Charlie and Betsy go shooting

Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by JulieT, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    @Emily , @Stacia .....

    Charlie and Betsy are fine.

    Betsy is all grown up now at 18months+, she’s a brave, confident dog. She is calm generally but when she’s training really comes alive. The more excitement, and the more challenging retrieves, the better she gets. She won’t get off her settle mat for easy stuff though. If it’s just a few metres away she’s like ‘nah, I keep Charlie for that, I’m busy....’ ask her to go 200m through a ditch, hedge and cover though and she’s all yours.

    The opposite of Charlie! Although she’s hard work in a different way to Charlie. She is much harder to motivate at home in quiet places but I’ve learned how to do it. Charlie is motivated very easily in a THAT’S A BALL I’M SO EXCITED I CAN NO LONG THINK GIVE ME IT NOW NOW NOW WHAT YA WANT ME TO DO FOR THE BAAALLLLL kind of way, and I’m used to that, so it’s felt like hard work getting a dog very motivated who doesn’t react like that. I think she might just be normal though....

    She’s been on ‘shootover’ days this year, and one shoot, and we are currently working through the transition from cold game to warm – she wants to pluck warm game. Fair enough...it does need plucking...just not right now, Betsy! No doubt we’ll get over that though.

    Picking up on the shootovers, and the shoot we went on, was...er...hate to break it to those who are still excitedly working towards it but there’s no way to say it apart from it was like watching paint dry. It was deathly boring.

    I’m not being mean about the organisers at all, the days were fabulously well run and overall very enjoyable but I know the trainer running these things also thinks picking up is mind blowingly boring, and it is – my brain got so bored, I had a headache and difficulty thinking. All that training, the anticipation....and it was as dull as dull can be. The retrieves were so short, so easy, and so infrequent, and there were just hours and hours (and hours and hours and hours – or so it seemed) of walking at heel. I nearly died it was so dull. I’ve been told it’s not ALWAYS like this....:D:D:D

    With Charlie this year I did a very tiny bit of beating – just a couple of hours. That was MUCH more fun and a fabulous achievement for us. Charlie is, of course, still absolutely bonkers and he will be until he’s old and grey. He has never been sent for a retrieve after a shot, but he’s seen what goes on and isn’t stupid. He KNOWS....so he is/was as uncontrollable around shot as he is around retrieving generally.

    Back in February I’d started training hunting for stuff with Charlie in a controlled pattern, and back in July Barbara and I started with a single pop from a party popper, which had him going crazy with excitement....we worked up from there, week after week, until December when I had a go at beating with him. Helped by an incredible bit of luck I got recalls to me after he flushed each pheasant (only about 5 or 6) and shots went off (on 3 of them). So while it’s very modest in the grand scheme of things, I hope to build on this as it means Charlie gets to do more stuff.

    We’d been training for a stop to flush and shot, but when it came to it he was deep in brambles and up to his neck in muddy ditches so a recall was just more practical – we’d been training a recall from a stop anyway, as we thought that was the most likely thing to work. So three cheers for Barbara @bbrown. A solid 6 months intense training on that one specific scenario, to do two hours beating – but it was worth it, and the sense of achievement immense.

    I tried beating with Betsy once, and it was ok at first with nice stops and recalls, but then she ‘lost it’, ran amok, did an impression of a border collie herding sheep and got all the pheasants into a corner and flushed the lot – way out of gunshot range. :D:D:D

    She came back with her tongue on the floor, saying the spaniels were just too SLOW, and she thought she’d show them how to do it. That went down well.....lucky it wasn’t a real shoot, just a shootover training day, so we had a good laugh about it over sloe gin (I had double gin....:D might have been a triple...:D). Betsy isn’t having another go until I’ve got more control so every day is stop and recall day for Betsy....

    Think that’s about it. Here’s pic. Charlie is seriously – very seriously - no slouch, but Betsy is the faster dog...slightly unbelievably, as Charlie is still all muscle and super fit, but for a girl she is quite something....she really annoys the boys by flirting, running....then beating them hands down.

