Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jenny Update

I haven't written much about the new pup Jenny lately, but that's because there's really not much to write about. I haven't done anything at all in the way of training so far. Just basic obedience and leash work, as well as long walks in the woods to let her start exploring her range. She's a bold little fart and I really like the way she runs, but I have to admit I've had to resist the temptation to slip back into retriever training mode.

The video above is of me messing around a bit with the old "quail wing on a fishing pole" routine. Probably a bad idea, but I've only done it once or twice to see how she reacts. The sight-points in this video (the only one I have) aren't terribly intense because she was flat worn-out after chasing Tess and the boys around the yard, but I think she's going to be a pretty stylish little girl. Most of the time she's got a nice, high tail and that really intense stare when she locks up. I'm really looking forward to the fall, whether she's ready or not...

Other than steady to shot I never really "trained" my old pointer DP. All I did was run her on as many birds as I could and she just sorta trained herself. I never did force-fetch her and so she was a lousy retriever, but she pointed and backed pretty much naturally (I sure didn't teach her) and I'm hoping Jenny follows suit, because I'm no great shakes as a trainer. One nice surprise I've discovered is that so far Jenny seems to be a natural and enthusiastic retriever (OK, so maybe I cheated a little and I actually have been working on that some...).

Of course, just because we haven't been training doesn't mean we haven't been busy learning...she's claimed the house (and my chair) as her own, she's completely won over my non-dog cat-loving wife, charmed the neighbors and my setter-owning vet and even garnered grudging affection from grumpy old lady Tess.

She's slammed headfirst into our metal pole feeder while trying to jump high enough the reach the suet hanging therein, she's fallen headfirst in the water garden several times (no water dog she...), learned that the two cats she loves to chase do not, in fact, have claws, learned how to chase the deer away from the feeder (and gotten whacked by one surly doe in the process), learned how to chase the squirrels out of the yard, learned how to chase the turkeys off the back porch (see a pattern here?) sight-pointed all of the former, as well as mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, cardinals, lark sparrows, buntings, chickadees, titmice, cowbirds, toads, leopard frogs, grasshoppers and pretty much anything else that moves.

And oh yes, she loves to chew up my underwear. I first learned of this peculiarity one evening as I looked up from the book I was reading just in time to observe a pair of underwear with four little white legs streaking down the hall toward me. If nothing else, it teaches me to keep my dirty clothes in the hamper...

Next up are introductions to gunfire, maybe some planted birds to get her using her nose and trips to the local WMA for some extended walks and more exploration, although with the way she's starting to run I'll probably be strapping the Garmin Astro (more on this as she gets older) on her. It's also getting to the time when I start shaking the rust (and summer fat) off Tess and of course Jenny will be tagging along on those training sessions as an observer.

Any readers with dog experience are encouraged, nay, begged, to bestow upon me any suggestions or criticisms they see fit to share...


  1. What an adorable point! You say it's not super sharp, but it sure looked nice to me.

    But the underwear thing... TMI!

  2. Thanks, Norcal. That video was taken a couple weeks ago, so she's really starting to get better on those points. Now if only she'd outgrow the underwear thing. Kind of embarrassing when you have company and your unmentionables come running into the living room

  3. Rick Smith once told me, and I'm paraphrasing since it's been a few years, that when three bird dog owners get together the only thing two of them will agree on is that the third one doesn't know what he's doing. That being said, I'm sure you'll find someone who says you're doing it all wrong but it won't be me. From my experience you're doing ALL the right things and most importantly you're letting her have fun. Keep her happy and she'll make a fine bird dog.