Tag Archives: pheasant

Who’s a dummy??!!

5 Feb

After lots of hill walks I decided Rudy and Rio would benefit from a slower paced walk, more controlled, more confined and to them, ultimately more boring!!!! Anyway, decision made we set off for some local fields with a training dummy. For those who don’t know, a dummy is a training aid used to encourage dogs to retrieve an object and bring back to the owner. Working dogs use these weighted dummies to prepare them for when they get out in the field and have to bring back pheasants.

Training dummy

Training dummy

After the dogs had had some fun running round and doing what needs to be done, we did some heel work and general whistle recall work so there was a fighting chance they would be interested in what I wanted them to do!! The field we were in has plenty of long grass and hedgerows which both dogs love to explore!!

I called them both to me and had them sit. Rio sat and gazed at me intently his whole back end swaying as he wagged his extra long tail!!! Rudy…hmm well as usual Rudy sat slightly apart and gazed intently…into the distance!!! Clearly not impressed that his fun had been curtailed and equally determined to blank me just so I knew what crime I had committed!!!

Keen as mustard!!

Keen as mustard!!

Ok so far so good..ish!!! I had the dogs smell the dummy and said “mark”. Again Rio studied it carefully while Rudy couldn’t have cared less!! I threw the dummy into a clearing not too far away and both dogs waited for the command to retrieve. After a few moments I told them to “go back” and Rio ran straight to the dummy, picked it up and proudly ran back to me, tail wagging frantically!! Rudy had sort of mooched toward it and got side tracked and had a pee instead !!

Ok second go. Again both dogs smelled the dummy and waited as I threw it, this time a few feet further and into some longer grass. At the command Rio sprinted to the area and again found the dummy straight away, retrieved it and brought back ,if not directly to me then in my general direction!! As Rio had set off I had see Rudy out of the corner of my eye take off in completely the opposite direction!! Clearly from the look on his face this was SO DULL he took it upon himself to do his own thing!!

Rio was loving it so much I decided to just do it with him instead and let Rudy get on with it!! After a few more throws Rudy came back and joined in. I swear dogs are like kids !! Once Rudy realised he was getting no attention he wanted to play again!! I almost felt sorry for him as although he can find the dummy most times, he is slower at it than Rio!!

After about 10 minutes Rio was so over excited I called a halt to it before he spontaneously combusted on the spot!!! He wouldn’t leave my side thou as the dummy was in my pocket so we went off up the track with me walking and him doing his best kangaroo impression and yes Rudy skulked along too!!!

It was really good to see Rio doing so well and I guess I just have to accept they are different dogs and Rudy just isn’t that interested!!


Two steps forward …and 3 back!!

10 Jan

I really enjoy training Rudy and Rio and usually we get some pretty good results as their breed, Working Cocker Spaniel, are naturally intelligent and keen to take instruction.

With that in mind we were doing some more recall whistle work and heel off lead etc the other day and all was going extremely well. Both dogs had had their free run to blast off some energy at the start and were enjoying the work. Yes I thought I’ve got this sussed!!! I tried something new but it didn’t quite happen!! I don’t know if it was because I didn’t show them clearly enough what I wanted or if it will start to sink in when we try again?

Basically I asked them both to sit and then tried to make Rio wait while Rudy walked to heel with me. Hmm…Rudy happily came but so did Rio!!! So I sat him again and tried to take just Rudy but again Rio came!! His little face was a picture!! He looked quite upset at being left out!! It was pitiful!! We tried a couple more times then I let him walk with us too and he was so happy his tail wagging frantically from side to side!!!

So back to the drawing board with that one for now but usually when we come back to something they seem to remember the idea and we will probably get on better next time!!! It certainly keeps me fit having to go back and forth so many times but when the penny drops and we achieve something new, the feeling is amazing!!!

Anyway just as we were walking back along the track in the direction of the car and I was cheerfully congratulating myself on the huge improvement Rudy and Rio had shown, a pheasant screeched from miles away. I was not quite quick enough to call the dogs back and quick as a flash both had ducked under the fence and shot off across the field heading for where they thought said pheasant may be!!!

Despite me calling and whistling repeatedly they were both struck stone deaf and carried on regardless!!! There followed a period of about 3/4 minutes when I was just stuck waiting for them to come back, whistling at intervals and getting madder and madder by the minute. Then I started to get slightly concerned as I couldn’t actually see them even in the furthest hedgerow but there was no way for me to get to them so I just had to wait…and wait…and wait!!!

Sorry Mum!!!

Sorry Mum!!!

Eventually I saw Rio coming back across the field but no sign of Rudy. The next minute Rudy appeared from a completely different direction!! Both dogs were shattered and I have no idea how far they had run but suffice to say the walk ended pretty abruptly then!!!

A horrible experience and one which made me realise dogs have their own minds and their own wills and they are not always going to listen to me when their instincts take over!!

