Sunday, March 30, 2008

mixed bag

oh boy... where to start. We spent the afternoon up at TMT Preserve up in Staatsburg -- and it was the first time for Scott and Ed from work to meet the two boys. I intended for them to serve as gunning crew so that I could concentrate on Momo, especially, with his retrieve -- and because this would be the format that he would have to cope with in his pending Senior Hunter tests. And I decided to run the boys independently and then hopefully bring them together to sweep the fields at the end.

Momo pulled a bunch of great points right off the bat -- and here are some nice pics of the boy in action, resplendent in his new skid-plate. And while we had the usual Roy Orbison impersonations and reluctant chukars, things were going fairly well. His first three retrieves were a little reluctant, but he eventually brought them to hand.

With the exception of one bird he just came too close to on the upwind side, he did a grand job of finding birds and holding some nice points while the crew around him organized themselves. But as the afternoon wore on, he started doing something weird which was heading out to mark the bird down, stopping three-quarters of the way, and coming back -- and when told to 'take' the bird (the catch-all command for 'fetch'), he would have to be walked out increasingly closer to the bird before he would mouth it and then bring it to you. I don't know if it was just lack of confidence, the first hunt with his dad since his time with Bob, and/or a couple of new guys around him, but it became clear that he was beginning to struggle with his retrieve.

So I put him up and got Jozsi. All I can really say is that I hope what happened was because he was just so jacked to be out with his dad in bird-fields... because it was like the wheels came off. I was mortified watching him bust birds, or hold point and then charge and pin the bird, and generally act so wound up that it wasn't that much fun to have him out. We had a couple of serious conversations -- and my two colleagues were gracious enough to cut him some 10mos-old puppy slack. But I need to do some serious structured work with him if his JH tests are going to mean anything. Because the State regarded this winter as 'severe,' preserves were able to apply for a two-week extension (which Tom has), so I'll be taking both of them back up there on Thursday.

The unexpected highlight of the afternoon, though, came on the walk back in with Momo. Tom had advised us that there were some timberdoodles in the area (but that we should not shoot at them). And lo! the Mominator got a great point on this mudbat. It was a shame to have to pick him up and take him away from the bird because it didn't make sense to me to flush a bird we couldn't shoot at. I'm quite pleased with the picture -- you can get a pretty good sense of how odd these shorebirds-that-got-evolutionarily-lost-in-the-woods really are.

So anyways, lots of work to do.


Rocket said...

Nice harness! C'mon Momo! You can do it big boy I know you can!

Let me hear three cyber cheers for Momo ....

go Momo ...
go Momo ...
go Momo !!!!

Andrew Campbell said...

Thanks, Rocket! Yeup, all those straps look a little like overkill, but in addition to supporting a nice solid skid-plate, they do make a handy handle for re-position the dog when necessary.

Momo was retrieving hand-thrown chukars this morning like a champ. Just invested in some launchers so he can make the next training transition between hand-thrown and flushed + shot.


Ziggi and Pesto said...

Wow you are so lucky to get to work.

Mum would love to get me working (well maybe not be as I don't favour putting anything in my mouth except food!) or her next vizsla but she just wouldn't know where to start and thinks she might be a bit of a wus when it comes to things being shot!

You look very smart in your bright orange skid plate - does that stop you from getting all sorts of cuts on your chest?

Zig x

Andrew Campbell said...

Zig: thanks for coming by! We've tried various chest protectors and even a 3/4 jacket. (You can see the jacket on the 11/13/07 post.) The jacket works well, but even with stretchy fabric it's a precise fit -- and stuff still gets caught inside it. This Mendota skidplate is tough, won't overheat him too much and you can still scoop out any debris pretty easily.

Well, even if your mum decides she doesn't want to shoot stuff, she could still check out the Natural Ability Testing program through the UKC... or maybe get you interested in the wild bird (type W) field trial program.


Ziggi and Pesto said...


She has thought about doing working tests but at the moment we are focusing on obedience and agility.

Her next pup though might be multi talented and do a bit of everything!

Lael & Neil said...

It is always an adevnture isn't it? Another instance where Momo is like his mom! He will get it and sounds like he is well on his way. I know for us its the challenges that make the work fun sometimes. If you were already an expert ferari driver it may seem like you were just driving another car. Figuring out what that machine can do is very exciting! His junior majesty sounds like he was a little amped up. Can't wait to hear about your next outing.