2014_1108 Training Lake Wales

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

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