Okay, I have an almost two year old YLF that I am training at the Finished level in HRC. I started training this spring on singles only to build up her marking after being off all winter. About three weeks ago I started running her on triples, because at some point she's going to have to count to three and develop a memory. Well she did outstanding for a while, lining the marks very well. Then all of a sudden she acts like she doesn't know there is a third mark out there. I have been lining her up on it and sending her on her name. She lines to the AOF very well, but she won't check up and hunt the AOF. She just keeps going until she runs into the fence or the woods Then she just pops and I have to handle her to the mark. She's also started popping really bad on marks that she has no business doing that on. Last night in training she picks up a triple that I intentionally set up short and easy, i.e. 40-50yd marks with no problem and on the next set up she totally blows the whole thing.
So after much thought I have decided that she has confidence problems. I believe that I have pushed her too hard too quick since she was doing the work, instead of gradually building her up. She has shown this behavior on yard work drills before and I would have to back up, simply and work her through it. It's almost like she second guesses herself and her abilities to do something, even though she's already shown with success that she can do it. Do dogs really think like this, or am I just tagging her with a human attribute to put a name on it?
I think that my next step is to back up to singles again and do triples as short marks in relatively featureless terrain until I build her confidence up again so that I can add factors to the marking set ups.
So my question is this: do you guys think that I am thinking correctly? Am I way off base here? Any insight is greatly appreciated as I am very frustrated(mainly with myself for putting her in this situation).
Looking forward to bouncing ideas off of someone else regards,