No matter what the real world throws at us, the dogs keep us insanely sane!
Friday was Alfie and Bellas' walk with their Grandson JJ, and my time to catch up with Vicki. The dogs love it and so do as I get to watch Alfie try to out-run his grandson, and Bella looks as if she is smiling throughout the walk, one can't help but smile back. They have the grass field to walk through, and then there off, running through the crop fields with the possibility of a pheasant flush on rare occasions, with just enough scent to keep all of them excited and hopeful that at any minute they will hit on that really fresh scent line. Then when they are just starting to get tired, woosh... Alfie has gone, and we both know where :) He has headed off the the sheep trough where he will jump in and have a cool down, the other two have sense and just refresh themselves with a drink from it. After the trough comes the wood, another possibility of a flush or two, and a cool place to run in the summer and a place that holds wonderful mud baths for Alfie in the winter. He loves it, I could kill him for it, and yet even that puts a smile on ones' face as you can see he is in 'Pig Heaven'. In Spring time it is carpeted with Bluebells and wild onions, a wonderful sight to behold, but the sweethearts that follow are a nightmare :)
Saturday we headed off to Hampshire and Chris Linneys place for Partridge training, organised by Chris Burns of Breezeleaf spaniels. Jay Jay was a sweetpea and it was a perfect set up to give the dogs the experience of flushing/shoot/retrieve. Whilst standing by the Landi we were offered a retrieve a distant away from us that had been flushed by another dog, about 100 yards-ish. I should have moved away from the Landi but thinking she had marked it, though not totally sure, I sent her quickly. She ran the angle straight and true but went slightly wide, so I stopped and directed her, though she was a bit resistant about me butting in. I should have left her, as afterward I realised what she may have been doing, something she will do when she hasn't seen the fall or shot, run towards the gun line between where she thinks the fall may be, enabling her to pick the gun/scent line up to work it to the fall. We achieved the goal eventually and the bird was retrieved by her to me once I moved away from the landi. As I walked back to the landi, I saw Garys face and knew he was slightly annoyed with me and Jay Jay for our mistake, so god help me if I make mistakes (as I will do) at trials. If i go missing after a trial, start looking for a body he he he!
Though saying that, if anything goes wrong, Jay jay and I will do what we always do after a shooting day together :) We shall cuddle up on the sofa, just her and I, unlike shoot day day when it is up to four of us, whomever works gets the sofas'.
Went to Chris Burns shoot on sunday evening and Jay Jay was a darling, a total gem. She worked hard and fast with plenty of style and drive and stayed honest and as steady as a rock when she had a major flush of pheasants, she stopped without whistle despite a couple flying into the wire. So pleased with her, this month she has truly flourished but now she is resting and on metacam to try and get rid of a tiny tiny limp she seems to have, bless her.
Cannot recommended Chris Burns enough, especially to people who want to learn how to work with a dog. He and David Lisett have very similar mind set and it is a sheer joy to be guided by them, especially as we too have always been convinced that you do not need to be forcefully aggressive to train a gundog. Jay Jay, Mia and the rest of the gang are our companions first, who also share in the fun of training and working.
With Jay Jay out of action, we decided to take Tinks with us to the shoot ground, and once again we were reminded of how alike she is to Jay Jay, which pleases me no end as I chose Tinks from the litter for that reason. I just could not let a mini-me to Jay Jay go :) and Tinks has turned out to be such a sweetie. She has nowhere near the training I gave Jay Jay but she is so clever I am convinced we will have a cracking shoot dog, and who knows, if I get my act together, we may even make a trialling dog of her. Ellie's turn tomorrow on shoot with Gary, can't wait :)