The boys and I had a busy day today. I spent the day judging at the Nutmeg GSP Club hunt test up at Flaherty -- but not wanting to miss the opportunity to run the boys on birds in a big field, I drove up with them last night, and stayed in a hotel so I could let them run big first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon once everything had wrapped up.
We also knew that Dennis, Jen, Sally, Tucker, and Raven were going to be there -- to see if Sally-pants could add another Master Hunter leg to the two she earned last weekend. (Last weekend was quite successful for a bunch of people.) This pic is of Tucker pointing a quail that was completely buried under a pile of leaves. He is a happy, happy dog with a lot of potential.
As ever, we had a mixed batch of dogs to judge. But amongst them, there were some really nice dogs including this beautiful, petite Pointer named Lucy. I took this picture with the telephoto fully extended, figuring that being a Junior dog she might break any time. I needn't have worried. Field-trialers might prefer a 12 o'clock tail for style, but she looked great and ran beautifully.
Our highlight was getting the boys out for a big run after the test was completed. I was looking forward to getting some structured e-collar training time in with both boys -- to see if I could keep working on Momo's honor and Jozsi staying steady-to-fall. And it was time well-spent. Momo is really starting to internalize the concept of the honor and is whoa'ing all by himself at this point -- with Sally, with Tucker, with Jozsi. (As with his point, he is still prone to creeping a little -- but we can work on that all winter.) For his part, Jozsi is a raving lunatic, running big, finding birds, and generally very staunch on point. Birds running in the open definitely remain his weak spot, but his stop-to-flush is pretty consistent -- which for a young dog with his drive, we'll take.
I did also start getting him accustomed to the concept of honoring, of standing still on 'Stay', while his brother has a bird worked for him. This picture is of Momo getting his point on while Jozsi is standing in a rare moment of stillness.
It should also be said that the New England bird-dog community lost one of its good guys on Thanksgiving. I only met Patrick Cooke a couple of times, most recently at the Nutmeg GSP field trial at the beginning of the month -- and despite being in treatment for a brain tumor, he was always talking with a wide-eyed enthusiasm about the great dogs he'd seen recently. Happily, he got to see his own FC AFC Upwind Shenipsit Rebel JH, aka. Yogurt, have a phenomenal field trial season this year . We'll miss him and, somehow, remembering him while watching bird-dogs work seemed about the most appropriate thing to do today.