I'm a new guy to the forum, so I thought I'd introduce myself. I used to live in Annapolis, MD, and now live in south Florida, and I I've got a 10-year-old male, Ben, that is easing into retirement. From puppyhood through five years, he went everywhere with me. Then we moved to Florida, and my work made that impossible. I also haven't been out for ducks since we moved here. I had a nightmare about a 'gator getting him, and money's been super tight, so no ducks in five years. Here's Ben, earlier today:
We've been looking halfheartedly for another dog, but I was starting to get discouraged. I was even considering adopting a 2-year-old English Mastiff from the local Mastiff rescue league, but they wouldn't adopt him to me because Ben is intact. Hypocrites.
Last friday, I got an early Christmas present:
My wife had been watching me pine as Ben has steadily declined, and found this pup locally. Her name is Abby, in honor of a really nice dog that belonged to a buddy of mine from Virginia.
I haven't trained a Lab pup in ten years, but Ben, and Jake before him, turned into super dogs, and both would fetch a bucket of hot coals from hell if I asked them to. Abby's pedigree is sketchy, so she's like one of the chocolates in Forrest Gump's box.
So, now I'm puttering around looking for bumpers and whistles and such, and re-reading my tattered copy of Water Dog. And looking for wisdom here. Meanwhile, Abby is learning what "No" means, and play fetching her squeaky duck half a dozen times a day in our short hallway. My 12-year-old son is learning to avoid babbling to Abby, and that commands are given quietly the first time, firmly the second, and firmly with correction on the third. Abby rarely gets to the third "No," and she's been with us just four days. However, I do need to stop by Costco for a fresh jumbo pack of paper towels. Thank goodness for an all-tile house!
I'm looking forward to training Abby and to teaching my son a new skill. We live on just over five acres, and we have a small pond that will be fine for marks and we can probably run some simple blind retrieves. I'm pretty sure there's an active retriever group close by, and that they have access to a nice training area. I've already broached the topic of a mallard pen, with no overt pushback from my wife. We'll see how long that lasts. Gotta make sure I don't run blinds through her vegetable garden!
I'm looking forward to working with this forum, and looking forward to my time with Abby.