The real training on wild birds doesn’t start for a couple weeks yet but I’m trying to get everyone tuned up so they’ll be ready to go when I get back into the woods full-time. My main concerns at this point are handling (which includes yardwork) and conditioning, that said we still keep running into a few wild birds. Today Pete had a picture book find on a woodcock and stayed staunch until the bird flushed, that coupled with a good run earned him dog of the day honors. Max was a close second with a really nice limb find on a grouse. He held it until I got almost to him and then went with the bird or bumped the bird it was a close call. It’s not surprising that Max and Pete are ahead of the other dogs as Jagger is just over a year old and reminds of a teenager with a hot rod. All that speed and power seems to get him in trouble as he tends to get carried away with just running. He takes correction well and by the time we get into the woods for real we’ll have a governor on that throttle so we can get him into a bunch of wild birds. Maggie is progressing nicely as well. She handles easy and looks good moving her work in the bird field leads me to believe that she will staunch up on wild birds without too much pressure. She seems to want point and hits to cover naturally. Brandy is just a baby and is starting to get tuned into going with me instead of just going. Every time down she does better.
The little puppies are still being run in pairs but are starting to get more serious about hunting and less concerned with playing with each other. They are still at the stage where they listen to me and come with me when called on. I noticed today that the older pair (the black and white Jack pups) have started just going to the front when I whistle to them instead of coming and finding me. Hunting to the front is one of those topics that we could argue Nature vs nurture over ad nauseum. It is most likely a combination of the two but there are always some dogs that just seem to have an uncanny ability to always find the front.