George - Owned by Kathi Harrington
Jim and I ventured to NJ this weekend and spent two days training with the Del Val NAVHDA chapter at the Collier's Mill location. That specific location is known for its great amount and diversity of water. We had been to this location once before, two years ago for Cleo's Natural Ability Test. This year we joined the chapter knowing we need to get Cleo exposed to as much water as we can for her upcoming fall Utility Test.
Diesel the Griff owned by Ron Granai
Kathi & George
Jim and I were pleased with the training grounds but the real gem of the Del Val chapter is the members. What a great group of people. The members who we trained with offered up great advice and seemed to have the patience of saints.
Cleo on point
Saturday we ran Cleo in the field and did some duck search work. Her fieldwork was good. She stayed steady through the shot and fall without Jim saying a word to her. She retrieved to hand but not without stopping to readjust the bird. This has been her shortfall lately. Jim plans on spending quite a bit of time with her this week on force fetch. We need to get her over the hump with this.
Her duck search went well on Saturday. She was out in the water for about 15 minutes as the duck she was pursuing tape loosened and it kept diving under the water. She wouldn't give up and eventually got it and brought it to shore. As she has done in the past she got to shore and dropped the duck before picking it back up and bringing it to Jim. Again....back to the table this week.
Sunday we trained with Bob G who owns Nobelle's Maximus, the sire to Cleo and Luna. It was awesome to get to watch their dad Max work birds. It was fun to see that Cleo works a field just like her old man. It was quite obvious that Max has an impressive nose and we watched him point a bird on one side of a hill with the quail hidden on the other side. I love that Max will wine and bark to you if you take too long to flush and shoot the bird. Now I know where Cleo gets her sassiness and propensity for back talk from.
Maximus on the go!
Maximus on Point
Bob's 16 month old female Blackthorn's Bonnie
Cleo did not do as well in the field on Sunday as she did on Saturday. In fact it was the worst she has looked in the field in a longtime. She kept creeping until she was just on top of the birds which is so unlike her. She did remain steady but again readjusted the birds before returning them to hand. We know what we need to work with her on and plan on doing that at home for the next two weeks.
Cleo on point
Bob working with Cleo
We did get little 11 week old Luna out and she had her very first point!! It was so exciting! See below!
We did get to do some cool water work as well on Sunday. Jim and Cleo got to work walking at heel right by the water which she did pretty good. We got a few tips and will be using those moving forward. She had no issues with remaining by the blind. We also got to practice the steadiness by the blind portion which went well until Cleo retrieved the duck and again dropped it before bringing it to Jim. Cleo tends to retrieve the duck and then swim to the closest spot to shore and then run back to Jim. The downside is that gives her more time to drop the duck. But considering it was her first time doing this exercise in water she didn't do to poorly. It all seems to be fixable issues.
Jim and Cleo
Cleo returning down a path
16 month old Blackthorn's Fiona doing the same exercise
She did get to do a beginner version of the duck search. A semi-restrained duck was launched from an island into the water and Cleo was sent to retrieve it. She loves looking for those ducks. She's so full of drive and desire. But as with most new things there is plenty of room for improvement and with some discipline and dedication I think we can get her to where we want her to be.
Kerry and Keith Lucas's 16 month old Blackthorn's Indy doing the same duck search as Cleo
Kerry Lucas and Indy
Kerry and Keith also own Cleo and Luna's older sister Nobelles Amazing Grace
There are so many more pictures and stories to tell but this blog post is already entirely too long. So overall it was a great time and we plan on heading back for some more training days this summer! Check back for updates and follow us on facebook at Adventure's of a German Shorthaired Pointer.