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Shine Puppy Training Blog

Shine on point

5 months old



Shine did not show desire for birds until 10 weeks old.

Our first test was around 6-7 weeks old. I put a quail in a double ex-pen which was set-up around a tree with cover for the bird. I put the pup and the quail in the ex-pen. The following videos show how he responded to birds:

At 10 weeks old: I obtained young quail about 6-7 weeks old. They were so young you could not discern the sex. They could fly about two feet high for a distance of about four feet. These birds were too small for the ex-pens. Using a flower garden (below) as the bird field, I let the bird go in front of the pup; about 20 feet from the bird field.

The bird field was the closest cover for the bird and the bird went right for it....with Shine in pursuit.

Once the bird hit the bird field, Shine had to use his nose to find the bird.

The bird was a good little runner. It was hard for me to keep track of it. But Shine did. He used his nose...for about a minute longer than his usual little attention span. He pointed about five times. Points only lasted a 10-15 seconds. Then chased. He never caught the bird. He found the bird in places I had no idea where it was.

It was good progress.


Once again, I worked in the back yard. The cover at the conservation club is too dense and the scenting conditions are poor for the heavy cover. Staying at home, I can take a look at the breeze and choose my time to work out.

He's getting to know what we are doing when I go out to the quail pen to get the birds. In fact, he was so excited he squeezed under the fence to help me.

I let the bird go near the "bird field" (see video). It took some manipulation and herding to get the bird in to the field. Shine's search began quite enthusiastically. He looked nice and birdy. He searched, used his nose and found the bird. His points were quite short. He flushed. When he was able to catch the first bird, I changed birds to a bird than ran more.

This bird left the bird field and was running toward the "big dog" fence. I was able to cut if off before it got there. I knew it was by a tree, but I could not find it. There was no cover around this tree. It should have been quite easy for me to find. But I could not. Shane came over by the tree. I stepped back. He used his nose and found the bird. Pointed and chased back to the bird field.

Once in the bird field, he continued to search, find, and have short points with flushing. He could not catch this bird. When he could not find where it went, he ran back out to the tree where he first found it. Then ran back in. His search became more deliberate. He found the bird, but his point was soft. (see video)

We continued with this bird. His search was more deliberate with going back to places he had found the bird previously. When he did locate the bird, he became more birdy. (see video)

We ended the workout at about 8 minutes. His last find and point was nice. And when I put the birds back he squeezed under the fence again. (see video)

I think what I need to do now is nurture the enthusiasm with some more chases before the bird hides. He seems to be more birdy in those situations.


At 12 weeks old, I took Shine to Glenns Valley Conservation Club in Waverly Indiana for the first time.

Field A & B are probably about the same size, but different shapes. you can see the dirt road that separates the two fields as it goes to the pond. There is fence line parallel to that road. Field B is totally fenced in. The cover is usually less dense in Field B.

There is a big pond down the hill from the club house and a small pond separating the two Fields.

You can also see the field house and out building at the base of Field A. This outbuilding has a second floor bleacher behind a large window so that people can observe the NASTRA field trials.

We met Debby Lynn and her new pup Bea at the Conservation Club.

Left: Bea and Shine on the chain gang...watching Dart run the field.

Bea and Shine are related on Marty's side for Shine and on Bea's mom's side. I believe Marty's sister is Bea's grandma.

Bea's father is Pappy, a well known VCA and NVA championship field dog.

The morning was 69 degrees with a strong breeze out of the west. I stared at Field B. The birds were young 10 week old birds. They could fly about three feet high for about 3-10 feet.

I let both dogs run together. Dart ran off covering the field. Shine followed for about 25 yards and decided he'd look for me. He came running back to me, but I totally ignored him and looked away. He went on. He ran out ahead only about 10-20 yards, coming back occasionally. Each time he came back I ignored him and looked away. It only took about three times for him to stop coming back. He stayed out there between 10-20 yards.

