December 23, 2010
My friend and his son invited me to a quail hunt today. Tessa was going to bring a good nose and the stamina of a young dog, to complement old Shane who is a finished hunting dog with great style but due to his age (14) he is lacking the endurance for a three-hour hunt. Or so we thought - he actually did very well!
This was Tessa's first real hunt - all the training put to the test. She is now having pretty steady points - steady enough to give me the time to walk up and grab her by the collar if needed, once the bird has been flushed. It becomes clear very quickly why bird dogs have to be trained to such an extent. You just can't have a dog run after a bird at the same time a gunner takes his shot - not a good idea!
About an hour into it she kind of fell apart and started chasing birds again - argh! I think it had to do with dead bird contact that got her all bird crazy in a wrong way. To snap her out of that frame of mind, I walked her back to the car, and then back again to the field, in a heel. It worked - no more bird chasing after the short time-out.
Tessa really seems to get the big picture now. It is nice to see things fall into place.