Spent most of the day mowing and then worked some dogs in the late afternoon. Trey and June went to the bird field along with Veronica who now resides with one of my neighbors. Tommy has some of the best bear hounds around and wanted to try a pointing dog so he and his daughter could do a little bird hunting together. Veronica is perfect for them. She has lots of point and looks good doing it. She’s on the small side for a brood bitch in our program and is a little too soft to stand up to the rigors of field trialing but I’d be willing to bet that Tommy and Robin will get lots of opportunities to shoot at birds over her this fall.
Trey and June were worked on quail because June has started creeping and I wanted to introduce her to the belly band in a controlled environment. Trey is getting very close to broke and the bird field is a good place to reinforce what he’s doing on wild birds.
Then we took Mariah and Trip up on an old hill farm close to the house. There’s a mowed field that’s about 20 acres on the top of the hill and it’s a good place to continue Mariah’s handling program. Today the grass was full of small white moths that she thought were put there just for her to play with. Despite the distraction of the moths, she still paid attention to me as I kept changing direction and “whooping” her to the front. She did have one lapse when I got to do a correction. It’s important that they test you and you get to assert control. The jury’s still out as to whether she’ll stay with me or move on to the horseback game. But in either case she’ll have to go with her handler and whoever’s blowing the whistle will need to be able to show her in the right places. Some of them do it naturally, others you need that handle on them to help them put on the kind of show that wins.
Trip has been running a lot with Tony’s Ginger dog and getting a lot of backing practice. She’s doing well in the bird field and I wanted her to have the chance to work some cover on her own. So, after we worked Mariah I took trip into a small corner of cover where I could count on a woodcock being present. She succeeded in finding and pointing the bird and then broke at the flush. There will be many more birds for her as the training and hunting season progresses but at this point she needed the chance to get some work on her own.