Elvis and Sophie – bathed, brushed, and ready for their July therapy visits.
Saturday was probably our final training session for the year, as bird season begins in another month and I’ll be focusing on conditioning.
Saturday’s training session included our collection of Drahthaars, English pointer and setter, Labs and Spinone. The temperature was cooler than the previous week’s training and with a cloud cover and nice breeze, it was nice and comfortable.
The dogs enjoyed it and were running big. Mia did very well with searching, pointing and honoring her brace mate.
Doc did very well with his search, point and honor, however he wasn’t steady-to-wing on the first two birds. Unlike last week when he was nice and steady, he broke and chased down when they were flushed; the good side of it was that he retrieved each one nicely. However we put an e-collar on him and set it to a low setting that was no more than a mild vibration.
Using the e-collar tone and low setting steadied him nicely, and he was awarded with a retrieve. It’s a balancing act between pointing and retrieving, and retrieving is their reward for being steady on point and honoring. Although I’ve never force-fetched any of my dogs, Doc and Mia do an excellent job of retrieving to hand.
After returning from training Doc and Mia last Saturday, I took Elvis to the Blackfoot Pride Days, a 2-day local event. We walked around and looked through the vendor booths and car show, and he was a big hit with the kids.
One of the highlight events are the snowmobile races across Jensen’s Pond. The Search and Rescue uses the event for training as they retrieve drivers and machines that don’t make it across.
Drahthaars, an English Setter, English Pointer, Labs, and my Spinone made up the collection of dogs involved in Saturday morning’s training session. It was the first session of the year with my trainer and I was interested in seeing how Doc and Mia did, particularly with honoring.
We let the dogs out for a 10-minute run to take the edge off their energy level prior to training, then began the session with a Drahthaar pup. The pup did a very nice job for the amount of time he’s been training and I videoed the session to be sent to the pup’s owner.
We worked Mia next, bracing her with an English Setter. She was very steady on both point and honor, and was rewarded with a retrieve. Upon sending Mia out for the retrieve, the bird took off flying with Mia on it’s tail. A couple hundred yards later she ran it down and made a very nice retrieve.
A Chocolate Lab pup was worked next on his whistle-sit command and was rewarded with a couple of retrieves.
Next we braced Doc with an experienced English Pointer but after an extensive hunt, neither dog was able to find the planted pigeon. We hate losing a carded bird but there was no finding it, and we assume that it must have flown off, perhaps into a nearby wheat field.
After the pointer, we braced Doc with another Drahthaar pup and both dogs did a nice job of pointing and honoring. After working with them, we sent Doc out on a blind retrieve. Perhaps it was our earlier work on honoring, but Doc only brought the bird part of the way back before dropping it. He seemed confused about retrieving it so I walked with him towards the bird; he then ran to it and retrieved to hand.
For his second bird, Doc did a very nice job of pointing and was rewarded with the retrieve. This time when I sent him out, Doc chased the bird down and made a very nice retrieve.
In all, I was very pleased with both Doc and Mia, who were both very steady on both pointing and honoring. The only real issue was that they need a lot more aerobic conditioning.
After returning home, I took Elvis to the snowmobile races, but that’s another story.