For the last few weeks, I’ve finally had the time I need to give my bird dog some training. It only takes about 15 minutes at a time, but that’s 15 minutes I haven’t had until recently. Now I can take Riley out into the back yard for a short session in the morning, then again in the afternoon in a wilder setting, like a chunk of public land or a dog park.
We’re a long way from the more advanced things like force fetching and retrieving multiples or blinds, but we’re making progress. Well, Riley is making progress. I could probably use some help moving up to the bigger and better things. I think I’m just a little nervous about doing something wrong.
Eventually, I’m going to need some help, too. There are some stages of the training that require a second person to toss bumpers or hold the dog, so I’ll have to sucker one of my coworkers into helping me out with it.
But until then, Riley and I will keep working on the parts we can do without another participant with opposable thumbs.
And so far, it’s been good for both of us. For one thing, Riley has been getting much better about not just retrieving, but also with discipline in general. She still chews up stuff she shouldn’t, and she still jumps up on my bed when she thinks I’m not paying attention. But she sits on command, she stays when she’s told to, and she’s almost a good dog finally.
As for me, working with a dog is a great break from the pressures of the day. It’s physically impossible to be stressed when you’re throwing a bumper for an energetic black Lab. Maybe we’ll kick it up to three sessons a day.