I wrote this post last week hoping to have time to get to the pictures shortly after… that didn’t happen (shocker) and then when I was ready with my pictures, wordpress was not (go figure). Anyway here is a long overdue post.
I love having more light after work, I just wish I could stop the clock so by the time we got back inside it wasn’t already 8PM. Yes I’m one of those 20 somethings that actually goes to bed at a regular hour, I’m talking about getting nearly 8 hours of sleep a night. If I stay up past 10 0r 11 I feel it for 2 or 3 days. Weird? Probably, but I like being well rested and I figure I will have plenty of time to be sleep deprived later on in life. FYI the following is kind of detailed/long winded, so if you don’t enjoy training or hunting then you may get bored… I warned you.
But moving on, we had a chance to take Luna and Wyatt out to do some bird work again. First we sent Wyatt out to see if he could find leftover Chukars from a client who used the field today, and we had a pheasant we wanted to put him on too. First we worked the pheasant, as was no surprise to me, he went right in and picked it up and headed back to us with it. Eventually it fought enough to get free and we were able to shoot it. Can’t really fault a puppy for having no fear and going in to grab his first cock bird ever. Can you say drive? Sure ideal would be that it would get up and fly, it had been put to sleep, and is also not a wild bird. Once it got out and was shot he picked it right up and came back to us with no hesitation (no shock there). Wyatt went on to find 2 chukars and the other pheasant that got loose earlier. We were not able to shoot the pheasant, or a chukar due to it heading towards the road. But the other chukar he did really well on, got birdy in a bush and you could see his brain working as he figured out how to get it out of the cover. It was shot and he went and picked it right up and brought it back. It’s nice to have a dog that enjoys retrieving, easy way to exercise the dog too. Though Luna’s retrieves are getting better, but we’ll get to that. So a good day for Wyatt, next up for him is some remote sit work, quartering the field, as well as force fetch.
Now overall Luna is making progress. I have NO doubt anymore that she understands fully the “whoa” command, which is nice for both of us. I will try and make this short. She hunted well, she was not covering a lot of ground at first, but I know this is due to her knowing our usual places for planting birds so she was being cautious. Plus the whole field probably smelled like birds and dogs with the client there before us, and Wyatt. Anyway, nothing to be negative about really with how she hunted, she loosened up and got out later on, she’s just too smart for her own good sometimes. She went on point quickly and though chris didn’t think a bird was there, Luna knew there was, and sure enough I spotted it’s head. She did everything great on the first bird. Held her point, intensity was good, and she was steady through wing-shot-fall and retrieved it well. She is getting much better about going out, getting the bird and basically coming straight back. She is less mouthy (She has never been hard mouthed, just likes to fiddle) and more confident than she was at the beginning of the season. I will admit the retrieve is not her favorite or rather the compliance portion, she would love to run off with that bird and have her way with it. But she is starting to understand it’s really in her best interest to just bring it back quickly and she gets to go back to what she loves, hunting. So overall I was not blown away by her retrieves but they are good enough that she should have no problem passing that section in Senior Hunt tests.
The second bird was interesting, she is also trusting her nose more, and thus she pointed the bird a ways out. Chris had planted them but did not remember where this one was. So after a while of searching I went in and tapped her on and told her “easy.” I had never done this before and she did great. Went in nice and easy and seemed to know what I was asking, well chris still couldn’t really find it, but then I spotted it off to her left (not where her eyes were lol). By then she had waited upwards of 5 minutes, and she was waaaay into getting this bird. So when we finally flushed it up, she broke slightly and stepped forward about half a foot. So I grabbed her and placed her back in the original spot and made her whoa again. Then sent her on for the bird. By then her marking of the bird had degraded a bit and she went deeper than it was and ended up coming up on another bird. I think I saw her flash point, but then the bird was up and Luna was off. I was able to stop her after about 5 seconds of chase, and I whoa-ed her in that spot and did not let her go find that bird. (we did not shoot it). In hindsight I probably should have taken her back to the location of flush and made her whoa there then heel her away. Lesson learned on my part for next time. Then I brought her back around and had her find the downed bird (#2) WHich she did and brought to hand. I then sent her off for the 4th bird. She found and pointed it, but broke slightly on the shot, this time only about 3 inches. So I put her back in the original location and made her whoa, then sent her again. I don’t know if I should let her get retrieves if she breaks at all.. Thoughts on that? Usually i make that decision based on how bad she breaks, but maybe I need to stop letting her have them now that she knows what is asked of her. Thoughts? When do you let them have the retrieve and when do you not reward them with that?
