Sunday, May 9, 2010

Back from another Training Weekend

I headed out to Hastings Island with dogs in tow on Friday afternoon. There was just enough time to run the dogs before the fields would close. Along the way, the dogs pointed six chukar and a cat. You read that right, a cat. I had no idea the dogs were pointing a cat so I went to work it like they were pointing a bird. When I got there, I found no bird. When I looked down, to my surprise there was a cowering cat. Before I could rescue the poor soul, it broke to a full out run. Unfortunately, the dogs gave chance. Before I knew it, the cat was in a bush. Dixy decided to stick her nose into it and when she came out, her nose was a shredded mess. At least the cat was fine. What in the world a cat was doing in the middle of a hunting preserve is a mystery. I could understand ferals but this was definitely not a feral cat. It had beautiful markings.

Saturday we set out for a true training session. The goal was to work with Dixy and Grady. I have entered both of them in a hunt test May 22nd and 23rd. And as is with all dogs, they each have their own weaknesses which makes for interesting training sessions. Nothing is ever boring. Dixy was the first in line for training. My friend Walter help me out by simulating the shooting of the bird. I wanted Dixy to stand through the flight of the bird as well as the shot. As you can see from the picture below, she passed the test. This is one of Dixy's strong suits. Yeah! We will deal with her weakness (retrieving) later.

Now on to Grady. Unlike Dixy, Grady has some problems in this area. Let's just say, he gets a little anxious when he sees the bird fly away. He has been know to leave a wee bit early. Fine for senior hunter but not so much for master. No matter, we will work on it. At least on this day, he did fine.

Now back to working on Dixy's weakness. We have been diligently working on this at home, in the field, more at home, and more in the field in hopes of having her retrieve the bird to my hand in the Master Level Hunt test. Below are a few videos of our progression on Saturday and Sunday. Still some work to do but we have made a tremendous amount of progress. Below is our starting video.

We did this a total of ten times before quickly. She loves to please as you can see from the progression.

Finally, our last retrieve was an unbridled success as you can see from her happy demeanor of bringing the bird back to me with her head up and tail wagging.

Oh how the little successes keep us coming back for more.