Brock Winston said:
Has anyone noticed cheating singles helping their blind work (running straight)? I would think that one would help with the other. My dog's style on blinds has decreased along with running straight so if anyone could add some more ideas on this subject it would be great.
Yes, in fact that's what it's all about... You use your cheating singles to teach them to carry a line through factors. And you reinforce that with your blinds.
You can actually use one or the other to teach concepts. When you use cheating singles, it CAN help maintain a good attitude because it's a "mark" (keep in mind that if the dog has a tough time, you can kill attitude, so you have to be careful).
I like to teach most things (cover walls, angle entries, sidehills, etc.) as singles first (and often walking singles where each mark is the same concept with increasing difficulty -- so you throw a down the shore mark, dog does well, gunner just goes "x" feet or yards beyond that fall and throws another, more demanding mark, and so on and so forth).
THEN follow up with multiple blinds in the same manner -- increasing difficulty on the same concept, longer each time -- in a set of 3-4 or more blinds in one session.
So they are absolutely complementary and you can use a balance of them depending on your dog's attitude and ability and how they respond to each (as far as which makes it easier for them to be successful).
As far as your dog's style decreasing... I'm not sure how long you've been running blinds. But in general, a bad attitude often comes from demanding too straight of a line too soon. For the first cold blinds (often for a couple of months or more), we are only working on MOMENTUM and CHANGING DIRECTION -- NOT on a perfect line. My rule is this: Let the dog run as hard and fast for as long as possible -- JUST BEFORE the point at which I feel he couldn't recover with a cast. This point may be a good bit off line, but that's OK for a young dog. Because you're working on momentum and attitude. THEN once you have the momentum, attitude and ability to change directon (just to change direction, NOT a perfect cast).... THEN you start tightening up your line OVER TIME. If you demand a fine line too early in training, you can sour your dog because you're having to stop them more frequently. The point is to let them run as much as possible. THEN ease them into a straight line by requiring better and better casting over the however many months after they start running cold blinds.
It is also helpful if you've been consistent in your line mechanics from the time they were a puppy and throughout their yardwork. If you've been aware of and careful that they are properly lined up, this is a tool in your box to communicate the destination to them. If you area sloppy handler and your dog is off kilter as you're lining him up for a blind, then expect sloppy work and a dog that may not clearly understand what you're asking because of your inconsistencies...