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She still doesn't know what she's doing

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She still doesn't know what she's doing
But she is having a lot of fun doing it.

So Belle has been with me for three months now. In about another month or so, she will be heading out to the great wide west to begin her first season as a part of our crew. Sadly, the south no longer has quail populations like it once did so not much "training" going on but I do have ample room for her to get out and run. She does that quite well. The national forest near me has a good variety of habitat types to introduce her to and let her run around like a demon in. She is such a little bitty thing though that sometimes all I can see of her is the tip of her tail over the tops of the palmettos.





She does love to run. She always has one helluva smile on her face when we are out there. It is still a little disconcerting to not be able to see her all of the time but she does a good job of checking in with me.







It is a good thing that the woods have been wet this year because it has been a challenge to get her to drink from a water bottle. And even when she does, it is mostly as a very last resort. Like another setter I know, she dearly loves to wallow in the mud.



As I said earlier, not much training goes on out there but she did get her first point this weekend. On a big ole hen turkey. You could tell she was like ummmmmmmmmmm what am I doing? But she did it with style.



I wish I could say the same about her swimming technique. I don't worry about her not going in the water because she truly loves the water, but we are working on her swimming. The only place I could think of to take her that would be safe for her to swim and also shallow enough that she can go deeper into the water without just being tossed in the deep end is a beach on the gulf. All the lakes and rivers around me are gator infested.



We have gone to the beach a couple times and she pretty much attempts to walk on her back legs and flails around with her front when it's too deep for her to walk normally. Even when she can't touch anymore with her back legs. Wouldn't ya know it? Her swimming technique called in a gator to investigate.



She did get her butt up a little bit, but like her pointing, she is still not sure if that's the way she is supposed to do it. I am sure in time she will figure it out and we will no longer be such a spectacle to the people watching us on the beach, or of interest to the beach cruising gators. Until then, like our runs in the woods, apparently out swimming sessions will be short.

She has been great fun to have around though and I had forgotten how much trouble a young'un can get into. I eagerly await the fall and look forward to seeing her progress on the prairie.
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Re: She still doesn't know what she's doing In reply to
Belle is a very, very happy looking dog. It seems you are certainly doing right by her. The gator hazard is an interesting obstacle to swimming.
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Re: She still doesn't know what she's doing In reply to
And having had setters for most of life, not now, labs, those pictures make my heart sing. A running dog, and a sleeping dog are two of the most beautiful things in life.
JCW
James Woods
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Re: She still doesn't know what she's doing In reply to
I feel bad for you not having a good wild bird population nearby to train on. Not many things are more enjoyable than seeing a young dog 'get it'. Even a turkey point had to be exciting.
My sister has a Brittany pup at about the same stage as Belle. Hopefully our pheasant population is in good enough shape to get her on some birds soon.

Some pups do seem to take more time to figure out swimming than others. Sometimes if you can lift on their tail while they are swimming they get the idea to paddle more horizontally. Even having something in their mouth can help some.

Good luck with her, she is going to be a good looker.

Tim
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"Ah Nuts!"

http://snipehunterfishart.blogspot.com/
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Thanks guys.

The gators can be an interesting obstacle. Even in the woods I try to take care where I run her because I have seen gators walking through the woods and down the road on the move from one pond to another. Or one creek to another. First time I saw it looooooong ago turkey scouting I was like NO WAY?!?!?!?!?! Especially since it was a pretty dry year. But, now I just keep it in mind. Summertime they are on the move.

Tim, I did try the put my hand under her butt thing to bring her butt up. She decided that must mean that I was there to "save" her and she promptly turned around and crawled up my body to cling onto my shoulders (good thing she is a little bitty thing). Sooooooooooooooooooooo that tactic is out. I have faith she will get it and then she will be unstoppable, but until then we are great entertainment for the locals at the beach.

From what I am hearing and seeing from the areas that we hunt in MT, the bird populations are doing well so I am hopeful that she will have ample exposure this year. I remember watching B her first year and you could really see her figuring things out. And watching as she has progressed, I hope that Belle becomes as skilled as B. But that certainly won't happen down here in the land of few birds.
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Great pictures as usual, Dani. Any place near you to buy birds to plant? Might be an option to explore.

We head to Montana next week. One 10 year old chocolate lab and a 5 month old chessie with my wife and I. Bozeman will be our base for some hiking, fishing, and relaxing.
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I introduced my bird dogs to birds by dissing pigeons and placing their head under wing on plant. Tie some light cord or decoy line on leg so they can fly a short way on flush. I also tied about a 2 oz. sinker to other end so bird could fly just a bit but hangup of sinker brought it down. I used a flat leather loop around leg of bird so as not to injure it Helps in training for steadiness on flush also if proper use of drag line or e collar is applied. Worked perfectly for a setter , a britany , and my last which was a shorthair. Blank pistol can be incorporated into flush once dog has been introduced to gunfire.
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Re: She still doesn't know what she's doing In reply to
Sometimes a neoprene vest will give the dog enough confidence to relax and swim easily.
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Re: She still doesn't know what she's doing In reply to
Have fun in MT Jim! I love that state.

Roy, thanks for the advice about the pigeons.

Belle did spend two months with a bird dog trainer....partly to get daily doses of quail and pigeons and some training and partly because when I first adopted her, I had two old dogs and one of them had become very special needs and he didn't need the stress of a puppy around making him even more confused than he already was. So she has had some introduction to birds at least and the trainer says that she'll be a good bird dog, she just needs experience on wild birds. She should get about two or three months worth of that in MT, then she will be back here to chase the elusive quail and woodcock and then HOPEFULLY I will get to take her to AZ for some quail hunting as well. We shall see on that. I am hearing good reports so far of quail in AZ. My fingers are crossed that it continues that way.

There is a place that we have taken the dogs to once and bought some quail. They had pretty good flying quail too. They are about two hours from my house and I have considered taking her there, though if I am recalling right they wouldn't do anything this time of year because of the heat. I gotta check and see if they are even open though because they were pretty much right in the path of Hurricane Michael so it is very possible they aren't going to be open for a LOOOOONG time if their property looks like the rest of that area.

John, I might still have a neoprene vest around. It would be HUGE on her but I could probably make it work if she doesn't improve. I am not sure that I will be taking her to the beach anymore anytime soon. Sadly, reports of flesh eating bacteria being present in the waters here in this part of FL are showing up. We don't need to worry about that, that's for sure.