Blinds and lining drillshi my name is joe i have a 14 month old lab been forced and started on handling.shes been forced to the pile . she sits on whistle well takes both left and right handed back signals well. i have a problem getting her to focus out on a blind and and running a straight line. is it time to do line drills with something she can focus in on well like a flag with bumpers under it? and if so when do i take the aid of sight on the blind drills.i dont want to mess the dog up shes doing well just need a little guidance on this handling stage.and if i may another question is im starting doubles and just wander whats the best way to start introducing memory marks? i do thank you for your time this is a great website. joe Joe,
Thanks for the questions.
It takes young dogs a while to get the idea of running hard and fast on a blind. Some dogs will learn very quickly to "lock on" to a target are and go hard. Others may take a while. There are drills you can work that will help. I start all of my young dogs on lining drills and short pattern drills before I ever stop them on the whistle. They are running simple line and pattern drills before we teach them to handle. You can start by using a flag to mark a pile of bumpers, but I would remove the flag very early on and count on the dog's memory to run that line in subsequent sessions. There is nothing wrong with running the same blind, or series of blinds (called a pattern) for several days. I run a lot of memory blinds. This helps a young dog run with confidence and power.
There are a number of lining drills that will help teach the dog to lock onto a line and carry it through. The most common are the 8 and 16 bumper wheel, the Y, M and W, the increasing distance slant right and left as well as a few others. If you are interested in how to run these drills you can contact me directly.
Introducing memory marks is another area. I start by having the dog see a single, retrieve it and sit a heel while holding the bird. A second bird is thrown. The dog delivers the first bird and is sent for the second. I then repeat the marks in reverse order as a true double. I repeat marks here because I am teaching a concept (doubles) and not teaching marking per-se. This technique prevents switching from the onset and teaches the dog to watch and remember a mark while delivering the fist bird. it allows the dog to run with speed, style and confidence and begins to develop the dog's memory.
Best of Luck
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