Doc is intimidated no more. Until today he’s been cautious with live birds but a natural at retrieving the dead ones, and Saturday that all changed. He was on them big time, which is what my trainer and I have been hoping and waiting to see. When you see dogs improve from one training session to another like this, it’s clear that the real learning takes place between sessions as they process their training.
Doc has shown himself to be rather steady on point and his drive is getting up to where it should be, so it’ll just be a matter of refining his natural talents. Mia is generally steady on point – she didn’t fail any tests in earning her Jr. Hunt title, however her honoring needs a lot of work. With Mia I’m also going to have to go back and steady her up a bit on pointing so that she’s more consistent with it.
Doc roughed up the birds a little so I put them back in the loft and worked with him and Mia sans birds on “whoa” and honoring. As they ran about the pasture, they’d separate from time to time and when that happened, I’d “whoa” Doc and then wait for Mia to see him and “whoa” her as well. It didn’t take long before she began catching on.
Sophie and Elettra were next and although I’ve never worked with the Labs on honoring, Sophie did a great job of honoring Elettra’s point. Elettra went on point at a pile of feathers from a dove that had somehow met its demise and I “whoa’d” Sophie who promptly dropped her butt on the ground to wait. It’s too bad her hunting days are over.
Elvis and Dakota were last, and that half-hour run in the pasture really aggravated Dakota’s ankle. She began limping a couple of days ago, but that little run in the pasture really hurt her. I gave her an aspirin and some alfalfa pills which helped and by Saturday evening was still limping, but nothing like she had been.
On Friday, Sophie and I went on our therapy visits and she showed a big improvement when it came to walking on cement floors. Perhaps tiling our kitchen floor had something to do with it, but whatever the reason, she did a great job.