A few years ago, I bought a remote-controlled dummy launcher with four dummies. It is quite large and unwieldy, so I haven’t used it that much and haven’t had the need to use it for a long time. A couple of weeks ago, however, I realized that I could benefit greatly from it – Keen finds it difficult to mark several dummies at the same time when shooting with the handheld dummy launcher throw. In addition, I can add lots of distractions on blind retrievers and delivery to hand – Keen easily switches the dummy he has for a new one both when he is on his way to and from the area, I send him to. A friend also needed to time the shot just when her dog was walking in the right position by her side – and then she could hold the remote trigger in her hand and shoot at just the right moment.
Having said that, I tested that there was a battery in it – pressed the button so it sounded like a duck – and brought it to the training. We dragged it out at the training ground, got up and started walking. I pressed the button – and nothing happened … The battery had run out anyway.
Home again. Plug it into the charger and leave it for 24 hours. The next training session we dragged it out again, this time it all lights on it lit up nicely. We got up and started walking. I pressed the button – and nothing happened … Now I suspected the remote, because the dummy launcher lights were still on. I found a screwdriver in the car, opened the cover and turned the battery a bit. No difference. Found out that I probably had such a battery in my car key but couldn’t get it open. A friend got the key to her car and we tested that battery. No difference …
Then the dummy launcher got to come along to go home to my dad for Christmas. It turned out that it was possible to set the charger to 6V and 12V, and since it was a 12-volt battery, it did not really help to just charge it on 6V. After a little charging, it sounded happy like a duck again and lit up nicely. We expectantly dragged it out to the field and tested it again.
It didn’t work out too well … The first dummy flew far. The second dummy did not fly at all. The third dummy flew five meters, the fourth dummy flew four meters … After adjusting each dummy a bit and reloading it worked better, at least 3 of 4 flew properly. Then Dad had to give it some love – lubricate it and change O-rings – and then all four of them started flying just like it!
Keen and I got some fun training – blind retrieves with dummy launcher marked retrieves as a distraction (no problem), stopping on the way to marked retrieve and marking another dummy (went great too), marking when he was on his way back (slightly more difficult, he stopped for a long time and then I recalled him, however, no tendencies to run to the other dummy and switch).
For the next group training session, I and a friend dragged it out again – and now it went as we had intended! Lots of fun distractions, long marked retrieves and distractions while walking to heel. Now it should be able to keep up with more training sessions – loaded and smeared!