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.