Kenna Training 2015_0111

January 12th, 2015 by Diane

We used the E side of the NE field (A) on the Lake Wales training grounds. The morning started out chilly with very very lt rain. Gradually drying and warming. Because of the risk of rain, I bought fewer birds this am.

Kenna was creeping in on the first launcher, I was close enough so I could stand on the check cord and launch the bird. Kenna stayed steady. I tossed a bird from that site and then a dead bird for her to retrieve. Her retrieves are ok. she tends to spit the bird quickly in anticipation of her treat – that could become and issue when she finds out I don’t have treats at a test/trial.

One of the birds at the second launcher did not really fly – I was able easily pick up one of the quail; and I think I caught one more – the others flew better than that. Several landed in trees.

I planted the birds I could catch for Ritka. Ritka showed some tendency to creep on birds and anticipated the release to retrieve more than ideal. Wesley worked on that by taking her collar for a minute or so before the release to fetch.

Kenna found a loose bird first in the second outing. She was creeping and stopped for a verbal warning. I was able to flush the quail into a tree. I released Kenna immediately and she did a delayed chase back on that bird. We were able to call her off the bird in the tree (which I could not do a year ago). I think I need to practic collaring Kenna off – Otherwise delayed chase will be a big problem with her.

She was creeping in the launcher, I verbally warned her – she stopped, but started flagging. Tossed one bird – she moved 3 steps to mark. She is moving more than ideal, but so far I’m still rewarding as long as she does not hit the end of the check cord.

The next bird she found was near a tree. I initially could not find the bird and I tried to lead Kenna off and she clearly thought the bird was in front of us – she was correct – so I flushed that bird forward. I lead her off with the check cord toward the bird launcher – I dropped the check cord once she seemed committed to her new direction. The tossed bird and the launched bird both flew to or almost to the trees to the East.

I started holding the check cord on the way back to the car, but dropped it after a bit (mistake). Kenna hunted forward initially, but looped back to find one of the birds from the last launcher. She pointed it, but then bumped the bird – and chased. I was closer by the time she relocated the bird. Kenna listened to my verbal and stood while I reached and picked up the bird. That was the only chase or attempted chase of the day.

I planted this last bird when we were most of the way back. Kenna was disturbed that we would not let her go back to it. After putting Kenna up, I had Wesley get Ritka out (I’ve been getting the dogs out, but I wanted Wesley to handle Ritka from the beginning since he will take her to the test). Ritka quickly found the bird, but did some creeping. Wesley stopped her with a verbal. Wesley clearly got some feathers when he shot the quail, but the quail did not drop. He chose to send her anyway. Ritka hunted well till about where shot got feathers, but continued her search more to the E, while the quail had flown more N from there. After a bit, we walked closer to where the bird went into a sea of grass. Wesley called Ritka back, and re-sent her for the retrieve. She pointed and only tried for the retrieve with verbal encouragement. Bird flew with Rikta hot on its tail. She caught the bird. I made Wesley continue to hold the shot gun while he received the quail from Ritka. Ritka had some difficulty holding long enough to get the quail in Wesley’s hand when she wanted to drop it to get the treat in his same hand.

Wesley decided to call it a day – warming up and no rain.

Delayed chase will continue to be of concern for Kenna. I probably should practice actually collaring her off as opposed to check cording her off as I’m doing now. Someday I’ll have to get brave enough to run Kenna without a check cord. There will not be training days in Feb or March. April will need to be review so perhaps in May I’ll try without the check cord? It will depend on how April goes I guess.

The End

2014_1108 Training Lake Wales

January 10th, 2015 by Diane

Over the past few months I’ve worked on stand stay on a place board adding distractions and distance with some duration. I need to be adding more locations. We have also been putting a caged quail out for Kenna to find and point some place near by. Wesley had been handling the check cord and I’ve been the bird flusher. I’ve been kicking about (flushing) and tossing a pigeon, which she typically watches and I kick-flush some – when she looks back at me, I toss the next bird – my timing could be better sometimes I’m slower than I’d like getting the bird in the air. Kenna is quite steady on pigeons. Wesley and I should probably swap who flushes and who hold the check cord.

Today was the first day to try the exercise tossing quail instead of pigeons. Quail are much more exciting to Kenna than quail. Wesley and I took the dogs to NAVHDA training.