I had started Dart on the fence line separating Fields A & B when she was 10 weeks old. It worked well in terms of running a line. I'm not ready to put Shine on a line, but we need to work pretty close to it. I'll shape his behavior to use the line in a couple of months depending on how he progresses.

With the wind blowing across the fence from west to east, and the most dense cover on the Field B side, I decided to give him his first bird down the pond road parallel to the fence. It was wide open and would provide a good opportunity to chase. Well, it gave him too much opportunity. He kept catching it and did not point. So, we changed the strategy for the next bird.

The next bird I put in Field B near the fence, allowing the bird to fly an any direction. I showed him the bird and let it fly into the cover. He took off right behind. Used his nose to find. Had a short little point.

At this point, I do not flush the bird. I let him figure out what he wants to do with it. This technique shaped Dart into long points. She never associated me with taking her bird away. At four months old I timed one of her points at four minutes.

He flushed the bird. It flew to a new hiding point. He searched and repeated the scenario several times until Debby drove up.

We worked Bea on her first bird.

I approached Shine's third bird in a similar fashion as the second bird. He flushed more than he pointed on this one. But he had one beautiful point.

See video

At the end I came in and picked him up because I didn't want him to catch the bird. Had I seen the bird, I would have picked it up, not the dog.

Bea worked another bird.

Shine worked his fourth bird in a similar scenario. He search more and pointed better. I though I got some good pictures of his points, but they were too blurry.

In all, it was a great workout.

Dart played clean-up.


July 12, 2007 - 13 Weeks Old

7:30 am – 61 degrees with a slight breeze from the West.

We began by running Field B. Dart took off in a flash with Shine behind. He followed her to the first third of the field. She dipped into a tall patch of Milo and I knew she would loose him. She did. I knew he could not see me. I was still at the beginning of the field. She circled around and went toward the pond. I kept walking, making no noise so that he would have to figure out where I was on his own. Sure enough, he did. Took him a little while. As I passed the Milo he came bounding out. Ran to me. I remained silent and did not acknowledge is his presence (cannot reinforce running back to me in the field). He took right off ahead of me, hunting all the time. He looked good. We circled the field and he ran out of site (i.e. over a ridge) a couple more times, but found his way back with no problems. A couple of times he saw Dart and went her way. Never caught up with her. As we walked back to the car, Debby and dogs drove up. Debby walked Rooster in Field A, on the road to the pond. Shine saw her and ran right up to the fence. Then we continued on.

For his first bird: I was planning to let him see it in my hand and let it go like I had done last week. But he went off hunting in the places he had found the birds last week. So, I decided he did not need the excitement of seeing the bird and tossed it in the field as we walked by. He just kept on hunting. Right now, he only hunts to the left of me. I’ve got to figure out a way to get him on the right side. He found the first bird from about 10 feet away. He’s got a good nose. Solid little point. We watched. He must have pointed for at least 30 seconds when he decided to flush it. It flew to the fence line. (Great place to fly for working lines). He followed. Had to use his nose

to find it. Found it quite fast. Pointed again. Then chased it on the other side of the fence. I picked him up and took him back to the chain gang.

For his second bird: We worked the bird that Bea and Debby left in the field. So, as we walked into the field, I had no bird in my hand to get him excited. He started hunting right off. Found this one after covering the (smaller portion around the path) of the field that we had been using. Found it in a place where we didn’t know the bird was. We thought it was further down the path, but no, he found it. Pointed this one pretty far away too. I took a couple of pictures. He flushed.

And flushed. Then picked it up. I called him over. Petted him (did not reach for the bird). Gave him a treat for the bird. Bird was perfectly fine. Quite reusable. But I now need better birds than this because he can catch them.

For his third bird: Debby planted the bird between the path we had been working and the fence. I want to shape him to hunt the fence line now. So, we’ll keep moving birds closer to the fence. I led him into the field with a leash this time. When I took him off the lead, he just stood there. So, I tapped him on the head and said “go”. He went on. Hunting about 20-30 yards out, but still to the left (down wind) of me. He hunted up and down; back and forth. He found it. Quite a ways a way. Held his point nicely. Flushed and chased it as it walked away.

