Last Saturday was a return to retrieving with Doc, Mia and Elettra.
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.
After working each individually, I planted three bumpers and sent all of them out for some competitive searching.
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.
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.
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 changed things up last Sunday by digging holes in the snow and planting the birds in the open, away from any cover.
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.
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.
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.
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 got the first two birds and while its all quickly coming back to her, we need to work on her steady-to-flush.
I worked Doc with Elettra on the next two birds.
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.
It was too late to work Elvis, so I let him out to romp around the yard while I set the water.