Bird Dogs: Gentle Force Fetch
Since this is only the second season that I have hunted over Cooper and Bella I notice a few things that needed attention. They work great, locking and holding point until I flush the bird. The problem I saw most this season was fetching or the lack there of. At fun trials they both refused to pick up the bird an retrieve it. I have seen dogs do this with woodcock and it is thought that the woodcock’s diet of worms maybe distasteful to dogs. These were downed pheasant they refused to retrieve and I’m not sure if they refused on grounds they were pointers and nowhere in the pointer definition does it say retriever. Perhaps they thought it beneath themselves. Regardless, they were going to retrieve. To a canvas dummy I tied real pheasant feathers and doused the canvas with scent. I then had the dogs sit and I opened their mouths and placed the dummy inside, while I praised them profusely. I then continued by playing a game, ironically called “fetch,” that involved me throwing the dummy a few yards away and me speaking the command “fetch.” They took the game quickly and retrieved the dummy without haste. From there I placed the dummy in the field and told them to find the bird. They pointed and held the point until I could flick the dummy in the air to the sound of blanks. They ran over to retrieve the bird and placed it at my feet. I think we may have cured or rather taught them how to retrieve.