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Archive for the ‘English Springer Spaniel’ Category

Here are a few pictures from our pheasant opener.

Moonlight

Getting Ready

12 guys & 5 dogs ready to go

First rooster of the season

Amel's first bird of the season

at the end of the first field

Scenary

Taking a break with my spaniels

Hunting truck ?

Oreo and I

Amel ready to shoot some birds

Winsconsin Boys

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The upland bird hunting season is over and we are moving into the training mode. Despite the bad weather in Denver, I decided to take an 80 mile trip up north and train with my friends of the Pawnee Flushing Spaniel Club. The skies were blue, and there was no snow on the training ground.

Oreo Feb-2011

I have not been training since the bird season started back in mid November, and was a little nervous how well or bad Oreo will do after a long time off. Matt planted all the birds today, and Tim and I ran the first brace. Oreo did very well, and as usual, I got a few new pointers on how to handle a dog and what not to do.

Oreo’s second run was even better than the first.  He found both birds and had a nice long retrieve to wrap the session up.

Between the braces, I took the time to train Zoe. I decided that today was the day to expose her to some live birds. She has been on frozen and freshly shot birds for some time now and it was time to move on to the next stage of training.

Oct-2010 Zoe

I planted a dead bird  followed by two clip-wings.  As I casted her down wind, she was on the first bird within seconds.  The find was followed by a nice clean delivery to hand.  Next was the live bird. She smelled it from 15-20 yards away and took a straight line upwind to the source. Initially she was thrown off by the live bird.  As the bird took off , Zoe’s hunting instincts kicked in, and the chase was on!  It didn’t take long before Zoe got a hold of the pigeon and was on her way back.

As expected, Zoe is showing a lot of potential and I am looking forward to the future training sessions.

Zoe Feb-2011

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Training Day

A few pictures from today’s training session.

Oreo flushing a rooster.

Mia

Mia Steady to flush and shot

Zoe’s training is advancing. We started quartering drills wit some dead birds. She did very well for her first time out. Her range was perfect and she responded nicely to turn and recall whistle. Delivery was spot on. Little girl is moving along.

Abby flushing a hen pheasant

Abby - Nice clean delivery

Planting birds for Oreo

Here is Oreo smoking out another rooster.

Delivery

 

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A few pictures of foliage west of Boulder.

HDR Photo

Aida and the doggies

Zoe in the woods

Oreo

First snow

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Our little Zoe turned one year old today. Happy Birthday little girl!!!!

Zoe and Oreo

It seems like it was just yesterday when we picked up the little black and white ball of fur.

She has turned into a very friendly, very fast, bold springer spaniel. I was hoping she will be chasing live birds for her birthday, but we are not there yet with her training.  She retrieves bumpers, frozen, and freshly killed birds to hand. Soon we will start on the quartering segment and introduce some fliers. I have been more relaxed with her training then with Oreo’s. He was only 10 months old when we shot his first bird for him.

Oreo at 10 months

Stay tuned for more updates, we will try to advance her training to the next level in the upcoming weeks.

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Saturday morning Oreo, Zoe, and I headed north to Carr for a training session. Due to bad weather, high winds, and a few fishing trips, our last training session was about three weeks ago. I was interested to see Zoe’s fetching progress in the field, but was most interested in advancing Oreo’s training to the next level, blind and long range retrieves.

We arrived at Tim’s house around 9:30 a.m., and since Tony wasn’t there yet, Tim and I used the time to catch-up and talk about the club.

As we got to the field I planted birds for Oreo, two fliers and two clips. I am working on opening Oreo’s pattern an additional 5-10 yards, and planting a birds (clipped wing) at a desired distance down wind, but close enough in front that he will smell it on the first cast will get the job done. Using this technique, I am setting him up from the get-go to think that the birds are further out and giving him confidence to go the extra yardage. Oreo is a dog that is very in-tune with his handler, and willing to please all the time. I have noticed within the last few training sessions that he is “falling” for this training and opening up. I am sure it will take a few more sessions, but we are getting there.

Due to me over-dizzying the fliers, Oreo trapped all four birds on his first run. Since he needed a reward, for them that is a retrieve, Tim rolled a bird in for him. He flushed the bird and was steady to both, flush and shot. Bird dropped at about 55 yards from the gunner, making it a 75-80 yard retrieve for Oreo.  This was the exact thing Oreo needed. I sent him on this long retrieve and he was 10 yards short. Started circling and taking more ground. Had a nose full of scent, where I saw the bird land, but  didn’t produce a pigeon. I walked towards him making him go just a little bit further back to a down wind position where he can smell the bird.  The bird wasn’t dead, and walked off 10-15 yards  down wind from where we saw it drop.  Oreo managed to sort things out on his own and find the crippled bird. Upon return, Tim pointed out that I should have huped him as soon as he was of course and handled him like a blind retrieve. If I haven’t mentioned this, I am fairly new at this game, and have a lot to learn! It is all about the dog handler team work.

