Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow! [Day 2]

January 11, 2011
Athens, GA

To add insult to injury, a freezing drizzle descended upon the nine inches of snow yesterday, encrusting everything with a layer of ice. Subfreezing temperatures at night didn't help anything so UGA was closed again today. We started to REALLY enjoy this!

I took Tessa to the intramural fields and let her go on the rugby field. Unfortunately, the snow was less enjoyable for her this second day. She was not light enough to walk on the ice, and not heavy enough to break through, which made for cumbersome scrambling after her tennis ball, so she decided to spent most of the time in the air.

Snow! [Day 1]

January 10, 2011
Athens, GA

Last night at around 10 p.m. it started snowing at the rate of three inches per hour and while it eased up at night Athens awoke to 8.8 inches of snow, as measured at Ben Epps Airport. Needless to say, UGA was closed, as were all other schools in all of North Georgia which was trying to dig out of the snow with whatever snow removal equipment we have (not much).

I absolutely love the snow and didn't mind the day off work, and Tessa and I went for long walks. The first one was in the morning. Campus was totally deserted and I let her run on South Campus, as there was no danger of her getting hurt or lost in any way. The squirrels and birds had retreated to their nests, there were no cars, and no other pedestrians. We lost two tennis balls in the deep snow but she had fun trying to locate them.

Calm Before The Storm

January 9, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

12 hours later, it started snowing. A whole lot.


January 8, 2011 Covington, GA

I took Tessa to a field event in Milner, GA today. She is not ready to run in the Senior Hunter yet but I entered her in a Hunting Dog stake, for fun, exposure and feedback. She was braced with Vince, a 7-year old Irish Setter who already has his Master Hunter title. Vince was a great bracemate for her because he had solid points and I wanted to work on Tessa'a backing.

One minute into our walk into the field, Vince pointed his first bird. As we walked up, Tessa stopped to point hers, about 30 feet away. It was decided to deal with Tessa first, as Vince was more seasoned. Tessa held the point until the bird was flushed, at which time I already had her by the collar. When released, she ran over to Vince about to steal his patient point and in my despair I called out "whoa" and lo and behold, she slammed into a dead stop right then and there. That was good, even the gunner said so.

Tessa was very cooperative over all, I was able to turn her with the whistle and again the gunner said that was nice.

After that, Vince kept beating her to the birds, which was good because we could work on the backing. Towards the end one gunner suggested to leash Vince and let Tessa find the last bird. Before Vince responded to his recall he was pointing the last bird, but his handler walked up and led him away. Sorry Vince! Tessa had not seen his point and had to start her own search, and found the bird a short time later. It was flushed, shots were fired but the bird was missed - or so it seemed. Tessa refused to come back to me (to head out of the field), instead searching for that last bird, and sure enough, she located the dead bird where we didn't think it could be.

Overall, as great a run as I can expect from her level of training and I was very happy with it.

Happy New Year Hunt!

January 2, 2011 Jersey, GA

We went on another quail hunt today. 14-year old Shane lasted 90 minutes (in our opinion not his!) at which point we put him back in the car, having learned our lesson from a week ago when he was hunted for three hours and needed several days to recover from it. So we relied solely on rookie Tessa for the last 90 minutes.

The wind was bad today, which means bird scent was all over the fields making it difficult for the dogs to pinpoint the birds but it went better than expected. Birds were found, flushed, some were lost and found again by two unrelenting dogs; watching them makes it very clear what "being bred for" and "it's in their blood" means. They live to do this. They are so happy, so intense, so in their element that they forget everything else that at other times seems so important to them. It's a joy to watch them.

Tessa did well in the sense that she produced birds and let herself be controlled enough to not get hurt out there. She found the dead birds except for the last one - we all looked for it for a long time to no avail. She holds her points nicely - as long as the bird holds still. The second it moves she breaks her whoa, so I will need to keep working on her whoa preferably with a walking bird and a barrel. Honoring was non-existent today. As a matter of fact, she blatantly stole a point from Shane. Bad manners! She is not honoring naturally so will need to start working on that as well. Retrieving birds is a concept that is foreign to her. She prefers to chew on them which is a big no-no and obviously we did not encourage it.

Training days starting back up in March ...