Yesterday officially started the training season for us. We made the 80 mile drive to our friend and professional trainer Tim DeGroff's kennel High Praire Farms
I meet Tim a few years back when I decided that I wanted help in training Mia. While I grew up with gun dogs my whole life I never did train one on my own. There was two options in hand when it came time to train Mia. The first entailed sending her to his kennel for at least three months for the beginning stages. The second option was to periodically drive up to Tim's for training sessions. I choose the later because I wanted to be in the middle of the training. And besides there was no way Nichole could have sent Mia away for three months!! In between visits Tim would give me "home work" and drills to work on. He knows where I live and all the obstacles that an urban gun dog trainer can run into. After time and many trips I started to make great progress with Mia. At this point all I wanted was a gun dog that I enjoyed hunting behind. Well after three years of training with Tim I got what I wanted and much, much more.
The more is a second ESS, Abby, and a desire to take both my gun dogs to the step. I still remember the feeling when I first saw Mia steady to flush on a bird. It was an epiphany that I'll never forget. I never thought I would have a steady hunting dog. I didn't plan on it from the beginning but I'll take it! While I'll planning to keep progressing with Mia I'm not going to field trail her. I'll take that step with Abby. But Abby still has a lot of work to do but she's on the right track.
So going back to yesterday. I begin to tell Tim that I don't know how steady Mia was going to be. We just finished hunting wild birds for over 5 months and I just thought I lost a huge piece of Mia's steadiness. I'm sure Tim thought that Mia would have come in a bit on the wild side. I knew that she was going to quarter with in range but I didn't think she was going to be steady. Well I guessed wrong, she was steady as ever. She had a great session with 4 great contacts and every flush and shot she was solid. It was a pleasant surprise to see her work the way she did.
an old school house on the way to Tim's kennel
This was just the first of many, many training days ahead of me for the next eight months. I just can't wait to see what I'll have at the end of that time. Maybe two steadied ESS's and maybe even one of them will be running in her first field trail.
till next time...........