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 ...