A couple of months ago I published a blog post with a nice video of preparatory competitive training from two years ago when Seeker was just 20 weeks. After Seeker had entered his first little mock trial, it was Tod’s turn. Below Tod’s owner Åsa will tell you about her thoughts on their training.

Tod’s almost 8 months old, and we’re ready to step up our training.

In our mock trial, I first and foremost wanted to work on steadiness, heeling and deliveries (which are the most important foundation skills we have been working on during the summer) and see how well all this would work under more challenging circumstances.

We had a judge and a shooter (but no actual gunfire) and we created simple little retrieving exercises, the thought being that the mock trial should feel easy and fun. We would rather go for ”too simple” here in the beginning.

This was my plan:

  • Heel up to the judge, sit calmly while I greet the judge
  • Heel after having passed the shooter
  • A short marked retrieve
  • A short blind retrieve to the same spot (the judge places the dummy without Tod seeing it)
  • A small sweep up in an area close by
  • Heel behind the shooter towards the water
  • Throw a rock into the water
  • Turn around and head in the other direction
  • Recall (not seen in the video, but that video is so long anyway…)

Here’s the video:

I’m really pleased with Tod! He has a great foundation for heeling and didn’t find it difficult to heel behind the shooter (he doesn’t expect anything from the shooter, it’s perfect to work on this before he’s understood how much fun that shooter is!). Heeling towards the water was more of a challenge, and he needed to correct himself a couple of times. He showed great steadiness when objects were thrown on land and in water, and except some fuss with the first dummy, all the deliveries were good.

I’m also very pleased by how he managed to shift his focus. He had no issues with doing a marked retrieve, followed by a blind retrieve and then going on to sweep up independently in a new area (without coming back to where he was before).

Sweeping up was so much fun that he wanted to continue to hunt even after finding the dummy. I needed to help him to come back in, which was valuable information to me for our continued training.

Turning around and moving away from the water was also a bit challenging, but I simply waited for him and he then chose to come with me.

I will continue working on the foundation skills shown in the video and reward him for being able to shift his focus between different tasks, while keeping calm and in balance. He’s a great training partner, Tod!


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