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Discussion Starter #1
I'm doing an article on The Initial Line of blinds. Wondering about how y'all view the importance of the initial line on blinds. Also comments as to how sentiment seems to ebb and flow on this issue with regard to running and to judging. Talk to me! :wink:
 

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Vickie,
No doubt you will get lots of feedback from handlers of FT/MH level work but as a Trainer/Handler of a UKC/HRC "Seasoned" level dawgs the initial line for the others makes up almost the enitirity of the blind at this level (40yds). So the difference between a "good initial line" or a PIL is everything...
Enjoy your articles,
Dave
________
Herbal Blend Recipe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Dave, and I appreciate your thoughts. I remember -- and I don't think I'm THAT old!!!!, I just got started young, LOL -- when a poor initial line put you way behind the eightball no matter how good the rest of your blind was. Now, let's take a water blind for instance, and you start out with a poor initial line and then have several more whistles just to get back on track...Hmmm...
 

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Initial line

It is the most "important" part of the blind. Even in a big open blind, you can normally tell in the first 40-50 yards how things are going to go. If you lay down a great first 50 yards - 90% of the time the blind will go well, if things are rough up front - most of the time you can kiss your bu** good bye.

***Note - see Lardy's tune up drills that he is doing in the rain with Abe on the end of the second tape. Most important blind execise you can do with an older dog. We do them around ditches, leeves, bayous. Lots of angles over various terrian - nothing more than 50-80 yard; The best!
 

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Definitely agree, the initial line sets the momentum for the dawg for the rest of the blind. Having to make whistle adjustments right off the get-go takes away from that momentum the dawg has already established.
:drinking:
 

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I agree with the others. I'm just starting T work with Pete and working back to the full distance slowly to insure a good initial line. The better the initial line the better the whole blind.
I agree and disagree with Peake. Of coarse the longer the blind the more important the initial line is. If you work hard on initial lines you can almost leave your whistle in the truck for 40 yd blinds or at the least you shouldn't have to use it more that once or twice. Just reread your post Peake and don't think you were saying the initial line isn't important on 40 yd blinds.
Looking forward to the article.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, so far it seems that everyone pretty much agrees that the initial line sets the stage for the rest of the blind, and that it is a critical component to the overall blind.

Why, then, do people get upset when it comes to judging those blinds and -- perhaps -- they get dropped?, and speaking of situations where the PIL is not the ONLY reason, but is a contributing factor (and, how large a contributing factor?) that, by the end of the blind, many folks seem to have erased from the overall performance?

And, what about using an early whistle to immediately correct a PIL vs not blowing and getting even further off line before trying to do the blind? The PIL is present in either case....
 

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If you run under me - you better get your dog online quick. Rough starts to a blind in not "in itself" a reason to get dropped from a blind. If the blind is setup correctly - EVERYONE should have a rough start. When I am looking for an AA blind - I want to create a blind that will cause everyone to HANDLE. One of the best ways to do that in an AA FT is to make it very difficult for them to get an good intial line. YOU CAN NOT GIVE THEM A AIRFIELD RUNWAY! They will eat your lunch. Years ago the "hot" blind was a long entry waterblind. Today - dogs seek water - and the ones that don't will have their minds changed by the time they reach the water. Give a dog today 150 yards to the water with nothing else before it and the AA handler will have his mometum just right for the entry. Same field of AA dogs and move up and put their toes in the water for the start - maybe at a difficult angle with brush or reeds right in their face, confusing enough so the dogs can get a "blind picture", you have dogs all over the place - some jumping in fat, some trying to run around.

I much prefer the second blind. I get to see dogs HANDLE as opposed to seeing dogs LINE.

Vickie - Many AA blinds that give the begining of the blind to the dogs, you will have a good number of dogs get great IL. They should be carried, the PIL could be dropped if all the other work is realitive.

Moral to the story - don't just look out 200-300 yards for you blinds - look right at your feet too!
 

