I have a bone-headed black Labrador, who didn’t inherit many, if any, of the hunting traits Labs are famous for. She’d rather stick her head down a long-abandoned badger hole than follow the moments-old trail of a pheasant. She also seems to be missing the retrieving gene. Rather than bring a downed duck to me, she’ll sniff it once, then bound off in search of more old badger holes.
I recently watched a video made by a professional hunting dog trainer, who had strapped a GoPro to his dog and turned the animal loose to kick up some pheasants.
It was amazing to see the brush whipping by as the dog followed a scent trail. Once in a while, you could catch a fleeting glimpse of the rooster’s tail feathers as they darted around a clump of grass. Before long, the dog had chased the bird to the edge of the cover, and the camera miraculously caught the bird taking off as the dog sat to wait for its owner’s shot. Before the bird disappeared from the frame, the report came, and the bird fell back to the ground. The dog homed in on it, and the video ended with the camera capturing a hand reaching under the pheasant to take the bird after the successful retrieve.
I’ve thought about strapping a GoPro to Riley, not for the incredible footage it would produce, but for the comic value. I’m pretty sure it would be nothing but hours of bouncing, herky-jerky images of scenery rushing by. Every once in a while, maybe you’d even see a pheasant or a grouse, but it would be clear from the film that Riley has no interest in birds whatsoever.
And of course, the film would end with a close-up of an abandoned badger hole.