Doc’s training photos 8-5-17

setters, spaniels, and Spinoni

Working with Doc on a check cord. His only weakness is breaking on birds that flush wild and surprise him.

The Irish Setter on a check cord

Doc on point while working with one of the spaniels on honoring

Doc on point while the spaniel honors

Chris working with the Brittany/Springer cross

One of the Brittany Spaniels on point

Doc retrieving a pigeon. All of my dogs naturally have soft mouths and retrieve birds uninjured.

Back to retrieving

Last Saturday was a return to retrieving with Doc, Mia and Elettra.

Elettra, Doc and Mia wait while I plant bumpers and bird wings

Elettra, Doc and Mia wait while I plant bumpers and bird wings

Each of the guys got three bumpers and wings to retrieve, and everyone did a good job retrieving as well as honoring each other’s retrieves.

Elettra is more interested in having her picture taken than Mia's retrieve

Elettra is more interested in having her picture taken than Mia’s retrieve

After working each individually, I planted three bumpers and sent all of them out for some competitive searching.

Doc retrieves his bumper

Doc retrieves his bumper

This past Friday, I followed up with a “duck search” in the pasture in which I planted three bumpers and two bird wings throughout the pasture, then sent the guys out one at a time on blind retrieves.

Elettra returns with a bird wing

Elettra returns with a bird wing

We ran the drill twice and everyone did quite well, particularly since this was the first time we ran it. Nobody gave up on their searching even though it sometimes took them 15 minutes or more to find one.

Mia and Doc return with their bumpers while Elettra continues searching

Mia and Doc return with their bumpers while Elettra continues searching

Outsmarting the wily Spinone

When it comes to training, I’m limited by our 2 ½ acre pasture, especially this time of year when there’s no ground cover. It doesn’t take the guys long to learn where I plant the birds so rather than actually hunting, they just run to areas where the birds are most likely to be.

I mixed things up by digging a hole in the snow for my homemade bird launcher.

I mixed things up by digging a hole in the snow for my homemade bird launcher.

I changed things up last Sunday by digging holes in the snow and planting the birds in the open, away from any cover.

Doc on point

Doc on point

Doc on point

Doc on point

I followed the same training formula by letting everyone out for a run in the pasture, worked with Elvis on tracking and then each of the others on pointing. I finished with bracing Elettra, Mia and Doc.

Mia on point

Mia on point

20160207_113928Mia on point

Individually, the guys are rock-solid and they’re even pretty good when braced together. During their brace, Doc established the point and Elettra honored, but when I called Mia over from the ditch she was hunting, Doc broke and ran right up to the bird where he went on point once again.

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

I carried him off and let them hunt another part of the pasture for a few minutes before influencing them back to the bird, where Elettra established point with Doc and Mia nicely honoring.

Elettra on point with Doc and Mia honoring

Elettra on point with Doc and Mia honoring

Evening training

With the heavy winds we had Saturday and Sunday, I didn’t think I’d be able to do much training so I gave the guys a good workout on the treadmill. The winds died down to something below 20 mph on Sunday evening so I put the guys on some pigeons. I didn’t want the guys out in the pasture where they might spook the horses that are currently pastured there, so I kept them on check cords.

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

Elettra got the first two birds and while its all quickly coming back to her, we need to work on her steady-to-flush.

Working with Elettra on the check cord.

Working with Elettra on the check cord.

Elettra and Doc on point

Elettra and Doc on point

I worked Doc with Elettra on the next two birds.

Elettra and Mia on point

Elettra and Mia on point

Mia and Elettra got the last two birds and a Pheasant flew into the pasture while we were training. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I took the girls out on check cords to find it. The Pheasant flushed halfway across the pasture; Mia did a nice job of remaining steady-to-flush, but Elettra never saw the bird as she was hunting the heavy grass.

Mia on a check cord, steady-to-flush on wild pheasants in the pasture

Mia on a check cord, steady-to-flush on wild pheasants in the pasture

It was too late to work Elvis, so I let him out to romp around the yard while I set the water.

Elvis relaxing after a romp in the yard, too dark to work him on birds

Elvis relaxing after a romp in the yard, too dark to work him on birds