Kenna: I put one quail in a launcher and put it out in field A (front training field with big pond) in the field to the West of the big pond. Then went back to get Wesley and Kenna. Took Kenna out on a check cord and carried a bird bag with 3 more flying quail and one quail in vest with surveyor’s tape on one leg and pulled flight feathers on one wing. I forgot cheese. Overcast, starting at about 65F warming up to 75F. Light breeze from the NE.

We walked out with Kenna on check cord – I held check cord till we were past the corner of the pond to avoid disturbing other training groups. Kenna ran like the crazy dog she is when released. She did respond to verbal cues (and whistle) to turn to go ahead of us. Kenna found the quail launcher and held point. Wesley told her “whoa” and “wait” a few times I talked to Wesley to tell him that I was trying to learn to use the words “stop”, “stay” or “wait” and then “bad” or “phoohey” to avoid the “no-whoa” similarity. Kenna relaxed her point into more of a stand-stay. We both need to talk less.

I kicked and launched the quail. Kenny tried to take off – Wesley held the check cord. When she calmed a bit I kicked the brush and then tossed quail when she looked at the kick-flushing. She stood for one, so I tried tossing the non-flyer, she was initially steady till I said “ok” (which is not her release word) – she tried to chase. I picked it up and tossed a flyer – she stood. So I tossed the non-flyer and she stood and was sent for a retrieve – she pointed instead. I picked up the bird – let her sniff/bounce and then put the non-flyer way.We walked back with Kenna on a held check cord.

We took Ritka out to try to find the birds that we tossed for Kenna to watch fly. Ritka found 4 birds, but not the same 4 that we tossed for Kenna. Wesley shot birds, but he is out of practice. The first bird Ritka pointed we flushed almost before we realized Ritka was on point. The 2nd bird was not hit, but Ritka retrieved in fine style. She was a bit hesitant to give to Wesley, but did give up her bird. Ritka got cheese after that. The 3rd bird Ritka could not find. We decided we should stop sending her to retrieve missed birds. Wesley heeled Ritka off on the 4th bird and we let her hunt most of the way back.

Kenna: I moved the launcher and left the launcher out with one bird. I again released Kenna near the corner of the pond – however, this time Kenna found one of the quail from the first exercise. It was in relatively thick cover – I tried and failed to catch it – Kenna tried to chase, realized that was not an option and went into pogo-V mode no-vocalizing at least. Cute, but definitely too much movement for most judges even if there was no forward movement.

Unfortunately when it flew, the bird flew toward the launcher. Kenna was a bit bonkers and never really indicated the bird in the launcher – too busy trying to go for the one that she saw fly. We took her to the pond for a quick swim to try to distract her. We tried check cording to the launcher – that did not work so well. We decided to work the launcher anyway – I kicked until Kenna looked and I launched the bird. Kenna stood for the bird, I tossed one more bird and she stood – then she got cheese. I tossed the the non-flyer and she tried to chase. I tossed another bird and she stood well. Cheese and quit.

In retrospect, I think one of us should have taken Kenna back to the pond while the other moved the launcher to a new area not near the flown bird.

Ritka: Found one bird where shot was missed. held nicely – told she was a good happy girl. Wesley heeled her off. More commands than ideal for MH, but getting better. Hunted toward the pond, but did not find the other birds. We worked the flown bird with good manners – still not shot. We let Ritka hunt on the way back and she had one more find – that one was shot and we ended with a nice retrieve. Ritka’s lack of motivation to run this summer is showing up in lack of fitness today.

I moved the launcher to the closer field – West of the water tub in the Southwest part of the field.

Kenna: Let her run (with check cord) as most folks had left and I had set the launcher closer. She found the launcher with some creeping into the point – she was a bit to the side and not directly in the scent cone I don’t think. She tried to chase first launched bird – Wesley got her stopped. The second tossed bird went and the other direction and she bounced a 180, but did not actually move toward the bird. I tried to toss the non-flyer, but she tried to chase. Stood for toss flyer. I ended on tossed dead bird – remembered to give her cheese and send her for retrieve of dead bird which went well (cheese after return of bird as well).

