The seasons are closing in and anticipation is running high. Your dog can feel it too and is ready to get back at your side doing what it loves. We are almost ready to go; brushing up on blind retrieve skills is all that is left to have your dog ready to hunt this fall.
Running blind-A finished hunting retriever is an extension of you in the field. And they will save birds and mileage on your body if they can work with you to find birds they didn’t see fall. But their skills deteriorate when not in use so spend some time in review before you need them to perform.
It’s best not to start running cold blinds right off the bat. Set up three pattern blinds on land and three in water to build the dog’s confidence back up. It would be a good idea as well to revisit blind drills such as wagon wheel casting and stopping to piles. Once the basics have been reviewed and the dog is responding well, move on to cold blinds. As always, keep your standards high and do not allow sloppy work.
At this point the dog should be in good physical shape, in good obedience shape, and ready to start the season. If you are unfamiliar with any of the blind retrieve terms above, here are the definitions.
Pattern blind-A blind retrieve that the dog has been shown and run many times.
Cold blind-A blind retrieve that the dog has not seen previously in training.
Wagon wheel-A drill where the dog is placed in the center of a circle and surrounded by bumpers. This is to sharpen casting skills.
Stopping to pile-The dog is sent from your side to a pile of bumpers. Periodically the dog is stopped on a whistle and cast back to the pile, either left or right.