirable we are still in the game. See pics below.

Bruin and Sadie sitting patiently and not moving a muscle.

We also worked the Steadiness by the Blind portion of the test by putting the dogs back in the blind and firing off the required 4 shots between two gunners. We then through out a bumper for the dogs to mark and retrieve. At the test it will be a duck they retrieve in the water but for the sake of teaching the dogs we make sure they understand it on land before moving to the water.

Cleo in the blind looking back at Raf who is the second gunner

Cleo after retrieving her bumper. You can see Rafael in the background.

Sadie in the blind while the shots are being fired.

Sadie being sent out to retrieve the bumper. 

Sadie on return.

Sadie delivering the bumper to hand. 

Bruin in the blind.

Bruin retrieving his bumper. 

Bru did the best with this portion of the training today. He marked well and brought the bumper right back to Steve. It was great to see him doing so well. He is such a handsome pup.

We finished the day with duck drags with so so results. Cleo has been knocking these out of the park lately but she floundered a bit today. She found the duck, scooped it up but halfway back to Jim she dropped it in the middle of field and stood there. She eventually picked it up and brought it to hand but she would have failed the test. In no attempt to make excuses it was flippin hot today. It was in the low 90's an as Bob pointed out she could have dropped it for a number of reasons. Dogs use their mouths and panting to cool themselves. Cleo was really hot and she may have dropped it because she was so hot and didn't want it in her mouth anymore. Also the duck we used has been used and refrozen several times and that may contributed to her spitting it out.

Rafael kindly dragging the duck out for us and hiding in the brush

Cleo on her way back

We were bummed she had issues with the duck drag today but considering it was so awful and hot in the field we are not getting down about it. I'm sure had it been cooler or the duck less funky she would have done just fine. Jim will work with her this week but we are not training next weekend. I am dog napping Cleo and taking her to my Aunt Gail and Uncle Sherman's lake house at Deep Creek Lake in Western MD. So check back to see Cleo's lake adventure stories and feel free to check us out and follow us on facebook! Cleo's page is titled, "Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer" and I often times post additional stuff on there that doesn't get captured on the blog.

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