I just got back from field training. I am getting ready for a JH(Junior Hunter) hunt test and was having problems with Amber dropping the bumper as soon as she got out of the water or as soon as she got close to me she would throw it down at my feet. so for about 2 months we worked our way through forced fetching while not going to the field. last week we started doing walking retrieves where Amber had to heel next to me while we passed bumpers spaced about 15-20 feet apart. As we passed them I would tell her to fetch some but not all bumpers. We did this on a 6ft leash and I would give her all the slack to make the retrieve. If she didn't make a retrieve as we walked by she got corrected. If she dropped it she got corrected. If she got it correctly she got alot of praise. If she missed it on the way out because she was going to fast she got corrected. She quickly learned to grab it on the first try and not to let go until I said "Give". We got to the point that this was a walk in the park for her. So today we went to the training field with ponds. I had her do a few retrieves on dry ground and she was perfect. We then went to water, a nice short water retrieve and she came out of the water and droped the dumbell to shake, and I corrected her she panicked briefly and then lunged over and grabed the bumper and then finshed and gave it to me on command. We did it again and she dropped the dumbell again but was much quicker on picking it back up. For the rest of the day she never dropped a dumbell coming out of the water. Yeah!!!!! It was like the light bulb went off in her head. I think we are going to be ready really quickly for CDX(Open) and for our JH test.
I am going to save this post. Emilu is great now about not dropping the dumbbell in obedience retrieves, but when she does bumpers in water retrieves, she always drops it right away and shakes. I haven't really worked on this yet, but I want to get her WC, and even if it isn't required for them to hold it and give it to hand (not sure if it is or not), I want her to hold it until I ask for it. I like the idea of leading her past several items and only having her retrieve some of them.
For a WC the dog doesn't have to deliver to hand but must deliver to an area past the line for ground retrieves and back on dry land for wate retrieves. The dog must make two water and one land retrieve of about 50 yards. For the WCX there are two double retrieves one double on land and one double in water. the dog must deliver to hand but can be encouraged to repick up a bird that it has dropped and deliver to hand. Doubles are when you bring your dog up to the line and they "shoot" two birds one after the other and then you send your dog to retrieve one and then after that retrieve you send it again for the other. Dogs must be steady at the line but may have controlled breaks and/or creeping. One good thing? about all hunt tests is they don't score dogs other than pass or fail, or rather I should say the do score them but they never show anyone the scores and dogs aren't placed 1st thru 4th. you only get a qualifying ribbon and a bird leg band if you pass.
We then went to water, a nice short water retrieve and she came out of the water and droped the dumbell to shake, and I corrected her she panicked briefly and then lunged over and grabed the bumper and then finshed and gave it to me on command.
I just went to watch a hunt test last week. I will say that just about every single Jr dog dropped the bird to shake after the water retrieves. Some automatically picked it back up. Others needed the handler to remind them. I didn't get to see the Sr water (only land) so I don't know how many of those dogs dropped the bird, if any. I wouldn't let that stop you from entering. I'm sure you guys will do great. ;D
I know I shouldn't worry about minor things. Its technically a minor deduction for a dropped bird but I am more strongly associated with an obedience history and always in the mindset that we can do a perfect retrieve. Of course if I want to go on and do things in senior and maste that I might as well train for that now rather than let her make mistakes and have to fix them later. I am however glad that some things in training do overlap. Sending your dog on a blind retrieve is exactly the same as sending your dog out on the directed jumping exercises in utility that alot of people have trouble with. Well not exactly the same in a blind retrieve you have to send tham out about 300ft and you can turn them and sit them more than once. And directing them to the jump is only slightly different then directing them to a blind. The more Amber learns and knows the easier the next thing is to train.