My 15 month old pup has been stuck in transition lining for way too long. We are primarily following TRT. He knows the drills and the concepts since we have been doing them since before the snow melted in February. He has probably gone to the back pile over 1000 times since we started.
The problem I am having is the dog decides to pretend he has forgotten all that has been taught about handling, such as; about half way into a pile of a dozen bumpers lining a pattern blind he will decide not to cue to the "line" command and will instead look at me rather than looking out into the field or respond in any way to taking a line (and this is after he has successfully taken the cue and lined the blind with good body position and focus) and he knows that bumpers remain at the pile.
I have just completed going backwards all the way to three handed casting and then working back up through stick to pile and FTP. I believe we have successfully completed FF and have only revisited briefly because he does very well with FF, walking fetch and with a good attitude.
After this last round of going all the way back to basics, he will still randomly do the look at me instead of take the line routine and play dumb. If I send him in this state he will immediately pop, then bark when cast, take poor casts and all the while playing like he has never done this work before. I recently used frozen ducks and it seemed to help him focus since he lined all three of them but my suspicions are that I need to fix this problem for bumpers or dokkens since he obviously prefers the ducks.
I would like to hear if anyone has any good advice or has dealt with this problem in the past. My next step without any advice would be to only work with frozen or fresh kill birds exclusively until his performance is flawless. Sorry for the long post and if I need to post a video to help with a constructive response, I can do so.