Thunder did not fare quite as well as Freighter at the weekend hunt test. He did not make it past the 1st series. A lot of dogs did not make it past the 1st series. It was a difficult test with a lot going on in a small field.
The test was set up in parts. The first part was a walk-up shot flyer single. I indicate that in blue. The second part was a double land blind which could be picked up in any order. I indicate that in orange. The third part was a dead bird double which I indicate in grey. The bird to the left came out first and then the one to the right. Retrieving that right-hand bird required the dogs to pass over the area where the flyers were landing. That area was well salted with feathers which caused many a dog to check up and hunt there. Plus the wind was kind of swirling which played tricks on the dogs. I know this because I was sitting in the gunner station to the left planting that closer blind and I kept getting showered with feathers.
I figured this series would be challenging for Thunder. We do not have the ability to train a dead bird falling in line with a shot flyer…just ain’t gonna happen in a city park. We have worked on training Thunder to trust his eyes rather than his nose, but he is after all a hunting dog, and his nose got the better of him on this test. However, I am getting a little ahead of myself.
Part 1…Thunder did great on the walk-up and was nice and steady despite the flyer being shot right up close to him, (we were told it was a 38 yard mark). He had a bit of a hunt for that bird, but came up with it.
I used my phone to sneak a couple of pictures with of Thunder with the first bird since he was quite a distance from me. (The picture quality is poor because I cropped them so Thunder would look like a dog and not a dot. )
At this point I put my phone away because he would be working very close to me and I wanted to be invisible.
Part 2…He lined the closer blind (meaning he needed no handles). He only required a few handles to the farther blind.
Part 3…Next was the double. Thunder checked up in the area where all the feathers were so his handler had to handle him back to that right-hand mark. He did not take these handles very well. I think he was just so confused that he went into solo hunting mode. Eventually after a bit of a swim in the pond, he came back and found the bird. When he went to the left-hand mark he did a big hunt, even stopping to visit me and the kid I was working with in the blind. I felt bad for Thunder because I could see he was very confused. But it is a no-no for a gunner to help a doggie or point a mark so I just looked away hoping he would go and hunt. He did and eventually found the bird.
Besides him not taking the casts, he was also quite sticky on the birds and even took a chunk out of one bird. I guess he was being a bit surly. He picked up all the birds, but he was dropped at that point.
Since he did not have to run on Sunday, he and Storm got to stay home and snooze making for a short weekend for them.