Bill Tarrant wrote about the value of short, 5-10 minute training sessions, and it seems to be paying off for Doc and Mia. I take them out in the pasture several times a week for a short training session on blind retrieves, and can see a marked improvement in their casting, searching, and taking a line.
This weekend they put it all together when I added my duck blind to the equation. More than just wanting to see them make blind retrieves, I wanted to see how long and hard they’d search for the bumper yet still be rewarded with finding it.
I worked with Mia and Doc individually, heeling each of them to the blind where I gave the “stay” command while, out of sight, I set three bumpers. After setting the bumpers, I waited an additional five minutes to test their steadiness in the blind. Since I didn’t know how they’d react to this new setup, I only set the bumpers out about 20 yards.
I limited my casting to keeping them in the general area of the bumper rather than trying to cast them directly to the bumper. Mia took a straight line to the first two bumpers but the third was a real challenge. However after about 10 minutes of searching, she came into the scent cone and made a nice retrieve.
Doc’s setup was essentially the same as Mia’s and he had no trouble with taking a straight line to the bumpers. I would have preferred him to search harder for the bumpers but was impressed with his ability to find them in such short order.
Since Doc and Mia had the privilege of training, I let Elvis, Sophie and Dakota run in the pasture for a bit.