When training doesn’t go as planned…

3 Jan

We decided to celebrate the New Year with our bird dogs by doing some bird training on Sunday morning. I’m sure Ilsa and Gumbo would have preferred to actually be hunting, but it wasn’t in the cards for this weekend. So we decided to go for the next best thing and were loaded up and in the car before the sun was up. Bird training requires at least a 35 minute drive from our house, so we try to make the most of it. Most of our training is done with homing pigeons because they can be reused after flying back to the coup. This weekend, our main focus was to work the dogs around the starter pistol (a wonderful Christmas present this year!).


Unfortunately, we had some unexpected friends when we arrived at the bird field. No, no one else was up as early as us just to train… Rather, our friends were circling above our field. I hadn’t noticed anything unusual until I returned from the pigeon coup when Susan pointed out that at least 4 hawks were prospecting the area for treasure. She also added that serving up pigeons to these scavengers probably wouldn’t be the best idea. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, the idea of launching a pigeon and watching it be snatched up in the talons of a hawk wasn’t to appealing – particularly because the birds weren’t mine :?. A trip back home certainly didn’t seem like the best idea, and we had two vizslas in the car eagerly waiting to get out and get to work. They would NOT be happy if we had to go back home.

Time for plan B. Luckily, we had packed some frozen quail to work on retrieving skills. So we pulled out a couple of quail and got to work. We ended up working on retrieving around the starter pistol by tossing a quail after firing the gun to simulate a bird falling from the sky. Ilsa and Gumbo both did a fantastic job! I’m very proud to say Gumbo nearly plowed me over with his last retrieve because he was so eager to bring it back to me :D. This is after he wouldn’t even pick up birds for me nearly two months ago because he didn’t see the value in bringing them to me instead of keeping them for himself. Best of all, this was all done around the gun.

Overall, this was an extremely successful day of training and possibly the first one ever where Susan or I didn’t walk away feeling overwhelmed in some way. Ilsa and Gumbo had a great time and were none the wiser that our original plans had been spoiled. All too often, it seems like dog training is all about the unexpected. We can’t control our surrounding environment but every situation presents a unique opportunity.

How did you spend the New Year? Any fun adventures?

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One Response to “When training doesn’t go as planned…”

  1. Martin@gmail.com September 15, 2015 at 4:12 PM #

    Article writing is also a fun, if you know after that you can write or else it is complicated to write.|

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