My trainer invited me to a training session Saturday afternoon, along with the owner of a beautiful little English Setter. The Setter’s owner wanted to check on his pup’s progress, which is actually a smart thing to do if you send your dog off to training. As for me, I wanted to see how Doc and Mia did with honoring, and whether my training workarounds at home were helping or hurting them.
It was sunny and 85 (Fahrenheit) when we began training and 89 when we finished, temperatures never to train in unless you’re careful and well prepared. Although it was a little rough on Doc and Mia, we were well prepared with 5 gallons of water, my 2 coolers of water, a small tub for wetting the dogs down, plus I had Doc and Mia in cooling vests.
Cattle had eaten the grass down so there was nothing but dirt; while the other dogs routinely train in that area and their feet are toughened by it, not so with Doc and Mia. The hot dirt made it uncomfortable for Doc but burnt Mia’s feet to where she shifted from foot to foot while on point or honoring.
We began by bracing Mia with Max, an English Pointer. Mia started out slowly but eventually got into hunt mode. Max hit a solid point and I influenced Mia around, “Whoa’d” her, and she did a good job of honoring. However I realized that she is a little overweight and out of shape, so for the next month-and-a-half, conditioning is the name of the game.
After flushing the pigeon a second time, we carried the dogs away from it so as to save the bird for the next dog; when removing a dog from a bird, you never pull it away with the leash or check cord, but rather pick it up and carry it away from the bird. Max went on point with the second pigeon and this time Mia did a very nice job of honoring.
Lola, the promising Setter pup, was worked next and did very nice job with her birds.
Doc was braced with an older German Shorthair and did a great job of honoring the GSP’s retrieve. However it was his being steady-to-wing that caught our attention, which he held with perfection.