The change up in power, alertness and energy levels in my dogs from performing in the arena to beating and picking up in the shooting field never fails to amaze me. It’s like lighting the blue touch paper of two mega rockets!
The first day out on our local shoot was nothing short of embarrassing! Both dogs were so fired up that they both ran in on birds, much to the amusement of everyone else who found the sight of the local dog trainer running after his hooligan dogs shouting obscenities and threatening decapitation hilarious!
As a result of day one, we had a few days of “re-education” on some land on which I am so lucky (and grateful to Anne) to have shooting rights. Rough shooting over the dogs gave me the chance to hunt the dogs, stop them when a bird flushed and delay sending them for retrieves to prevent the “bang go” habit that many dogs acquire if they are sent for every retrieve as soon as it is shot. I had a few one-sided interviews with the dogs during this process to drill them in not running in on birds and sitting to flush and shot. It seemed to work.
The second day out shooting with the dogs was just fantastic. It was as if Pops and Daisy had mentally changed gear: the natural excitement of the shooting field and a bursting desire to work was tempered by all the steadiness training we have done and continue to do every day when we’re not shooting.
So it was now a case of “Fizz, Flush, Sit, Bang, WAIT …………..Go (instead of Gone)!” Let’s hope it continues: few things give me more pleasure than watching the dogs work well!