I thought I was standing on check cord, but she got away and ran to point one of the tossed birds. This time I got the check cord and Wesley flushed the bird. She stood for the flush and I was both standing on the check cord and had it wrapped around my hand. I wanted to reward with cheese and had to really call her to get her to turn back to me for cheese. Not pulling, but hard to get her attention. Perhaps I should have tossed dead bird one more time, but needed to get her to look at me to see tossed bird.

Retrospect: Get Wesley to toss dead bird if I’m on the check cord. Need to remember to reward with praise/cheese more when she does not pull on check cord even if she does move to mark. It was 12 birds total, but I think better training than from single birds.

Wesley took the launcher back and I took Kenna to the pond for some tennis ball retrieving. It was warm enough for water work, but we were all tired by then. I told friends where we left birds in the field – hope they got to use them. No training tomorrow, I have to go to a funeral in Clearwater.
$60 on birds, but the gas to travel cost that much – Seems better to use the birds since we can only go to the club once a month anyway.

Hope things are going well with you and your dogs

The End

Kenna 2014_1206 Hunting Dog Stake w/ Mike Mike Bick

January 10th, 2015 by Diane

Enjoyed the TBVC FT Saturday 7 Dec. We got there fairly late and the brothers that judge the hunting dogs stake had to leave. Mike Bick agreed to shoot birds for the last two dogs in the Hunting Dog stake.I wanted Kenna to run by herself, and the other handler wanted a brace mate – I agreed to run Kenna with her dog, but only with me holding Kenna’s check cord. We got a few chances to practice honoring. The first several birds the other first dog found, Mike could not shoot as the bird flew directly toward people. So we kept the dog out looking for birds until Mike was able to shoot for the dog.

I kept hold of the check cord for the first bird. The bird flushed behind the palmetto where Kenna could not see and she stayed steady on flush and shot. I sent here for the retrieve and had to help since she did not see the fall. She brought the bird to me almost to me and dropped it. She completed the retrieve to hand (me squatting down) with a gentle verbal reminder.

Since she was good, I dropped the check cord for her to drag. The second bird also flushed behind the palmetto and barely flew. After I had hold of the check cord (and stood on it), Mike flushed from a second palmetto clump and shot the the bird. This time Kenna showed Mike her bird and then retrieved to hand.

Since she was the last dog, we let Kenna run a bit more – The bird on her third find flew in the open and she tried to chase. I got her standing quietly with a slack check cord. After we had a solid stand stay, I released her for the retrieve. She again showed Mike her bird before bringing to hand.

On the last bird she found, she took 2-3 steps after scenting the bird, which bumped the bird. She stood still when the bird flushed and let me walk up to her. I gave her a meat ball and told her quietly that she was wonderful.

A great run in hunting dogs stake, even if the judges were not there to see it. Thanks to Mike!

The End

Dog Train Kenna 2015_0110

January 10th, 2015 by Diane

NAVHDA training day at Lake Wales in the NE (field A).
Dry cool (60s F?) and windy

At the beginning of the first outing, Kenna ran well ahead and pointed a bird not in a launcher. She held point for several minutes, but bird flew and she chased long before we got there. She chased, but did not catch the quail as it landed in a small tree in the border scrub.

We got Kenna back from the brush and sent her toward the launchers which were placed next to each other this first attempt. Kenna did not really point the launcher, but we did get her to stop and then she perked up when I launched the first bird. After that I tried to put in another bird without Kenna seeing – she saw and raced for the spot I’d placed the quail. She moved to mark when flushed the bird, but did not hit the end of the check cord.

During the second outing, Kenna held point on bird that she found – there were several walking about. Wesley was able to hold the check cord while I chased off the running quail. Kenna stood well for all of that earned meatball treats. Because of the running ground quail, I held the check cord and took Kenna upwind of the launcher as I felt she needed more time to relax before encountering more birds. We went on to the further launcher. She responded to scent, but was unsure. I verbally asked for a wait.

She found another quail and we were able to get to the check cord. At one point in here she broke and hit the end the check cord. After this last quail Kenna was stotting (boinging) and we were back near the bird launcher we had skipped. Kenna was even more wired than before so we skipped the other launcher and took Kenna back to the van.

Ritka’s three outings were fun. A few times she crept or moved to mark more than ideal, but overall her performance was good.

