Gladiator Update

 Well it has been a couple of weeks since I introduced everyone to Max. We have been working on more obedience and house manners. He is making great strides as a well bred puppy should.

 Since we last talked about Max we have also made some strides in the bird dog part of his training. First thing is we have taken a few trips afield in the last couple of weeks. The first time out I had him drag a check cord behind him and had him run with my older dog, Cash. We did this for two days that weekend. He did well, and I was happy to see that he wasn’t just following the older dog around.

 The next weekend the cord came off. He was more interested in racing and competing with the older dog, so his handling wasn’t as good. So that was the story for both days that weekend.

 Which leads us to today, Saturday the 15th of August. I take him to the field that we have been using. I figured let me see what happens without the older dog with us, so it is just the two of us.  

  One of the objectives of today was to get him used to running with the tracking collar on. I put it on him and he didn’t even notice the antenna; or at least he didn’t show that he noticed it. So that was a success.

 The second objective was to see how he handled and behaved in the field without the security blanket of the older dog. I left the field about twenty minutes later with a big smile on my face. I put him down and he broke away like he was on a mission. I gave him a toot on the whistle to change his direction and he turned and went to the front. He stayed there for the entire run. I didn’t have to whistle or call as much as I had the last two weeks. I changed directions a few times and he made his way to the front.

  During the time in the field he was a great finder of winged insects. He would run, point, and then they would flush and he would give chase. I am not upset with this as I have not had the chance to get him on birds yet. Plus it made for some great pictures.

  It was such an easy handling session that I wanted to ensure it stayed going well and didn’t extend it too long. I called him in, and he came in and sat in front of me as we practiced in the yard. I put him at heel and he stayed there as we returned to the truck. To say that I was happy with the field work is an understatement. 

 Another thing that we are working on is his retrieving. This has been completely informal and I have been using treats to make it fun and rewarding. I throw the dead fowl training dummy and he enthusiastically runs, picks it up, and brings it back. I know you are all thinking, “what’s the big deal? He is supposed to do this.” Well, the big deal is he is either putting it in my hand – if I am not working a camera – or putting it at my feet, and that is all I can ask of him right now. I hope to transition this to frozen birds in a couple of weeks.

  Speaking of birds, that introduction is coming next weekend and I will tell you all about it. I am pretty excited to see how the new upland gladiator does. I look forward to sharing more parts of this journey as we continue broadening his hunting horizons.

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