Mia’s birthday party

It’s hard to believe that my little huntress turns 6 today but she is and yesterday celebrated with McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

Elvis, Sophie, Doc, Mia and Dakota pose with their cheeseburgers in celebration of Mia's 6th birthday.

Elvis, Sophie, Doc, Mia and Dakota pose with their cheeseburgers in celebration of Mia’s 6th birthday.

Yesterday the guys got some free time while we did yard work, we let them out one at a time to just run, sniff and explore until they became hot.

Let the feast begin!

Let the feast begin!

Today I took Doc with me to Cabela’s where I bought some duck scent, so that I can begin working with them on tracking and searching.

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In the tall grass

Our pasture has been mostly under water for the past month, but with all the rain we’ve been getting, the water’s been shut off. It’s been good for the grass which is now about 2 feet tall and provides a lot of cover in which to train the guys.

Mia and Doc on point, both in the bird's scent cone

Mia and Doc on point, both in the bird’s scent cone

I decided to formalize their training a little and began some obedience, heeling Doc and Mia until we reached the pasture where I released them to hunt.

Doc and Mia on point, the tall grass adds another variable to their training

Doc and Mia on point, the tall grass adds another variable to their training

Mia went on point about 50 feet from where I’d planted the pigeon. Doc came into the scent cone a few seconds later and went on point as well; both remained perfectly steady when I flushed the bird.

Doc and Mia on point in the tall grass

Doc and Mia on point in the tall grass

I changed things up a little with the second bird. Rather than releasing them when I entered the pasture, I heeled them to the opposite end before releasing them to hunt. This time Doc established point and Mia did a nice job of honoring.

Doc on a solid point

Doc on a solid point

The pigeon only flew about 30 feet when I released it and Doc began running after it but stopped and remained steady when “Whoa’d” him. I flushed the bird again, and this time it flew back by Mia where it landed. Both Mia and Doc remained perfectly steady in spite of the temptation the bird gave them.

Doc pointing the bird launcher with Mia honoring

Doc pointing the bird launcher with Mia honoring

I flushed the bird once again and this time it flew over the fence and into the ditch. I wanted to work on searching, so I called them off the bird and had them hunt the pasture for another 15 minutes or so. While letting them hunt the pasture, I moved the bird launcher to another location for Elvis.

Mia honoring Doc

Mia honoring Doc

After a few minutes Doc went on a solid point with Mia honoring. At first I thought that the pigeon had flown back into the pasture but after searching through the grass, I discovered that doc was pointing the bird launcher.

Mia honoring Doc with the second bird of the morning

Mia honoring Doc with the second bird of the morning

I let the guys satisfy themselves that there wasn’t a bird in the launcher, then called them over to search for the pigeon. The fence presented an obstacle when I cast them; but Mia “thought outside the fence line”, crawled under it and then into the ditch she went.

Mia and Doc remain steady as the bird lands near Mia

Mia and Doc remain steady as the bird lands near Mia

I don’t know why the pigeon decided not to flush but it didn’t which was a fatal mistake that provided Mia a nice retrieve.

Doc escorts Mia, retrieving the pigeon

Doc escorts Mia, retrieving the pigeon

After working with Doc and Mia, I planted another bird for Elvis which gave him the opportunity to find and point his own bird. Unlike my last training session in which I questioned whether or not anything was accomplished, this session went much smoother for me and the guys were solid throughout.

Elvis on point after being "whoa'd"

Elvis on point after being “whoa’d”

Self-training Spinone

Dakota wants to see what everyone is looking at.

Dakota wants to see what everyone is looking at.

Mia, Doc and Elvis have taken the initiative to do some self-training. With nesting season in full swing, we have a couple of Robin nests in the willow tree and the birds keep the Spins entertained.

Doc and Mia on the job pointing birds in the tree.

Doc and Mia on the job pointing birds in the tree.

They spend a good deal of time pointing the birds in the tree or on the fence, which I encourage when they point and honor correctly.

Elvis joins in on pointing Robins.

Elvis joins in on pointing Robins.

Unfortunately for the Robin families, two juveniles will not make it to adulthood, being victims of Spinone retrieves I assume. I found one young bird in the back yard and another on the living room floor where Mia was still checking out the body. I assume either Doc or Mia retrieved the bird but we weren’t in the house at the time so they left it in the living room.

Mia, Elvis and Doc pointing Robins in the tree.

Mia, Elvis and Doc pointing Robins in the tree.