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This morning, as we were just about to start our morning walk in the nature preserve, we met a married couple with 3 dogs, the largest a black Lab mix that Puff wanted to make friends with. They'd never been on any of the trails before so they came along partway. Puff loves to run in large great circles and be chased (with lots of loops and juking) and the 3 dogs seemed happy to oblige.

Several times I slung her training dummy and when Puff took off after it, the 3 dogs took off after Puff and sometimes wanted to take the TD from her so she'd drop it but keep running, the 3 dogs trailing her. She'd make several giant loops but, when they dropped far enough behind Puff, she'd shift her course to take her back over the dropped TD, grab it on the run, and bring it back to me.

The couple were amazed at how she could remember for so long just where she'd dropped it.

Clever girl.

(I thought it best to not tell them about her doing integral calculus.)

 

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They should be able to figure that out on their own. Our dogs that catch flying objects in the air are really pretty good at calculus. They have to be in order to calculate the trajectory for the optimum opportunity to catch the ball, dummy, frisbee, whatever.
 

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The couple were amazed at how she could remember for so long just where she'd dropped it.
Clever girl. (I thought it best to not tell them about her doing integral calculus.)
Among the numerous attributes of a Labrador is the sometimes amazing "marking" skill ... the ability to mentally make note of a specific location, "mark" it to memory and then return later to retrieve the object. They also use their exceptional olfactory sense (reportedly 300X or more stronger that a human's sense of smell) to pin point the object if out of sight once their marking got them to the general area. Dog owners who've never been exposed to a retrievers use of those inherent skills are usually dumbfounded when they see them used the first time.

Just to keep ours conditioned, we sometimes run quadruple land marks for Cappy and Remi in training. Each are required to sit at my left heel (one at a time) while I throw or launch four dummies and have them carefully watch each one as they fall ... teaching them to "mark the spot. While still seated at heel, they are then given a line with my left hand in front of their face and pointing in the direction that I want them to run. They are sent with a release command (their name) to find the dummy one at a time. As each one is located and returned to my left heel delivery, I take that dummy and then realign the dawg to the next location. They retrieve each of the four dummies in the order that I send them.

They have learned to rely on their mental "mark" of that dummy based upon the direction I am aligning them to. Once they arrive in the general fall area they begin to more heavily rely on their scenting skills to find and return with the dummy. The have also learned to rely on me if "they need help". Occasionally they will drift off-line or run past the actual fall area and that's where remote handling becomes so important. The handler uses both whistle and hand signals to get the dawg back on line and worked into the correct fall area where the dummy can be located by scent. It's a real partnership between dawg and handler, whether occasional hunters or accomplished retriever trial competitors
 
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