On Kenna’s 3rd outing, Kenna found a non-launcher quail first. She stood while I had to really chase the bird to get it away. Then we worked the near launcher – I tossed one extra flyer and a dead bird for the retrieve.

The last launcher of the day was near the SW corner of the pond. Those birds did not want to flush well and had to be chased. Kenna stood for all of this. On the last launcher of the day, I tossed 3 extra birds (I miscounted there should have only been 2). One of those birds flew so poorly I was easily able to catch it with my hat. Then I tossed a quail for Kenna to retrieve – She tends to go by me before coming back to trade the quail for a meatball, but she is retrieving to hand with a detour.

On the way back in, Kenna bumped a bird (not sure if she should have stopped, I was not watching carefully enough). She did not chase, but did not stop – I verbally asked for a stop and she did.

So only one real chase and one chase attempt, with improvement through the session.

The End

Rusty’s Winter Adventure

December 30th, 2014 by Wesley R. Elsberry

We had travel plans for the holidays. Nothing too distant, just visiting family on both sides. So we planned to only stay away from home as long as we felt comfortable leaving Rusty on her own. Rusty got extra food before we left late on December 23rd, 2014. We visited with Diane’s mother, Marguerite, and brother, Joe, in Clearwater, and came back home just after midnight in the early part of the 27th. And when I checked the mews, the door was standing open and Rusty was nowhere around.

That certainly put a damper on holiday spirit for us. Now a member of the family/pack was unaccounted for. A 23-year-old hawk out on her own, where the oldest known wild mark-recapture instance we know of in her species was just 13 years old. While we still see plenty of ability in Rusty’s hunting, it’s hard to know that it will be sufficient without the aid of the rest of the pack.

For three days, Diane and I split search duties, with Diane doing the away-from-home walking to try to see if she would cross paths with Rusty, and I hung around outside the house in case Rusty came back there. Diane’s walks were in the morning and late afternoon to avoid the mid-day Florida heat. We also made some excursions in our truck, with Diane waving a rabbit leg or me whistling, calling, and swinging a lure from time to time. We talked to hikers and joggers, we submitted the federal “paperwork” to say Rusty was missing, we corresponded with state wildlife officials, put up a Craigslist ad, entered Rusty into Falcon Finders, talked to Florida Audubon and wildlife rehabbers, and saw no sign of Rusty for two and half long, frustrating days.

One of the wildlife rehabbers noted that they got good data from feedback after a TV station had a story on their missing bird, and suggested we try that. So we put together something that was most of the way to the form of a news release and emailed that to several area stations.

The last time Rusty got loose, it was Diane walking a bit over half a mile from home that got her in touch with Rusty. This time, Rusty came back to the vicinity of the house later in the afternoon of December 29th, 2014. I was outside, having set up a card table and trying to get a laptop working with an external monitor, when I heard a kestrel making annoyed sounds. It’s pretty easy to get a kestrel annoyed, but this one kept on screaming. I was on the west side of the house, and the kestrel noise was coming from the east. I went into the east side yard, whistling our hawk recall (one short, one long) and calling Rusty’s name. Ritka had come out into the fenced yard and was keening, so I let her out to come with me. We both headed into the east pasture, then went north to that boundary. I had seen no sign of a hawk other than the kestrel. I looped around our retention pond that is NW of the house and was headed back to my table when I noticed a bird sitting on a tree at the west property line. I encouraged Ritka to do some more hunting for birds or bunnies, and did another whistle and call. The bird launched from its perch and headed my way. It was, indeed, Rusty, and she pitched up on a brush pile about 50′ from me. I called Diane, then went inside to get a quail to lure Rusty with. Coming out to the backyard and mews, I called Rusty’s name, and she promptly flew over the house and into a tree. I offered the quail on the glove, and she seemed content just to hang out in the tree. I put Ritka and Beka into the garage and stepped back out. After another minute or so, Rusty launched and flew down to the glove, claiming the quail. I stepped toward the mews door and Rusty made to go in. I tossed in the quail and closed the door. And that’s “the rest of the story”. Harris’s hawks are pretty comfortable with simply being in line-of-sight, and sometimes groups will be spread out over a couple of miles. So Rusty being at the western boundary was probably, to her, a perfectly sufficient check of the home base. I’m just glad the kestrel got annoyed.