    [​IMG]B70I0781 by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr
     
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  2. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    Thank you @JuleT I really enjoyed reading that and your 'shoot over days' are not that far from me. I had a lesson once from SWMBO, so can imagine where you were. The 'Picking Up' I did on an estate, was not boring, the very opposite, very scary, far too much to do. Super to see a Betsy and Charlie together, cannot believe that Betsy is 18 months old already. Have missed your posts, so thank your for writing such an interesting one, much appreciated.
     
  3. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    A great read!! Betsy sounds like a brilliant dog. And a feminist icon :D Massive achievement with Charlie at the shooty day (technical term) - very impressive.

    Love the photo too.
     
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  4. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    That is great to hear - well done to Betsy (what a girl! And very pretty too), and I'm so glad that Charlie, while learning the self-control to beat successfully (which is a HUGE achievement, much harder for a Labrador than simple retrieving), retains his essential joie de vivre... Great stuff, and thanks for the update. I have to agree with Stacia, any time I've been picking up, yes there has been lots of waiting and walking to heel, but there have also been times of intense excitement with loads of work and amongst the easy short retrieves there have been very difficult, long retrieves, particularly those involving runners... We are going again after Christmas, and I can't wait!
     
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  5. Boogie

    Boogie Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I loved the bit about the pheasants!

    :rofl:

    What fit, clever dogs.

    .
     
  6. selina27

    selina27 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Fabulous photo.

    Very interesting to read about your experiences on shoot days.
     
  7. Emily

    Emily Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Ah, thanks so much for the update @JulieT
    So lovely to hear how well you and the pups are going. Wow, I didn't even recognise Betsy in thay photo! She is such a grown up, muscular healthy looking girl :)
     
  8. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Good to chat again, @Stacia!

    I don’t think I’d ever go shooting on a large estate with hundreds of birds, because I’m not sure that’s an acceptable ethical way to shoot. Although I haven’t actually seen it, so I say that with a big caveat. But I'd probably not get the chance anyway.

    Possibly, there are smaller shoots with fewer dogs and it’s more exciting. I’ll have to wait and see. I have found a shoot to go on that’s not about training dogs and they actually need more dogs so... fingers crossed. Although when I quiz people about their days they do usually say they got 2, 3, 6 retrieves....so it seems less than one retrieve an hour is pretty average.

    Alternatively, picking up is a big fat mental con. :D:D:D

    What happens is that the human gets bored, very, very, very bored. Then, there is suddenly something to do! Thank goodness for that, thinks the human. I don’t much care that it’s sending my dog 30m for a bird that I could pick up myself. IT’S SOMETHING TO DO AND THAT’S AMAZING. Then, the human goes back to being bored....until another AMAZING thing happens to break the boredom....

    You can see why that’s a pattern for training people to think it’s an incredible activity. :D:D:D

    So, I’ll see and I'll certainly keep going because I enjoy the training so much, and the days were good fun - nice food, happy people etc. For now though, I think beating is where it’s at.
     
  9. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Great to hear how your two are doing! They both look gorgeous and happy!
     
  10. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    @JulieT, my favourite part of picking up is the sweeping up afterwards, hunting through the woods for pricked birds and also sending a dog for a very long distance when the dog has seen the bird pricked, understands what happens and will find it. I would hate to stand and just send my dogs for a bird that is shot 30m in front of me, though that can be scary!

    I agree about big, commercial shoots, once went on one where they shot 1,800 birds which I thought was wholesale slaughter, never went back. The best shoots are the ones who shoot no more that 150 -200.

    I don't pick up any more as a friend wanted my dog!!! The shoot was one that scared me to death, open grassland, I much preferred standing well back in the woods in the Cotswolds when I was younger and had no fear.:D
     
  11. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Lovely to see you back Julie, and hear an update on the two furry ones x
     
  12. Naya

    Naya Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Fantastic photo. Glad to hear Charlie and Betsy are doing well :)
     
  13. heidrun

    heidrun Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Hi Julie, nice to see Charlie and Betsy doing so well. Can I ask what you mean by a shoot over day? Is it walked up shooting? And what is the bag for those days and the driven shoots you have been to. Also how many Guns and how many dogs were at those days? I have only ever been beating and picking up on shoots with an average bag of 300, which is never boring but very exciting and quite hard work physically. But the most enjoyable days are going out with a handful of friends and hunting our spaniels. At the end of the day we hopefully all go home with a brace of pheasants for dinner.
     

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