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This is a PS since Mitch is hanging around - I remember running an Open land blind under Mitch at South Louisiana where we were in a ditch with chest high weeds all around trying to line up our dogs - impossible to get a great intial line. Just what was called for with a 100 dog open.
 

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Initial Lines

I judge (and set-up) blinds as having three parts – the first third is the beginning (which includes initial line) / the second third is the middle of the blind / the last third is the ending of the blind.

I like to place something(s) in the way to keep a dog from holding a line forever or from getting a picture but a great initial line is only one portion of the first third of a blind. If you get a poor IL but correct with one cast and line the blind, that’s not a bad blind JUST a bad IL. When I judge I want to see dogs handle so I try to set-up blinds that will make them handle early (and often), before they gain their momentum.

A real must for me is to see at least one cast (could be the IL cast) where the dog makes HUGE progress to the bird. An excellent IL for 25 yds. followed by a bazillion whistles to keep the dog on-line will not do it, I want to see a "driving" cast.

I seem to say this a lot but IMO set-up the test, watch the dogs and judge what you see. What happens if NO dog gets a good IL?? Or NO dog gets on “the point”??? Do you scrap the test??? Of course not, you judge what you see and move on…..
 

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when i'm training, il is the most important part of the blind if the dog is experienced. if it's a youngster,i don't recall as long as it's not a gross deviation from what i asked for.
when judging,the first 1/3 of the blind is going to account for more than 1/3 of the score. my reason being the handler has the best opportunity to communicate when the dog is at their side or at the start of the blind. they are given virtually as much time as they need to set the dog up. once the dog is in motion at a distance the handler has less "presence",and a mistake out there,as long as you maintain control, is not going to have as much penalty assigned to it.
i think mitch's method of setting up blinds is very good.
g-mans observation about starting at waters edge was a good one, provided that you have an obstacle up front that can't be cheated and will hold up for the entire test.-paul
 

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As a handler, if I get GIL, I am fat and happy - I know that I am more likely than not to have an above average to great blin.

As a judge, I do everything I can (within reason) to prevent GIL from the very beginning. Mitch is far more experienced than I, so I would defer to many of his opinions. I will say that if anyone is starting a book on me, when I establish a blind, I want you to: (a) challenge my blind, not avoid it; and (b) stay on line. I prefer the handler who uses the whistle to stay on line to the handler who lets his dog take a big banana to the blind.

As an example of this, I was at a trial last fall where there was a VERY tough water blind. On land, into water (thin) on point (thin) off point, on point (thin) off point, long swim, skim point, angle entry out.

Judge told us that he wanted us on the point. Period. Why? Because he had judged a trial where early dogs that got on second point never got off, and remaining dogs all avoided the hazard. Did the judge box himself in with that direction? Sure. But, maybe it was warranted given his past experience. In any event, it seemed pretty obvious to me (even without directions) what was expected.
 

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Ted...

Ted,

Good post (as usual) but my only concern about a judge saying that you MUST do some specfic thing (get on a point, etc) is that when you give a drop dead order like that, you as a judge may be the guy dropping dead. What happens if NO ONE gets on the point in your senario due to a change in conditions??

IMO, set up your blind, make the line to the blind obvious and let it rip... Also, I give the test dog handler specific directions as to where I want to see the dog in critical points in the blind.
 

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After setting up a water blind, I had a Pro ask me if I wanted to see the dogs on or off the point. My response was, "There's the line, you can see the marker for the blind, the line to the blind is a straight line between the two, now what is your question?"

There were hazards on both sides of the blind, just send the dog at the blind, handle if necessary and trust me and my co-judge to "judge" your dog's performance accordingly.

Jerry
 

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I want each cast I give to be taken accurately and carried with conviction. This is the result of a well defined cast. When I set the dog up for a blind and send him for it, I regard that as the first cast I give. My goal is for that cast to be the last.