See Video

Debby had slept this bird, but I was glad it woke up and moved. It’s too easy for a puppy to grab up a slept bird.

Not sure what I’ll do next, but I believe I’ll try planning more than one at a time and much closer to the fence line. He now needs to know there will be another bird after the one he finds.


July 17, 2007- 14 Weeks Old

Storms were all around. We waited 30 minutes for them to pass. The morning was 70 degrees with a light rain and the wind not constant from the West.

Dart and Shine ran together for a warm-up. This time Shine was too focused on Dart. He kept looking for her. I need to run him by himself now. He ran well out in front of me, but stopped each time he lost sight of Dart.

No pictures because of the rain.

We put three birds down the fence line between fields A & B for Shine. The first was only 25 feet down the line. The second was 25 feet further. And the third was 50 feet from that. He wanted to run the field, but I stayed close to the line. He came back in. Stayed within 10 feet in front of me. You could see when he caught the sent. He swung around and went on point. His first point was long. Held it well. The wet birds could not fly, but they did go through to the other side of the fence quite well. Birds two and three were similar in that his run was just in front of me. He veered off the line a couple of times, but came back on to find a bird. This next two points were quite short if they were there at all. But on each, you could see him catch the scent and go in.

His second three birds were put in about the same place. This time he ran well out in front of me. Veered off the line a couple of times. Even ran past the first bird. That was OK; we’d get it on the way back. His run was also more confident. The find on the next two birds were similar. You could see him catch scent and move in. His points were longer. The second bird moved across the fence, but the third flew far down the fence line. He chased until the cover got so high he could not see the bird. The bird landed by a tree. We walked toward the tree. Then around the tree. He came on point at the base of the tree. On the way back in he found the first bird. Held a nice point. Flushed. Then as we left the field and walked into Field A where we had parked, we looked back to find him on point near the road. He had found on the birds Bea had flushed.

In all, it was a good workout in the light rain. He was focused and learning well….


July 24, 2007 – 15 Weeks Old – It was 55 degrees, sunny, with no breeze.

To warm-up I ran Shine before Dart because Shine appeared to run further and faster when he tracked where Dart had run. I need independence. Debby walked with us. Debby and I talked most of the time. He had periods of hunting mixed with periods of blah. On the way back, about mid field, he ran all the way to the car. I don’t like this behavior and I hope he grow out of it.

We decided to put three birds down the road instead of the fence line because of the scenting conditions. We felt if the bird were more in the open they would be easier to scent in the absence of a breeze. He was fantastic. He went into field B and took the fence line more than half way to the pond hunting all the way. I kicked myself for not putting birds on the fence line. We waited and he eventually came back. So, we took down the road. He ran about 25-30 yards a head of us. He found the birds easily, although pointed closer than in good scenting conditions. I kicked myself again because he was in the road on point. It was a good photo opportunity. I left the camera in the car. He held it long. Flushed it into the middle of the field. It flew pretty far. He marked it and found it again. He stayed with that bird for quite a while. I finally called him off of it and went on to find another. Which he did, although he passed up bird #2 and found bird #3 first. This one flew across the road and into the cattails by the dry pond. He ran almost up to the cattails. That one was too hard to find again. On the way back he found bird #2. It had moved. Trust your dog. He flushed this one on the other side of the fence.

His second set of three birds was put on the fence line. The wind had picked up more too. He ran the fence line much better on his first run. This time, he stayed out 5-10 feet away from it. He ran by bird #1. I’m probably putting it too close. I need to put it further away to start next time. Bird #2 he found well. Pointed very staunch. Got a picture of that one even though the cover was quite high for a good picture. He flushed this one quite far and took off after it. Found it again. Then we went onto the third bird. Easy point. Not too long. He had his ear flipped up like Dart always did as a pup. Not a great photo with his ear on the top of his head. This bird flushed on the other side of the fence.

