We had a spontaneous training day on Sunday up in Bernardston, MA, with Dennis, Jen, and the fabulous Sally. This was going to be Momo's reintroduction to birds after his mixed performance at his last hunt test -- and after we've been working on his 'whoa' and 'stay' to discourage him from creeping. My goal was to enforce his 'stay', get him steady-to-fall and to wait to be sent for a retrieve. And so I manned the checkcord while Dennis gunned for me (and I for him).
It was D+J+S's first trip to Fullflight -- and I think they were pretty psyched. But holy heck! it was hot and humid right around 85% degsF and 80% humidity. And no wind. Momo actually busted the first two birds put out for him in the dense ferns and foliage (which you can see in this first pic)... and you could see him mentally re-calibrating to get back on his game... nevertheless the nice part of those two bumps was that he stopped-to-flush.
One sad part was that as it got warmer the birds got less inclined to fly... and so to ensure that we could run through the entire sequence of point, flush, and retrieve, a fair number towards the end were hand-grabbed and launched. It was also hot enough that I think the two dogs drank a gallon of water between them. We stayed cognisant of the heat and ran each dog for roughly 20mins at a time. There's also a good article on canine heat exhaustion and hypoglycemia here.
One highlight of seeing Sally again was that she has been bred and is most likely pregnant. You'd never know from her intensity. She is just a great running dog -- and Dennis and Jen have done a great job with her. (Incidentally, Jen took all the pictures. Thank you.) Here she is plowing through the ferns with a present for her dad.
It was really great to see Momo hunt again. Generally, speaking once he's found his first bird, he notches up a gear and really starts to look confident. I actually heard him 'snap' a 90deg turn to point a chukar that had burrowed into the grass behind him. And while we still need more work to get him steady-to-fall and to wait to be sent for a retrieve, I'm trying to keep him honest by saying less and, in addition to slipping on a training collar, I'll start adding an e-collar tone so that we can maintain the same expectations once he's away from the training collar.
Next weekend we head up to the same area, but for a birthday party at ForestKing Vizslas! We'll see how two people and two vizslas fit in our rental Prius!