Even with first birds, I prefer to have the dog use its nose to find a bird -- rather than merely deposit a bird in front of it in clear view -- and so we dispersed a handful of birds in a feedstrip to see how she managed. The first couple of birds literally either ran away from her (because she was still in potter mode, wondering what was different about this particular walk) or flushed behind her -- and while she never saw them go, she buried her nose intently in the hotspots they'd left clearly trying to make sense of this new, strangely exciting smell. And then launched into a different gear.
As you might imagine, even with a small bird like a quail, having it launch in your face can be a little daunting -- and so with her next three flushes she sank onto her back legs a little as the bird took off before heading off after it to much praise from the gallery. Besides the focus in her face in chasing the quail in flight, the best part of the picture at the top comes from the understanding that she has watched the bird flush, then land, and then start running through the brambles. In at least two cases, she headed off after the bird, performed a several-yard serpentine ground track and then boosted the bird into the air.
We had initially run the three dogs together before any birdwork -- and put Jozsi in his hauling rig and cables to really wear him out and work on his conditioning. I should mention that at one point Ottla saw Momo standing ahead of her and immediately stopped and didn't start moving till he did. She didn't know he wasn't pointing, but a natural honor is a lovely thing to see.
Then once Ottla was done with her first five birds and had scattered them to the wind, I put down each of my two. The Mominator had a nice run of his own posting three genuinely impressive finds on quail running in deep cover -- and with nice steady feet; Jozsi had four finds of his own, impressive bar the second where he decided to chase a running bird in the open. I realise this is one of Momo's weaknesses, too, so I will need to start proofing for that over the next couple of weeks as well.