We now had at least six birds near the road. We ran the pups together because Greg Dixon (professional field trainer) said it would stimulate competition between them. He said they would play at first, but when they found the first bird, they’d get serious. They found the first bird at the same time. Two little pups standing side-by-side on point. It was cute. I got it on film, but not a great picture. I’m not sure which dog flushed it. It flew off. Shine got it and took off in keep away. I did not like that kind of competition. We probably won’t let them run again until they understand the seriousness of being out there.

See Video

For Dart, we put one bird in the North East corner of Field B and one on the South tree line in Field B. I broke her away along the North fence line of Field B. She ran to the corner and found her bird. Stayed on point, but took off after it on the flush. She stopped to my voice. I put her back in her place. Found the bird and flushed it, shooting two more times. Her next point was flawless. I found the bird to flush, but it wanted to walk. It went behind me and flushed up in front of her. She pivoted to mark, keeping her back feet steady. We continued walking into Field A. Swung around back to the cars at the hut between Fields A & B. She had blown her warm-up. She had found a ground nest of quail and brought a little barely feathered bird back. Not good. And her breaking on the first bird was probably part of that. But she learned from the sequence. It was a good workout.

August 2, 2007 – 16 weeks old. It was hot and humid. 70 degrees at 7:30 am. No breeze.

I parked by the shack and warmed-up Shine first. We ran field B to the dam across the pond and back the road by the fence. He began with quite a little break-a-way. About the middle of Field B he stayed in close. After we crossed the pond and he was on the road he exhibited his “back to the car” phenomenon. By that time Debby had driven up.

Dart and Bea ran a warm-up together. Dart took off on the road west of the fence and Bea was in hot pursuit. We ran the perimeter of Field A.

Similar to last week, there was no breeze. Instead of planting the birds on the road I wanted to do the fence line. We put the first one further down, the second between the two Cyprus trees and the third further down than each dog had gone before. Shine had a short break a way. He ran past bird #1. And past bird #2. He appeared to get no scent. We did not stop at either bird to give him a hint. We just kept on walking. He found bird #3. Short point. In fact, we only saw him chase.

He truly may have had a stop to flush. In the area of bird #3 you could see the cover barely move in a slight-slight breeze. Thinking he might find the birds on the way back, we doubled back along the fence line. He slowed down for bird #2, but had no “birdiness”. Then I looked up and he was back at the car. He’s got a great “back to the car” run. My only positive thought about his running back to the car is: if I lose him, I’ll check the car first. If I’m smart, I should strategically park my car at the end of the break-a-way at field trials!

We took Bea on the same plan and she could only find bird #3 on the way out. She found bird #2 with doubling back again and bird #1 on the way back. But we decided to move closer where we had planted bird #3. We could feel a slight-slight breeze there. So we drove to the pond and planted birds around the pond.

We broke the pups off to run the dam into Field B. Shine had a pretty good break-a-way. As he passed the bird, he swung around into a point. Now, this sounds great, but he did it with puppy coordination. This bird flew away over

the fence to the other side of the pond. No chase. We went on to bird #2. Good find. He flushed. No fly in this bird. He brought it to me. We went on the third bird. We had planted it higher on the slope, hoping the scent would flow down. We were quite successful with that one. He pointed from quite a distance. Short point. He flushed and it went high and into the tree line. Bea found it on our next pass.

We did the same scenario with Bea and were quite successful.

Dart’s turn. I put one bird in the southeast corner of field A and Debby drove down the field house and put one bird in the southwest corner. I drove Dart back to the shack and broke her away along the fence line. She “darted” off, but swung around on point on the fence line. It was bird #2 we had planted for the pups on their first run. Apparently we had them on the wrong side of the fence line. She did well with that bird. If flew down our path so I walked past it before breaking her away again. The bird she had in the south east corner she worked well. She took off, but not hugging the south fence line like I wanted her to. She found the bird in the South west corner with no problem. I had the problem trying to flush it. I could not find it and relocated her two time. When she was right on top of it, I flushed it. She reached for it. We got a good correction in.

