Today was the perfect Kyle-day!! I woke up at 4:30am, crated up the pigeons, took them out for a 50 mile training toss as the sun came up at the top of the mountain in Walton, NY. Drove home 67 road miles from there. The birds were book’n 50 miles in 49 minutes!! Over 60 mph! Next weekend is there first race— they are ready!!
Shortly after getting home and tending to the birds I had my first training lesson of the day (Sundays I train at home all day). First lesson 9am. A really nice black lab that’s here from obedience, upland and waterfowl work. I had a lesson every hour on the hour for 6 hours straight. I cancelled my last two of the day because I was itching to get all four llews out for some bird work today in the afternoon. Sunny, 50 degrees with a gentle breezy. Perfect!! So cruising thru the day with a smile we went from the 14 month old black lab to a 3 year old sheba inu with dog aggression issues to a 8 month old lab/newfoundland mix puppy in for general ed with some family fun with mom, dad and daughters in tow, to a one year old hard core working line german shepherd with a head thick as a brick wall that a dad and his teenage son are working their butts off with, to a 15 month old little soft-coated wheaton terrier with dog aggression issues to lastly, two labs 4 months old and 9 months old with the whole family— ma, pa and the two kids. Great people, great dogs today!
Finished the work day up at 3pm and start the play day at 3:30pm :)I gave the race team and other pigeons their afternoon feedings, handled my 25 young birds in the young bird loft and gave them all vitamin pills. I took one launcher and one bird and set up a training field for all the llews to run one at a time. Widget, Pixel, Duncan and Piper— in that order.
I set up Widget’s bird in the field tucked up in the brush nestled in with some small pines. For those of you who know me you know I always put several distraction areas, where I kick the ground up a bit with my foot and then pick up some vegetation and rub it with my hands to make sure that the dogs are not going to point my odor alone. It sometimes takes all of 5 seconds for a smart bird dog to put together scent association with handler and planted birds. So make the dog think hard about these things you’ll see it play out favorably. This was the longest that I had a bird sitting out for Widget and Pixel. From the time I planted the bird for Widget to the time we hit the back field it was about 30 minutes. After planting Widget’s bird I went back to the house and brought Widget out in the yard for about 10 minutes to hang out. Of course, she knew it was time to work but we pal’d around for awhile then I did about a 5 plus minute obedience workout with her covering sit, stay, whoa, base (my come/heel command) with and w/o the whistle and of course take-a-break :)Widget did great. We then proceeded out to the training grounds. Widget hunted like a demon…. just beautiful. At just over 6 months of age I truly could not be happy with both Widget and Pixel. Their natural ability is tremendous and with the several communication controls I have instituted outside of bird work they are working terrific. Widget located the bird quickly in about 6 minutes of work and had a slam’n point!! I mean really slam’n!! What was great to see was that she stopped on a dime without me saying whoa at all and was flagging her tail a little bit staring straight ahead in the direction of the bird. I was about 30 feet in front of her. When she stopped with her high set tail stiffly waving I praised her calmly. When I took a single step in her direction her tail stiffened. I love it!! This dog is learning her job just fine. Today was all business with Widget and Pixel and nothing but fun at the same time. The way it ought to be!! I beat around the area with my feet and looked for the bird for about 30-60 seconds then launched the bird. All fun!! Today was also the first day of any bell exposure. She looked at me as we were heeling thru that yard to the field, as if to say, “what the heck is this thing?!” ….. it took about all of 1 minute for her to adjust to wearing the bell. Only a matter of another time or two before they are ampped up at the sound or sight of the bell. Pixel’s outing today was nearly a carbon copy of Widget’s! Pixel was working for around 10 minutes prior to locating the bird. Her style is very different than Widget’s on point. Pix has that low setter crouch and interestingly as I approached from the side/rear she raised up to the most vertically erect point she’s done to date?! Pretty cool!! Love these dogs!! For both of them these are multiple shots of the same point.
Click on photos to enter slideshow.