Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mia on point

We traveled to Charleston, SC this weekend to take part in the Greater Charleston Weimaraner Club's Pointing Dog Day. This event is designed to help novice owners get their dogs started on birds. Mia and I stayed with Linda Garrett who owns and handles "Strider," a Master Hunter who also got to demonstrate what master hunters do in the field. We got a lot of tips and advice from everyone and had a wonderful day. After the demonstration of master hunter, senior hunter, and junior hunter, the club went over all of the rules for the different tests. They also gave us some ways to get dogs started on birds. To see which dogs were interested in birds, they were each "teased" with a freshly killed quail wing on a fishing line. Mia was sort of interested in the wing, at least enough to point it.

Mia pointing the quail wing.
After being exposed to the quail wing, the dogs were then introduced to a live pigeon. These pictures are of Mia intensely watching the other dogs with the pigeon. In the past, Mia has always tried to grab the bird so when it was her turn, I was pretty shocked when she went straight in and pointed the shocked I didn't get a picture of it:(

After the dogs were exposed to the birds on the fishing line, it was time to see what they would do in the field. I was thrilled to see Mia really hunting for birds and not just running around. Unfortunately, as soon as she found the quail, she went in and grabbed it. I called her to me and removed the quail from her mouth. The quail flew so I sent Mia off to see if she could find it again and point it, but she was too quick and caught it again without me even seeing her do it. This time, she was much more reluctant to give up the bird but I managed to get it out of her mouth.
After a lunch break, we took the dogs out again. We were ready this time and prevented Mia from catching the bird, but she still didn't point. Mia is super smart (and quick) and just figured she didn't need to point, she would save us the ammo and catch the bird herself. Because these dogs were novice dogs, the quail were dizzied first and planted under cover so they wouldn't fly as fast. In Mia's case, we need the quail to fly quickly so she learns that she can't catch them and when she runs up on them, they fly away. Then, she would figure out that if she slows down and points them, they don't fly off and someone will flush the bird (which she then gets to chase).
We had one last opportunity to get Mia to point. Everyone had had their turns and the club had a few quail left so Mia got to go again. This time, the quail was planted in a place where Mia couldn't grab it and where the quail could fly quickly. She caught sent, went in to grab it, and corrected herself on the sticks that were sticking up around the quail. She jumped back and the bird flew. It landed about 75 feet away so I took Mia over to see if she could find it again. She did and she went right in and pointed! Yay!!!

Overall it was a wonderful day and we left with some ideas for how I can get Mia to slow down and point (instead of grab). Here she is, exhausted after the long day and ready to go to bed (as was her owner).

In a few weeks, the Tarheel Weim club will have their hunt day and I'm looking forward to taking Mia and seeing if we can continue to improve. If she does well, I will enter her in the shooting ratings the next day and maybe get her novice shooting dog. And if she isn't ready, no big deal, we will keep working on it. One of the biggest lessons I learned this weekend was that you never know when the light bulb will go on for these dogs. It's important not to give up just because they don't get it right the first time. You just have to keep at it and maintain a positive attitude. And if it doesn't happen, that's fine - there are lots of other things we are going to do...and that's what makes this all so much fun - it's all part of the journey you take together.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful commentary on a great weekend Jessica! It makes me want to get back out in the field - and a great pic of Mia pointing! You are so right, it is all about the journey!