Training and everyday events.
This month I have been teaching Tinks Left & Right by movement and verbal command. This month I have also taught Jay-Jay the verbal command of 'Left' & 'Right' as previously she only had one verbal command for going right or left depending on which arm movement I made. As you can see they are doing well, and only with 3-4 short very lessons a week.
So I am very pleased with them, they have listened well and had fun.
To teach dogs Left and right by arm command gives the dog a greater chance of getting the retrieve, and we need that to enable a fast retrieve of any game we send the dog for, especially if you know where it lays but the dog does not.
If your dog just know the command 'Out' followed by just a throw of the hand and no clear Right or Left movement from you, you limit yourself and thereby you limit the dog, and you may have to give far more arm throws and 'Get Out' commands to get the dog into the same spot than a dog with a good straight Out-run and a sharp stop to the whistle with a then silent left or right arm command. Makes sense doesn't it, after all imagine yourself shouting 'Get out, Get out...' on shoot day when the dog has been sent for a blind and is only guided by throwing of the arms and your shouting at it that command, compare that to the far more silent option which has far more accuracy!
If your dog is in the wood and can't see you or in really deep cover, how handy would it be to be able to say 'Right' or 'Left' and your dog go right or left depending on the one you asked for.... very Handy.
Now I am Lucky in that Jay-Jay will do a Meerkat when she is unable to see me or when she needs to do it to mark the fall of the game, and she does it without moving forwards or backwards just upwards, which most Judges and trainers love as it shows brains for starters and an ability to mark game the sitting down dog (or if you beat it) the lying flat dog would not see, and therefore Jay will see the bird land and get to the fall. But, if your dog doesn't do the meerkat impersonation or cannot because of the environment it is in, well then that 'Left' or 'Right' command could come in very handy. Now it won't be needed all the time as your dog will often see many falls, or will see you (maybe you need to move a tad if you can to enable that), but there are those times it will be greatly useful.
The you tube clip below shows you Tinks and Jay-jay as they are taught these new commands by myself over this month of July.
To teach Tinks the Left & Right direction command via body and language, I broke it down for her and started by teaching her just the body Language when I sent her for a 'Back retrieve'.
This I did by sitting her directly in front of me at an angle that would make her want to go the way I wished her to, as you can see in the video it worked a treat.
You only need to sit the dog at an angle while the dog is starting to learn this new command. When teaching a dog something new one should always set the dog up in way that aids the dog, once taught it's a different matter .
Now both girls have been previously taught, to varying degrees, to run straight lines left and right by my making a clear and straight movement with either right or left arm and a vocal command 'Out', not a throw away arm movement that just sends the dog in a wide section to either side, but a clear signal for a straight line.
But now of course they are learning the vocal commands 'Left' or 'Right' and that is learnt through repetition. Of course as far as the dogs are concerned Left and right could be called 'Fish' & 'Chips', as long as you always use the same word for the same direction. Because they know the arm movement I can just put the new word with the move, and repetition will lock it into their memory bank.
I then add temptation by throwing a beloved ball over Tinks head to land behind her, then asking her to go either right or left for a dummy instead of going for her ball, and if she got it wrong, the most she would get is a verbal 'Ahhh', which seems really loud on the video but that was only because my mouth is very close to the mobile. Always remember to praise for the stops, the stops must be praised as you want the sits to be well and truly locked into their memory, and locked in through only good memories.
I am lucky enough to then be able to add another dog (Jay Jay) into the mix for Tinks, it helps Jay-jay to learn patience so its a win win, even more temptation to for them both, and when I think I can I ask them to cross one another for a retrieve I do, this asking really demanding high concentration of them.
The video is a mixture of mobile video and camera video so please forgive.
As always, no dog was Hit at any point, it isn't needed, whether you gloss it up by calling the hitting of ones dog 'Correction/redirecton' or any other name, it is Not Needed and shouldn't be done. Learn to teach a dog with kindness, as many of us do, OR don't teach, for no dog deserves it!
First day of the shooting season which to me starts the best time of the year off.
It brings with it sun filled crisp days with autumnal leaves and flying geese that beat their wings over our heads on the way to the crop fields. I hate to see the geese go as winter comes in, but winter brings so many joys with it and is a very hopeful season that it makes up for the loss of them. It is hopeful season, as one hopes for snow deep enough to lay a hush over the countryside, forcing us all to slow down and turning everywhere into a Winter Wonderland for all who want to open their hearts to enjoy.
In times gone by it would bring us days of rain which would make the air smell so sweet and clean, and feeling the chill of the day as we came back with the dogs we would relish the warmth of the home, whilst the dogs would fall asleep dreaming of their walk, pure bliss. This year however seems to have had all its rain during the summer :) and I do love true seasons.