Got a nice picture of Shine on point. Bird #1 around the pond.

August 3-5, 2007 - Boggs Bird Dog Camp

We stayed with Randy & Sue Boggs and trained at the combined properties of Jim Busch, Jim Gingrich and Mark Johnson (~300 acres.)

Shine experienced three different fields. We planted birds on each line. He did well, applying himself in each new field. Instead of running back to the car at Randy's house, he took the bird into the garage.

Shine took his first step off the porch to run with the big dogs. He rode in a crate on the back of the ATV to get to some of the fields. He was as excited as Dart was.


August 7, 2007 - 17 Weeks Old


Shine was more bold after Boggs Bird Dog Camp


August 14, 2007 - Four Months Old - 60 degrees, no breeze

We started with Dart because she got too hot last time. She runs harder than the pups. So we planted four birds in the corners of both fields. We started running in Field A; running south to the south fence line. East along that fence line. Then north along the road between both fields. Then into Field B and around the perimeter of that field. Her bird work was good until the last bird. Her point was so close because of poor scenting conditions. She grabbed at it as I flushed it. Good correction.

The comic relief came at bird #3. I had a plastic water bottle in my left front pocket. When I bent down to pick up the bird, I accidently squeezed a stream of water right into Dart's face. It turned out to be an interesting training technique to make sure she stayed on the point.

Our approach was to plant the fence line on Field A side. We put two birds out for each dog. (yellow dots). The birds were found easier on the way back than on the way out.

Bea took the first tour. Shine the second. The conditions changed in his run. A good breeze started up. It came from the East; which was unusal. So, we took the opportunity to run the north treeline of Field B. Because this was the first time we ran that line, we planted the birds (red dots) closer to the reinforce the line.

Each pup got one run on each course.

Shine chasing bird # 2 in Field A
Shine pointing bird #3 in Field A

Pointing bird in Field A

Shine is holding his points quite well.

He pointed a bird on the way back from quite a distance. We could see him catch scent and locate. It was quite impressive for a 4 month old dog.

My most proud moment was when he didn't run back to the car. He hunted on the way back. I'm psyched!

Pointing first bird in Field B.

Shine is taking the lines quite well. He runs out and is hunting all the time.

August 17, 2007 – 68 degrees, stagnant and foggy

I took a big step today. Probably too big of a step. If it didn’t work, I’d go back to planning birds closer together. But, I planted the first bird where I usually plant the third bird. The second bird was further than we’ve ever walked; under a tree by the pond. And the third was around the corner on the south tree line.

I also started training a break-a-way. That is, I hold his collar at the start line. When he relieves the pressure, I let go. This makes him not fight me to let him go.

He took off well checked out the previous places we’d planted bird, but kept on going forward. We were about the place where we planted the first bird when he caught the scent of his first bird. Quite a ways away.

I could tell that he didn’t have a good scent because his tail was wagging. He relocated himself just about the time we hit the spot where we normally planted the second bird. He locked up. Held it nicely. Flushed it as we walked up. Chased it a couple more times then lost it on a long fly away.

Now, we’re about to take off into uncharted area. We walked across the gully and onto the area above the pond. He took off to the left and we walked to the right. He swung around. Now, this bird was planted under a lone tree by the pond. There would be no way he would generalize that one tree as a line. He appeared to track me to the tree. He found the bird. Pointed very well. Relocated and flushed it several time. When I thought they were getting too close to the pond, I called him. He came off the bird.
We continued walking to the south tree line. This was his chance to generalize a line. He did. He ran the line. Found the third bird with no problem. He flushed it under some branches and was able to catch it. He retrieved it to me.

