Here are the edited journal entries from a slightly non-typical day of “solo” training. Very recently, the Early Illinois teal season was official announced – September 8th (65 days). We are in maintenance mode for the upcoming hunting season.
On July 3rd, the "Kwick Four" were out at dawn. I placed four stickmen stations for a "run longer to each mark" set of "inline" singles (with a remote line). The dogs would retrieve a foam/canvass,"super-sized", black & white flagged bumper. Gunny has never seen it before. The main idea was “it is big” and I wanted the dogs to be able to see the mark when they were 10-15 yards away. This would avoid any hunting in the AOF and prevent overheating issues. Taffey (at 12 years old) and will only run the first three.
The setup used the full diagonal distance of a recently mowed area in a local park. They let it grow to almost waist high cover to avoid the expense of regular mowing. With the 4th of July coming up, I think this mowing was to provide an open space for the nearby shelter/holiday crowd to “play in”. I'm not sure it will be used much today because the forecast is a high of 101º F. Out of curiosity, I pulled out the range finder and the marks were 75, 105, 140, 175 yards. I thought the area was bigger than that.
Just as I was about to throw the first mark, up walked a man with two "shaved" Goldens. He was curious to see what we were doing. Daisy sat quietly beside me and his two dogs were pleasant. Evidently they hunt pheasants, but he doesn't train much....they were just out for the exercise. They seemed to disappear as rapidly as they came in.
Half-way through Daisy's session, a truck pulling a 4-hole/ATV trailer stopped on the road behind the longest single to watch (right in line with the last mark). Daisy was indifferent to the distraction. After she picked up the last mark, I remained by the far stickman as he walked over. His first comment was “How long did it take you to teach your dog to do that"? We talked dogs for awhile and he drove off. His dogs have run hunt tests and he works with another experienced, local trainer often. It was an interesting early morning session and we beat the heat.
I've trained in this park for several years and today was the first time anyone has appoached us.
Journal entry summary:
note: Daisy was like a laser & looked sharp
note: Gunny was either reacting to the echo off the hill behind him or not comfortable with the action of the large foam bumper, had to re-throw the first two singles after that he was fine, the marks are thrown with a high tree line in the background, the other possibility is that Gunny was not "looking for it" (not focused as much as the other dogs), once he knew what to look for there were no issues (inexperience or lack of intensity or both?......not sure)
note: Taffey & Kooly worked their session in tandem, both were sharp, Taffey (she is 12) did the first three (skipped the last)
note: the perfect slope off what I call a "momentum" hill always seems to be a fun thing for the dogs, they "shoot" down the long, gradual slope out on to the flat which makes for a seamless speed enhancement
The dawn session allowed for all the work to be in the shade because of the woods to the east. The Endless Breeze fans with open van windows made the short ride home very pleasant. We were “loving” the air conditioner by 7 pm. The outside temperature was 75º F with high humidity and the day was heading to a high of 97º. We beat the heat.
Today is a different story......101º F equals day off.