Rain stops play?… Never!!!

21 Nov

The calm before the storm

The weather was against me today it seemed!! The drizzle that had persisted all morning started to get slightly heavier as I drove home from work to take Rudy and Rio out. By the time I had changed clothes into Dog Walkers Uniform and the dogs had performed their daily sofa acrobatics to show their excitement levels were reaching boiling point, it was raining properly.

It was only as I pulled into the car park on the hill that it actually became torrential!!! Obviously my nice new shiny waterproof trousers ( sexy I know ) were sitting at home neatly folded and perfectly dry thank you very much!!!

There was nothing for it, I had to get out and walk. As I exited the car my head nearly got blown off, my coat blew back off me thus choking me and the hood whipped up,  toggles slapping  me in the face!! Not altogether the best start!!

Still nothing ventured and all that so I let Rudy and Rio out of the car and off we  ran ( yes all 3 of us as they were still on their leads )  down the path. I let them off and then started to think as I walked bent almost double against the wind…Why do I usually choose the wrong coat to wear ??

You can guarantee if I choose my thick fleecy coat that is not waterproof it will rain and I will get so warm ( think Menopause ) that I nearly faint.

If I choose the thin waterproof , it will rain so heavily that said waterproof will prove that it is in fact only showerproof and leak in patches across my chest ( think Lactating new mothers ).

Then there is the all weather super fleece lined thick waterproof that will indeed keep out gusts of wind but weighs so much I can barely lift it off the coat rack at home. The hood of which while functioning perfectly, flattens my hair completely to my head ( think hard boiled egg).

And don’t even get me started on the fact I have had to wear wellies all summer. I wonder if I will develop webbed feet soon?? Needless to say Rudy and Rio had a fantastic time running everywhere, exploring the gorse bushes, ears flying wildly in the wind , loving every wet windy second!!

Soggy dogs!!

First training session

10 Nov
I decided earlier in the year that i needed expert guidance and help to get the most out of Rudy and Rio. I heard of Jeremy Organ form Southam, Springer Spaniel breeder, judge and all round spaniel lover. Needless to say, things didnt go according to plan, read on to find out why…..
Well the 1st lesson was good!!!
We arrived,he came out asked about dogs who were still in boot. He then said right let’s get one out and get started. I suggested Rudy first as he is more awkward!!  Rudy obliged by jumping straight out of the boot after being told to wait and kindly started to round up the guy’s prize chickens in their coup on the drive!!!
I think that set the general tone of things to come!! Of course despite me calling him he was struck temporarily deaf !!! The guy was totally unfazed though and held Rio while I got Rudy back.
So we walked..(well he walked and I of course was dragged at full sprint speed)..through to the enclosed field. We got there and Jeremy says “shall we begin with some heel work??!! I can help you sort that out!!”  I nearly kissed him but decided I would probably want to go for a return lesson so not the best idea!!  And obviously I looked very glam in the Dog Walker’s Uniform of wellies,jeans and anorak!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So he takes Rudy and starts to walk him round changing directions every time he pulls and a sharp jerk of the lead to show him what he wanted. Rude was typically quite horrified at having his Pheasant hunting interrupted with something sensible!!  Every time Jeremy stopped Rudy had to stop and sit. He found this shall we say quite challenging!!  Much growling and stamping of feet (by Jeremy) and much looking at me for help (by Rude) later he started to get the hang of it. Jeremy says Rudy is very stubborn.
However he started to look like a different dog after a while and then it was my turn. I expected it all to go horribly wrong but mostly it was really good,except I used wrong tone of voice sometimes but apparently I have a good growl!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Hmm not altogether sure that was a compliment!!!
After a while it was Rio’s turn. I told Jeremy he was completely different dog and quite biddable. So of course he dragged me through to field gagging and choking on the end of the lead too!!! Well I figure I have to give Jeremy something to work with!!!  Anyway as expected Rio picked it all up much quicker and was fairly easy,but Jeremy says obviously my biggest challenge will be walking them both properly at the same time.
I told him my dream was to have them walking on the split lead to heel. He said ok thats achievable so we will work towards that.
The lesson lasted about hour and a quarter and both beasts were shattered when we got home
After he had finished laughing at some of my mistakes he said he had really enjoyed the lesson!!  He then went on to explain he had taught two other lessons before me and was just at wilting point and wished he could just sit down with a cuppa but we were due.  However he said it had been very entertaining…not altogether sure that was a good thing either!!! But we did have a laugh and I look forward to next time.
So off home at lunchtime to practise !!!  He suggested each dog did about 15 mins as they have to really concentrate and then they can have some play time. He says it’s fine to carry on with their normal fun walks just try to incorporate some recalls etc at the same time.
Am hoping for a gold star next time (a buttercup picked from the field apparently!!) however we may end up with the dunce’s hat!!!!!
More next time x
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