While not yet "ready" perhaps, from a training perspective, I took Misty on her first hunt -- a quail hunt -- Monday. We went with my neighbor and two of his pointers/setters. I was unsure as to whether or not this was a good idea (going on a hunt), since as some of you know I have been taking a somewhat inexperienced/haphazard approach to training her. While Misty had not yet been exposed to birds, I felt that she was at least decent enough, in terms of being under control, to take her, and go from there.
In the end, I am glad we went. She did great! I wanted to introduce her to the scent of game and get her some exposure to a hunting situation. Also, I wanted to begin trying to teach her to "honor" a point by another dog. It went really well; I was able to have her "sit/stay" very solidly whenever the setters went on point -- and she generally responded really well to my efforts to teach her "range" -- how to stay fairly close and not hunt "big." All of the commands we have worked on -- both whistle and voice, she performed very well in the field. Though we saw very, very few birds, she and I did flush one pair of quail from a large plum thicket which the setters had "pointed." With the dogs on point, Misty and I quickly worked around to the back side of the thicket, since we had eventually determined that day that the birds were quickly leaving the thickets (running away and splitting up) while the dogs were on point. To counter this, as soon as the dogs started acting "birdy," Misty and I quickly headed for the opposite side of the thicket. As we came around the back side, we flushed two birds just emerging out of the thicket. I was able to down one of the birds, which fell back into the thicket, and then sent Misty in to find it. She couldn't find the bird (no surprise, since she didn't even know what a quail smells like!), but in her defense, the bird was stuck in a plum "bush" about 3 feet off the ground. Probably not a very easy bird to find. Anyway, I picked the bird out of the tree, let her smell it, and then tossed it ahead for her to "fetch." She took off after it, and once she got to it, she pawed at it and smelled it. After a bit of coaxing her to "fetch it," she picked it up and brought it back to me! (I managed to get a picture, but had to use a film camera as my digital camera is broken -- not sure yet how the picture will turn out). When she returned with the bird, she even gave it to me on a "drop" command! Too bad we didn't have the opportunity to get into more birds, so that we could build on that first experience. I did, at the end of the day, work with her a bit, practicing some retrieves with one of the quail's wings, so hopefully that helped. I am looking forward to the next time, but in the mean time, I was very pleasantly surprised! She had lots of fun, ran all day enthusiastically, and managed to take everything we have worked on while training in the yard, and follow through with those concepts in a hunting situation. Hopefully we took a step forward in our training!
Here are the pictures...
"OK, I'm ready...can we start hunting now?"
"Come on already, Dad...What are you waiting for?"
"Man, this hunting stuff is FUN!"
"I'm honoring the point..."
"Finally, I get to retrieve a real BIRD!"
"So THAT'S what a quail smells like..."
"Do we HAVE to go home, or can we just stay out here in the field and find some more birds?"
Hope you all enjoy!
Glad you and your dog had a great time!
HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
Justlabradors.com -- the best site for your Labrador needs.
I'm glad you both had a good day.
We both had a good time! Thanks for the kind words. I'll post a picture, once we get them developed, if any of them turn out decent.
That's great Steve love to see the pics ;D
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they
Good job Steve.
Good job Misty and Steve! Can't wait to see the pics. Hope they turn out
Got the pictures back. The one with Misty and the bird did not turn out great (the sun was at my back and my shadow is covering part of her; guess I was a bit excited and on the spur of the moment, was not thinking about composition!), but you can clearly see her trotting in with the bird in her mouth! I have another with her laying down, and the bird at her feet. I'll post the pics soon.
Hope you all enjoy the pictures (in the initial post...)
Great photos! Sounds like your first hunt with Misty was just wonderful.