Hello everyone, I have a question about my dog as we are encountering a few issues in training. My dog Colt is one pass away from his AKC SH title, and he has been great in the Senior tests. However in training, we are working towards Master concepts and master level scenarios. On land, he runs beautifully, nailing all kinds of triples, and running really nice blinds. In the water, he has improved greatly and does a nice job MOST of the time... however he really tries to "cheat" on shore blinds, or any marks close to the shore. He has been through swim by, and i have done all kinds of corrections. What is frustrating about him is that when he cheats, I can say "NO...Here" and re-send him, he will run it perfectly. He knows what I am asking him to do, but he is very stubborn and tries his way first most of the time. My worry is that in the MH test, that will not be forgiven! I have used the collar, tried indirect pressure, basically anything I could think of! Dont get me wrong, there are times he runs great, but he wants to cheat every so often and i'm wondering if maybe going back to some lining drills wouldn't be a bad idea. I may even go as far as putting two poles out in the field, and making the dog go thru the poles both to and from the mark. Once we get to greater distances on land with that drill I can put the poles in the water and do the same thing. Is that a reasonable idea??
Colt also is not the best at driving over a point of land and then re-entering the water. Almost always he wants to break down and hunt. I have seen a lot of this at HT's in other dogs as well, but of course i'd like to see him drive over the finger of land and continue on his line (he does this on blinds, not marks). I have run this as a walkout, or pattern, and he does "OK" with it, but often wants to hunt. His senior test nearly exposed this last weekend but if I sit him on the whistle and cast him back, he typically drives back into the water and continues just fine. Yes I could handle him thru this in a MH test, but of course i still want to strive for proper technique and fundamentals!
He is a great dog, and a pure joy to train. I love him dearly and enjoy hunting with him and partaking in HT's as a hobby. I dont care if it takes 25 attempts to get a MH title, this is for fun and to gain valuable training experience. But we are hitting a wall on some of this cheater, angle entry and re-entry concepts in the water. Any ideas are welcome!! He has worked with Todd Sterrett of Arrowhead Kennels in Hudson, IA - Todd is outstanding and has done a great job with Colt - but this issue keeps rearing its ugly face and i am looking to work through it.