Monday, December 10, 2012

My Dog Shot Me The Paw

Right Turn Ahead
I had the pleasure of running another field trial this past weekend. This event was located in West Point Texas. Classic hill country grounds just East of the famous La Grange, Texas. For those unfamiliar, La Grange is the infamous location and inspiration for the classic Best Little Whore House in Texas.

These grounds I would describe as smaller than what we have run on before. Complicating them is some impenetrable wire cross fencing. This type of wire fencing is good for boundaries, but makes for some exacting turns as this course was laid out. Specifically after the initial thousand yard run the dog hits a cross fence forcing them to turn left. Unfortunately a hundred yards or so forward of that position is a ten to fifteen foot opening the dog must make a right through to hit a third of the course. Compounding the matter, the entire length of the cross fenced area in question is a 50 yard swatch of grass with a perfect game holding tree line that the dog must entirely avoid. Needless to say you need either a close hunting dog, or a good handle (control) of your longer running dog.

On the first day we ran the Open Gun Dog stake. My dog ran normally at a couple hundred yards ahead of my trotting quarter horse. Not unlike every other trial he disappeared into the brush. As I made the left turn and came to the opening for the right turn I saw a flash of my dog 150 yards ahead working the tree line. I hollered his name, called here, blew my whistle, all to no avail. In all honestly I was thinking my dog must be deaf as he didn’t even look my direction.

I moved forward on the course singing to my dog, hoping the scout would turn him our direction when finally I gave up and turned on the GPS to find my lost dog. As the GPS synced with the collar it said my dog was four hundred and some odd yards north on point… and he was, but we were unfortunately done.

And so the next day I took extra special care to heal and whoa my dog, and remind him who was in charge. With the greatest of stealth I swapped his e-collar for the tracking collar, and to the line we went. This was the Amateur Gun Dog stake and much different from the day before my dog was responding to my turn commands. He was running beautifully out front between 10 and 2. He quickly found his way to the thicker brush on our left and I thought, “Good, he will hunt in there a little and I can get in front of him before the turn.”

And my plan worked perfectly. As I slowed at the gate leading to the right and north my dog popped out of the woods 50 yards south of me, turning east he headed down the same tree line where I lost him the day before. I called, “Remi here.” It was then I saw my dog glance at me and get into a higher gear down the tree line. “No… here… whistle blows… nothing turned my dog.”

Suddenly I realized my dog did not need a trip to the vet to see if he can hear. My dog had given me the paw… he has decided this was his hunting trip and not my field trial.

My scout as planned had positioned himself perfectly to cut him off if he repeated the mistake of the day before. And Remi gave him the paw too. In fact Joe said, “I swear that dog ran faster to get away from me.”

At the 12 minute mark I found out later Remi finished the course and headed through camp to go again.

Giving up on the trial for the second day in a row I turned on the GPS. It said my dog was 990 yards away on point. And that is exactly where we found him.

We obviously have some work to do, but I don’t feel too bad about it. The day before the same thing happened to my Scout and his dog. Also one of the Pro Trainers had one of his dogs do about the same thing.

So dogs will be dogs and they will give you the paw. But as for my dog, we are going to work on him having a little more respect, and not being so collar wise. 

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