Monday, September 14, 2009

I don't know where the time goes...

I keep thinking I need to post every day but somehow the days just get away from me!

This weekend was a busy one... I took Toe to Ft. Lupton, CO for a spaniel hunt test. Of course I called before coming to make sure it was o.k. to bring my dog and for me to come and watch. The chairperson told me as long as my dog was on lead, newbees were welcome.

Toe is a bird dog, an English Cocker Spaniel and I wanted to see his instincts in action.... or if there were any instincts in there. He's never been around game birds. The breeder who sent him to me didn't work him on birds.

The hunt test folks had some extra orange for me and my friend Ann to wear. Did I mention there is a bunch o' orange in the field?

A BUNCH of orange.....

The hunt test committee buys chukar birds raised on a farm, they plant them out in the field and the dog teams go one by one and level by level - there are Junior Hunters who have to find birds, Senior Hunters who find birds and retrieve them and Master Hunters who find birds, retrieve them and are under control at all times - steady to wing and shot.

It was really interesting. And super cool to watch the dogs do the work they were bred for.

Spectators can go out with the hunter and their dog as long as they stay back about 20 feet. There is a woman who leads "the gallery" (the observers), and we all stay clumped together quietly watching the dog and handler work. Every so often, the volunteers and show committee take breaks to plant more birds in the field and the next dogs/handlers head out.

I asked a ton of questions.
Furry Husband has been making noise about getting a shotgun... I see that as an opportunity to investigate training a gun dog. (yeah, I totally see the oddness of this. Me - the saver of baby voles, watching bird hunting. But they aren't babies, they are feathered vs. furry, and most importantly, they aren't in my yard needing assistance. They are dispatched quickly and efficiently by guys like this.)

A very kind woman took the time to introduce Toe to birds... she let him sniff them... he was definitely interested.
She tossed a dead bird maybe 8 feet from us... Toe instantly and without any hesitation ran to the bird, gently picked it up and brought it right back to us. THAT was really cool. The bird dog instinct is just there... I love that.
All the different breeds of dogs were developed specifically for very different tasks and that instinct is still there in our modern day world... how did people do that so long ago? And how cool is that?!
Toe and my friend Ann's dog, Elzie, a Welsh Spaniel.
Lookit Toe with a chukar in his mouf'!

I met people, gathered names and numbers for training and working my little bird dog in the field. AND, I found a woman who could teach me all I ever wanted to know about tracking - I have ALWAYS been interested in tracking... dogs following a scent and using their nose....

I'm all geeked up and ready to go do sum'thin' with my new speckled up!


Heather said...

This is too awesome! Toe is very very cute! I can't believe he just knew what to do with a bird! Is he a fetch player at home? Maybe you and Sera and Toe can go fox hunting someday!!!

Dedene said...

Toe is a genius! You have to teach him to track. You two are so cute together. I can see that you're good company for him.

DebH said...

I bet Toe was very much in his element!! That is a cool thing to watch when their instincts are in action. Amazing!! Very cool photos and I get that part on how fast the time slips by...I wish my mind could take the snapshots and just image them right on my blog for me sometimes. Never a dull moment, but never have the camera either!

Shanster said...

Heather - he wasn't a fetcher but I started playing with him and sure 'nuff he picked it up pronto. Yeah - I had the same thoughts... I could combine it all eventually - dogs, horses and my husband!

Dedene - yes - he is a cutie

DebH - ain't that the truth! I NEVER have my camera when something funny or exciting is happening...