Spring hunt tests are on the horizon, so it was time to get serious about bird exposure. Luckily, Maggie and Louie were able to join in on a day of training today! We were also joined by Mac who is the Baby Halos’ half-brother as Kai is also his Daddy.
The day started out with a demonstration by Daddy Kai and Aunt Karma, both Master Hunters. This way everyone would understand what the eventual goal of training is and they didn’t disappoint. Kai went on point and Karma did her beautiful honor from way back. Flush, shot, two steady dogs and an impressed crowd.
Then it was time to work the babies. Cheeky and Maggie were first and did an awesome job. Maggie is definitely ready to test for Junior. She has a big run and is getting really stylish on point. The hardest part will be keeping up with her to call point! Cheeky hasn’t really started locking up firm on point — she’s still super curious and wants to nose it a bit. But that will come. What was super exciting today was that they both picked up the bird and retrieved it. This is a skill for down the road, but nice that we are starting off with natural retrieves!
After Maggie and Cheeky, we let Louie and Mac hit the field together. In our experience, boys are usually a little slower to mature, but these boys did great! They both used their noses and found the bird. Louie was our youngest and always bossed around by his sisters so he tends to not be very pushy. Mac was also being polite, to the point that we thought we should send out a pushier dog that wouldn’t mind stealing the bird from the boys. Out came their half-brother Gus (out of Kai’s first litter) and given the retrieve command, he picked that bird right up and out from underneath the noses of the young boys. Well that did it! Mac & Louie figured out that carrying the bird was super fun, and got competitive in their hunting and retrieving exercises.
After the puppies, we brought out Mama Halo and Fin (another Kai kid) to work on their advanced skills. Halo working on Master and Fin working on Senior. Halo made us SO proud. By this time, it was hot and there was no breeze, but Halo was a bird finding machine. She held through the flush and shot, and even held on point when a bird was RUNNING in front of her. She still loves to parade around to the whole gallery with her bird instead of bringing it straight in to Marc, so we’ll be working on that before we run her in a test.
After Halo & Fin, we brought the puppies back out. This time, Maggie with Louie and Cheeky with Mac. The all were SO much better! Amazing what a little rest between turns will do for puppy brains! Maggie and Louie BOTH retrieved with enthusiasm and did a stellar job running out to the field.
Cheeky/Mac was a great combo too. Mac found his assertive self and wasn’t going to let Cheeky get all the points. Cheeky also retrieved with enthusiasm, and even found a bird we hadn’t planted! Followed her nose and found it — so proud!
We had a fantastic time and our hearts were filled with pride watching the Baby Halos work their birds. Proud is an understatement, grateful for their owners doesn’t seem to be big enough. We feel blessed to have Maggie and Louie in homes that do so much for them. Waking up early to be out in the middle of nowhere to train (bright and early on a Saturday) isn’t something everyone would sign up for, and we are so lucky to have two homes who always give an enthusiastic, “we’ll be there!”
Maggie will be headed to Montana in a week to try out a hunt test, based on what we saw today, we think there are some blaze colored ribbons in the near future!