Something I have been pondering for a while as I think so very many of us own them
A ‘second time lucky’ dog, I’ve sussed over the years, is one who, You line up for a true blind, quite possibly on a fairly tricky angle, or with temptation elsewhere. Your body shape is good. The dog is straight. He has clearly been, however *you* choose do so, told ‘no’ to any distraction or previous line taken. He seems locked on to the correct line. You send him… and he flys off line almost immediately.
So you give it the ‘oyyyy nooooo pillock come back here’, jolly him back, set him up again, without anything perceptively different about his straightness, your body shape in sending him, your voice tone or, obviously the land laying infront of him… and whoooosh, off he goes PERFECTLY, bangs out, stops, picks, back in. And you pat him of course, and fake a smile, but want to scream in his lughole… ‘so WHYYYY couldn’t you do that the first bl*ody time!!’
Of course none of us particularly care in training. Training is training and if it went right all the time it wouldn’t be training but showboating at the things we are good at so don’t need to be training on – grin. But in a competition it turns a beautiful 20/A retrieve into a novicey looking messy fight within the first 20 yards, as of course you can’t call the dog back and start again I thought the LAST 20 yards of a 150 yards retrieve were meant to be the hard ones… but no, its more often the FIRST 20 yards on some occasions I defy anyone to say this does not haunt them too sometimes….
SOOOO many dogs do this that I was pondering the reasons. I do think they vary from dog to dog, but whatever the reason its a fustrating syndrome. The second time lucky dog!
Now if it were a THIRD time lucky, or a FOURTH time… or maybe a ‘have to shorten it up, get it right, then take it back to the original spot’ dog, then its a training/confidence/blank areas in the dogs head issue. And I know its ALWAYS a training issue with anything that doesn’t go right, but I pondered the fact that IF they weren’t sufficiently trained on ignoring distractions, previous lines they have taken or braving the rough instead of skipping down a track (for example), then when you reset them up, just the same, for the second ‘cast’, they would do the same thing again, not take the perfect line. So maybe the second ‘set up’ is ALWAYS better than the first. Maybe our body language or ‘air about us’ is far more ‘now bl*ody listen!’. Who knows unless we find a dog we can ask one day
Do some dogs just get into the habit of believing their OWN convictions on a line FIRST, before happily being called up, and *that* telling them ‘you are wrong, wipe that from your mind, use my line’ so they DO? I’m fairly sure that is the case with Fish. He isn’t a dog to ‘pull you around’ so when he stamps off on a line, he genuinely is convinced its the right one I’m pretty sure. Yet the second time takes MY line, that line which I gave him the first time, with pace and conviction and heart… and you are just left standing baffled!
I’m certain there are dogs who just want to take the easy option. Don’t want to have to ‘rethink’ the landscape, mentally lazy dogs who want to use a nearby track rather than plough through something less desireable. Or want to ideally just hope its a memory back to the same spot they were sent for previously (or another dog was recently sent for in their sight). And in going out, being vocally bollocked at whatever level is deserving for the crime, being brought back, then resent its enough to kick their arse into gear to be ‘braver’, more covinced there is no other route going to be allowed…
I’m not one for always calling my dog back if the line isn’t quite what I wanted. Don’t think that, because as I’ve been clearly shown that can create a horribly sticky dog with little pace on the first 30 yards, but I do find the ‘syndrome’ very interesting as you see it in punchy dogs. Sloppy steady eddies. Trotters. Speed machines and dogs that at no other part of the retrieve would DREAM of ‘playing you’.
And of course they can’t be ‘playing you’ really as dogs don’t work like that mentally….. or DO they?
Deep phycho assessments/sob stories/shared musings of the ‘Second Time Lucky’ dog warmly welcomed.