Well, there was no agility this weekend, so we all were able to head out and work on tightening up Halo’s Senior Hunter skills. If you don’t know what that entails you can read more about AKC hunting tests here.
Halo was absolutely awesome today. She is just really flourishing! Love getting to see her figure out this game on her own and without the use of an e-collar to force break her to pick up the bird or retrieve. We only believe in positive reinforcement in all aspects — obedience, agility, so hunt training is no different! Part of this is being patient, one of the big skills at the Senior/Master level is impulse control. Steady to flush, shot, and honoring another dogs work are not easy things to take on without the dog having impulse control in his/her back pocket. Somehow, our super genius Halo has it understood and is choosing to follow through!
Halo steady to flush (right) and shot (left.) At the Senior level, she needs only be steady to the flush, but would still pass if she broke at the shot. However, she is turning in a Master level performance here by staying steady to the shot as well. Notice how her head turns to mark the bird — she is totally understanding her job! In fact, if you look closely at the photos, you will see the bird — just draw a line out from the direction her head is pointing, and just above the horizon you will see the bird in flight (left photo) and falling from the sky (right.) So proud of her!
After her great day on birds, we are confident we can enter her in the test in a few weeks. The only downside is that Jenny will already be on the road with Karma, headed to Vizsla Nationals in Ohio. Marc and Halo will have to run solo, but honestly, that’s probably what Halo prefers — such a Daddy’s girl!
Halo (yellow) is honoring Wyn (orange.) Halo has a natural honor. At the Senior level, you can collar the dog to make sure they don’t break and try to steal their brace mate’s retrieve. However, you can see Marc has moved on to work the bird, and Jenny is back behind taking pictures. (This picture is actually zoomed in — Jenny was pretty far back avoiding gunfire with Schmav.) It’s looking like Halo might be able to move onto Master after Senior pretty easily 🙂
Karma also did GREAT today. Hopefully, when we bring her out next fall she will be ready to work on her Master title, today, she was totally ready to go! And Indy was HYSTERICAL. We let him run for a bit at the beginning and then crated him while we worked Halo and Wyn (Karma’s half-bro/our friend Fran’s dog.) He SCREAMED THE WHOLE TIME. Screaming barking and carrying on…the old man is almost 11! When we let him out to work a bird, he blasted out ahead of us and was quartering and hunting with enthusiasm. He was such a good boy.
Halo (front, yellow collar) and Wyn with a divided find.
Before we head home, we always let all the dogs get in one last good run before the ride home. After the run, we loaded up everyone…Schmav, Karma, Halo…where’s Indy. Call for him, no dog comes running. Hmmm. So we look out towards the horizon and see his little red fanny out there still running and hunting. We just looked at each other and laughed. Indy finally (and regretfully) returned to the car and loaded up. We didn’t hear a peep out of anyone the whole way home…nothing quite like a tired bird dog 🙂
Headed out the door — people always ask what Schmav does while we train. He always comes along and goes for some walks or hangs out of our bird vest — the area that holds the dead birds, makes a great Toy Poodle holder! Primarily, we keep our eyes to the skies and make sure there are no hawks or other birds of prey that might try to snatch him up! He tells us he could fight them off — our little tough guy!
Pretty Halo on retrieve.