Today, was a bird field day with the derbies (Trey, June and Trip) and a young shooting dog (Deuce). Trip is probably the least experienced on birds followed by June. Trey just about broke himself on wild birds last fall and is the only derby that is allowed freedom to run at this point. June and Trip both were worked on a checkcord on quail in tip-up traps. June is just about ready to be trusted to find the birds on her own and remain staunch until we get to her. She has very little desire to chase and remained steady on the first bird she pointed. On the second I needed to check her up with the cord and set her back up. No yelling or harsh correction just returned her to the spot where she had pointed. Trip is also pretty staunch but wants to see the bird. It was interesting to watch her on her second find as she moved her nose slightly to the left then to the right after she established point as she zeroed in on the bird. When she had a line on it she finally saw it and remained staunch as she was now sight pointing as well as scenting the bird.
Once the birds had been flown from the traps, Trey was released to hunt the bird field and proceeded to run over a bird that he approached from the down wind side — he stopped to flush and stayed steady until I got to him. He then went on to point another one staunchly until Tony flushed it. He was dragging a light cord which I had picked up and I checked him on the flush.
Being the last one out of the truck Deuce had the hardest time finding birds. He started out with a nonproductive. He’s an interesting dog around birds. If he points and then realizes there aren’t any birds he’ll start to whine. If there’s a bird he remains quiet and staunch. He really likes birds — especially dead ones and seeing planted quail walking on the ground is a great temptation for him. He’ll stand all day on a woodcock or a grouse but finds those little birds from the pen awfully tempting. This is the double edged sword that those of us who do a lot of training on wild birds face — Deuce can run with the big dogs when it comes to wild grouse, woodcock, and Texas quail but is a little rough around the edges on planted birds. he still needs a shooting dog placement to run in all the wild bird but most of those in the Northeast are championships. The guys in Michigan have the best deal at Gladwin dogs out there have many opportunities to run in Derby and shooting dog stakes on wild birds. Deuce ended with a good stop to flush and then a find on a quail that we let walk around in front of him until he required a correction which he got rather forcefully.
The level of correction varied for the four dogs. From Deuce who who was shaken up and smacked under the chin forcefully to Trip who was gently set back to where she had established point — I believe that the dog has to know what you want before you can apply pressure. Deuce knows — Trip doesn’t, yet.