Walking back was the most surprising. We chose to walk back through the middle of the field and not go all the way to the north fence line. As we walked back, there were two thick 75 yard rows of milo planted parallel to our path. Shine ran between them. Debby and walked west of both of them. He disappeared. I said to Debby, “what do you want to bet he retraces his steps and comes back around the milo to find us?” Debby bet he’d continue on the line between the row and come out up ahead at the end of them. I had hoped he would plow through the milo to come out where we were walking, but I was sure he would not have the confidence to be out of sight that long. We kept walking. I looked behind me a couple of time…not to find him. Sure enough, Debby was right. He ran the whole length of the milo and came out ahead. Never ran back. Then I noticed he was running to the car. He ran towards the car. Came back into the field and continued hunting until we got there.

Good day…big steps. We’ll see if the steps were too big next time we workout.

August 21, 2007 - 69 degrees, muggy, but breezy

After working Dart on the whole grounds, we planted birds for Shine in the same pattern we did last week.

For his break-a-way he just stood there. I had to "jump" to get him to move. Quite cute. He understood the stand quite well.

He ran the line, but stayed about 10 yards out from it. He did not stop at previous planting locations. He kept hunting and "puppy" running. He found all three birds. Pointed the first two. The last one had moved under some dense cover. We knew it was there somewhere, but never could get into the cover to find it. He had tracked it to the cover.

In all it was a good workout, except for: as soon as we turned north to take the middle of the field back, he was at the car. I sure hope he grow out of this back to the car phenomenon.

August 26,2007 - 62 degrees, stagnant and foggy

I started with break-a-ways to the whistle with both dogs. He was getting it after a few repeats.

Then I ran him on the yellow course on field B first. His break-a-way is cute. He stays. He runs before I do the whistle and he turns a looks at me with the whistle. His run was OK. Not dynamic. His points were soft with tail wagging. Bird #3 took him into the woods. He went willingly. In fact, he went through the fence and into the neighboring field. He couldn't figure out how to get back. I had to open the fence for him. Good thing was he didn't run back to the car until we were half way across field B.

Second time we ran we did the gree course on field A. He appeared to track me out. Found bird #1. Still sloppy points. I have no idea if this is a feature of his age. He chased it a couple of times, but the bird flew across the pond. Found bird #2 with a search. He knew he was in the area. He chased it a couple of times until it landed in a tree. He ran the line down field A. I saw the bird walking on the other side of the fence. He knew it was over there. Debby had parked at the club house to drive us back so that he wouldn't have a break-a-way to the car. It worked well. Now, he thinks the car comes to him!

August 28, 2007 - 61 degrees - 82 degrees two hours later - nice east-west breeze

I put the birds out on the green spots in Field B as the breeze was east to west. It was a good scenario to run the north treeline in Field B. I let Shine out of the car and was going to put the lead on him to take him to the break-a-way when he took off. By the time we got infront of the cars he was half way down the tree line. He missed the first bird because he was too far away from the line. But he got to the corner when we entered the field. We saw him point. Then we saw the bird fly over the fence. He stayed around the area for a short time. As we approached we took the east fence line. He took off again. We were closer on this point. He didn't hold it long. He flushed it and it went over the fence. Now, my task was to get him back to the first bird without him going back to the car. I walked toward the west fence. He followed my lead, but as I turned toward the north fence, he took off for the cars. I decided to call him back. And he came! All the way back. I walked east and he

took the lead. But took off again for the car. I called him back again. He came. We eventually got to the north fence line. He took the line and found the bird. Didn't hold it too long again. Flushed it over the fence. Seems like all I can get of him now is pictures of his behind on point. I don't have enough time to get around him. Good thing is the bird are flying away from him.

Next time we did the yellow course, starting in Field A and crossing the dam into Field B. This time I took him to the line on the lead. He stands nicely before the break, but

when I blew the whistle, he turns and looks at me. He found bird #1 very nicely. But I was too far away...running to get to see. He chased it a couple of times, but stopped when it went by the pond. We missed bird #2. Walked most of Field B. I zig-zagged on my way back so that he would not run directly to the car. It worked. He's running very nice, but pointing too short.

