Spaniel Training Articles
One day in October as I glimpsed the dark shadow of another ruffed grouse disappearing through the alders, I had the phenomenally brilliant thought that our local pa’tridge on the midcoast, as opposed to those less educated species of the North Woods, probably have a better survival rate with upland bird hunters than trout do with catch and release fishermen. I pondered the wisdom of the thought just long enough to remember it, and when I reached home with an empty bird bag, started doing a little research with home-style statistics.
Today, it still amazes me as to how long an old wives tale can manage to continue down through the grapevine of time, passed on from one generation of outdoor enthusiasts to another. I thought it would be appropriate at this time to address one of the biggest “tales” and misconceptions that I continually hear while talking to prospective spaniel buyers and even from some people in the sporting dog industry today.
D uring the past 12 months, our cockers retrieved a substantial number of upland birds; a multitude of ducks; two hare; and one insolent, crow. This bounty - except for the crow - went to our freezer, and eventually to our table. We don’t eat the socks, pot holders, cloth napkins, firewood, spent shells, and shot wads they retrieve without being asked; we forgive them for that. They are irrepressible clowns, and ours often get away with some things they shouldn’t because we’re laughing too hard to discipline them. They are our dogs for all seasons.
This month I would like to address a question that I have been asked on numerous occasions. The all too famous questions: "When is a good time to start training a young dog?"
One of the most exciting experiences for any bird hunter is to see a well trained gun dog of any breed, display their long time inherited genetics, while incorporating the use of wind direction along with their uncanny nose. They show us the art of perfection in locating small game, hidden in the dense under brush!