First beating day for my dog

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simplesimon
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First beating day for my dog

Post by simplesimon » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:01 pm

Hi all,
I don't post here often, but I do enjoy reading the forums and I've found some very useful advice on here. I've had my dog since she was a pup, and she's now almost 3. I feel she missed out a little on some training fundamentals when she was younger, due partly to my circumstances, partly to my inexperience and fatal desire to progress too quickly and partly due to not quite knowing what I wanted from her in the first place!
Anyway, I've been beating on partridge shoot for most of this season, and as the birds are becoming a bit more scarce I decided to take my dog along this time for the first time. My thinking was that the experience would do both of us good, and give me an indication of what her "real world" vs "training world" performance is like. I figured at the very least she could socialise with the other dogs and people in between drives even if she had to spend the rest of the time on the lead.
I understand this is probably not the accepted way of introducing a dog, but having her has been one large learning curve and today was just another part of the curve for both of us.
I've had a few revelations, some good and some... Not!
Firstly, my dog is an absolute cover smashing machine as soon as there's some scent on the ground. First drive, a fella in the line pointed out some cover on the bank of a pond, thick with brambles, tangled bushes and reeds, and said "will your dog get in there?" I said "let's see!" and pointed her in with my command. I was totally wowed at her determination, worming her way into the thickest mess where she could no longer just power through. During this drive she stopped well for me on the whistle and took direction to hunt other areas under my watchful eye. She retrieved two fallen pheasants, one from the cover and one floating in a ditch which she scented on her way past.

On the next drive I hunted her down a hedge, which she grasped very quickly that the aim was to get in the hedge and go along, not hunt about by the side of it. Again, she stopped reasonably on the whistle from a few yards ahead so I could catch up and send her on.
Feeling very pleased with myself, I set her hunting in some broccoli on the next drive, but quickly brought her back in as I could see her excitement building to meltdown levels and she'd abandoned my directions after the stop whistle to hunt wherever she pleased. A couple if minutes on the lead followed by the rest of the drive off-lead at heel calmed her down.
Next drive is sparse cover, very short and sharp with usually very skittish birds, so I kept her on the lead. She had a few "moments" of strong pulling when she could clearly smell partridge ahead of us, but I daren't let her off as a chase or uncontrolled hunt in that drive would ruin the whole thing very quickly.
Next drive things started to go downhill, I hunted her in some sparsely planted broccoli and she responded well to the stop whistle, taking direction to hunt on. Further into the drive I put her in a hedge, unfortunately this is where she started coming unstuck. She hunted ahead a little too quickly and ignored my stop whistle, then pushed out of the other side of the hedge and began hunting the field on the other side, following ground scent. I called to my mate on the other side and asked if he could see her, he said she was running ahead of the line and to try recalling her. I did, and she must have at least faltered as he said "call again". She appeared back through the hedge and came back, and spent a few minutes at heel before reaching the end of the drive, which is some kind of very dense game cover. Knowing she could do minimal damage at the end of the drive, and knowing we were a little short of dogs I pointed her into the cover, where she hunted well, but pulled out a long way and went a little self employed. My fault, of course, for letting her hunt in such an exciting environment.
The next few drives she spent mostly on the lead and/or at heel off lead, aside from a few occasions of hunting heavy cover in specific small patches "just in case".
On the final drive the head beater asked me if I'd work her down a hedge, which increases steadily in thickness to become a small copse, where the drive culminates. She worked the hedgerow well, but started pulling out again as it widened and, in truth, spent the last moments of the drive charging around, diving into every bush and under every bramble looking for game and pretty much doing as she pleased.
So, there we have it. Not a textbook introduction but I think a valuable experience for both of us and just something I wanted to share. I'll focus very strongly in the next two weeks on the stop, and be a lot more cautious on the next shoot about where and how I let her hunt.

Judy
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by Judy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Sounds good, glad you recognised when she was hotting up and did something about it. She'll be fine as long as you keep on as you are.
If in the process of winning, you have lost the respect of your competitors, you have won nothing. Paul Elvström.

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ips
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by ips » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:10 pm

Wow, sounds to me like you both did well all things considered
Muddling along in the hope that one day it starts to make sense.

newf
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by newf » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:27 am

You seem to be tuned into your dog. Good post. :)

simplesimon
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by simplesimon » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:43 am

Thanks for the positive replies folks. Having her along with me really made my day, and it was great to see her curled up next to me last night, thoroughly worn out from her exploits just like me.

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ips
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by ips » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:02 pm

So hows your dog progressing. Are you getting ready for the new season ??
Muddling along in the hope that one day it starts to make sense.

simplesimon
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by simplesimon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:51 pm

ips wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:02 pm
So hows your dog progressing. Are you getting ready for the new season ??
I've only just noticed your reply here... She's doing well, thank you. Or rather "we're" doing well. I've instilled a more reliable turn whistle into her and she is more inclined now to naturally hunt back and forth in front of me without needing constantly turning or reeling in. I've been lucky to get a gun on a small walked up/rough shoot for this season where I'll be working her, alongside the same partridge shoot as last year, so we'll be out at least 3 weekends out of 4. I was hoping to possibly get some more beating as well but it's looking unlikely now. I may not take her to the first couple of partridge shoots, there are so many birds and the terrain so open on some of the drives it's just a recipe for an excitement overload. I'm hoping that the syndicate shoot will be a great opportunity for her though, game should be scarce enough to not send her loopy but abundant enough to build her experience in a fairly controlled way. My only concern is that I haven't been able to find enough game during the off season to get her completely out of the temptation to chase what she flushes... There's still a little while left...

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ips
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by ips » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:57 pm

Hi
Sounds exactly like my "small shoot" syndicate stand one walk one (they have offered me a full gun this season so you and i sound in a similar situation 👍) birds are low in number so your dog shouldn't fry its brain 😁
Can you not get some dogging in ? I found it most helpful and start all over again in a week or so 😁
Muddling along in the hope that one day it starts to make sense.

simplesimon
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by simplesimon » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:02 am

Sounds like a fun season coming up for both of us. I'm looking forward to it enormously. The huge advantage with beating on a partridge shoot is of course that they start a month earlier!

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ips
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Re: First beating day for my dog

Post by ips » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:38 am

Have a great season, I know I will 👍
Muddling along in the hope that one day it starts to make sense.

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