I'm wondering if I should plant some closer together just to practice pointing longer. I have been sleeping them very well. Maybe I should plant them lightly now too.

September 2, 2007 - 51 degrees at 8:00 am; 91 degrees at noon

I wanted to try to plan the workout so that I could get to him before he flushed the bird. So, I planted them close together down the fence line.

His break-a-way was cute. He stood looking at me until I blew the whistle. And off he ran. Past the first bird. Past the second bird. He was on point on the third bird when we got there. He held it until we got there. Then he flushed it. It flew over the crest of the hill by the pond. He followed in hot pursuit. None of us could see where it landed....we only guessed. But he did find it. Pointed it. I got to stoke his tail. Off he went with the bird. He picked it up and brought it back. We put it back in the bird bag.

Then I tried to do another break-a-way with him, but he would not come to me. I gave up. We kept on running. This time, back toward the cars hoping to find birds 1 & 2. Well bird 1 flew over the fence into Field B when Debby went to check on it. So bird 2 was all that was left. On the way back he ran over bird #2. It flew off with him right behind. Flushed again and this time it flew (I thought) between the cars. We kept on hunting, left Field B and onto Field A to find bird #1. Shine kept on hunting. Never once looked at the cars. I was so proud of him. He quartered Field A to find bird #1. We were close enough to reach him on this one too. But as soon as we got there he flushed it. It flew back into Field B. He continued to hunt as we walked back to the cars.

When I went to get the dogs a drink, I reached down for my water container and there was bird #1 on the floor of my car. Debby and I moved around to catch that little devil. It decided to hide up under the driver's seat. That would have been fun driving home with a quail at my feet.

On his second run, I wanted to see how he would do running with another dog. So we braced him with Rooster. Shine took off and Rooster stayed close. Shine found the first bird and pointed nicely. Got another good picture. He stuck on it. I even touched his tail. Then flushed it. It flew parallel to the fence and then turned in over it.

We continued on to the second bird. Rooster found it first. Shine ran over ...ran right in front of Rooster and pointed the bird. Not a natural backer, my boy.

Rooster found the third bird and the same thing happened.

We continued to run and found a fourth bird. Rooster was first to find. Shine was first to steal point.

We took Dart out and shot some birds for her. She retrieved well. We thought we'd see if the pups would retrieve a shot bird. Shine went out and got it, but had no intention of brining it back to me. I had to go get him each time. Bea brought it back to Debby the first time. The second time she teased Dart with it and Dart took it right out of her mouth.

Later when I was packing up to go, I took Shine off the chain gang to walk him over to the car. I should have put a lead on him. He took off into Field A. We waited. And waited. And waited. He didn't come back. So we walked out into the field to find him. I have no idea what he was doing out there. We almost had to walk all the way to the pond. He was out in the middle of the field hunting away. I called him and he hunted with us back to the cars. He got in some extra credit. I had been trying to get him more independent at home. I guess it worked.

September 11, 2007 - 65 degree - steady west-east breeze

At the field trial last weekend Shine ran on the puppy course with antoher 5 mo old puppy after the trial was over. We didn't run long as the thunder and lightening approached. But in that little time, he ran the line and did not play with the other pup....and the other pup wanted to play. On the way back he found a dead bird. I liked the fact that he did not want to plan and that his break-a-way was nice.

Today, I took too big of a step again. I wanted to put the birds closer together so that I could get to him before he flushed. I wanted to stroke him to keep him in place. It worked nicely. But what I should have done was put bird #4 closer to the other three. He piddled around on the south tree line and east fence line. I need to put them closer together to keep his interest up.


September 16, 2007 - 55 degrees at 10:00 am - steady east-west breeze:

I had to use field A because other guys were working out on field B. They were also shooting shotguns. This would be Shine's second exposure to shotguns in the other field. Since this was his first time starting on field A, I put the birds close together and around the corner to reinforce running the edges all the way. We started at the white field house....running south toward the south fence line.

