Final training session

Mia honoring a Drahthaar pup on point.

Mia honoring a Drahthaar pup on point.

Saturday was probably our final training session for the year, as bird season begins in another month and I’ll be focusing on conditioning.

Mia on point.

Mia on point.

Mia on point with the Drahthaar honoring.

Mia on point with the Drahthaar honoring.

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.

Mia is rewarded for her steadiness with a retrieve.

Mia is rewarded for her steadiness with a retrieve.

The dogs enjoyed it and were running big. Mia did very well with searching, pointing and honoring her brace mate.

Doc honoring a Drahthaar pup on point.

Doc honoring a Drahthaar pup on point.

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.

Doc honoring a distant English Setter.

Doc honoring a distant English Setter.

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.

Doc retrieves a pigeon as a reward for his steadiness.

Doc retrieves a pigeon as a reward for his steadiness.

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A multi-breed training session

Everyone gets a pre-training run

Everyone gets a pre-training run

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.

Working on a Drahthaar pup's steadiness.

Working on a Drahthaar pup’s steadiness.

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.

Mia on point

Mia on point

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.

Mia on point with a setter pup honoring

Mia on point with a setter pup honoring

Mia retrieving a pigeon after a long chase

Mia retrieving a pigeon after a long chase

Mia honoring the setter pup

Mia honoring the setter pup

A Chocolate Lab pup was worked next on his whistle-sit command and was rewarded with a couple of retrieves.

Working with a Chocolate Lab on the whistle-sit command

Working with a Chocolate Lab on the whistle-sit command

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.

Doc on point with a Drahthaar pup honoring

Doc on point with a Drahthaar pup honoring

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.

Doc honoring the Drahthaar's retrieve

Doc honoring the Drahthaar’s retrieve

Doc and Drahthaar pup on point

Doc and Drahthaar pup on point

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.

Doc retrieving a pigeon

Doc retrieving a pigeon

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.

Bota bags are perfect for watering dogs

Bota bags are perfect for watering dogs

After returning home, I took Elvis to the snowmobile races, but that’s another story.

Training refinements

My trainer working with an English Setter pup, 8-16-14

Doc and Mia got some more quality time in the field Saturday morning and I received some good instructions on how to take them forward with their training. The thought of whether or not we could even reach our training area crossed my mind, considering the recent thunderstorms, but the road had been reworked with a bulldozer and still rough but in good shape.

Mia on point, 8-16-14

Mia on point, 8-16-14

My trainer began with an English Setter pup and worked him for a bit, then we braced Mia with a Brittany Spaniel pup. Both Doc and Mia are rock solid on point and will hold as long as you ask, so it’s honoring that I am focusing on.

Mia does a nice job of honoring Brittany pup, 8-16-14

Mia does a nice job of honoring Brittany pup, 8-16-14

Mia honoring Brittany 4

The setup for honoring can be a little challenging. First, the bird must cooperate and sometimes pigeons will flush for no good reason. Then the point dog must be steady and positioned so that you can work the honor dog the way you want.

Mia initially begins retrieving the bird to my trainer.

Mia initially begins retrieving the bird to my trainer.

Mia retrieving a pigeon, 8-16-14.

Mia retrieving a pigeon, 8-16-14.

Our setups were to have the Mia come on to the point dog fairly close, rather than seeing the point dog from a distance. All of which depends on the wind direction and working the point dog so she comes on point just where you want her to.

Doc on a nice point, 8-16-14

Doc on a nice point, 8-16-14

Mia did a very nice job of pointing, honoring and retrieving, and I received some good instructions on how to steady her up. Mia has a tendency to do a nice job of honoring the point dog, but then loses interest after a minute or so; she still has an issue with being steady-to-wing-and-shot as well.

Doc honors a Brittany pup on point

Doc honors a Brittany pup on point

Doc was braced with another Brittany and then a German Shorthair, and we had a little more difficulty with our setups. As with Mia, he is rock solid on point but needs some refining when it comes to honoring and steady-to-wing-and-shot. Both are near perfect when bracing for each other in our pasture, but in a different area and with different dogs, their flaws are exposed.

Sunrise training session

Dogs ready for training, 8-2-14

Dogs ready for training, 8-2-14

We began training just after 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, but with 14 dogs and 3 hours of training, I’m just going to post a few of the pictures. We had quite a variety of dogs: Labs, Brittanys, GSP, English Setter and Weimaraner. I wanted to focus on Doc and Mia’s honoring, and my trainer’s assessment was that they did very well, both pointing and retrieve, as well as honoring.

 

Letting 9 of our 14 dogs stretch their legs, 8-2-14

Letting 9 of our 14 dogs stretch their legs, 8-2-14

 

English Setter pup retrieves a pigeon, 8-2-14

English Setter pup retrieves a pigeon, 8-2-14

 

Mia on point, 8-2-14

Mia on point, 8-2-14

 

Mia honors a Brittany on point, 8-2-14

Mia honors a Brittany on point, 8-2-14

 

Doc moves in to honor a Brittany, 8-2-14

Doc moves in to honor a Brittany, 8-2-14

 

Doc on point, 8-2-14, although he was supposed to be the honor dog.

Doc on point, 8-2-14, although he was supposed to be the honor dog.

Brittany honors Doc's point, 8-2-14

Brittany honors Doc’s point, 8-2-14

A Brittany does a nice job of honoring Doc's point, 8-2-14

A Brittany does a nice job of honoring Doc’s point, 8-2-14

 

Working a Brittany pup, 8-2-14

Working a Brittany pup, 8-2-14

 

Mia's reward is retrieving a pigeon, 8-2-14

Mia’s reward is retrieving a pigeon, 8-2-14

For her reward, Mia retrieves a pigeon. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of Doc retrieving his pigeon.

 

Mia honors a Brittany in pointing and retrieving, 8-2-14.

Mia honors a Brittany in pointing and retrieving, 8-2-14.

 

Working the Weimaraner, 8-2-14

Working the Weimaraner, 8-2-14

 

Working a Black Lab pup, 8-2-14

Working a Black Lab pup, 8-2-14

 

After the morning training, Doc is nearly asleep on his feet.

After the morning training, Doc is nearly asleep on his feet.