Winter also holds Christmas and being the child at heart that I am, I love looking forward to the giving, to seeing so many happy faces, and getting the humbugs of the season to feel that joy through drink if needs be :)
But back to the shooting day, yesterday.
We have only been to this particular shoot once before, at the end of last season where I tested my knee on the beating line, though this time we were going to be part of the picking up team, so we only took Jay Jay as whilst this would be a good experience for her, Mama Mia would have got bored out of her skull :)
As you all know, we have finally been able to provide Jay Jay with plenty of game, but not game shot and then retrieved, so I would not have been
shocked if she had wanted to continue in beating mode so-to-speak and not
picking-up mode, on the first day of the shooting season.
But no, sweet jay babe performed well.
First drive brought no birds for her to retrieve, not the guns fault,
just the luck of the pegs for the gun. But I didn't mind as it showed me that even after all the game Jay Jay has had put in front of her over these past few weeks she is still as silent as a rock as she has always been, bless her. And yes I know that is a mixed- up saying but she is not as silent as a mouse because a mouse squaks and she doesn't, he he he!
Second drive, brought a very tempting scenario for Jay Jay.
We were lined up behind the guns, the main man of the Picking-up team to my left and a thick cover to my right, behind me a hedgerow of trees dividing the two fields and unbeknown to me as I am so short and couldn't see him, a back gun in the divided field directly behind.
Now a pheasant only flew into the trees behind falling to the ground, not shot, but we never want to leave an injured animal, so I sent Jay Jay knowing she would bring it back to me and we could asses its damage from the collision. Anyway, it was then that I noticed a black lab also running for the bird from the other field, so Jay Jay was recalled back by me, which she did straight away, leaving the owner of the black lab to attend to the bird and teaching me that I must double check where everyone is.
This 'recall' was obviously sitting in the back of Jay Jays' mind as when the next bird fell over the brow of the hill Jay Jay went to run in, but swiftly remembered not to. It must have also been in the mind of the head picker up that she had relinquished a bird gracefully as bless him he gave us the nod to send Jay Jay for the bird that was really his. So off Jay Jay went up the hill over the brow and came back with a phessey wing over her eyes, bless her she couldn't have seen a thing so I gave her a few toots on the whistle to keep her coming straight.
The start of the shooting season had begun for us, and she and I were both very happy that it had.
There was also a bird that had been shot and had fallen into the bramble area, a big section fenced off with barb wire that apparently opened up in the middle. So because of the fence and not knowing the ground, I went into that area with her, and as they said it did open up in the middle, so not knowing exactly where it fell I worked her up covering all the bramble to enable her to pick up a scent line. As it was, it was in the open, so an easy retrieve once spotted :)
Knowing the land one is on, and the dog knowing the land and where the birds will often fall in that land, is certainly an added aid and one that I look forward to Jay Jay and myself having.
Two other birds I was very pleased with were both on the fourth drive.
The first one had gone into very thick bramble and she had worked her socks off to bring it back through the cover undamaged, even though it was a very big old cock bird. The other bird being one we had not marked fully as I was dealing with the bramble bird. Anyway, I kept putting her in the area we had thought it had landed, another thick bramble area that was in front of the woods, and she kept working her socks off but not finding it. Now I had totally confidence in Jay Jay that if she couldn't find it in there, it wasn't in there, and not wanting to push her further back into the woods without knowledge of the area and knowing that the beaters were moving that way, I entered into the wood behind the bramble, which was a lot more open ground. I worked her past the point we had thought it had gone in, hence her not finding it :) and then 'bang' she hit the scent line, which lead her to a stream that had carved its way through the wood so was running below ground line. My angel got into the water and started to work down, so knowing she was on it my eyes followed the line she was taking and there in the stream with just a tiny bit of breast showing, was another big cock bird which she safely retrieved back to me. Thankfully it hadn't had time to soak the water up as it would have been really heavy for her.
What made it even better was the pleasure the gun expressed at how hard Jay Jay had worked for the two birds and how pleased he was that she had found them for him. It is a joy to one when you know your dogs work is appreciated and enjoyed by the guns.
The last drive for Jay Jay and myself held no birds, which again I would not moan about as it was a great reminder that not all shots produce birds for Jay Jay. I swear the girl fights back her natural desire to blink during drives, and she shakes with pure anticipation of what may come, bless her.
We came away from our first shoot day having meet a cracking bunch of pickers up, and the pleasure of knowing that we had a good first day to open up the season with. I must say how grateful I was to Gary being there and being my second pair of eyes that really did help.
Roll on the rest of the season!
Beautiful Blonde babe with the boys
Gary taking a rest during drives, enjoying the sun.
We took the girls on shoot yesterday and to add to a good day one of the puppy owners came along with their 18 month old Alfinmarsh Forrest.
