I am tired out! Yesterday was a fab day at our 1st shoot of the season. I decided to take both dogs, Becki my 10 yr old experienced hunting dog, and Olli of course. My plan was to use Olli on the 1st drive, as I thought he would not cope with the excitement of having to stay in the truck, and there was a lot at stake! He had been very vocal when i took him as a young dog back in january, which is not allowed and is also not good for a spaniel to be noisy. I had 2 of our gun men watching closely as they both had their doubts about him last season. He got out the truck, full of enthusiasm and energy and we walked to our 1st spot. Off the lead, he walked to heel like a true pro, didn't make a sound, watched the skies and waited for my command. I was so thrilled!! All my training over the summer had worked. Simply putting him back in his kennel or my truck if he barked and giving him time out had worked like a dream. He was incredible, picking up 8 pheasants in 3 drives. For anyone who has never had the pleasure of working with a dog, in any sport, could never imagine the thrill it gives you. No harsh handling or punishment required as a gun dog trainer had tried to tell me when he was 5 months old.
Becki, came out to work a drive while I rested Olli and she was her usual noisy, impatient self. I decided after 20 minutes that I would put her away. I couldn't stand the embarrasment. On the way back to the truck, the gun captain stopped me and asked me to take Becki up a hill into a large overgrown thicket to look for 2 lost pheasants that others couldn't find. I knew Olli wouldn't have the experience, and Becki is famous for her amazing nose. I sent her in and after 10 minutes she appeared, covered in brambles with a bird, brought it straight to me then went back in for the second, which she carried back to me 2 minutes later. She collapsed and couldn't get up for a few moments. She is the most infuriating, disobedient, badly behaved shooting dog (I didn't train her I only took her on as a 6 year old) but i would lay all the money in the world that she will work til she drops and always find the bird. Her scent work is incredible. She followed me back down the hill and lay in a huge muddy puddle to recover! Bless her.
All in all a totally awesome 1st day and i was very proud of both dogs.
Went for dinner at some friends and watched England win 5-1 to end the day. Today we have been working all day to finish our next order. Never a minutes rest!!