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It seems like yesterday that Blue was always amongst the younger dogs in the Trial catalogues. Now, at 9 1/2, he'll be one of the oldest. I always check out the age of the oldest dog, gives us kind of a benchmark.

He's still seems to be running well and he certainly loves to train, especially marks, but I have to accept that he's in the "old dog" category and I'm trying to develop a schedule, and expectations, for his training. In years past, early in the season, we would hammer on drills that would enhance and maintain a skill-set. I'd be willing to bet that he would be game for drills, but what's the upside? My thinking at the moment is to keep him fit, active and happy and then let the chips fall where they may when we compete.

How do those of you who campaign older dogs manage their time, training and activity? Anything special that you look for in terms of perfomance, desire, behavior? And, maybe vainly, do you ever think about a diminished perception of your dog as its skills erode due to age? "That dog ain't so good", type of thing.
 

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A day on, A day off, they pretty much go through the same schedule as everyone else on the on day, unless they start to show tiredness, then they get rest. Not too many drills, not a lot of repetition, marks and setups primarily, maybe they won't do 3-4 long swims like the youngsters. They don't need it and why tire them out. It's nice to have an older dog they pretty much know how to do the work, have seen it all. They have the skill set that just needs to be maintained. Maintenance is a lot easier than construction. ;)

When training to go to a test etc. They get focus on their particular quirks, when you've have them for so long you know what those are. ;) They get these individual focus sessions prior to every test, even if they appear to be prefect angels. (Becuz (OLD DOGS LIE ;), & they're really good at it )
 

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FC Honored turned 10 in Feb. He did not go south this winter. I didn't want him away from home his 10th birthday.. although his pro wants him back, I'll train him after work. What else can you teach a 10 year old? Last year, he stayed in his pro's office on the hot days and the cold days.

His pro thought his eyes were going (Ok, he has a scar in one to begin with) but the eye vet started to laugh and said if he was having to give repetitive casts it may be just due to messing with him. :D The eye vet's dad use to trial dogs, so he's seen this before.

Honor had a great winter and mastered the art of opening every kind of food bin: pop up tops, screw tops, fold over tops. You name it, he can open it! :D

Love that dog.... he's still the favorite... :D:D ANd yes, I never wanted it "whispered"... "why is she still running that old dog? he must be in pain, etc etc. etc." I'd rather retire them a little too early, than a little too late. He's in great shape, but his training schedule will be up to him.
 

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Love that dog.... he's still the favorite... :D:D ANd yes, I never wanted it "whispered"... "why is she still running that old dog? he must be in pain, etc etc. etc." I'd rather retire them a little too early, than a little too late. .
took the thoughts right out of my head...when Clint told me after I ran Nola last spring that he was going to retire her, it teared me up...I remember when I had to look at Mirk and knew he had run his last trial...doesnt mean I cant take them hunting, just have to be selective on the conditions..They are willing and able but why push it ;)
 

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Good question Mark. Definitely one I've pondered on.

Other than giving them more time off, not always doing every last bird in every setup, and maintaining standards on lines and casting I don't have an answer.

You guys that use pros, what have they said about the senior dogs, willing and still able but starting to show signs that they won't always be able? I feel the pros have seen a lot more dogs approaching retirement than I ever will.
 

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Briezy retired at 11 1/2 (JAMmed her retirement trial) What I did with her the last year I ran her was just mainly kept her fit and picked my battles over what was really important training wise. She still thought of herself as a 2 year old, I had to be the one to make sure she did not over do it.

Enjoy Blue's "golden years" - no pun intended;-) I know with Briezy, they were some of the best.
 

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It seems like yesterday that Blue was always amongst the younger dogs in the Trial catalogues. Now, at 9 1/2, he'll be one of the oldest. I always check out the age of the oldest dog, gives us kind of a benchmark.

He's still seems to be running well and he certainly loves to train, especially marks, but I have to accept that he's in the "old dog" category and I'm trying to develop a schedule, and expectations, for his training. In years past, early in the season, we would hammer on drills that would enhance and maintain a skill-set. I'd be willing to bet that he would be game for drills, but what's the upside? My thinking at the moment is to keep him fit, active and happy and then let the chips fall where they may when we compete.

How do those of you who campaign older dogs manage their time, training and activity? Anything special that you look for in terms of perfomance, desire, behavior? And, maybe vainly, do you ever think about a diminished perception of your dog as its skills erode due to age? "That dog ain't so good", type of thing.
WE know the feeling. Sage was 9 in December. Wasn't it yesterday that Sage and Blue were running in derby? Where does time go? Hugs to Blue.
 

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Hi Mark
Trooper will turn 9 yrs in 2 weeks. He is still in great shape. No orthopedic problems, goes for an hour hike every morning with me and still loves the field game. With his age and experience, there is little I am going to "teach" him. I do a few drills because he likes them. Mostly I do marking set ups (with dead birds and clipped winged pigeons) and I don't always run him on all the birds of a set up. I may pick 2 marks out of a 3 mark set up and run that. I do lots of singles with him, occasionally throwing in a triple or quad. If he is tired or gets hot, we call it quits for the day. I don't do super long water marks or blinds with him very often. Mostly just "reminders" about taking angle entries and taking a good line off the point. As long as his attitude is good and he wants to play, we will continue. I think the older dogs enjoy getting out and quite frankly, it is nice to take a dog to line for maintenance training on occasion.

Blue is such a lovely boy. I hope you enjoy him for many more years to come, both in training and hunting.
 
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