I notified Diane that Rusty was safely back, then my family, then updated a web page I created to supplement information I sent to the media, then posted a FaceBook status that Rusty was home. As people responded on FaceBook, they noted that at least one of the TV stations, Channel 8, had run the story on Rusty being missing. I emailed Channel 8 an update and thanked them for their assistance.

I also went to the hardware store and got some hardware to help make the mews door more secure. I don’t know exactly how the door got unlatched before, but that just shouldn’t happen with the new stuff. We are also looking into getting a 30-day transmitter that we can leave on Rusty most of the time, and change the battery every couple of weeks.

Pretty much every time that Rusty is away from us overnight or longer, we put in a lot of worry. So far when we get back together, she is usually looking just fine. While she came back to food on the glove, she obviously didn’t actually need more food. We love our social hawk, even though we seem to be just slightly daft and handicapped pack members to her. Rusty had somewhere between four and six days away from home, and she isn’t saying exactly how far she went or what she did or got up to while away.

The End

Driving Ponies.

October 7th, 2013 by Diane

Tonya & Veronica came over Saturday evening. Sunday morning we took Jezebel (Welsh/Shetland cross) to Little Manatee River State Park and drove her for an hour or so on their trails. They have nice trials wide enough for a cart. Beka came and rode in the cart with us. I think she enjoyed the ride.

One place there was water on the trail and a tree across the trail. The soft mucky ground under the water scared Jezebel, but she used her head and made a nice tight turn for us to go back and try another trail. Overall a very nice trail drive. Tonya and I cleaned pulled up the mats to sweep out her trailer when we got back – She had carpenter ants, so she will need to have her floor boards checked.

Veronica and Wesley stayed at the house and watched movies together. We had lunch when we got back from the park.

After lunch, Tonya and I worked with Queenie. After she was harnessed and we put the PVC poles (cart shaft simulation). I ground drove and Tonya had a lead rope on her halter as well. Queenie started to be skittish so Tonya told her to cut it out and Queenie listened. We had a few more skittishness with Tonya not accepting her silliness. This was followed by a short successful ground driving session.

We practiced standing still. I did my typical routine of walking up to give her a treat and then walking around behind her and walking up the other side give her another treat as long as she stayed still.

Then Tonya stayed at Queenie’s head while I brought the cart up into position for hitching. We repeated this a few times and Queenie stayed calm with Tonya at her head.

I ground drove Queenie to just north of the drainage pond. Tonya brought the cart. Tonya headed while I hitched Queenie. When I got in the cart, and asked Queenie to walk forward. Tonya walked at her head initially and helped keep her to a walk. We walked and stopped several times with Tonya walking. Tonya walked with the long line as we turned S to go counter clockwise around the East field. Queenie stayed calm so we stopped again and Tonya got on the cart once Queenie was facing north along the E fence line. We walked multiple loops both counter clockwise and clockwise around the east and north fields.

There was one place that Queenie was balky. It might have been due to the soft ground. However it was near the NE corner of the east field which is a place that I have stopped Queenie when she did not turn when I first asked. Both times Queenie used her brain and walked and turned fairly sharp to get us out of a sticky spot.

I asked for some sharper turns which worked. We unhitched in our spot north of the drainage pond and called it a day. Tonya is going to try and get back over here for another training session in a few weeks.

A good day driving ponies.

The End

Kenna, pigeons and launchers

October 1st, 2013 by Diane

On Saturday I put a pigeon in each of two launchers. I put a quail loose by one of the launchers. This time I used survey tape to mark the position of the launchers. When Kenna first detected the birds, she did not point, but did stop running and work around to try to locate the scent. Than the slow stalk. She stopped for several seconds – the next foot forward and I tripped the launcher.

When she found the second bird she stopped longer in the stalk before trying to creep in. I think birds need to be in launchers since I have not mastered planting pigeons that will both stay on the ground and fly when the dog gets too close.

I need the survey tape to help me know the distance from dog to bird.

We did a short track later – That went fairly well. Ritka helped retrieve the pheasant after the track.

The End

Beka resting

January 12th, 2012 by Diane


The End

More Puppy Pics

July 4th, 2008 by Wesley R. Elsberry

The End

Puppy Photos 5 June 2008

June 22nd, 2008 by Diane

Your Shoe – I gots it.

Running/flying with ears?

At the Pond

The End