In reality we all know it usually isn't. But, with that goal in mind, we train towards it continually. A host of drills have been created to develop, sharpen, and maintain the initial line. I have at least as many drills dedicated to perfecting subsequent casts in the presence of as many diversion factors as I can infuse into the regimen.

Chief among all casts is the first one.

Evan
 

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Mitch

I knew from the seminar that you are against giving such orders. When I asked the judge why he did - he said that he felt that the handlers were deliberately avoiding the hazard and did not want to have that happen again. In that context, I understood his rationale.

I haven't had that happen in my brief judging career, but if I do, I may be inclined to do so as well.

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Some really good posts here.

Just some thoughts and observations I would like to add. While sometimes long entries can give to -- rather than take away -- from the blind, there still are many instances where, even today, long entries are extremely difficult. Add some varying, contrary terrain and you might have the workings of a really tough initial line/entry on your hands. Now, add weather conditions, time of year. For example, I just judged an open wherein we had probably a 100 yard angle entry to the water's edge, then a difficult water blind from that point. Very few dogs had good jobs, period. Very few lined into the water (two out of 26) and only a couple more got in with just one or two whistles. Many dogs took off left (to get in way early) or right (to avoid the water) and in most cases, several whistles were required just to get in with any kind of fashion.

Instructions on blinds? There are certainly a couple of schools of thought on this. Let me pose another question. Every blind has a line to the blind. Shouldn't that line to the blind be challenged? I feel that it should. That is what it is there for, that IS THE BLIND, and any hazards associated with said blind. So, Why do some people question whether or not the judges want their dogs to be over the point, when the line to the blind is over the point, for example? Well, some people say that there is a blind corridor, and there should be equal amount of corridor on each side of the line to the blind, and if a blind's line shaves over a point, would it therefore be okay to miss the point? Perhaps this line should be more adequately over the point, instead of just shaving it [remember this is just an example] Now, let's say some dogs really work to do the blind, and some of them get lost BECAUSE of the fact that they got up on land and couldn't stand the suction, so other handlers see this and elect to miss the point and therefore eliminate the bulk of the suction. Is this acceptable? I think that as a judge, if you set up a line to the blind that is over a point, you therefore intend for the dogs to go there. Whether or not you give instructions, I don't feel that it is acceptable (except in perhaps some extreme instance, like a hurricane) to call back dogs that avoid this part of the test. IF the only dogs that do the test are dogs that miss the point, then I submit that this blind should have had a line past the point to start with, and probably many dogs would have sucked to the point. That is usually what happens with a good many dogs, anyway. On any given day with a blind of this nature you see many handlers fighting to get their dogs on the proper part of the point and not too early, and then to fight off the point. As a judge, evaluate your conditions and set up your blind(s) -- beginning, middle and end, on or off point -- and then judge the line to the blind. And I agree about wanting to see a cast that progresses admirably toward the blind. The first cast being the intial send, and then the blind progresses from there. Thanks for reading...
 

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Good stuff Vickie.

The water blinds that I find most difficult are those with ambiguous parameters (e.g. line to blind is barely past a point from the mat..but from the judges chair it is barely over the point.

Jeff
 

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This is one of the best, most informative discussions I've seen on the board in quite sometime, thanks to all who have participated and keep it up.
 

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Vickie Lamb said:
I'm doing an article on The Initial Line of blinds. Wondering about how y'all view the importance of the initial line on blinds. Also comments as to how sentiment seems to ebb and flow on this issue with regard to running and to judging. Talk to me! :wink:
Vickie,

Can we add to this, the dog that lies to you on the line.
Dog looks straight out, you think the dog is going to go straight, and when sent, goes left or right of where he's looking... for no apparent reason.
This forces the handler to have a quick whistle to get the dog back on the proper line.

I enjoy your articles. Please tell me how to fix the above. :wink:
 
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