He will be joining the shoot now and his wife will be joining with her cocker, which is great as it means we will have the added joy of having another Alfinmarsh on shoot.
Thoroughly enjoyed the shoot working the girls together, especially in my favourite areas which is the mixed cover crops and the dense coarse bushes.
Though what I wrote in the previous up-date, that I was worried that temptation may start to pull Jay Jay forward with so many of the other shoot dogs working forward, DID happen. My angel Jay Jay who has for a long time now hasn't been herself pulled forward whilst working and talk about deaf ear, bless her.
Most of the time though it was a Joy to work the girls.
I worked a small mixed cover crop strip with a chap who had brought his lab on shoot for the first time, therefore was on lead. Gary was with Mia... in the woods on the side of crop.
If it had been a trial, the first half of the cover crop the judge would have said about Jay Jay 'Lovely, lovely dog' she needed no whistle worked beautifully and put a couple of birds up stopping at each one :)
Second half of the cover crop the judge would have tapped me on my shoulder and said 'sorry Miss but can you regain your dog and leave' he he he :)) Mama Mia joined me 2/3rds in and the girls worked the crop together beautifully :))
All in all, mama Mia = fab :) Jay Jay = some good sections some really naughty, naughtiest she has ever been.
Leconfield Field Trial on the 9th
What a cracking bunch of people there was at the trial, Gary and I chatted, caught up and had a giggle while we waited for our run which was not for a while seeing as we were number 15th to run.
After the shoot day we knew that whilst Jay Jay looked stunning most of the time she worked, that she was/is going through a teenage stage but little did we expect her to do what she did.
As soon as we started our run Jay Jay hit onto scent, I thought 'yes' we could have a good run here, FAMOUS LAST WORDS. Within minutes she flushed a pheasant out of the brambles, sat as the gun shoot at the bird, the gun missed the bird but it flew low and landed quickly in the brambles. Jay babe, bless her presumed it had been shoot and without waiting for my command ran in to retrieve it. Yep, that was the end of the trial for us and poor Gary was in pure shock as he said 'she has never done that before'! Well she has now Gary he he he
Well, lets do a catch up before we look into what will hopefully be a cracking 2012 for us all with our families and dogs.
We went to our regular shoot on boxing day and as normal for this season Jay-Jay came with us but this time so did Mia. We felt Mia deserved to come with us as she is the one who has less walks at the moment with my knee as it is, yet not once has she been a nuisance through boredom. She has not been on shoot as we did not deem her fit enough especially as what exercise she has had has been freedom walks, no training, we need not have worried. David Lisett once said of our Mia, 'She was a dog that he could shoot over all day' and as always he was sooo right.
Gary started off working her but she is so use to me working her that I started to work the pair of them when beating through the wood. It was made easier by the fact that when in woodland Jay Jay can be trusted to keep a nice and tight pattern whilst Mia can be trusted to range, bless her, though range maybe a slight understatement this time :)
Thankfully Mia does not range forward, she just covers more of the beat line, which to be honest I like as we have quite a few dogs on shoot that hunt forward and back rather than side to side, which means they will miss game which our girls will find. Jay-Jay found and flushed a hen bird from under a log that other dogs had just run over, though the little toe rag moved 2-3 paces on it. This forward running does mean however that a lot of the birds that Mia and Jay-Jay would come across are flushed before they even get there by other dogs.
That is something we will have to review as whilst with Mia being an experienced girl on shoot and therefore can take what must be disappointing for them, working when they know dogs are forward of them and therefore flushing birds that Jay Jay and Mia would want to,
Jay Jay is not as experienced as her mum and therefore could be tempted into running forward. She has not been tempted so far but it is very much a possibility with young dogs.
Our Little jay jay did make one mistake, an easy one for a young one, she pegged a hen bird that was so far in a dense bush that it could not move any further. Jay Jay went in to flush but upon finding it could not move brought it out to me, it was totally unharmed, though Jay Jay had more thorns and scrapes from that one bush than the whole day :)
Mia,as always excelled in the thick cover, she will go into the most nastiest of bushes without any hesitation. We are hoping it will rub off on Jay Jay as Jay is totally willing to go into thick cover if she can smell something in there but doesn't want to enter if there is no smell, which could be because of the barb wire injury she acquired last season.
Mia worked particularly hard in a very nasty strip, 200ft-50ft, looking for a hen bird that a young gun had shoot and a cock bird that an older man had shot. The cock bird had the gun and picker up in disagreement as the gun said he had definitely shoot it and the picking up chap said that the gun had missed it, going onto say that he had even seen it land and happily run on. Well shoot etiquette is to never leave a bird that may be damaged, quite rightly so, therefore we felt we had to make sure the cock bird was not there meaning instead of just working 1/6 of the strip for the hen bird, Mia had to work the whole strip.