So that’s pretty much it. Overall I am happy with the session, and I’m even more glad I went with my gut and did not include a brace mate on this session. Progress is being made, and it’s exciting, hopefully we can get her ready to run in her first hunt test by April.
I am glad I also brought the camera, being her main handler AND the main photographer in most training days, I do not have many photos of her hunting. That will begin to change as she continues to steady up further… until I swap it for a gun but I’m in no rush to do that. Saved my fav. for last (Can you guess why??). I love having this series of photos to document this hunt. I hope I can keep the trend up.
Happy Friday (now Tuesday, but may as well wish you Wednesday) All
PS. if you couldn’t figure it out, I love that this photo kinda broke technical rules, has a bit of lens distortion causing her to seem more in your face, and the sun flare though not complete adds a lil somethin’ too. But I also like them all, as they all show her intensity. There often is no time to compose much of a shot when shooting subjects like this, if you think about it too much the moment will be gone. Couple more photos including wyatt up on the photo blog
Sounds like you had a productive training session. About the breaking…in our retriever training, we have been giving a correction and sending for the retrieve. Hopefully it is before a break, (see my blog where Storm is creeping and obviously ready to break). But we still correct even after a break. The idea being that the training is to give a correction so it doesn’t happen at a test. In fact part of what our Saturday training sessions have been is to set up possible Master test scenarios to see where the issues are and correct or train as required. I always want the dogs to perform perfect in training and I am trying to get used to the idea that corrections during training are a good thing….lol. I don’t know whether this is how the pointing breeds are trained for a test though. 🙂
All the pictures of Luna are great, but that last one is really nice!
Thanks for the feedback Linda,
No matter when or how she breaks I have been giving a correction. Even if she begins to creep while waiting for chris to flush the bird, I will pick her up and move her back to the spot. But she is a clever one (not to say yours are not) and I’m wondering if her still getting the retrieve is making the correction worth it for her. I think from here on out I will be more careful about whether she gets the actual retrieve or not. I hate to waste a retrieve on a shot bird though, as she always needs practice with that. When we train we are also training towards her SH/MH title requirements. I’m not completely setting up bad situations yet, but the birds seem to provide a couple of those from time to time. I think next we will be tackling the whole “you need to honor the other dog through a retrieve” This i already know will be hard for her as she wants the bird for herself. But she is smart i just need to find a way that it’s in her best interest to stay steady. So far she has done a bit of honoring in the yard already with the bumper launcher etc, so hopefully it will transfer as easily to the field (wishful thinking as actual birds being in the picture is always harder). Anyway sorry for long reply, thank you for the feedback, I will try and find that blog you mentioned.
And glad you liked the last shot too.
You should definitely train as you think is right. I look forward to hearing about Luna’s progress. (And her passes!)
There are so many parts to a Senior test for retrievers. I am sure it is the same for pointers. I was thinking of getting together a blog post explaining all of the different elements of the test. Would you be interested in posting something similar for your test? I suppose I could read the rules, but I think a review from someone training would be more interesting. Of course I am sure time is scarce with training in full swing. Just a thought. 🙂
Thanks. And yes I could probably do such a post for pointers. Kinda overloaded with work and some photo shoots I did… so it may be a bit, but I think I could come up with a sort of basic guide to what HT entail from Junior-Master. I may have to do some research to make sure I have it right, but that would be good for me anyway. I will give it some thought.
Wonderful photos. I am pretty happy too, the sun is staying longer at the end of the day! Back to more hiking and photos on weekdays too. Sounds like your training is really coming along.
Thanks! The sun is not out much today, and won’t be the rest of the week. Well technically it is but it’s cold, rainy, and dreary out. Looking forward to your hiking and daily photos. Some days I feel the training has come a long way, other days I wonder if we’ll ever get her titles.
Thanks for stopping by