Through the Looking Glass

The Looking Glass drill layout

The Looking Glass drill layout

Apologies to Lewis Carroll, but after all Doc Savage is from the literary litter and this weekend he made it through the Looking Glass drill with little trouble.

Doc selects a bumper from the pile.

Doc selects a bumper from the pile.

I began by having him retrieve a pile of bumpers, then began the Looking Glass drill by tossing the bumper past the poison birds. I had to initially stop him from retrieving poison birds a couple of times but it didn’t take long before he was focusing on the bumper I tossed for him.

Doc gets the bumper in the Looking Glass drill

Doc gets the bumper in the Looking Glass drill

Doc working the Looking Glass drill

Doc working the Looking Glass drill

After a couple of successful retrieves, I placed the bumper rather than tossing it, and he was working the drill to perfection.

Mia searches the bumper pile for just the right one

Mia searches the bumper pile for just the right one

Mia retrieves from the bumper pile

Mia retrieves from the bumper pile

I worked Mia on the drill next, and as with Doc, started her out with retrieving a bumper pile. She ran the drill flawlessly, except for making her return retrieves over the line of bumpers instead of between them.

Mia working the Looking Glass drill to perfection

Mia working the Looking Glass drill to perfection

Mia does not always stay within the lines

Mia does not always stay within the lines

With Dakota, it was just the bumper pile. The clouds that had kept the temperature fairly moderate were gone and it was heating up.

Dakota charges back with a bumper

Dakota charges back with a bumper

Dakota selects a bumper from the pile

Dakota selects a bumper from the pile

Elvis was last and again, it was just the bumper pile for him. Even though he loves sunbathing in the heat, he was becoming hot with the retrieves. After we finished, he headed for the ditch to cool off.

Elvis cools off in the ditch after retrieving drills

Elvis cools off in the ditch after retrieving drills

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The Looking Glass drill

The Looking Glass drill layout

The Looking Glass drill layout

We took a break from the water last weekend and I worked with Doc and Mia on the Looking Glass drill. This drill, along with the power bar and waist cord, was developed by Mike Gould and is used to help retrievers take straight lines to their marks and ignore poison birds (bumpers they have to ignore).

I use the check cord to keep Mia from the poison birds

I use the check cord to keep Mia from the poison birds

The drill consists of laying out two rows of bumpers that essentially act as poison birds, but also provides a virtual lane for the dog to follow. The mark, or bumper they are supposed to retrieve, is placed at the end between the rows. The drill consists of casting the dog between the two rows of bumpers and the objective is to retrieve the bumper at the end. A very challenging drill for dogs just starting out, since they have a tendency to go after the poison birds.

Mia makes a successful retrieve

Mia makes a successful retrieve

I haven’t done this drill in a few years and Mia was confused at first, but once she caught on, did a great job. After she was making retrieves consistently, I set a pile of bumpers for her to retrieve.

Mia goes outside the lines

Mia goes outside the lines

This was Doc’s introduction to the drill and he’s not quite ready for it. He was becoming more confused by the drill so I stopped and had him retrieve a pile of bumpers. It’s a drill he’s going to have to gradually work up to.

Docs 4th birthday

It’s hard to believe the kid’s growing up, but Friday we celebrated Doc’s 4th birthday with Buffalo Chicken sliders from Arby’s.

Mia, Doc , Elvis and Dakota

Mia, Doc , Elvis and Dakota

I just got back from another birthday party today, as we were invited to a Quinceanera, this being the second one I’ve attended. They’re a lot of fun and always great food.

Beginning duck search with Doc and Mia

I upped the ante with Doc and Mia in preparing them for duck search, with the addition of Scott Linden’s Real Bird Bumper along with getting them accustomed to retrieving from land to water. Although they have retrieved ducks from land to water on several occasions, it’s nothing we’ve trained on.

Mia: throw the bumper already

Mia: throw the bumper already

I really like the Real Bird Bumper because it sits higher in the water making it easier for them to mark, has a wing that can be left to flap or fastened to the bumper, and (the size of bumper I use) weights about the same as a duck. I haven’t used the bumper for a couple of years and Doc was intimidated by it at first.

Mia goes out for bumperMia heads out for the bumper

last week –

Mia had no problems with straight water retrieves. Doc wouldn’t pick up the bumper but I solved that by making Doc heel while Mia retrieved. After impatiently watching her retrieve the bumper, I let Doc go and he was retrieving it like a pro.

Mia retrieving bumper by its wing

Mia retrieving bumper by its wing

I then set the bumper on the opposite side of the pond and this time it was Mia who wouldn’t retrieve. She would swim over to the bumper but not pick it up, so I sent Doc to retrieve and that’s where we ended our session.

Doc retrieves bumper

Doc retrieves bumper

Mia approaches bumper but fails to retrieve

Mia approaches bumper but fails to retrieve

Mia wouldn't retrieve bumper from land so I let Doc get it.

Mia wouldn’t retrieve bumper from land so I let Doc get it.

Doc shows Mia how its done

Doc shows Mia how its done

This week –

After giving Mia a few preliminary water retrieves, I placed the bumper on the opposite side of the pond. She learned from last week’s mistakes and did a great job of searching and retrieving even though she chose the land route for her retrieve. At the beginning of the video, she looks back at me for direction and takes her cast very well.

This time Doc had trouble with the bumper. We did a few water retrieves and as I did with Mia, placed the bumper on the opposite side of the pond. The distance was too far for Doc so I’ll have to start him out on shorter distances. I led Doc to retrieve the bumper, but since didn’t see me throw throw it didn’t recognize it as a bumper and was afraid of it. We ended the session with some easy water retrieves.

Retrieving with Elvis and Mia

Mia returns with a bumper

Mia returns with a bumper

Last Sunday, Mia and Elvis got a chance to train and swim at the Rose Ponds. Both dogs did a nice job of retrieving and again, I ended their training sessions with some free time in the water.

Elvis retrieves a bumper

Elvis retrieves a bumper

Mia continued swimming around in search of bumpers to retrieve, so I had to keep throwing them for her.

Elvis and Mia, with bumper, enjoy their swim.

Elvis and Mia, with bumper, enjoy their swim.

Retrieving with Doc and Dakota

Dakota 1

Dakota retrieving

Dakota retrieving

Dakota flying

Dakota flying

I took Doc and Dakota to the Rose Ponds for a little water work and they had a great time retrieving bumpers.

Doc heads out for a bumper

Doc heads out for a bumper

Doc retrieving

Doc retrieving

Doc and Dakota swimming together

Doc and Dakota swimming together

After their individual training sessions, I gave them some free time for swimming and retrieving together.