Saturday afternoon was warm with a stiff wind for our casting sessions, and my goal was to put some distance in their retrieves. Sophie and Dakota have had a fair amount of training in this area over the years but nothing consistent. For the Spinone, it’s new especially for Doc.
For Sophie, I lined out three bumpers about 100 feet apart and sent her out. She didn’t take a straight line to the bumpers but insisted on drifting downwind and then working her way back to them. I only ran her for two sets because she was beginning to wear down perhaps due largely to the heat, however she did well with retrieving each bumper in order.
Mia followed Sophie and as with Sophie, she insisted on drifting downwind and then working her way back. I set the first bumper out about 50 feet and each additional one about 30 feet past the first, so they were set at about 50, 80, and 110 feet. Mia took the first bumper, carried it out to the second where she exchanged bumpers. I ran her on four sets and she improved with each one.
Doc was third to train and I only ran him on one set of bumpers; as with Mia, I set them about 50, 80 and 110 feet out and he likewise didn’t take a line, but drifted downwind and worked his way back to the bumpers. He had a lot of trouble with the third bumper and then decided that he didn’t want to retrieve it so I used a version of force-fetching I’d learned. I gave him the bumper and then with a couple of fingers, pushed up on his chin which prevented him from dropping it; holding his chin up in that manner, we ran back to our starting point. I decided to give him a break and let him run the pasture before resuming, but he found a pair of hen Pheasants that had sneaked into the pasture and after that, bumpers were the last thing he wanted.
Dakota was next and I only ran her on a single bumper; more than a single bumper and she becomes completely confused. After each retrieve, I’d walk the bumper out an additional 100 feet or so then send her out. I ran her on four sets of bumpers, and she continues impressing me by taking a perfect line out and back. With just that little amount of exercising, both her and Sophie needed half a Rimadyl.
Elvis was last to train and as with Dakota, he took a perfect line out to the bumpers and back. I ran him on about four sets of bumpers and he did a very nice job with his retrieves.