Katie is really coming on strong. In this picture she is pointing a planted pheasant while being worked with a check cord in late January of 2023. Between then and now, mid-April she has graduated to free running with no cord and has been extremely steady on point.
Even though most of her points are not real sharp yet, once she establishes point, she has been holding until I flush the bird. Very seldom has she broken point, and the few times she has, she has reset closer with more intensity. She is very cautious and pointing from much further away than I would have ever expected. Katie is from a line of grouse dogs, and that kind of caution on point is what she is displaying.
She has graduated to running without the check cord already, and I have been shooting both pheasant and chucker over her frequently.
This is a work in progress that finally had a breakthrough on 4/8/23. Katie will carry every toy, stick, piece of bark etc. she can get her teeth on, and she would retrieve small birds (rail) last fall a few times before losing interest, but she just shows no interest in fetch games with toys, that's been a little frustrating. She is very soft mouthed, and I just got the impression that the heavier birds literally fall out of her mouth as she picks them up. So, on 4/8 I reserved 2 chucker for track training, it didn't go well. The first bird walked about 15 feet and just sat in the open, the second bird gave me the slip before I got any primaries pulled.
It wasn't much of a track on bird #1 and she pointed it. The flushed bird did a crash landing in the middle of the creek, and Katie swimming has been a sore subject also. After it finally swam to the far bank, she couldn't stand it anymore and swam across. To shorten the story, after watching her herd the bird around for several minutes, I decided it was time to go down to the bridge and cross over to get Katie and the bird both. Apparently, she thought I was going to leave her when I climbed up the bank and started walking toward the bridge. I looked across the creek and through the trees, here comes Katie running full bore with the bird in her mouth, across the bridge and right past me! I'm good with that, it's a win in my book!
The other track bird became a search bird since I didn't get primaries pulled. She had the most solid point yet on this bird, probably because it had been moving creating more scent. I spotted the bird about 20 feet in front of her, bare ground under hawthorn trees. I couldn't even get to the bird to flush it let alone have a clear shot. After walking back and forth for about a minute the bird stood up and started walking, Katie broke point and it flew toward the creek, I thought it went across. I would not have shot even if I could have since she broke point. I'm happy with the day, 4 points on planted birds, one no shot since it flew directly at a neighboring house, the other 3 all good solid points but no retrieves, just the pick-up and drops. Then the across the creek retrieve!
So, we're heading out of the field, it's been 3+ hours of training, and I hear water. Is she actually swimming for the fun of it? A few steps to the top of the bank and there's the chucker swimming across the creek and Katie's right behind, catching up fast. She picks it off a drift pile over toward the far bank and swims right down the creek and right up the bank to me this is a big-time win!
Katie and water have been a poor relationship to this point. the weekend before I had her in water up to belly deep for about an hour, she was good with that. She did a few short swims across channels following Albert and Lilly, but only a few.
4/15 was the day to change that. The water is warming up pretty good now so it's me in waders, Katie and a bumper. I need to try and get her to swim for something other than a bird for her test at the end of the month. Some bumper tosses on dry land with treats for rewards did nothing, all I got was sniff and goes. Forcing a hold for a treat did nothing, she actually spit the treats out and took off.
Might as well go to the water. Wading out about knee deep then tossing the bumper out to the middle, she stood on the bank for a few seconds then waded in cautiously, then she swam! Another win! But it gets better. Never expecting her to actually retrieve the bumper, she gently takes the rope loop and swims on across with it. If I wasn't standing in cold water, I probably would have sat down in a combination of shock and joy! Again, to shorten it, over the next 30 minutes or so Katie made 10-12 more swimming retrieves, getting further and more aggressive each time, she was actually following along wanting to go for a swim and retrieve! The bulb went from a night light to a halogen in a short time period, major win! And yes when we were back on dry land I did a few tosses, result, all sniff and goes, deep sigh.
Katies first time on pheasant
Second time on pheasant
One of Katies earlier runs, more video's will be added later.
Some better videos to upload yet.
11/03/23 was the first time Katie hunted alone. She's been doing very well with the older dogs guiding her, it was time to see how she would do making her own decisions.
It was hot, dry and windy by the time I got Katie out, Albert and Lilly hunted first. She did an excellent job of covering ground and found all the birds that were planted.
Even though the points don't look really staunch, remember it was hot and dry, tough conditions for scent and for the dog physically.
We took out a group for a chucker hunt, pheasants are just too expensive to justify using this year.
Lilly just didn't want to go that morning, that was a first, it felt odd not having her there. So instead of Lilly and Albert first, then Katie later, it was Albert and Katie first. They were too competitive; you'll see both of them break to take a point from the other.
Katie settled down and did a fine job when she was by herself.