I was working with my dog this morning and I have a question. I was training in a pond very similar to that one. Long and narrow. I would throw a bumper out and instead of lining straight to it through the water, he would run the bank on either side and jump in at the closest point that he could, then run the bank back...
How do I fix this or is it something that even needs fixing? Any pointers appreciated.
Most dogs natural tendency is to run the bank. It's faster and takes less effort. However, it can in some cases cause the dog to lose the mark and in upper level hunt tests and field trials it will get you dropped.
In most cases you can get by with a hunting dog that runs the bank.
I "de-cheat" every dog I train.
The a answer to your question of "how do i fix this" isn't a simple one.
You have to teach the dog to handle...meaning stopping on the whistle and casting.
That way you can stop him when he cheats and show him what you want be casting him into the water.
The process to teach a dog to handle generally follows the following flow chart but some will have different variations.
Formal obedience on and off lead and whistle.
Once you get through all that you can do cheating singles and channel blinds.
This is the process I follow with some other drills mixed in.
If you want to teach your dog to go straight and handle reliably at a distance then you'll need to buy a good program and follow it or find a good pro to help you.