She worked it wonderfully, knowingly covering all of the patch and of course out she popped with the hen bird but not the cock bird.
We are lucky on our shoot as guns and beaters all mix together and the Guns are a particularly nice bunch of men and women as our the beaters and pickers up. Sadly this one gun was not feeling the joy of the day, I wonder could it be because the younger boy had more than likely out shoot him and the picker up had been prove right he he he
I was so pleased that Gary was there though as boy can our Mia pull on the lead when on shoot, daft thing walks nicely by my side off shoot though, he he he
Well, we have a lot to look forward to with the dogs, starting with the training of the pups when this darn knee allows it.
We so need to get cracking on that otherwise we will just have two pet dogs in the house, which is totally fine but with so much potential I would rather i did train them especially as I know it would add to their enjoyment.
Then we will have Mia's litter to look forward too (fingers crossed), her last one ever so we may leave that until winter time, we shall see.
We will hopefully have the time this year to give our Jay Jay the experience she needs to move on in her trialling, injury to her and I getting in the way for this season. We have sadly not been lucky in the draws either for the trials, with up to 50 people entering a trial and only 16 needed, the chances of being pulled out of the hat are getting slimmer so we may not get another run this season. Fingers are crossed that we at least get to run in the London cocker trial at the end of the month as it will have many friends there of ours therefore a day we will not want to miss even if we do not get a run, though fingers crossed we will..
Finally may we take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful and enjoyable 2012 for you and your dogs
We have been lucky enough to get permission to Train Jay Jay on a shoot just a few miles from us. The old syndicate on there had fallen apart and so we popped along and got permission of the land owner.
We haven't found much game there but we have found some :) and there is some wonderful areas for her to train on as you can see from the footage.
We were on shoot yesterday and we consider ourselves very lucky with the shoot we go to as it has wonderful people and a shoot captain/land owner that works his socks off to achieve a good shoot day for all. Even the beaters have a mode of transport to carry them whenever possible between drives.
This year there is some beautiful mixed cover crops which held the birds well and I cannot wait to work Jay Jay through them. Plenty of birds where put in front of the guns and with the wind on the day the flew well.
We all gather together for the normal drinks before we start the day and then half way through we have more drinks, hot soup and hot dogs :) Then we all get treated to a pub lunch, and yes you guessed it, another drink :) Guns and Beaters together.
There is also a great array of dogs from the captains German Short haired Pointers to a King Charles Caviler that goes through the bushes with sheer joy and determination in his heart, named after 'Father Ted'. he is a joy to watch :)
Whilst I am very grateful to our shoot captain allowing me to be on the picking up line I cannot wait to once again be back on the beating line, though I think the old knee needs another fortnight before that happens :(
It is such a total joy to have Jay Jay working away in front of me but until then the picking up line is a good lesson in patience for Jay Jay and a way for me to be on shoot but to not do much damage to the knee.
We are so blessed to have our dogs and the pleasure that working them brings.
One of the shoot captains Germans
Gary & Jay Jay The wonderful Ted with his charming owner
I really didn't think we would make the first day of the season for our shoot, but we did, thanks to our excellent shoot captain who allowed me to change sides and go with the pickers up.
There was no way that my knee would have coped on the beating line and as it turned out I was not the only one injured. One of the main Pickers-up had damaged there knee, so was unable to make it and another one was down with 'man flu'. In fact there was injuries everywhere, dogs and humans.
Next time I do picking up, there will be a picture of me with pad & pen in hand marking the birds down as they fall, he he he :)
My hat goes off to the regular Pickers-up' :)
I was marking the birds falling on one drive when two of the beating dogs broke out from the crop field and started pinching the fallen, one dog picking up a bird but then only to place it back down on the ground. That was it, my tiny little brain could not keep track of the positions of the birds being moved, the ones being pinched and still keep an eye on the ones still falling.
Jay-Jay was shaking like a leaf throughout but was totally silent and didn't move an inch from her spot, bless her heart. After 7 weeks of her being stuck in with me I was really pleased that even though her excitement level was hitting the roof (hence the shaking) and her being a beating dog therefore use to retrieving the fallen as soon as it has been shoot, managed to totally keep her composure waiting till the end of the drive.
I cannot tell of any amazing retrieves after runners etc as there wasn't any, most birds fallen at the guns feet, one shot bird nearly knocking the gun out, he he he.
There was only two runners that I know of, both unseen by us. We helped look for one with a chap and his pointer, who found the bird, which was lovely as we had just arrived in time see the point which the dog held wonderfully :))
After four drives though the knee was objecting, as you can tell from my face in the photo, so sadly it was time to go home :(
BUT we had managed to make the first shoot day and the knee had survived, so what more could I ask for :)
Many thanks goes to Gary as well for coming along and helping this poor old girl make it through the drives :)