I’ve reflected on last season and come up with several areas of development throughout the spring/summer…
It’s been good to refresh Ivy’s understanding of ‘heel’ as I found last season she wanted to be one step ahead. I’ve had many wet walks throughout the summer to practice circles, sharp turns and changing pace!
Ivy is generally a steady dog but I don’t want to assume she will remember how to be steady and controlled after months off during the summer period. Therefore I have made sure Ivy isn’t sent for every dummy thrown during training and gone back to solid basics with various steadying exercises. I also think this strengthens her confidence and our working relationship. Once the season starts it’s just me and the dog out there so I want to achieve the best out of Ivy and hopefully enjoy our picking up days!
This is essential as Ivy steps up a few gears in the field and I need to be confident she will respond to my whistle and voice commands. There were many distractions last season so summer training has included throwing in decoys whilst Ivy is out on a retrieve. I’m sure you’ll agree a reliable recall is key to a successful picking up day!
Last year I experienced the huge transition in moving from dummies to game. I realise Ivy is a different dog in the field compared to the training environment so I want to have the opportunity to take Ivy on a live game training session before the season starts. These events are normally well run and a worthwhile exercise. I have the golden opportunity to attend award winning trainer Ben Randall’s Beggarbush Gundogs live game training session at the end of September which will include a couple of walk ups. I’m hoping to share the day with you and blog the experience from an advance, intermediate and novice perspective…
My pre-shoot prep works towards strengthening my bond with Ivy. Being firm and fair and giving her the opportunity to learn her craft and not setting her up to fail will hopefully give us a great start to the season. Can’t wait!