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Isabelle, the fox-red lab, first birthday

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She's a year old today, so as a treat we went to the local duck shoot to do some pickup. She's been there 3 or four time starting early september (where she was allowed like 2 super easy ones). Today was the first day she was off the lead during the drives, nice and steady, while all kind of stuff flew from the cover. She's very very very keen, but stayed put! The odd piece of cheese now and then to encourage the behaviour.

She did some splendid retrieves -- on 4 occasions she could 'switch' and 'failed' only twice, which is pretty good, she's getting better, but most of the time she was absolutely awesome, came straight back, gave the bird, and 'came in' to my boot to wait for the next bird.

And she had a ball. and she also picked up her first goose; an egyptian -- she had to figure out how to carry the damn thing first, so turned all around it until she found a good spot, it was quite funny to watch, she was SO proud to bring this one back!

here's her on the last drive, and her with her very first pigeon, at 12 weeks old!



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We are very lucky to have that shoot around, they do have a lot of days, the other picker up are a very nice bunch, and the place is very easy to access, so we started pretty far from the field, and very gradually moved closer. We also do quite a few drives where she isn't picking up at all, she gets to watch... But sometime the 'action' is near us, and if it's all 'clear' of other birds (and dogs!) we can send her out.

Basically we try hard to 'set her up for success' when we send her out on a retrieve, while I think the time she spends sitting watching the action is super useful for her overall steadiness. The other day a hare ran straight for us, turned 90 degrees about 5 meters from us and took off like a rocket... She sat there; ok she was trembling a bit she did stay put! :-)

There is still a lot of things to learn, like sending her 'back' on a blind. If I have her and point then send her, she goes fine, but if she's at a distance and I stop her, she'll go 'back' a few meters then turn again for instructions, instead of continuing...

Also, she drops stuff out of the water to shake herself, instead of waiting until I get it... But well, it all requires patience...


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 21/11/2019 at 21:02, B725 said:

Lovley looking dog the water shaking is easy to stop. Go down to the edge of the water and as the dog comes out move backwards and the dog will follow, slowly extend over time how far back you go. 

Thanks for that, we are making progress in a slightly different way.

Turns out we only use one kind of 'float' for water training, and I figured out she became possessive of it. She isn't with anything else, but I think we were just too keen to get a delivery to hand out of water and she became possessive, she was in fact trying to dodge us on the way back to keep the float...

Since I've figured that out, I've been letting her have it. I just don't try to pick it up at all, I just walk away and she immediately tags along with her float toy... then a bit later she'll want another throw so she comes to me to give it anyway...

So, it took /months/ to figure this one out, and we thought we understood her very well!

She has just finished her first season too, so saturday she's back at the office! :-)

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