His break-a-way was cute. The whistle does not get his attention any more. He leaves as soon as I take my hand off of his collar. But I don't have to hold him back. I just have my hand on his collar.

He wanted to run in the middle of the field. I had to call him in to the line. Once he hit the line, he found the bird right off. Good line reinforcement. I got to him to stroke him. He stayed quite nicely. In fact, that's his picture at the top of the page. He flushed and chased several times. The birds are flying well. So well, he looses sight on the third flush.

We missed the second bird. Found the third bird with too much work. He got a scent, but not a good one and had to look around in the area before he found it. Bird #3 flushed quite far. On the second

flush, it flew over to the pond. We walked that way, but didn't find it.

We turned around and walked the south fence line back. He didn't go in the corner to find #2 until I got there. Not good for the dog to find birds around the handler. It reinforces staying close. But this bird flushed well too. He got at least two chases out of it. I think I'll start shooting on those long chases.

I couldn't work Dart out too much as the dogs in the other fields were male. I didn't want to distract them. So, I mainly did break-a-way drills. She ran hard. Shine ran with her on a couple. When he got too tired, I put him up.

18 September 2007 - 55 degrees, still.

This was a big day. We decided to shoot our pistols around the pups. We stationed the gun at the "X".

For Bea we planted the birds close (green dots) because she had been tot the skeet shoots and was more used to guns than Shine. When Debby ran Bea, I stayed on the picnic table

marked by the "X" and shot the pistol when the bird flushed. Bea didn't even notice the shot. Good.

For Shine we put the birds further out. He has not been around the shot. On the first bird he ran into the Milo. Debby shot and he stopped. I coundn't figure out if he stopped on the gun or stopped because he couldn't see where the bird flew. So, we went to the next bird. A little further away. It flushed, Debby shot and he kept on running after it. We relocated that bird and flushed with a shot again. No indication that he noticed the shot. Great progress.

Next round we had the birds that were in the field and planted about one more for each dog. This time, instead of standing on the picnic table, I walked about 50 yards behind Debby. Shot each time she flushed with no response to the gun.

Debby stood around site #2 (on the map) while I took Shine out again. He had about three birds and had no response to the shot on all three. In all, this was a great introduction to the gun. Next time we'll get even closer to the bird to shoot. We'll keep moving closer until the handler can use the gun.

September 23, 2007 - 7:15 am - 57 degrees & still -

We repeated Tuesday's workout. Bea started with three birds. Shine followed with two. Then Bea with two. Then Shine with two. Each time we got closer to the pups to shoot. No reaction to the shot. In fact, Shine turned his head to look at Debby when she said something, but the shot he never acknowleged.

Video of Shine's break-a-way


September 25, 2007 - 7:15 am - 70 degrees & still

Surprise! Randy Favreau was in town on business and joined us. It was like old times training Dart, Jeb and Hayden.

After running Dart in both fields, we focused on shooting around the pups. Our first round of birds we repeated shooting near them. We made good progress.

The second half of our workout was letting the pups run together. We decieded we'd only shoot if both pups were chasing. We wanted to aviod one pup chasing and the other being distracted by the shot. But we thought it was a good time to see if they realized their job and would ignore the other pup.

Bea wanted to play at first. Shine ran on to hunt. They passed the

first set of birds we planted for the. Debby separated Bea and Shine found bird #2. No fire. He was far away and we did not get to style his point. He flushed it a couple of time and brought the tired bird back.

We both continued on to find bird #3. Bea found it and pointed long enough for Shine to "wander" on it. He stopped. Ear up. He looked. Took a couple of steps and stopped.

After someone moved, he released himself from the back and went around to Bea's side, then front and pointed the bird with her. I believe Debby flushed the bird...both dogs chased and Randy fired. It was good. In fact, it was so good, we decided to stop there. It's good to quit with success.

We'll probably run them together again after we both can get closer to shoot.

We've continued the workouts. We've been shooting the pop gun for about a month when we shot the big gun. Take a look at Rend Lake to see the introduction of the shot gun.


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