On the second run , I planted the birds a little lighter and they all flew like they are suppose to. During the training session our goal is to change things up, and make the dog fail. It is not always bird, bang, retrieve. Repetition is what trains the dog , but repetition is what ruins the dog as well. Too much of the same stuff and they start “reading” you.

During the first run Oreo broke on a shot and had to be corrected. The second time around everything went smooth. He made a nice long find, and Tim dropped it about 40-45 yards behind us. Since we are working on semy blind and long range retrieves, I made Oreo leave the bird and continue hunting up the course. Next was a clip and about 50 yards further up the course another flier. The second bird flew to the right and was dropped 40 yards away from Oreo.

During the previous training session, after I made sure he was steady, he would be sent on a retrieve, but today was different.  I whistled him back to me, making him leave the bird behind. Oreo heeling on my side, we walked back towards the first fallen bird.  That bird was a good 80 yards away from us. I gave it my best to line him up, but it didn’t work. We tried it a few more times, and since I have not done it before I was making a mistake without even knowing it. Instead of huping the dog, and then moving towards him, I tried to get him to come to me and be positioned just the right way.  Being under pressure didn’t help the matter either, as a result I was getting a little frustrated. That is the worst thing someone can do in this situation. Tim, as cool of a trainer as he is,  walked up told me told me to  just relax and proceeded to show me how it should be done. Oreo took a straight line 60 yards back, but came short. Keep in mind, this is his third or fourth time taking a line and it is a great success. With every cast we were a little closer, during this whole process Tim incorporated some new commands such as over and back.  On a third cast with addition of over Oreo was in a downwind spot and able to smell  the bird.  Then he was off to retrieve the second bird. He did better on the second bird since we were down wind from the bird.

This was Oreo’s first attempt at a double retrieve, and he handled it very nicely. His handler (me) on the other hand has a lot more to learn.  I am excited and can not wait for the next training session.

Next was Zoe, we have been training in the controlled environment (aka hallway) for some time now, and today was the moment of truth, will she deliver the bumper to hand out in the open country. As the first bumper left my hand, she was on a hot pursuit right behind it.

*Side Note: That dog is so fast, I can not imagine how fast she will when fully grown. It is scary to even think about it. Good luck to me. I think I will need to work on closing her  pattern in, unlike Oreo’s where I am trying to open it up.

On the way back, she started going towards me, but passed me on my right about a foot away circled around me and delivered it to my left hand,more or less like the labs do. If I was a lab trainer I would be pumped, but since I am a springer trainer we don’t like to see that. The delivery needs to be straight back and to my right hand. Second attempt  and the same thing happened. On the third trial she remembered the training and delivered it to my right hand. Then the question was should I do again or quit at this point? Oh what a heck, I gave her another try, again she delivered to the right as she is suppose to do. We stopped at that. Two good retrieves, and we finished on a good note.

There was another highlight during the training, it is snot always about my dogs 😉 , training with Tim I witness a lot of great dog work,  but what I saw on Saturday blew me away. It was one of Tim’s dog, she flushed a bird and the gun on the right hand made a great shot way out there.  The bird dropped behind a big sage bush. This dog took a line and went straight towards the sage brush. She was in front of the brush (bird is downwind from her) thus couldn’t smell it. Then she did something amazing, to me looked like she gave up too easy, she went all the way back to her starting point looked at at brush realigned her self and took a second line. She did all of this all on her own. The second line put her right in front of the brush pile where the bird was. That retrieve was just WOW, I wish I had my camera on me to record it.

As always, it was a great day out in the Colorado grassland with friends and our dogs.

Till the next time.

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Zoe is progressing in the fetching department. I have been going back and forth with the training, getting her used to the bumper and dead birds, but we are back in the hallway and bumpers for now. She needs to be 100% in the hallway before we move the training outside, and get her on some clip-wings etc. I rather spend the time now then fix things later. I was expecting her to be further along by now, but she is learning at a certain pace, so I had to slow down and let her tell me when we are ready to advance. She is still very young, just turned 8 months last week, and very much puppy like so the training is more play than anything else for her.  She has grasped the heel , hup, come, and some whistle commands. I am very pleased with her progress so far and in no time she will be in the field chasing live birds. We are both looking forward to that.

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