Many dogs can get through the land series in Hunt Tests or Field Trials but the real separations comes when the rubber hits the water. We have covered the basics of water work in prior blogs. Blog 6 was the introduction to water, Blog 13 covered Shore Breaking (Water seeking), Blog 14 Water Forcing and Blog 18 How to teach and run cold water blinds.
It is essential that dogs have these concepts firmly established in their brains and can run these water drills, marks, and blinds before we advance. I guarantee you if you have not done your homework on these factors it will rear its ugly head when you attempt our next topic which is spits.
Let’s start out with a simple concept. Run a blind where the dog has to enter the water swim to a spit, cross the spit and get back in the water. Examine the photo below.
We start out teaching the concept by having someone throw a bumper to the blind pile. Have the dog retrieve it and place a significant number of bumpers at that site. Go up to the water’s edge and run the blind. Ideally the dog will hit the water run over the spit and with no hesitation jump back into the water to the blind.
If successful start to throw in more factors: Back away from the edge of the water and have they make longer entries from the land. Later you can throw a poison bird off to one side, say “Leave it” and run the blind. The one thing we want to avoid is the dog getting up on the spit and start to hunt for a bumper. Keep adding distance and other factors until you can have a dog run over a spit and back into the water such as shown in the photo below without stopping to hunt or run up and down the shoreline. In the photos below the dog has to make multiple entries and exits over a number of spits after a long land entry.
Permanent Blinds are an excellent way to teach straight lines and embed certain concepts. In the photo below the dog is returning after running a permanent blind that includes numerous factors and concepts. First a long land entry, then going straight into the water and not skirting to the right to avoid the water. He next has to cross 2 spits including an angled spit. I run this blind almost every time I am able to train in this area of Denverton. It gives him confidence to do something that is almost second nature.