We started Ridge on double marks last week and I can see I have made a few mistakes or handler errors. We have been throwing the doubles using a device called a “Bumper Boy” which is a mechanical thrower. It has a megaphone which makes a duck quack getting their attention and throws a mark in two different directions opposite each other. Marks are quite a ways apart but there is nothing for the dog to mark off of. In other words, the dog has nothing to help him keep the marks marked as he does when there is someone throwing the dummies. The need for a thrower is quite high in early marking and most trainers use the silhouette of a man in a white coat they stake in the ground next to the bumper boy. We need to do that as the dogs have difficulty starting out with “retired guns.”
Having said that, Ridge is doing remarkably well. His lines are really straight and his memory is excellent.
We are also working with him on beginning blinds by doing wagon wheel drills in the backyard and on the local school fields (It is handy to be the superintendent of schools. No one comes along and tells you your dog can’t poop on the field. The downside is that I can’t tell anyone else their dogs can’t poop on the field either!) Ridge is running hard and will do quite a few retrieves before beginning to slow down. We try to keep his excitement level high and so put him up while he is still running hard.